From ink drawing to digital with Painter X3

three elephants in a mini minorThis is my first image created with Painter X3 (after trying Painter Lite for a day I decided it was exactly what I need and upgraded). I hope some of the things I learned will help you if you are trying to turn an ink drawing (on real paper!) into a digital drawing with Painter X3 or Painter Lite.

Scanner settings

Scanning the ink drawing

Firstly, I had to find the correct settings for scanning my ink drawing. This is what I came up with. The drawings were done with Noodlers ink on Artistico Fabriano smooth paper, which is off-white. I scanned them as grayscale images at 300 dpi. I turned off all the auto settings, particularly auto tone.

Scanner settings

I adjusted the curves slightly, and used the eyedropper for the white end to select the paper colour as 'white'.

I saved the scan as a TIFF file (an uncompressed format).

Adding color in Corel Painter X3

I opened the TIFF file in Painter X3 and saved as a RIFF (Painter) file format.

In Painter X3, I struggled for ages because when I tried to paint, nothing happened. Finally I found a video with tips for this problem (I think it was because the default paper for a new image seems to be watercolour, which only accepts watercolour brushes).

Anyway, once I sorted that out it was fairly easy to do the colouring. The main thing is to get the drawing off the canvas (Select All, Copy, and Paste onto a new layer). You then have two options:

  • Set the new layer's mode to Multiply, and put it at the top of all the layers. Hide the canvas layer or clear it, OR
  • Create another layer and use the brush or pencil tool to trace the drawing on this layer, then hide the original drawing. Make sure you use expressive lines on the new drawing.
Painter X3 screens


Links to useful videos and tutorials about Corel Painter X3 and Intuos Tablet

Here are some videos and tutorials I've found useful:

Here's the video, by Aaron Rutten: Painter X3 Help did not give me any clues about this problem, by the way.

Here is another blog with FAQs, from Karen Bonaker Art: there are apparently dozens of reasons why you can't paint on a layer. These FAQs are really helpful:

Painter X3 screens

Skip Allen publishes a blog about using Corel Painter, and has a YouTube channel. He has an excellent video about why you can't paint on a layer.