Flying Squirrel Sketch

//Flying Squirrel Sketch

Flying Squirrel Sketch

A quick flying squirrel drawing using ArtRage oil brush tool.

By | 2015-03-24T08:58:35+03:00 December 16th, 2014|Categories: Drawings|Tags: , , , |17 Comments


  1. Plum Ovelgonne 16.12.2014 at 13:59 - Reply

    Oh, he is gorgeous! I am in complete adoration of your work. (I’m just beginning to try ArtRage after only using Brushes, it looks very promising).

    • Tom 16.12.2014 at 16:28 - Reply

      Thank you! I don’t have any experience of other programs, but I probably should try if only to be able to compare. What I have learned from Photoshop users, also familiar with ArtRage, is that ArtRage is a lot more easier to handle for painting than Photoshop. Photoshop allows more means for image tweaking, while ArtRage is more like the real thing, I think. I’ve been quite busy with other projects, but I will try to post more often here in the future. Maybe we can share some painting experiences and practical ideas!

  2. Plum Ovelgonne 17.12.2014 at 09:27 - Reply

    I would love that. I am off on holiday next week and I have promised myself to have a serious look at how to use ArtRage because it does look wonderfully versatile. The biggest mystery with all this digital art is what to do with it? Not being a graphic artist by training I am not very technically minded which does have it’s draw backs! I don’t even know how to use Photoshop. Brushes paintings on iPad can not be printed very large with decent quality from what I understand via various artist printers, although I have been pleased with a few I printed on canvas. You can see my attempts with digital painting if you like on my Flickr page, Plumkin1. They don’t begin to have the finess of your beautiful work, but you have certainly inspired me! I look forward to seeing more! Regards, Plum

    • Tom 19.12.2014 at 13:55 - Reply

      Sounds great. Seriously, I haven’t looked in the ArtRage manual too much…there’s so many things, and I never have the time. Also, in the beginning it was hard to know what was important, and now, after learning through try and error, it doesn’t matter any more. But I would be happy to help others if I can. That way I would probably learn new things myself too. I’m afraid many of my methods may sometimes be a little unorthodox, but my pictures have been used as illustrations for books, magazines etc. without bigger problems.
      I took a look at your lovely, colourful paintings. I especially like your choice of motifs. I assume that you prefer painting from your own experience? The things you have around you?
      And you really can do a lot with your paintings. You can make your own e-books (don’t even cost anything) or maybe printed photo books (even if I haven’t tried that yet, the quality maybe shifting). Cards and posters, of course. Printing gives the best quality, but can be a bit problematic. We, (my brother and I) have our own printer, and can therefore control the quality better.
      It would be great to hear about your experiments, and see the results. Have a nice weekend.Tom

  3. Jerry Hellums 26.12.2014 at 17:09 - Reply

    I use iPad ArtRage 3 and wonder if painting is easier on a pc or Mac. Also how large do you print.
    Thanks and love your art.

    • Tom 04.01.2015 at 19:32 - Reply

      Hi Jerry. I have always been a Mac-user so I can’t say from my own experience if there is any difference. But if there is, I doubt it’s of major significance. I believe it’s more about what you have got used to, and the prestige of the painting program. I have a 27″ iMac, and the size of the screen certainly makes painting easier (of big, detailed compositions). Painting with iPad is again an other matter and it has its special benefits being handy and portable. It’s like doing small postcard sized paintings in traditional media. The small image size, of course, means that you can’t expect to be able to print very large. On the other hand, small prints can be fun too. The resolution required for quality prints is at least 360 dpi(this is what I normally use), so a rather small image size of 2048x2048pixels will print as 14.45×14.45cm (5.69×5.69inches). You can of course export your image to your computer, and resize it, but it will inevitable result to a softer print. I haven’t tested, but I don’t believe any special programs (that are often recommended) to enlarge images, would make a big difference for the better. I’m no expert, though, just a simple artist. Thank you for your comment.

  4. Plum Ovelgonne 05.01.2015 at 04:38 - Reply

    Thank you so much for your reply to both Jerry and I. I find both extremely helpful. I was thinking that the limitation in pixel size was just about the program, Brushes, that I have been using but I can now see that it is obviously more to do with the screen size. I have never worked on a Mac. What do I need to buy in order to work on my Mac? I have a 21 inch Mac, I think a new larger one is in order for a start! I have been looking at ArtRage and it looks really interesting and once I understand all the features I look forward to it’s versatile and natural appearance. Sketchbook Pro. also looks interesting. It will be lovely to have different canvas’s to work with among other things. Like Jerry I would also be interested to know how large you can print using an iMac before the quality is lost? Can we as digital artists really expect our paintings to hang in a gallery along side traditional oil or water-colour paintings for example? Looking at your wonderfully talented work one really would expect them to be as appreciated and respected original art. I would adore seeing your work hanging in a gallery. What exposure have you been giving all your wonderful work? Will people accept prints as original works of art? I think there will have to be a shift in the way people view prints, don’t you?

    I have been working from my own experiences and the things around me. I think I will try try to work less randomly this year though. I have a lot to learn!

    Thanks again, Tom.

    • Tom 10.01.2015 at 11:28 - Reply

      Thank you for your comments! I’m trying make a post about these things, so that it can be found more easily later, hopefully useful for other people too. And those who know better can correct me or fill in with good insights.
      But here’s a ”quick” answer: You don’t have to rush into buying a new computer or a screen. Your old 21 inch will probably do just fine. The size of the image has in it self nothing to do with the size of the screen. How big files you can make is a result of a combination of many things, like the performance of the painting program and your computer (like its cache memory and processor). Thus, while the image size on iPad is fixed to a maximun of 2048×2048 pixels it’s harder to tell what the biggest file for your computer would be. You can try until the program gets stuck (not fun always, have done it). To be on the safe side I try not to push the image size beyond the limits. Normally my paintings are of the (print) size of an A4 or max A3, sometimes a little bit more. If I wan’t to paint on a really big canvas, I paint traditionally (I can earn much more that way too;)). I think an A3 is a fairly good size for a print on paper. Canvas would be an other matter of course.

      About how to make your files bigger, there is a link on the ArtRage’s page on Facebook on this subject. It’s good read but in practical life the matter is more nyanced. Further on that later. But the important thing is the dpi. Meaning the amount of dots per inch. This is the information you give the printer. 360 (or more) is required for a quality print. Lesser than that will give you a bigger print but it also means a loss of quality. So when you start painting set the dpi at 360 and then you can test how far in print size you can go before the program crashes. If you want to do that. Otherwise you can very well settle for a maximum (screen) size of 5952×4209 pixels at 360 dpi which will give you good A3 sized print (you can change the proportions a bit, naturally). While it can be tempting to always make the images as big as you can, it’s good to bear in mind that they also require more memory space on your computer.

      What you need besides your computer (and the painting program), is a device to draw and paint with. The easiest thing to do is to drop by at and look through different options. If you are not on a budjet, a pen display (Wacom Cintiq) would be cool, but a pen tablet (the Intuos series) is absolutely good enough. I’m an Intuos user my self, for a couple of reasons, not least for its, in my mind, better ergonomy. There are several sizes of the pen tablets, and the size actually does matter, depending on how you prefer to use your stylus. This is a bit complicated (and I will pick up this question in my post) but I’d say if you wan’t to carry around your pen tablet with your lap top, the smallest will be quite all right. If you are going to keep it on your desk, you can choose a bigger one, not necessarily the biggest. I have an L and don’t really need all that size.

      How to make people to accept and by (giclée) prints is also an interesting issue. And there is a significant difference between a print made after an original traditonal media artwork (a copy) and a print made through digital painting (genuine artwork). It can be a challence to explain this to you buyers, especially the difference in price. I think I’m going to make a post about this too.

      For now I will stop here. I hope my answers don’t make you even more puzzled. Feel free to ask, if you want something clarified. Thank you also for your questions considering my work. I will pick them up in the future on this site, as soon as I will be able to start posting seriously.

  5. Plum Ovelgonne 26.01.2015 at 09:02 - Reply

    Hi Tom,
    Thank you very much for your very helpful advice. I have bought a Wacom tablet and have uploaded ArtRage to both my desktop and my iPad. I had hoped to get back to you sooner but I have been struggling to get used to both the tablet and ArtRage. In fact the last few days have felt as though I’ve been trying to paint whilst standing on my head! It’s so difficult to orientate everything and the tutorials don’t seem very helpful either at this stage. The canvas seems to jump about, changing the size of the brushes and paint colour is challenging but I can see it is all possible if I keep trying. I haven’t got used to the keys on the tablet although I was relieved to find one of them was ‘undo’. I have even more respect for your work now that I’ve tried working with these!

    I look forward to your post about the difference between a copy and a genuine digital artwork.

    • Tom 26.01.2015 at 09:59 - Reply

      Yes, it can be really confusing in the beginning. The idea is to make it as simple as possible, but it’s hard to know how to do it, and the manual (and often the tutorials too) contain too many options. But don’t worry, you will learn soon enough! I suppose you have the new “touch” tablet, which is a bit different from the old-fashioned one I have. The touch function works on my Mac’s track pad though. I have, in fact, never used the tablet keys (except for canvas rotation), I’m using the keyboard commands (for save etc.) instead, and the program interface for tool sizes and the back-funktion on the menu. There are a lot of situations, when it’s hard to know what to do, but I have learned a few tricks to get around most problems.

      I’m working on a “how to get started” tutorial, a very simple “do like this” or step by step version. If you have any specific problems, just ask, it would be helpful for me too. If there is something I don’t know, I can consult the ArtRage team.

  6. Plum Ovelgonne 10.02.2015 at 08:12 - Reply

    Hi Tom, I have been working on a painting in ArtRage recently and as it nears completion I am wondering how I can share it. In fact I have heard that the Singapore Affordable Art Fair are looking for artists using any media to submit some work for a little exposure so I thought I should give it a go but how to print it out locally so that I can submit it before the deadline in a couple of weeks?

    So my piece of work is 4209 x 5952 and 37.6 Mb in it’s near finished state. What do I do with it? Should I export it as a PNG image, but then it seems to be a very big file to try to send to any one? And where should I send it to, just a folder on my iMac to begin with?

    I haven’t figured out how I could send it to an ArtRage Forum/Gallery/Competition etc. either.

    I have loved working with it over the last few days though and of course the quality is so much higher than Brushes on the iPad. I am mostly using the oil brushes and a little airbrush. The 100% brush size seems a bit small still so I am having to get used to that.

    I do struggle a bit to use layers as I forget which one I’m in but returning to it towards the end of the painting has been a very rewarding way to give it more depth. It is of a rare bird I spotted here, a Raffle’s Malkoha, and I am still trying to figure out how to get more subtle brush strokes than I’m managing at the moment to get a soft sheen of the feathers or a soft varied fluffiness. Great fun!

    I hope you are well.

    • Tom 11.02.2015 at 07:25 - Reply

      Thanks again for you questions! I’ve been very busy the last few weeks, but now I’m back again working with my own stuff.

      So, you need to get a print of your painting? The thing that you want is a gicklée print, and you could try to google it to find someone near you who can offer you the service. It shouldn’t be that difficult nowadays. Have you noticed that you can also get your work printed via ArtRage? But It could be good to use a local shop, so that you can discuss the process and maybe even see how it’s done.

      PNG is a format for use in the internet, it doesn’t work well for printing. The format normally used for high quality prints is PSD (Photoshop), you can also print from a JPG format (which many internet shops are using for printing). JPG doesn’t store all the information of the original file which means some loss in quality, but I’m not sure if it matters much. You can ask the firm you are going to assign for the job what format and quality you should use.

      To prepare you image for printing I recommend you to first make a copy of it. Go to File and choose Save Painting As…. Now you can’t destroy your original painting by mistake.

      The PSD format is going to show separately all the layers you have created. Normally this isn’t needed, it can even be confusing. So if you have several layers visible, go to the top and choose Merge Layer Down and repeat this until you have your painting on one single layer. (there is of course much more to it but in most cases this will work, so I’m trying to keep it simple)

      When your painting is on a single layer you can go to File, choose Export Image, File Format: Photoshop PSD, and save it. This is going to be a very big file and for sending it, it will be best to use a suitable service on the net, like the

      If JPG is the requested file format, choose it in the Save window. The file will be considerably smaller than the PSD, and may be sent by email (ask first though!). You can zip your images in both cases.

      I’m sure you can consult the firm you have chosen about these issues.

      For showing your painting on the net (like for ArtRage competition) you can scale it down by choosing Edit: Resize Painting. Max 1000 pixels on the longest side will be enough. But do this with a copy of your painting! If you save this procedure, you can’t get your painting back in the original size again. Btw, you have a back up system, don’t you..?

      Yes, 100% tool size isn’t very big for a large painting. But you can actually go up to 500%. For some reason you can only get up to 100% by dragging, but if you click on the (size %) number, a window will appear where you can set the size manually. You may be able to do this with the control ring on your pen tablet, but it doesn’t work on my tablet anymore with ArtRage 4 while it does work with the older edition of ArtRage.

  7. Plum Ovelgonne 11.02.2015 at 02:56 - Reply

    Looking at it again I think I just send it as a jpeg?

    • Tom 11.02.2015 at 07:32 - Reply

      Yes, as in my previous answer. For ArtRage competitions you may need a deviantArt account to be able to submit your work. Do you have one already? It’s a nice way to shear your other work too.

      • Plum Ovelgonne 17.02.2015 at 16:38 - Reply

        Thank you, thank you, thank you! It all made sense after reading your very generous messages. Again I so appreciate you taking the time to help me with this. I have completed my first real attempt at an ArtRage painting. Do take a look at it on my Flickr page if you have time. I am so enjoying using this program now. I still have so much to learn though! I must get more organised with layers too! Thanks again.

        • Tom 28.03.2015 at 14:53 - Reply

          I’m pleased to hear that you have found my explanations useful. I have also checked your images – great – It’s interesting to see how the program supports different ways of artistic expression!
          And if there’s something you are wondering about, I will be happy to try to help.

          • Plum Ovelgonne 30.03.2015 at 06:15

            Thank you, Tom! I’m sure I will be back to ask some more advice.

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