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  • Writer's pictureDonna Newman

It's Painting, but not as we Know it

Ditching my Dungarees!

I love paint! I love sploshing it around and getting thoroughly messy when creating my artwork. There's nothing I enjoy more than working away in my paint-splattered, slightly chaotic studio with a dozen open tins and tubes on my table, dungarees on (and more often than not a few streaks of paint in my hair!) but the pandemic has forced me to take a slightly different approach to the way I've worked.

Swapping Brush for Stylus

The past year has been difficult to say the least!

The majority of my work is usually for schools and involves hand-painting large scale murals on-site, but that certainly hasn't been the norm this year. With schools closed or unable to let me work in their buildings I've had to diversify and have developed a whole new side to my portfolio - digital art. Creating digital paintings remotely for print and installation in schools.

Going Digital

I first began dabbling with a computer drawing program a few years ago when working on design submissions to various art trails. I'm certainly not a 'Graphic Designer' and I really don't have the technical skills for computer generated art, but what I do know how to do is paint!

Digital painting is an art form where traditional painting techniques are applied using digital tools by means of a computer, graphics tablet, stylus and software. All digital painting and drawing programs try to mimic the use of physical media through various brushes and paint effects, and they are really very good! Check out the Products on my website to see some of my results.

Signature Style

I really do love painting and when I chose to develop my digital work, I felt very strongly that I didn't want to loose my signature style of artwork in the process. Whilst giving my clients another, more hands-off way to bring colour to their walls, I still wanted the designs to look like mine and not some generic graphic. I currently use a program called Autodesk Sketchbook Pro and I love it. I'm really a bit of a technophobe but I managed to teach myself how to use it, it's so simple and intuitive. There are so many different tools and brushes to use which make it very easy to mimic my hand-painted style. I particularly like using a pen and ink tool with a bleeding watercolour brush to create a style of illustration inspired by that of Quentin Blake.

The feedback has been amazing and over the past year I have really grown my portfolio with a range of school signs and artwork which can be installed in all sorts of locations. You can view some of my artwork installations on the Digital Gallery page of my website.

Love to Read

I have spent the past two weeks working on this huge artwork for Coleshill Heath School in Solihul. It's actually 16 individual pieces which will be printed in vinyl and installed on large folding doors in their hall. The theme is all about encouraging young readers and the design features illustrated book covers from their class reading lists. As a regular client of mine they were one of the first schools to receive my digital artwork installations having worked closely with me last year to develop a series of illustrated maps and history timeline. Please feel free to contact me if you want to find out more about my digital artwork or commission a piece.

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