Introduction to Corel Painter 12

Introduction to Corel® Painter 12  

A video version of this tutorial can be found in the Discovery Center.

What you will Learn: 

  • What is the purpose of the Welcome screen
  • How to create a new image
  • How to navigate the Painter 12 Brush Library
  • How to switch to the Painter 11 Brush Library
  • Selecting and using Brushes, Blenders and Pens
  • Watercolor Basics
  • How to save images as RIFF and JPEG formats

The first thing that you will notice when you open the application is the getting started window in the center of the screen.  This window will allow you to select any recent files you may have been working on in Painter and it also has links to useful information such as the What's New in Painter page and also tutorials and other helpful resources.


To prepare a blank sheet or canvas, from the Getting Started window, select Create New Image.

In the New Image dialogue box you can select the size of your paper or canvas in various measures; in this example we will change Pixels to Inches.  You can give the project a name and also set the resolution and the style of paper.  Painter 12 has many paper styles available in regular or  watercolor.  You can also set the paper color.  We will leave it at white this time and click ok.


The next thing that you will want to familiarize yourself with is the brush library.  Click on the icon of the currently selected brush to expand and view the categories.  Each category has an icon representing the style of brushes it contains such as acrylic, oils, pens and pencils. 

If you've upgraded from Painter 11 and wish to use the brushes that are more familiar to you,  you have the option to use the Painter 11 Brush Library which comes included in version 12.  To do this, simply click on the list icon in the upper right corner of the brush library menu, select Brush Library and then Painter 11 Brushes. 

You also have the option to import brushes, categories and libraries that other users have created and made available to the public into Painter at your discretion.  It's also important to make sure that you read any additional instructions that may be provided by the creator of the brushes prior to installing them. 

To see the names of the brush categories beside the icons, Click on Category Display and select: "Categories as List"

To Select a brush from a category, simply click on the brush and the menu will disappear.  You can change the size of the brush in the properties bar at the top of your screen.

Colors can be chosen from the Color Wheel, Mixer or Color Set Libraries.  In this example we will be using the Color Wheel.

Depending on the brush you have chosen, the color may be constant or it may be set to mimic how the color will fade in real life.  As you can see from this example, as the brush moves along the paper, the paint starts to fade as it is removed from the brush for a very realistic painting experience.

As you experiment with the application you will also notice that the paint can blend.  There is even a catagory specifically for blending brushes.  In this example we will start with the Blender Bristle brush.  This brush applies a small amount of paint and then blends it with the paint below. 



There are also blenders, such as the Grainy Water brush, that do not apply any paint themselves but simply blend the paint which is already on the canvas.

Painter also has a wide variety of other tools such as pens.  One of the great things about Painter is the ability to use a tablet to simulate real painting and drawing.  Since many brushes are designed to adjust angle and pressure used on a tablet, it makes the experience much more realistic. 

One of the fantastic things about Painter that would be impossible in real life, is that you can erase any medium on the page with the eraser.  That means you never have to worry about unsightly eraser marks on the page ever again.

Here are some useful short cuts to help make your painting experience easier:

First, To put your canvas in full screen mode, use the combination Control + the letter M  on your keyboard. If you're using a Mac that will be the Command Key and the letter M

The other useful key combination to know is the Control + Alt keys in Windows or the Command + Option keys on the Mac keyboard. While holding down these keys, moving the mouse while holding down the left button, will adjust the brush size. and moving the mouse wheel will rotate the canvas.

Although most brushes can be used on a standard canvas, watercolors are the exception. 

To create a watercolor painting it is preferable to begin by choosing a watercolor paper from the new image dialogue box.  
Next, select a watercolor brush from the Watercolor or Digital Watercolor brush categories.  

When using these brushes you will notice that the behaviour of the paint is very different from what you saw earlier with the acrylics.  Watercolor paint can blend and diffuse very quickly and the program is made to simulate this effects depending on which brush you've chosen.  

To save a painting you intend to work on further at a later time, go to file, Save As and select RIFF as the file type.  A RIFF file will maintain layers and all other information associated with your painting project.  

To save a version to print, send via e-mail or upload to the internet, go back to File, Save as and select Jpeg.  You will now have the option to select the quality of the jpeg.  The general rule with images is: The higher the quality, the larger the file size.  If you are uploading to the internet you may want to consider a lower quality and a smaller file size so the image will load quickly.  For printing, it is preferable to save files with the highest quality.  

 If you have enjoyed this tutorial, be sure to check out the other tutorials that are available in the Discovery Center. If you have any ideas for tutorials or projects that you would like to see in the future, e-mail

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