Monday, August 25, 2014

Expirimenting with Fresh Paint

A couple of weeks ago, I finally upgraded my computer!  I've been running a Macbook Pro since I was pregnant with my oldest son - he'll be 5 in December.  Clearly it was time for a new computer...

This time around, I wanted something I could draw directly onto.  I've had a Wacom connected to my Macbook forever and loved it, but I wanted something more direct.  There were a few options.  Some - like the Wacom Cintiq Companion - were a little pricey.  Others weren't quite powerful enough.  I decided to get the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

And it's exactly what I wanted!  I've been playing around with Fresh Paint.  It's a pre-installed natural media painting program.  I thought it would be a good way to learn how to use the Surface pen.

Here's the first page of a paper doll I painting with Fresh Paint.  I've had these outlines for a while and never quite figured out what to do with them.  The doll started as a scribble in a sketchbook (don't they pretty much ALL start like that?!).  I cleaned it up in Photoshop months ago and then lost my motivation.

The second page.  This doll is sort of a retro-inspired one.  I wanted it to have a '60s/'70s feel to it.  The colors got a little crazy as the pages continued on....

This one is a little '80s in coloring, but more retro in silhouette.  There are a few quirks about Fresh Paint that I'd like to figure out.  First, it took me a while to figure out how to open more than one image in a file.  This is a bare bones program - there were no guides to align each outfit, there isn't a selection or move tool to rearrange parts of the image, and there isn't really a way to import or export colors.  That made keeping a consistent skin tone a bit tough...

Even with its limitations, it's a lot of fun!  I had initially planned on just painting one page.  It was so addictive that I ended up painting 5!

I'm not exactly sure how these will print. If there are ways to customize the size & resolution I haven't found it yet.  Fresh Paint saves as a png file and that's easily imported into Photoshop.  The image default size is slightly less than a standard letter size, with a resolution of 96 dpi. I left it like this for now.

At some point I'd like to do a full tutorial about Fresh Paint.  I'm still trying to learn how to use my entire computer, so that tutorial may take a while!  It's been a big switch going back to a Windows computer - I actually had to go between 2 computers just to upload the PDF!

This was fun - I recommend checking out Fresh Paint if you have access to it!

Download the Fresh Paint experimental paper doll pdf here.


  1. What a wonderful paper doll. I really like second 1970's feeling page. Good luck with your new computer. I don't think I could do back to a Windows machine. I am so addicted to my Mac. :)

    1. Thanks! I like the second page a lot, too. I like switching gears & working on something totally different once in a while. As for computers, Macs are just fine but couldn't offer what I needed. And it is down right thrilling to draw directly on screen!!