How do I do it?
(or, What is a virtual paintbrush?)
To create my portrait paintings, I employ a graphics tablet using a stylus (digital pen) as my virtual paintbrush. My Corel Painter software turns pen strokes made on my tablet into artists’-media-emulating marks on my monitor screen: watercolor washes, oil bristle brush, palette knife, pastels, colored pencil, charcoal, liquid ink (brush- or pen-applied,) airbrush… the list and the variations within each media and stroke are almost endless.
see this Arabian Costume horse art print at Desert Arabian
Physically, I am drawing upon the tablet on a horizontal desk surface rather than an upright vertical surface like an easel (nice, because upright aggravates my tendency to shoulder bursitis.) I see the strokes on my monitor as I make them; I work with dual monitors on my Mac, with the artwork on my larger screen and my tools and my tool menus mostly on a second monitor.
Tactile sensation is different from hand-painting of course, but still satisfying because the tablet is pressure-sensitive. That means that when I bear down harder, the width and/or density of the stroke increases (and vice versa) which gives it a real artist’s tool feel and allows for plenty of nuances and flourishes and refining.