Astute Graphics

I love acrylic paintings with beautiful, clean curves and lines. I wanted to get that look in my own paintings but kept having difficulty. For example, acrylic paint can typically require several coats to be opaque, and it’s near-impossible to create the same perfect curve with every coat.

The solution was to create my own physical stencils first in Illustrator, but the process was tedious, as I am basically creating the artwork twice. I needed to quickly create vectors, and that’s where the Astute Graphics plugins make all the difference! Particularly, DynamicSketch and InkScribe. They allow me to easily transfer my sketch to vectors with the line weight, brush and color settings I need. Sometimes I will also use FindReplace as it enables me to quickly change colors of similar objects.

 Once the image is complete in Illustrator, it’s sent to Photoshop where the vectors are separated and sent to my vinyl cutting machine. I then mix up acrylic paint colors to match what was created in Illustrator, and one-by-one I apply a stencil, paint over it with as many coats as needed, and then move on to the next stencil.

Overall, I love the process as it combines both my love for digital and physical paint. I get to create something on the computer first and tweak it until I’m happy with the layout and colors, and then move to the physical painting part where it all comes together. And in the end I have an original art piece which is an almost near match to what I created first on the computer! My clients love it because when I send a sample of what I will create for them, they know that the final painting will be very close to that sample.

The plugins by Astute Graphics make all the difference in my process. I can’t imagine creating this work without them. Honestly, they help move the quirks and frustrations of Illustrator “out of the way”, so I can get straight to drawing and painting the way I would on canvas!