by Caleb Goellner

How to Integrate a Cintiq into a Traditional Painting Workflow

Aaron Blaise started his artistic career as an animator at Disney. He learned old-fashioned, hand drawn animation from some of the best in the business. So when everyone else was going digital, he was a little slower to adapt. "I was the guy who walked out of my office covered with paints and ink," Blaise laughs.

Learning the Cintiq


When he started working on a digital film, he realized he had to make the leap to new technology. "One of the great things about working at Disney is that I could say, 'Hey, tomorrow I need a Cintiq and Photoshop installed.'  I went to my office the next day and there it was. I started training myself." 

The transition was easy. "You can take an afternoon and figure out enough to actually do a painting. With each painting, I learned something new."  Blaise now does all his work for films on the Cintiq. Character designs, concepts, locations, designs—everything stays digital so he can transfer files easily between his work and home studios.

Painting Composition

With his fine art, however, he still likes to blend his use of traditional and digital media. "It has changed the way I paint; it has freed me up quite a bit. I'll figure out a composition I want to do for these big paintings, and I'll work it all out in Photoshop. Once I print it out, I get a canvas in the same ratio, basically the same proportion, and use that printout as my reference for a big oil painting. It's a great way to work out all my color problems and compositional problems before I actually go to the canvas.

Painting Revision


He also uses the Cintiq for revisions in his oil paintings. "Sometimes when I'm working on the canvas, I'll say, 'You know, this isn't looking quite right. It needs something, but I don't know what it needs.'  So I'll take a picture of it with a pretty high res digital camera and bring it into Photoshop. I'll paint right over it in Photoshop and find the thing that it needs. Then I print it back out again and use that as a reference."

Even though he was a little slow to adapt to new technology, Blaise now believes strongly in the use of digital tools. "I really want to try to encourage people, especially in the older generation, to use these amazing tools," he said. "You just have to learn a few things, and it can really affect your work."

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