I'm basing this tutorial on Painter Classic Ver. 1 since it's the version that came with tablets until last year. If the differences between painter Classic 1 and 2 are too many and you'd like me to make a tutorial, you're gonna have to find a way to get me a copy of your version so I can work out the differences.
I won't point bit by bit what each kind of 'brushes' you have avaible in Painter. I'll point out and explain the basics, later on you can mess with each type of brush avaible to you and experiment. Remember, what I am showing here is just my way of doing things, there are as many ways as you can think of. Experimentation is the key of developping your own ways to do certain things.
Now, onto our tutorial. It's preferable that you're using a pen-tablet for this software, since the pressure sensitivity of the pen is heavily taken advantage of by Painter.
Alright, one of the first things we have to do is know our working space.
This is how your working space looks like. One of the first things you have to do is prepare painter to work with your very particular way to apply pressure to your pen. Everyone person has different levels of strenght and pressure applied to a pen to their strokes. Painter can adapt itself to whatever needs you have, this is pretty good when you have problems on your hands and it's hard for you to apply too much pressure for your strokes to be thick. To get painter to set itself to your needs, go to: Edit> Preferences> Brush tracking. The following panel will appear, scribble in the panel the way you'd normally do it in paper and it will automatically set the preferences for your particular pressure needs.
You can tweak these settings manually to get painter to work fine with a mouse, though, it's obviously more difficult to get the same feel in the mouse then with the pen.
Once you've tweaked your pressure and brush tracking needs, let's go to the next point. As you can notice you have several windows with different functions and tools, I'll proceed to explain the basics of them:
Tools: This window has several editing tools. Zoom, Grab, Rotate, Selection, Lazo, move selection, brush trace, flood fill, dropper, circular selection, text and crop.
If you're familiar with photoshop and similar software, most of these tools are well known by you.
The brush stroke tool will be your main working tool. You need to keep this tool selected to use the options contained in the "Brushes" window.
"Brushes" contains the different mediums you can use to draw and color. The tools range from pencils for sketching to watercolors, erasers, ink pens, photography effects and so on. Each 'type' of tool has several sub-tools of the same variety. In pencils, for example, you have a range of pencil brushes from 2HB type emulation, to colored pencils, to harder or softer graphite emulated types. You can select the different variations of your brush tools on the small menu that is displayed under your tool icons.
You can change what tools you're using in Painter Classic pressing the purple block to display all other tools avaible to you.
Under the brush tools you'll find the "Art Materials". This window contains a color wheel. Next you'll find the material's called 'paper', this material will be very important in the future, because applies a texture to certain brushes, such as watercolor. Next to it you'll find the Gradient. it works in similar form then its counterpart in photoshop but applied via flood fill. Pattern applies a selected pattern or texture through the flood fill options. Finally, you've got the Nozzle. If you're familiar with Paint Shop Pro, you'll notice the similarity with the "tubes". This tool is applied through the effects pen. There's a few more tools that I won't address in this tutorial.
Alright. Now that we've studied our brushes and tools and messed around with them, it's time to move to the window called "controls". This window works as your 'preferences/settings' section for the tools you're working with. It will display the different properties you can modify in your brush/tool as you change it. Keep in mind this version of Painter won't save your settings, everytime you select a different brush you'll have to set the values back to your desired range.
I've screened the properties of the 'medium' water color brush. Pay special attention to the "Diffusion" and "Grain" controls. Diffussion measures how far the color will 'dilute' against the paper. If you've ever played with watercolors in paper, you'll notice it will absorb the color and create small little patterns outside the strokes you're applying on a wet paper. This tool emulates the humidity of the paper. If you do not wish your colors to spread across the canvas, keep this option to 0.
Then we have Grain. Remember I talked about "Paper" in our art materials?. Well this tool interacts heavily with the water color brushes. Depending on the intensity you set for this option, you'll notice that as you apply color with your brush the texture you have selected by default in 'Papers' will appear on your strokes. It will give you the feeling you're painting on top of real paper. However, if you wish for your colors to be solid without any texture applied to them, keep the grain selection down to 0%.
Size and Opacity are quite self explainatory. It measures the size of your brush and how many layers of color you need to apply to achieve a desired color with a smooth blending.
Now, onto the sketching work. This is one of the parts in which Painter Classic 1 and 2 differ. Painter Classic doesn't count with Layers. You're bound to work with one single canvas. Difficult? Not quite if you use a few tricks.
Painter works with a very interesting option called "Wet Painting". What is this, you ask? Well, the software identifies wet painting as having your canvas humid and ready to be painted with watercolors, which are a 'wet medium'. This gives us an advantage, because the watercolor tools have their own eraser that doesn't interfere with the dry mediums such as pencils or inks.
I began by doddling the basic sketch with a watercolor. I commit the mistake of using a purplish color, but it's suggested you use a soft red or light brown color to doodle the basic sketch. I choosed to draw Roll.EXE from the Rockman.EXE series.
(Note: Make sure you have good references of the character you want to draw if you're drawing fanart. Plant was too lazy to look for proper references at night and therefor this picture has a lot of mistakes, both proportional and referencial that I didn't care enough to fix XP)
Once you're done with the basic sketch, apply the details with a darker shade of the color you originally used. Make sure the color used for detailing isn't too dark or almost black or will make it harder for you to ink. I was too sleepy last night to remember that 9_9;;
Once you have the details down, select the ink brushes and use the type of pen you feel more comfortable with to 'ink'. In my case, I choosed scratchboard tool, probably 'fine point' might be easier to work with if you're still beginner. Remember not to use a dark color to detail your sketch or you'll make it harder to give a good quality to your inking, sure enough mine suffered of a very trashy inking.
Once you're done inking your sketch, go back to your watercolors and in the menu to the right select "Wet Eraser". The proceed to erase the sketch strokes from your picture. As you can see, the Wet media never mixes with the dry media and allows you to color and fix mistakes as many times as you want without compromising your lineart.
Now, we begin to color with watercolors. In this case I choosed to color 'smoothly' without any diffusion nor 'paper'. To blend each shade of color smoothly we go back to our sub-tools' menu and select the diffusion/blend tool. To keep the smooth solid color remember to set the grain and diffussion to 0. Now, proceed to stroke the diffussion brush over the colors you want to blend. Experiment as much as you wish with this option until you develope a blending you're happy with.
After we're done with the first color and the shadding of that color use the wet eraser tool to get rid of the excess. Before you begin to apply the next color select "Canvas> Dry". This option will dry out the watercolor paint. Remember, the watercolor tools will pick up part of the color underneath and blend with it. If you want your colors to be individual from each other, it's best to dry out the previous application before applying a new color. Repeat the previous process for each new color until you're finished.
Remember this is just one of many ways to do things. You can apply your colors in as many ways as you want and apply as many colors as better fits your heart. These are just some basic tips to begin with, develope your own techniques with practice and experimentation.
I Hope this tutorial was of any help for you. I plan to produce another tutorial based mostly on 'character development' sometime soon.