Don Seegmiller

Painter has made the difficult, simple and significantly sped up my artistic workflow.


What inspired you to become an artist?

Maybe it was dinosaurs that inspired me to paint and draw. Recently while I was helping my mom clean out some things around her house, she gave me a folder of “art” I had created as a kid. In the pages were several finger-painted dinosaurs done in black. I guess that I was about four years old when I did them. Honestly though, I cannot remember anything particular that inspired me to become an artist. It seems that drawing and then painting is just something I have always done.

Can you tell us about some of the projects you’re working on right now?

Currently I am working on several projects where I am under an NDA, some personal pieces, and I am faculty at Salt Lake Community College. I teach digital painting and really enjoy sharing what I know with my students.

Don Seegmiller artwork

What has been your favorite project to be a part of? Why?

The most satisfying recent project was creating images for the book “IN DANGER: Threatened & Endangered Animals” I painted three of the animals in this beautiful book: A Panamanian Golden Frog, Lowland Gorilla, and Javan Rhinoceros. Projects that support good causes are personally very satisfying.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Is there such a thing as a typical day? Each seems to present its own unique challenges and opportunities. Now that it is the middle of the winter, staying warm is important. My typical day starts with catching the train to campus. My class times vary as does the amount of time between classes. If I am not teaching or preparing for class, I like to spend time drawing. With enough time I may paint a bit. I get home mid-afternoon to early evening. Evenings are spent on personal or contracted work. I try and call it a day between 11:00 pm and 1:00 am.

How does Painter help you in the development and creation of your artwork?

Painter is my primary digital tool. I have been using the program since its beginning when first released by Fractal Design. My original tablet was made by CalComp and used hearing aid batteries in the pen. Since those early days, Painter has continued to develop into a solid and mature application.

Painter makes some things that would be almost impossible with traditional mediums quite easy. Digital programs in general and Painter in particular have made the difficult, simple. Just as importantly, Painter has significantly sped up my workflow. Depending on the project I am anywhere from four to ten times quicker than I would be with traditional mediums.

Don Seegmiller artwork

What’s your favorite Painter tool/feature? Why?

There are so many great features included with Painter that it is difficult to pick my favorite feature. I will choose broadly and say that the brushes are what really make Painter click for me. I have used the application long enough that I generally create my own brushes for a specific project. Most of these are variants of default brushes that I want to “behave” in some specific manner. I am also very excited about the Particle brushes and find that I am using them frequently.

What are the challenges involved with being a full time artist?

Most of my professional life has been as a full-time artist (traditional gallery artist and freelance illustrator) with stints as an art director, concept artist for games and film, video game artist, and university/college faculty. Currently I am an Associate Professor at Salt Lake Community College where I teach Illustration, drawing, and digital painting courses. I love teaching and interacting with students whom have a thirst for knowledge.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming artists?

While this will sound like a broken record it is the absolute truth: Learn to draw, then draw some more, and then continue drawing after that! Drawing is not some mystical “talent” we are born with but is a discipline that can be learned. All it takes is dedication and an awful lot of work. I tell my students that they will know they are starting to practice enough when their husband, wife, significant other no longer removes the pencil sharpener from the living room. My wife just gave up because I would drag it back the next evening. Even so, I probably do not draw as much as I should. We all think we draw better than we do. I know that I think I draw really well when the reality is that the older I get, the less I know about drawing so, continual practice is critical to skill building throughout one’s artistic life.

Don Seegmiller artwork

What hardware helps you get the job done? System and peripherals.

I just rebuilt my PC and it is everything I could want …… until next year. Current specs are:

  • AMD Ryzen 7 2700X running at 4.03
  • 32 GB ram
  • Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080
  • A bunch of hard drives
    • Two 500gb SSD drives. 1 for the operating system and one for holding current projects
    • Five drives ranging from 8tb down to 2tb.
    • o More external hard drives to hold reference materials, etc.
  • Two 27 inch 2k ultra sharp Dell monitors.

Additional stuff I use:

  • A Mac mini for those small niche programs not available on Windows.
  • Several Microsoft Surface Pro tablets which I find indispensable.
  • An HP ZBook x2 Detachable Workstation (love this thing)
  • A Dell 27-inch canvas, two large Wacom tablets, a medium Wacom tablet. I switch between them as my mood changes.
  • Epson Perfection V750 pro scanner
  • Sony A7 mirrorless camera
  • Logitech web cam to record demonstrations etc.

You would think with all this stuff I would get more done.

Learn more about Don Seegmiller:

Instagram: seegmiller_art