Sunday, October 28, 2012

Process: more GIMP and EQ6

To experiment with layering in GIMP, I created a quick sketch of color shapes in Paint,

and a quick sketch of 'writing' - this makes me want to go buy a graphic pad + stylus so I can actually draw with a stylus instead of trying to use the mousepad to create writing...
Then I layered the images in GIMP. I made the layers opaque (70%) - just experimenting. And I reversed the grain on the writing so it appears white. My final image:
This has me thinking about all the possibilities. There are a ton of good tutorials out there. Here is one that I thought covered a lot of basic points but was fast and well-done. That tutorial shows how to make vertical stripes and lay down a banner and other things, complete with Gaussian blurs and shadowing. It's really very exciting. Part of the tutorial showed how to open an image with texture and make that a layer (I used a photo of a cloud):
This is the image without the cloud layer. I uploaded it to Spoonflower but for some reason when I tiled it, there is a visible line at the edge of each tile.
I'll have to play with it to make the edge-line go away. I made this diagonal striped pattern by following this tutorial, which creates a gradient across the width of the stripe.
These diagonal lines don't tile properly (understandably) in Spoonflower but the mirror feature creates an interesting pattern, quite like a simple log cabin.
For this one I used the same tutorial, but created vertical stripes. I can see a bit of an artifact though, which makes me think the lines are not 100% vertical (this particular tutorial uses a tool that you create the line direction manually. I'm sure there is a way to control the pitch but I did it freehand in this case). Here I changed the colors across the pattern, but if I hadn't changed the colors, this would show the original image with a gradient from left to right inside each stripe (as above).
I did find this tutorial with a detailed mathematical explanation of how to create rotated (ie diagonal) tileable patterns. I'm going to have to give that a go one of these days. It looks like someone created a plug-in from the instructions. I haven't downloaded any plug-ins yet, I'm still familiarizing myself with the basics.

I was thinking about using repeats of a basic shape to create another design. I made this quick sketch of hearts in a circle.
Then I drafted a PatchDraw Motif block in EQ6, moved the motif to the block tab, and set the blocks into a simple 3x3 on-point quilt layout with the border removed. Here is a cropped shot of the 'quilt':
This tiled well in Spoonflower. I made the motif by creating a heart shape and copying it 5 times, then rotating each one 60 degrees more than the previous. However, I don't know if it's because of the shape or what, but I couldn't align the hearts symmetrically around the middle - you can see bigger gaps between some than others. So that's another thing to figure out. I added some circles and colored the pieces. I still haven't figured out how to color the 'background' of the block in the PatchDraw Motif block so it's not just white. I'm sure it's an easy fix. This is the 'quilt' layout from EQ6:
Next I'm going to do something with this sketch: I'll color the flowers like oriental poppies.
I have to say that for the most part, I'm not satisfied with the colors in the digital images I've created. I want to be able to see the same colors I can make with real paint. I need to learn how to create better colors digitally, and experiment with layering texture to add interest to the 'color'. I think part of what makes me like a 'color' on some of my own artwork is that it is variable. It is not a sheet of pure pink or pure orange. There are bits of orange and bits of yellow in the 'pink' field. So when I'm appreciating something that looks pink, what I'm really appreciating is the entire composition surrounding the pink.