One of my favorite things to do is graphic design. Unfortunately I rarely have the time or excuse to play with designing on the computer because this tends to get out of hand and I end up spending solid days glued to the computer, obsessively clicking lines and drawing shapes.
But the last few days I've had a wonderful excuse to play with a sun design I've been wanting to draw for the inside cover of the new book of 365 designs. I always try to include a special image in the front cover which captures the idea of the book, or at least showcases some of the designs.
Here's the inside covers for From Daisy to Paisley and From Feathers to Flames:
As for programs, I know the industry standard is Adobe Illustrator for graphic illustrations like this. Unfortunately I just don't have the patience, time, or cash to spend on such a complicated and expensive program.
Instead I use Serif Draw Plus, which is similar in nature, but stripped down and much more simple to use. It also helps that it's much cheaper than Adobe software, but still produces nice images that can be exported to any dpi (dots per inch) so the resulting image looks good whether it's printed online or in a book.
So this week I've been fiddling around with a sun design for the inside cover of the 365 book. I wanted an image that would capture several designs from the book, but also be slightly reminiscent of Release Your Light, a quilt image I used at the heading of many early videos for the project.
After a bit of fiddling, I came up with this:
Back to the drawing board! A bit of fiddling, grouping, copying and pasting later and here's the final sun:
Looking at this image, I couldn't help but feel like it's a bit of a waste to only use it on the inside cover to this book. It would look so good on a quilt, especially with the feathers running along each ray.
It just so happened that I've been re-thinking the design for Power of Life, a goddess quilt I started working on this spring around James's birthday.
The addition of this sun, a bit of tweaking for everything to layer properly and not make a mess and viola!
Now you might be wondering how to get started with graphic design, so here's some basic tips:
1. Start on paper. I start all of my drawings in some form on a regular piece of drawing paper and fiddle with them there first, then scan them into the computer, then use that image as a base for the graphic design.
Why? Personally I find it easier to work with something to start because otherwise I have trouble getting the scale and sizes of shapes right without some frame of reference.
2. Invest in the right tools. Just like with free motion quilting, piecing, or applique, you're going to need some specific tools for graphic designing including software and a drawing tablet. I use a Bamboo tablet which works quite well, though it does have a learning curve because you have to draw on the tablet, but look at the computer screen to see what you're drawing.
3. Use predrawn shapes. Most of these illustration type programs have sets of predrawn shapes. For example, my sun is actually a variation of a cog shape. I didn't have to work out all those vectors and angles myself - the program did it for me. I was able to fiddle with the number of rays, how big the center circle was, how wide the total shape ended up, etc. This is SO much faster than trying to sort these angles out by hand, though it is possible if you have no other alternative.
Two years ago, I would not have been able to create this sun image. I wouldn't have had a clue how to get started. Last year, I know I could have created it, but it would have taken 3 days to make because I didn't know the shortcuts of the program. Give yourself time and be patient as you learn this new skill.
Now that Power of Life is designed, I'd really like to go pull fabric and get started constructing this quilt top. But wait! What if I hand dyed all the fabric first?! LOL!
Time to shut up and go quilt,