Monday, 1 September 2014

inkscape tutorial - simplify paths

Here's a very small tutorial showing something I use quite a bit when designing with inkscape. When I scan a drawing and then use the trace function in inkscape to convert the lines to vectors, the lines are often quite bumpy. Sometimes that's fine, but often I want smoother lines, and more importantly, I want less nodes on the path so that its easier to clean up and edit.

























Step one: select the object, making sure you have the "edit path by nodes" button activated, so that you can see all the nodes.

Step two: path - simplify, or Ctrl + L

Step three: this reduces the number of nodes while keeping the shape of the object basically the same.

Step four: zoom in and tweak the remaining nodes until the object is the shape you want.

Two things I've noticed while doing this: 

If you select a number of objects and try to simplify them at the same time it doesn't work nearly as well. The paths end up looking like an abstract mess. However, if you just select one object at a time, the shape stays basically the same. You do have to be careful though, since sometimes this will delete so many nodes that your object changes shape drastically. 

When I scan a drawing to convert it to vectors in inkscape, it helps a lot if I first slightly blur the picture before performing the trace in inkscape. This smooths the lines before the actual trace, meaning there is less clean up / simplification of paths needed and also results in smaller, easier to handle files.

ps. the examples are from a new design I'm working on (yes, thats me reading a book in my living room)



Friday, 8 August 2014

beetles and blackberries

Last weekend we went on an outing to Beddington Park and saw lots of ripe blackberries. I didn't have a container along to pick any, but took a photo instead and inspiration for a new design.


I know the japanese beetles in the design are a bit strange, but I decided to add them so that I can enter this design in next weeks spoonflower contest (topic: beetles) and will make a version without beetles.


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

sourdough bread

When I come home from visiting family I usually feel strange and disjointed for a few days. In July I spent three weeks in Canada and before I left I made a list of things I was looking forward to doing at home so that when I came back I could blindly follow the things on my list until I felt normal again.
One thing I've been wanting to try for a while is sourdough. I used this recipe for a starter and after a few days I was ready to try my first loaf. The first and second attempt didn't work very well, but the third, fourth and fifth have been amazing.


I love how the parchment paper turned golden to match the bread.


Saturday, 28 June 2014

faux suede

The latest fabric added to the line of fabrics my designs are available on is faux suede. I ordered a swatch and really like the quality of the fabric. Its thick and would be suitable for upholstery or for sewing bags or pillows. The colours printed very well and also very densely, there is no white showing through anywhere. Its quite stiff and apparently gets softer with washing. 
The design I had printed is available for sale here
And in case you're wondering why I folded it so the head isn't showing, I reworked the original design since ordering the fabric, because the head looked very strange!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

garden

My grandma had a huge garden and whenever I visited her I loved to roam through it, randomly picking raspberries and rhubarb stalks, smelling the lilacs and trying the crabapples. These designs feature plants from my grandma's garden and drawing each plant evoked memories and smells and tastes.


I entered one of them in this week's spoonflower contest. Its so much fun when a design starts to come together.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

terrariums

Terrarium is a nice word isn't it.

I had a baby 7 weeks ago, life has changed a lot!

Last week I sat for an hour in a café sketching the little glass jars holding sugar cubes. At home I reworked the sketches...


... and created little terrariums filled with fabric flowers. The finished fabric design:


ps. its a bit sad what saving as a .jpg does to the image quality..

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

work in progress

Inspiration finally struck for the "women's day toile" fabric design contest this week. 


The design brief from the spoonflower website:

"Women's Day Toile: Toile de Jouy is a type of design popularized in the 18th century that typically depicts a complex scene, often pastoral, arranged into a repeating pattern. Classical toiles are usually two colors, with white or off-white as the background color and the pattern printed in black, dark blue, or red. For this contest, we're asking designers to come up with a toile de Jouy that celebrates remarkable female scientists, inventors, and leaders. Previews will be sized as quarter yards (21" x 18"). Deadline for entry is Tuesday, February 25th, 2014."

I've never designed toile de jouy fabric before, but once it started coming together, I really enjoyed the different type of design. You can see the finished fabric here and the other designs in the contest here.