Happy February! First of all, thank you for everyone who read this little blog in January. It was my most popular month to date and I love the attention :) I started this blog as a way to fill the time in my day as a stay-at-home mom of two little ones. Now, I use it as a way to connect with other people who love art and paper dolls as much as I do, as well as a way to keep myself motivated to learn & create. This is the longest running art project I've ever undertaken -- so thank you for the encouragement and I'll continue to make the best art I can!
And the art today is going to be fun! We're going to use ArtRage and Illustrator to create a pattern like the one I used on the reindeer Santa paper dolls.
Primarily, I use Illustrator to create the paper dolls on this site. It's no secret how much I love that program. Occasionally, I work in Photoshop, another program I love for entirely different reasons. Even more rarely, I work with ArtRage. I had a brief tutorial way back in 2013 about ArtRage. I like the program, especially for special effects that I can't achieve in Photoshop, but I frequently forget I even have that. I should make it a goal to use it more this year. ArtRage is available for virtually every device and the full version is under $50 (there's also a free demo). Well worth it.
(Just so you all know: I have no affiliation with ArtRage and no compensation. I just like it and want to share that information.)
To begin, open ArtRage.
This is the fun part -- take your pen and draw. I'm drawing on my Surface, but you could do this with a mouse, too. It's tougher but can be done.
It's hard to convey in one image and words what happens here. I draw in one segment, and magically, I end up with 8 segments! You can be as complicated as you like with this. It has a wobbly, hand-drawn look because, well, it's a hand-drawn.
Once you create a design that you like, you'll need to save it. ArtRage uses a native file type (.ptg) which is fine in ArtRage, but I need this to be something more flexible. To save your image, go to File > Export Image File. You'll get a pop-up with several options. The default is a PNG file and that's what I'll use here.
Next, open Illustrator and the PNG from ArtRage.
The last part of this is created a seamless pattern. The current version of Illustrator makes this very easy with its pattern generator. I can go over how to do this with older versions if there's a need or interest.
To create a pattern in Illustrator CC, go to Object > Pattern > Make. This will tile your image using default settings. The default in this case is a grid pattern. Use the Tile Type and Offset menus to customize your pattern.
And here's one pattern option. I took the original tile and rotated it so that it was a diamond instead of a square and tiles it using the Tile by Column option. The pattern generator in Illustrator is great and I could just create patterns all day every day.
Auto-trace is handy, too, especially for hand-drawn art. The more clear and clean the original art, the better the auto-trace. That's one reason why I like drawing in Photoshop or ArtRage -- it feels like drawing on paper but the lines are more precise and easier for Illustrator to trace.
Look for another paper doll on Friday. I sort of accidentally started a careers series. If you have a career you'd like to see, just let me know!