OK I am maybe getting a bit obsessed with the paisley now and should stop and read a book or something. You have to admit it’s pretty though. I like a that it’s so organic, and although there are recurring shapes you see in commercial patterns it’s really creative and not at all restrictive – except you have to be neat or it doesn’t work at all..
There was a book called “The Owl Service” by Alan Garner, which I read when I was young and it haunted me. A girl on her own in the attic of a dark house, compulsively tracing the owl patterns on an old plate, waiting for something terrible to happen..
Lorraine bought me a big book of paisley and I have been inspired!
First I drew a doodle. I had to trace over it with gel pen to make it neat enough. Then I scanned it in and put it through inkscape to vectorise:
I used inkscape to fill in the gaps with colour – this was a bit of an accident, I was trying to get it to pick up the outline, but it wouldn’t. However my accident looks pretty good I think! I can imagine this printed on fabric..
I put up the pencil sketch of this a few months ago – it’s the tattoo design I made for my friend Sarah.
I’ve now had a chance to tidy it up on GIMP and convert it to a vector in Inkscape. I finally figured out how! It takes much longer than drawing the initial image but I guess you could write a script to do it? Is it easier in Photoshop/Illustrator or are all graphic artists just masochists?
Inkscape and GIMP are free to use though, thanks to their energetic developer communities, so I’m not complaining. I enjoy the bracing intellectual challenge of figuring out how to get them to work.
I’ll list it here in case I forget, or it helps anyone else.
Scan sketch into GIMP as .jpeg or .png.
Go to “mode” and select “Greyscale”
Adjust the “brightness/contrast “so that the imperfections in the paper are not so visible and the lines are as dark as possible
Use “threshold” to adjust the image so it becomes just black and white with no grey.
“Select by colour” and click on a bit of black
Open new image, “advanced options”, select “transparent background”
Paste into new image
You should have a block outline of your sketch on an transparency.
“Export to” from GIMP as a .PNG with a transparent background (and uncheck the “background” box). Make sure you change the extension as well as the file type.
Open your .png image into Inkscape. Check the “embed” box.
“Select all layers”
Go to “Path” then “Bitmap trace”
The right hand panel should show a thumbnail of your picture. If not then you’ve done something wrong with the transparency.
click “2” for “Colours” (you’ve only got black and white)
Wait for a while, depending on how complex your image is and how slow your computer is.
Then you have to save it back as a .PNG again (it wants to be an .SVG) before WordPress will upload it.
But anyhow, this is now a resizeable image. So theoretically I could make a giant stencil and spraypaint it on the wall of my house. Yippee!