In my last post I presented two websites which are useful for me when doing designs for Zazzle. Today I present you a third one: kuler. This website offers you the possibility to put colours together according to several rules (for example analogous or complementary, to name two out of a whole set of rules). You can set one colour as the basic colour and then click on the rule you want to apply – and you’ve got a set of colours.
As blue is one of my favorite colours (together with purple), I went for this colour and played around on kuler until I felt that I had the right colour combination. I then applied the colour on my photoshop shapes, copying and pasting the hex code.
I could have left it at that, as I usually upload my designs as transparent pngs, so that customers on Zazzle can add their own backgrounds. But you’ve got to present it with a background, and on kuler it is far easier to find a proper colour for the background than it is on Zazzle. So I added a layer just to experiment with the background colour. I took a note of the hex code in order to chose the right one on Zazzle. Before uploading the design to Zazzle I will delete the background layer or hide it.
In one of my next posts you will see what I will have done with the design. Keep posted!
Zazzle offers throwpillows now, and I could not resist doing some of them. It was fun playing around with colours in photoshop.
There are two very helpful websites for anyone who likes to try out combinations of colours.
Registration is free, and you can create palettes and patterns. You also can browse through loads of inspiring palettes, and as each palette gives you the hex code of each colour, you can give your designs exactly the same colour in case you like it or like the combination. I did it exactly the same way with the colours of the three fish in the above example.
On the webpage you find a very useful colour scheme generator. Select the main colour and then it gives you the analogous or complementary colours. You can also increment the lightness or go darker with the colour. Here also the hex code is shown for each colour.
I made the experience that it is better for me to take a pencil (or a ballpoint pen) and arrange various Photoshop shapes on a piece of paper. Of course the hearts don’t look like proper hearts, but I know that I want to insert heart shapes. I also know that I want to insert small long triangles between them, and hearts and triangles should be arranged around a circle.
Once I am satisfied with the way the various shapes are arranged I take my piece of paper and begin to work with photoshop on my computer. Hearts and circles are in the shapes library, but the triangle I had to produce as a shape. Here you can see the result:
I had much fun doing this little critter (are dragons critters? I don’t know, but I think of this little guy as a critter). First I did a rough sketch, then imported the sketch into Inkscape and finished it there.
What I like about the piece is the kind I drew and painted the eyes. The days before I did the Inkscape drawing I looked at other people’s eyes very closely, I also had a close look at the way other people had drawn eyes. I also decided to make the little guy look boss-eyed in order to catch the attention of the beholder.
Yesterday I discovered the website myoats.com. It’s a great website to create ornaments with. It needs a bit of playing around in order to discover the full range of its potential, and this was my third try. You can download your results as a wallpaper, as a design (which produces the ornament with the background colour), and as geometry which enables you to put it on the background of your choice and also to add colours to it using the magic wand.
One more example of how to work with the designs you can see on my website.
I used the design – with the background – for some of my Zazzle products, as you can see on my Zazzle blog.
I read somewhere that you should practice the things you find difficult to do, not those you find easy. Well, up to yesterday I did not know how to do gradients in Inkscape. I knew how to do them in Photoshop, but everytime I tried to do them with the vector program I failed. I looked at several video tutorials on Youtube, but no way!
On the other hand I read a lot of Adobe Illustrator tutorials about using gradients and looking at the amazing results I so wished I were not too daft to learn!
And then yesterday once again I looked at a Youtube tutorial (one, that was new to me) and click! I had that aha experience. i could but try it out, although it got late in the evening. It worked! I did it!
But I knew one thing: Without practice I would lose the new gained knowledge. So I opened my Inkscape today and did these two candles. I know I can only describe them as “work in progress”, but I love the colours and how the gradients go!
And I also learnt something very important: Never ever think you’re too daft to learn something! Often it is the way things are taught which makes difficult to learn something. It just needed that one well designed and organised tutorial to put things into the right place.
There’s a tool in Inkscape called “Spray tool”. With this tool you can “spray” the same object over and over again on the canvas, changing the colour and the size afterwards. After importing it into Photoshop I thought of ways to highlight the star in the middle and discovered seveeral photo effects.
The result reminds me of winter – cool colours, and the stars look a bit like ice crystals. But I am also interested in your opinion / impression / feeling: What comes to your mind when you look at the image? Please tell me!
What you can see here on the photo has not been planned. It is the result of playing around with the calligraphic tool in Inkscape – I just wanted to find out what it does. Well, I learnt that it does amazing things. I had another go at the gradient tool as well. In the end there was something I was not unhappy about, but I am still far from having control of this tool.
Then I worked on the image in photoshop and noticed that I have far too few patterns. The one I used above is the only wooden pattern I’ve got in my photoshop version, and I think it is far too light. Notice to self: 1. Do some research about useful patterns on the web and 2. Learn how to implement them…
This time I created the woman dancer in Inkscape with the pen tool without having done any sketch with pencil and paper. I had a printout from posemaniacs.com as reference just to have an idea about the dancing pose.
After I had the impression that the pose was about right, I imported the image into Photoshop, duplicated the dancer and worked on the background. There is a very nice filter in photoshop with which you can create a spotlight effect, and I placed around with that.
I have been avoiding to create invitations for a long time on Zazzle. There have been two reasons for that:
- I was not sure whether I would find the proper words.
- The design of an invitation is – at least for me – a whole lot more difficult than just putting a vector drawing or painting on a mug, keychain or sticker. You’ve got to create the background, arrange words and images, find the fitting fonts and the appropriate sizes for the wording.