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Happy Summer!

In one of my last posts I presented a happy flower which I did in Inkscape. Now it has become a design for my Zazzle shop. Maybe you are looking for a wrapping paper which has a happy look and feel – here is one!

Happy Snowman

Happy Snowman candy tin

Happy Snowman wrapping paper

Happy Snowman magnet

Happy Snowman Magnet
Happy Snowman Magnet by ullahennig
Create a magnet with zazzle

Inkscape and photoshop doodle

Playing with Inkscape again

I didn’t plan that. Suddenly I felt like doing graphics with Inkscape again – the open source software which is an alternative for everyone who doesn’t want to pay the money which you have to pay when you want to buy Adobe Illustrator. I think the starting point was that I read in one of the blogs I am following that there will be a new version of Inkscape coming soon. This reminded me that I’ve got an older version which I haven’t worked with for months.

The first thing was that I wanted to find out whether I did still know how to work with Inkscape. It took some time, but then my knowledge which had been buried somewhere in my mind came back, and I began to play. It was fun but also time consuming, so I asked myself why not create something which could be used as a pattern on some Zazzle products?

The result of the whole process which also included working with different layers in photoshop, you can see above. Nothing revolutionary or breath-taking, I know. But it pleases my eye…

Blue Elephants

Blue elephants. Digitally created with Photoshop shapes. U. Hennig, February 2012

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!

Playing around with Colours

Zazzle offers throwpillows now, and I could not resist doing some of them. It was fun playing around with colours in photoshop.

Shoal of fish in blue MoJo Pillow throwpillow
Shoal of fish in blue MoJo Pillow by ullahennig
Browse Zazzle for a different pillow.

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.
  2. ElvanOnline
    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.

From Scribble to Design


Very rough scribble

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:

The design in Photoshop

Cute little dragon with Christmas Hat

Cute little Christmas Dragon. Sketch and Inkscape painting: Ulla Hennig

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.

Going ornamental

ornamental purple

Purple ornaments. Created by Ulla Hennig, October 2011

Yesterday I discovered the website 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.

Practice, practice, practice!

Candles 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.

Purple Stars

Purple Stars

Purple Stars. Inkscape and Photoshop, Ulla Hennig September 2011

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!