Friday, 6 January 2017

From photo to line drawing

How I wish I could draw!
Drawing from life, even still life, seems an impossibility to me and even copying a photo proves difficult. Nothing ends up in the correct proportions and my efforts are always a disappoint to me.
But I have ways and means to get around this lack of talent and would like to share one way with you. I'm sure it's not the only way, and probably not the best way - but it works for me.

I have been wanting to do line drawings of some local buildings, to turn into small A5 size fabric pictures (approximately 6" x 8"). I have been out and about with my camera at the ready, and also scoured the internet for suitable pictures.

I use photo editing to rotate the picture a little if necessary and to crop in the proportions that I want - in this case 3:4. Personally I use the free to download "Photoscape" photo editing.

Then I open a word document and insert the cropped picture into it. I can change the page dimensions, margins and orientation; and format the size of the picture to be just right - in this case 15cm x 20cm. I use Microsoft Word, but for many years I used "Open Office" which is free to download and very good, too. I could also have done this online with Google Docs.

Printing next and luckily my printer will print a draft copy which is a faint image of the picture and uses very little ink. Otherwise I would alter the transparency of the picture before printing to achieve the same effect. Printing can be done in colour, but my printer is old and iffy so I resorted to black and white for some prints.

I really like this next bit as I sit in front of the computer with the cropped photo on the screen, and draw on top of the draft print, selecting the lines of the picture that I want for my fabric hanging. I use a black pen. I alter things as I go because buildings and windows might need straightening, or other bits moving about. I add quite a lot of detail as this can always be ignored later. You can see the faint print of my draft beneath the black lines.

I usually make a tracing onto blank paper now. If I can't see my lines through the paper I use a light box or tape the print to a window with the blank sheet of paper on top, using mother nature's light.

Here are a couple of other examples:

Now I'm ready to play with fabric and, for the not-quite-finished example below, I used the same method as when making Flowerpatch's Little Harbours

I decided to try the Eagle House Hotel first because it looked so difficult, but it proved to be easier than expected. Nevertheless I always wish I had the time to do everything twice as I'm sure a second effort would turn out better! :)

Well, I hope I haven't made this sound too complicated - after the first time it's fairly quick, easy and satisfying.

Never a dull moment - Anita x

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