Thursday, 19 October 2017

Using Custom Watercolour Patterns as Backgrounds and Fills in Silhouette Studio

Hello, Janet here with some fun ideas for making gorgeous prints and cards from an original watercolour pattern.  This does include some actual painting, but no advanced skills are required.
I'll show how to bring the painting into the Silhouette Studio software, and how versatile the resulting pattern can be by combining it with files from the Silhouette Design Store.

What You'll Need

A painted/printed/inked background
Digital Camera (Camera, Phone or Tablet)
Silhouette® Studio (Designer Edition and above)

The Background

The technique I'm showing here should work for backgrounds created in all sorts of media such as stamping or printing inks, powdered pigments, or acrylic paints. Here I've used a panel painted with the watercolour paints and a flat watercolour brush. It was created from a series of horizontal brush strokes in two colours. Using one of the colours, paint from the centre upwards, in lines of diminishing length, and increasing dilutions of water.  Blend the second colour a little in the centre and work down the paper, roughly mirroring the shape and paint dilution of the first colour. Perfection is not required, nor necessary.

The only real requirement is that the resulting background painting is flat, so either use a thick watercolour paper, as here, or thinner paper that has dried flat.

Once the painting is dry, take a photograph with a camera, phone, or tablet held parallel to the paper to reduce distortion. Transfer the image to your computer and ensure that is saved in jpeg file format. For ease of transfer, save the image to your desktop.

Take the Image into the Silhouette Design Software

With the Silhouette software open, reduce the size of the program by making the window smaller (click and drag the bottom right corner toward the centre of the screen a little).

Move the window around until the image file icon on the desktop is visible.
Click and drag the image into the Patterns folder in the Local Users section. The image will then appear in the patterns preview window. 

The newly imported image will also appear with the other patterns in the Fill Pattern tab in the Fill panel.

Using your Imported Pattern

Open any file with a cut line on your screen and drag the imported image onto the shape that you want to fill. Here I've used the Spotted Succulent file by Nic Squirrell.

Then you can use the Fill Pattern options and make adjustments. The image can be manipulated in all sorts of interesting ways once it is taken into the software as a fill pattern. It can be mirrored, rotated, scaled, re-centred (panned), and made more transparent. These features are accessed in the Advanced Options in the Fill Pattern panel. Further adjustments, including recolouring the fill, can be made from the Image Effects panel. Play with the options and discover what works well with your pattern.

Alternative Images

The new fill pattern an be used in many images. Here I've shown some other Nic Squirrell designs from the store. In the first image, rather than fill the image, I've filled a circle behind the image.

Agapanthus Flower Border

Spotted Succulent

Using the Filled Images

The filled images can be used for many different projects. I love to print them onto paper to make  prints for framing, and onto printable cotton to adhere to stretched canvas, and of course, they are great for quick and easy notecards. I'll have step-by-step tutorials for these projects in the coming months.

I hope you'll try this out - the possibilities are endless!

Bye for now,

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