Posts Tagged "tutorial"

How I make shrink plastic charms for accessories & other stuff

Even before my BGC Art Mart day, I had a feeling I would get a lot of questions about what the kitty accessories I’m selling are made of and how I make them so I put a tutorial together and had it on display in a frame on my table. (You can see part of it in @firehailtree’s instagram photo.). It turned out to be a good idea because my customers were able to understand how much care was placed into each item.  Some even asked if I sold shrink plastic because they’d like to try it out themselves! 😀

Anyway, I’d also like to share the how-tos with you. 🙂
shrink-plastic-pins-tutorial-1

1. I draw the illustrations individually on sheets of shrink plastic, mindful of the fact that the colors will darken and the drawings will shrink down to about 1/3 of its original size. This particular sheet is glossy so I roughened the surface with sandpaper so that I could draw on it with colored pencils.

2. I cut them to shape with a pair of scissors.

shrink-plastic-pins-tutorial-2

3. I shrink the pieces individually using a heat gun. This is best for complicated shapes that you want to have more control over. Otherwise you can use a toaster oven to bake multiple pieces at a time.

4. Ta-dah! The piece is now smaller, thicker, and harder than it was. After it’s cooled down, I would usually spray it with a fixative to “fix” the colored pencil drawings, after which I would apply a glaze coating.

Here’s one of my cat pins in action:

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

* You may order these from my store. 😀

UPDATE (Oct.27, 2015)

I’ll be having a Shrink Plastic Crafting Workshop at Hey Kessy (Quezon City) on November 21! Please visit this link to sign up and reserve a slot.

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How I make seamless patterns in Photoshop (Tutorial)

making seamless patterns in photoshop

I was in the middle of turning those vintage camera doodles on the left into a seamless digital pattern for my online stores when I thought, hey this is a good time to make another tutorial. I do know how much you (yup, all 3 of you) like reading about my design process. 😉

Step 1: Doodle, scan, clean up in Photoshop (I’m still using a Jurassic CS3 so if you’re using a newer version, you can disregard this entire blog post huhuhu). Some points to remember:

  • save your doodles in grayscale, TIFF format
  • clean it up, erase all pencil marks, close all broken lines
  • once clean, make another layer for your doodles and change the mode from grayscale to bitmap then change it back to grayscale (this will allow you to easily select and remove the white background)

Step 2: Create a new file for your pattern. I usually start with a 1500px x 1500px file. Paste your cleaned-up doodles into that file and arrange them however you like on the page.

Step 3: Add color to your drawings.

making seamless patterns in photoshop

  • make separate layers for the background, outline, and fill color(s) so you can easily make variant colorways in the future
  • once you’re happy with the colors, duplicate all the layers and place one “untouched” set in a folder and turn off the “eye” symbol to make it invisible for now
  • important: leave the background as a separate layer

Step 4: Merge the outline and fill layers of your drawing.

how to make a seamless pattern in photoshop

  • an additional precautionary step I take is to select the entire file and then go to Image > Crop in the dropdown. This way, tiny pixels that could mess up the next step will be eliminated.

Step 5: Select the merged layer and choose Filter > Other > Offset1. Type in a number that’s half of your document size in the pop-up. Since my file is 1500px x 1500px, I typed in 750 for both horizontal and vertical instances. Your drawings will scatter to the edges.

how to make a seamless pattern in photoshop

  • remember to tick “wraparound” in the popup box
  • check to see if the images in the corners will connect with one another without gaps. This is why the “Crop” command I added in Step 4 is important. Sometimes tiny, hardly visible pixels will throw the alignment off.

Step 6: Remember I told you to make a duplicate layer for the drawings? Turn on the “eye” symbol and make it visible. Take the duplicate versions of the drawings and arrange them randomly to fill up the blank spaces. This is now your “Master” file. Save it as a .PSD so you can do edits later.

how to make a seamless pattern

  • I like to flip and scale the duplicate drawings to give the pattern a (in breathy voice) casually-thrown-together look. 😉
  • see how I’ve left the background color as a separate layer? This way I can easily change it to make a variant of the pattern.

Step 7: Time to test your pattern. Select the entire page and go to Edit > Define Pattern. Type a name for your pattern in the pop-up.

Step 8: Make a new document in US Letter or A4 size (it really doesn’t matter). Create a layer, select it and go to Layer > Layer Style > Pattern Overlay. Select the pattern you just made in the Pattern palette that pops up.

making seamless patterns in photoshop

Step 9: Inspect your pattern and watch out for elements that don’t align or are too close to one another. Edit your master file accordingly and repeat steps 6-8.

making a seamless pattern in photoshop

Step 10: Once you’re happy with the pattern, save your square master file as a JPEG. You can now use that to make fabric patterns in Spoonflower or Zazzle and make some extra pocket money.

how to make a seamless pattern in photoshop

I’ve yet to upload it to my stores (since I was *ahem* busy making this tutorial) but I do hope you’ll find this post useful. 🙂

UPDATE: Now available on fabric, wrapping paper, ribbons, and other fun items on Zazzle.

  1. if you’re using a different version of Photoshop, it might be located under a different dropdown[ back]
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How I make digital graphics and choose color schemes

I first published this tutorial of sorts in my blog for Poptastic Tees1 but I accidentally deleted that entire site a couple of years ago. Too depressed to attempt reconstructing 5 years worth of blog posts, I dismissed it as fate and let it be.  Last night I found a set of graphics illustrating my work process step-by-step and thought of rewriting just that one post since it might be helpful and worth sharing.

So this is one of my patterns — “Retro Robots” — as seen on a Macbook sleeve c/o Zazzle.

 

I will now describe how I make almost all of my digital graphics. Sorry about the ugly watermarks.

1. This step you already know: make doodles! Here are my robots.
retro robots by cynthia bauzon arre

2. Next step: scanning and making vector versions using Adobe Illustrator.
vectorize

The bottom row shows my robots in their “cleaned up” vector state but still raw and outlined. You’ll see that they’re simply made up of basic shapes like circles and squares with rounded corners that I just tweaked, duplicated, and assembled together to make robot-like forms based on my doodles. On hindsight, I should have just vectorized the drawings instead of constructing clean versions since the actual doodles look sillier and funnier!

3. Here’s where the fun starts — adding color to the finished graphics. I like to use a palette of 4 or 5 colors only to give the design a cohesive and somewhat retro look. For color scheme formulating help, you can turn to a tool like Adobe Color CC‘s color wheel where you can make combos to your hearts’ content. (This blog post has a list of free tools for choosing a color scheme.)

choosing a color scheme

This nautical inspired colorway was my initial try. #meh

robots by cynthia bauzon arre

My second attempt was more successful, imho. I liked how the subdued colors made the robots look vintagey.

4. Time to play!

retro robots cynthia bauzon arre

Now my vector robots can be imported into Photoshop and arranged in several ways to make images for kiddie t-shirts or patterns for surface designing. 🙂

* See these robots in action in my shop Funky Patterns and on fabric / wallpaper in Spoonflower.

  1.  the old t-shirt store a.k.a. our first foray into online selling [ back]
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How to Carve Rubber Stamps With Just an X-Acto Knife (A Tutorial)

When I posted some of my eraser stamps on Instagram, some crafty friends were surprised to learn that the X-Acto Knife is all I’ve been using for carving1. It seems that most rubber stamp crafters — and I’ve noticed this on a lot of web tutorials I’ve read and watched  — prefer to use lino cutters, more specifically, the Speedball Linoleum Cutter set which I want myself. That set contains a thin, V-shaped blade that looks especially useful for gouging out narrow “canals” between outlines — a pain to attempt with the straight-edged X-acto blade.

X-Acto Knife vs. a V-Gouge

See what I mean? (via Lime Green News)

As mentioned previously, I’ve already ordered the set but while waiting I had to train myself to carve using the humble, easily available, and familiar2 pointy blade. Drama aside, if you want to start carving and like me, a craft knife is all you have, I will now share the process with you. I’ll even start from the very beginning — a very good place to start. *cue Julie Andrews*

** I’m by no means an expert at this. I just want to share what works for me so far. 🙂

Materials:
– a 2B lead pencil
– tracing paper
– a rubber eraser
– an X-Acto knife
– an ink pad
– blu tack (optional)

rubber stamp carving tutorial

1. Plan out the image you want to carve. Shade-in the areas to keep solid to guide you when you carve later. These doodles are “parols” or Filipino Christmas lanterns and I plan to use these on homemade gift tags.
2. Trace your “master” illustration onto tracing paper with a 2B lead pencil.

how to carve eraser stamps with an x-acto knife

3. Place the tracing paper on top of your eraser or carving block, penciled side down. Rub on it with something firm like a pen’s bottom or a bone folder to transfer a mirror image of your sketch.

how to carve a rubber eraser stamp

4. Totally optional but if I’m not using a two-tone carving block, I like tinting my surface lightly with some color. This is so I can easily see which areas have already been carved. Just dab a piece of tissue paper into your ink pad then pat it onto your eraser / carving block, just gently enough to tint it with color.

carve a rubber stamp with a craft knife

5. Start outlining your image with the X-Acto blade at a 30-45 degree angle << — very important. Remember to slice lightly because if you insert the knife too deep, it will be difficult to maneuver the blade which will result in tugging and therefore risking (a) ruining your stamp, and (b) piercing the finger you’re holding the stamp with. (Unfortunately for me I encountered all of the above on a couple of my initial carving attempts).

how to carve a rubber stamp with an X-acto knife

6. After you’ve outlined an area, lift the blade and turn the eraser around. Again with the blade inserted on a 30-45 degree angle, carve a curved line a short distance away from the outline you made towards the opposite direction from where you made the cut earlier. Try to “meet” the already-sliced areas with your blade’s tip, you’ll see that areas will begin peeling off. This is my favorite part. 🙂 (Gosh I hope that made sense. Please see photo above for reference.)

how to carve an eraser stamp tutorial

7. Soon your stamp will look like this. See how all my cuts are angled?

how to carve an eraser with an x-acto knife

8. Completely optional again but if you have some Blu Tack (mine’s about 15-years old and it still works and lol it’s not blue) lying around, you can use that to remove pencil marks as well as stubborn little bits of eraser stuck inside crevices.

how to carve a rubber stamp x-acto knife

9. Trim your stamp using a box cutter. Trimming it to size will help in stamp positioning later on.

rubber stamp carving x-acto knife

10. Make a test print. This will allow you to see which areas still need fixing. It doesn’t really need to be perfect though — part of a rubber stamp’s charm is its rough handmade quality. (Such a good excuse, ‘no? 🙂 )

A photo posted by Cynthia Bauzon-Arre (@arncyn) on

11. And here are the finished stamps. 🙂

If my instructions — especially in #6 — weren’t clear to you, watch this demo by the amazing Tsukui Tomoko. She uses both a box cutter (!) and a V-gouge in the video but the box cutter method at the beginning of the video is what I’ve been doing with the X-Acto knife.

Did this help you somehow? If you have other carving tips or techniques, I’d love to hear all about them!

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  1. Our discussiions are here and here [ back]
  2. oh X-Acto, how many frisket films did I cut with you back in college? [ back]
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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino illustrator, graphic designer, and craft hobbyist. I live in QC with my talented graphic novelist hubby Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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