You might think there is nothing worse than being stuck in the middle seat of a packed airplane on a long light, but I look at it as an opportunity to play. Yesterday between Los Angeles and Raleigh I sketched out several Celtic knots, listened to a great audiobook, and worked on a couple of new drawings that could be used for thermofax screen printing.
I am using Adobe Illustrator Draw on my iPad with an Apple Pencil (responsive stylus) but the free app is available on android tablets as well.I have a fascination bordering on obsession with ammonite fossils – so when I discovered a very large rock embedded with a number of exposed polished fossils under my hostesses coffee table I had a bit of a hard time controlling myself. I did wait until people were out of the room before getting down on hands and knees to photograph the beautiful things. Once I was well ensconced in my flying tin can I pulled out my iPad. I started with cropping each image down to include only the part I wanted to work with. Then I opened the App and clicked the big PLUS sign to start a new project.If I know I’m going to be printing the final product I choose a format with as large a resolution as possible.
Next I import the photo into the app by clicking on the little PLUS on the right and choosing to add an Image Layer.
This will open a selection of choices. You can take a photo straight from the App but I never do that. Instead I choose “on my iPad” to find the image I have already cropped. Sometimes I’ll also boost up the contrast or edit the photo in any way that might help me to better work with it before I import it into this App.
When the App opens the photo it will give you the opportunity to size and rotate the image to fit your chosen format. I worked my photo until it filled up as much of my frame as possible.
Next, click the PLUS again and add a DRAW layer this time. I like to rearrange to layers so that the photo is underneath the draw layer. Touch and hold the photo layer until it has an orange outline then drag it down so that the draw layer is now above the photo layer.
Now I click the photo layer and slide the OPACITY control down. I can still see the photo clearly but it is knocked back enough that my drawn lines will be dominant. Now click the Draw layer so that it is outlined and you are ready to go.
Choose the top drawing tool, double click it and hold your finger on the size button. Slide your finger up or down to increase or decrease the size of your line. Test it out with a few strokes and see if it works. That little sideways U shaped icon at the top of the screen is your best friend. If you don’t like any mark you just made click that to UNDO it.
Now, Making sure that the draw layer is highlighted, start tracing your image. You can pinch and pull your workspace larger and move it around to work on smaller details. If you create a closed shape you can touch and hold the center of it to fill the shape.
Double click the image layer every once in a while to hide it so that you can see how your drawing is coming along. Once I’m finished I will make sure the drawing layer is hidden then click the box-with-an-arrow icon to save the image to my photos. Then I can print it off or send it to my desktop via email or device sharing if I want to work more in photoshop with sizing.
And there you go…. gorgeous line art ready to make a thermofax screen. You can follow this tutorial to create imagery for your own CUSTOM THERMOFAX SCREENS. (Please also read the instructions and tutorials for sizing your files properly.)
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