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A Forest in the Making

I made another tree with a more oak-tree shape than my first. The ferns are present, plus a few of the little ferns that grow on the trunks of trees in the rainforest.  This oak had a large horizontal branch that needed some owls.


The first owls were based off a movie – but I wanted to draw my own version this time.   As it turned out the cartoon owls looked the way they did for a good reason: this is just what owls look like.  My own owls are very similar. If I change anything it will to make the eye edges more distinct from the white face and perhaps to make the feet more fuzzy.


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New soap labels

I’ve been making soap for about 10 years now, and selling in a local shop for close to one year.   I’ve decided to step it up a little and next month I’d like to open an Etsy shop.   Clearly this calls for new labels.

I’ve created 4 so far, two using the ginkgo pattern.

 My original labels were all vertical like this.  And my first ginkgo label was too.  But I’ve since decided to go horizontal.  The handmade soap tops can be uneven and by going horizontal I can still get a fairly crisp wrap around the soap edges.

Much better!   And I don’t have to look at my ingredients upside down.  But I’m still playing with Inkscape, what else can I do?

I can make star mandalas.  I will talk more about these later because they were just fun to make and I want to make some in glorious rainbow colors just because I can.

And I’m going to make a Dragon’s Blood soap; this requires a special label. (No dragons will be harmed).

This one was fun.  I took the dragons and text from the 19th C Japanese print by Utagawa Kunisada II.

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Inkscape Art: First Attempts

I’ve been using GIMP for some time now, mostly for work purposes, but I stumbled upon Inkscape. I thought it might be better suited for the kinds of illustration work I like to do and so I decided to give it a try.  These are my first attempts.

First, I found a free-use photo of a gingko leaf and turned it into a bitmap line drawing.

OK.  So that was fun and not too hard.  What can I do with it?  I played around with duplicating the image, changing the colors and made a few nice layouts.

Then I discovered the “tiling” tool.  It helps create infinitely repeating patterns.  There was a bit of a learning curve and many videos to watch before I figured it out.

This is slightly more than one tile, but the beauty here is that I can clip out exactly one tile and ‘clone’ it over and over and create an infinitely large background of ginkgo leaves at any scale (Inkscape creates vector art).

After using GIMP for so long, the ability to resize anything on a whim makes me almost giddy.

How far can I push it?  The tiling ginkgo leaves are cool but not the hardest things to tile because they don’t have to match up precisely and there is empty space between them.  Can I make a solid pattern?

It was definitely much harder, but I finally got this using the ‘spiral’ tool:

Again, I pulled slightly more than one tile, but yes!  It works.  This pattern can be repeated indefinitely in all directions.

So there it is.  I started the challenge late and I’ve only got 4 pieces posted out of 21 days, but I will catch up!