I was Published in Somerset Digital Studio

 
Somerset Digital Studio Spring 2014 issue
Somerset Digital Studio Spring 2014 issue

I was very excited and honored to see my tutorial, "Using an IPad for Help with Painting Design Decisions", published in the Spring 2014 issue of Somerset Digital Studio.   In the article I talk about how I use the iPad for help with deciding the direction to take with paintings when I am feeling unsure about adding, changing, or deleting something.

Somerset Digital Studio article
Somerset Digital Studio article

The article is based on my blog post, "Tutorial - IPad And ArtRage for Help with Painting Design Decisions" which expands on the article.

Thank you Jana Holstein for publishing my tutorial in this beautiful issue.

Tutorial - Getting Started with Procreate iPad Painting App

 

Procreate is my favorite digital painting app. The basic tools are easy to use, but if you want to delve into sophisticated, complex digital work, you can with Procreate. A 189 page handbook comes with the app and goes step by step through Procreate's various tools and techniques, including brushes, layers, iPad gestures for Procreate, transform (enlarge, reduce, or distort a layer), and selections (select area, then copy and paste).

When you open the Procreate app it brings you to the Gallery. Click on the plus on the top right corner. Pick the size canvas you want and the canvas view will open.

Gallery view
Gallery view

Below is the Procreate canvas with icons around the top and right sides. Clicking on Gallery takes you and your current painting to the gallery. Paintings are saved there with their layers intact. The second icon from the left, the little wrench is the Actions menu. Here you can import photos, export the painting, flip or copy the canvas, and get help with the app. You can also save directly to the photos app, upload to Facebook or Twitter, or even email a painting.

The next two icons, Select (lightning icon)and Transform (up angled arrow) are not needed for basic work, but are covered in the handbook if you want to explore using them.

Procreate canvas
Procreate canvas

Moving along the top of the canvas to the right, the next icon is Brushes. Clicking on it brings up a drop-down menu from which you can select the brush you wish to use. There is a large selection of brushes. Clicking on one selects it and a double click on a brush turns the menu over to an options menu for that specific brush. This gives you a lot of variety for each brush.

brushes menu
brushes menu

Next to the Brushes icon is the Smudge icon.  Clicking on Smudge, then rubbing on a painted part of the screen will smudge the colors.  The icon to its right is the Eraser icon.  It uses the same  brushes as the Brush icon and can vary size and opacity using the sliders on the side of the canvas.

Eraser icon drop down menu
Eraser icon drop down menu

After you select a brush, you can vary its size and opacity using the two sliders on the right of the canvas. The top one changes the size, increasing it as you slide up. The bottom one changes the opacity, increasing it as you slide up. Below the Opacity Slider is the undo arrow with 250 undos.

Size and Opacity Sliders
Size and Opacity Sliders

Clicking the colored square icon in the top right corner of the screen opens up the Color popover. There are hue, saturation and brightness sliders that can be adjusted to pick precise colors.

Color Palette
Color Palette

Now you have picked your brush type, size, and opacity and your color. You are ready to start painting. You can use your finger to paint with, or a stylus like the Wacom Bamboo stylus shown below. I like using a stylus, as it feels more precise than my finger and also lifts my hand up off the screen some so I can see the area I'm working on better.

Wacom Bamboo stylus
Wacom Bamboo stylus

The icon to the left of the color swatch is the Layers icon. Clicking on it brings up a drop-down menu showing all the layers. Your first strokes will automatically go on the first layer.

Layers drop`down menuResize by dragging with the right mouse button.
Layers drop`down menuResize by dragging with the right mouse button.

First strokes appear on Layer 1.

first stroke on Layer 1
first stroke on Layer 1

Here you can see the different effects you can get from using various brushes.

To add a new layer, click on the + icon in the Layers drop-down menu. The added layer has a black background meaning it is the active layer. Paint strokes will appear on the active layer. You can change the active layer by clicking on the layer you wish to be active.

Adding Layer 2
Adding Layer 2

Here I painted with different brushes on the second layer.  They appear above Layer 1 both in the Layers drop-down menu and on the canvas.

Layer two is on top.
Layer two is on top.

Here layer two has been moved down below layer one. It shows as under everything on layer one and now becomes the background. You can move layers by holding on the layer you want to move until it appears to lift up. Then drag it to the layer position you want.

Layer 2 moved to bottom
Layer 2 moved to bottom

Now strokes on Layer 2 are below layer 1 strokes.

Layer 2 on bottom
Layer 2 on bottom

Layers are very helpful in working in Procreate. I tend to use a lot of layers and like to keep backgrounds on separate layers and objects that are touching or on top of one another on separate layers.

If I am doing a face, I would keep the outline, the fill color, the face details - eyes, nose, mouth, and hair all on separate layers for working. Then if I want to change the hair, for instance, it is easy to do without messing up the face outline or fill.

When the layers are at a point where you are satisfied with them, then you can merge layers by pinching the layers together in the Layers drop-down menu or by clicking on the layer you wish to merge and click merge up or merge down on the Layers Options pop-up menu that appears. (Sometimes you have to click more than once for the pop-up menu to appear.)

wpid-Photo-Nov-16-2013-926-AM.jpg

A Few Tips for Working: Painting on such a small surface as an iPad makes painting details hard to do precisely. To magnify and get a close-up view, pinching out with two fingers works in the app as it does in Safari and many other iPad apps. I use this option for anything that needs precision.

wpid-Photo-Nov-16-2013-957-AM1.jpg

Also a quick pinch together and then lift of two fingers sizes the painting to fit the shown canvas.

Have fun trying out Procreate. If you would like to show what you have created with it, you can leave a comment with a link to your painting.

Tutorial - IPad And ArtRage for Help with Painting Design Decisions

painting in progress before putting into ArtRage app I like using the iPad for decision making when I get stuck on where to go next in the painting process in acrylic painting.  This technique can be used for any art medium. I  I use either the ArtRage or Procreate apps.   In this tutorial, I am using ArtRage.

To get the painting into the iPad, I take a photo with my iPhone or iPad of the painting trying to get close enough so the painting covers as much of the painting as possible.

I open a new painting in the ArtRage iPad  app.  Below is a screenshot of the ArtRage interface with a new blank painting.  As you are working, the row of tools and the color picker will disappear when you click on the active tool and color giving you more canvas to view and work with.

ArtRage canvas with blank document

Then I import the photo of the painting into ArtRage.  Click on the second to right bottom icon to import the photo.  It comes into the program as a tracing image at 40% opacity.   To see the painting at full opacity, click on "Convert to Paint" under tracing options.  Tracing options is the third icon from top in the same bottom icon.  It looks like three horizontal lines one below the other.

painting brought into ArtRage -click on "Convert to Paint"

Then click on the eye icon , and the painting will show at full opacity.

click on eye icon

I add a new layer above the painting so I am not working directly on the painting. The fourth icon fron the right on the bottom of the ArtRage interface is the layers icon.  I paint on new layers, keeping objects and new painted effects on separate layers.  This way I can turn on or off the visibility for each layer to see what I like or don't like.

Adding new layer to paint on

I generally use the watercolor or oil brushes, but may also use crayons and color pencils.  Each brush has several settings for different paint looks.  You can change size and properties of each brush by clicking the two left bottom icons.  Both control different brush properties.

For this painting, I was unsure if I wanted to add a planter and flowers.  I added a planter on the floor.  Then I added flowers and a plant -- all on separate layers.  I turned on and off the visibility on the various layers and saved versions or took screen shots of the various versions.  Although the added objects will not look the same when added to the painting, they are similar enough to help me decide if I think they will be good additions.

trying out pot and flowers - each object is on separate layer

Here is the finished painting.  You can see that I did add the planter, but not the flowers and plant.  I also experimented with adding layers of color to certain areas and did so on the painting itself.

finished painting

 

Tutorial - Sophie's Easy European 4 in 1 Chain Mail Bracelet

Please enjoy this guest blogger tutorial by my daughter, Sophie. :-)

Sophie's Easy European 4 in 1 Chain Mail Bracelet Tutorial

chainmail19-blog

I first learned chain mail a few years ago in a class at SPLASH, a yearly event held at M.I.T which lasts three days.  At SPLASH, M.I.T (Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts) students offer hundreds of different classes which they teach to high school students.  The class subjects range from integral calculus to chocolate sculpture to cheese tasting.  This bracelet uses the most basic chain mail pattern: the European 4 in 1.

Supplies:

chainmail-supplies-blog

1.  rings - I used approximately 85 rings (which makes 17 chainlets) size 14 guage, 5/16" inner diameter, in anodized aluminum.   If you use smaller rings, you will need more of them to cover the same distance.  I bought mine from The Ring Lord.  They have a nice variety of metals including steel, aluminum, sterling,  gold, brass,bronze, copper, 12 colors of anodized aluminum and also carry rubber rings.    The site tells the approximate number of rings in a square foot and the approximate number of rings in a pound for the each of the different sizes.  There are other online chainmail supply sources, and jewelry supply and beading suppliers may also carry them.

2. 2 flat-nosed pliers - available at jewelry or beading suppliers.

3. One jewelry clasp set - available at jewelry or beading suppliers.

General techniques:

To open ring:    Use the two pliers to grip near the ends of the ring.  Turn the pliers in opposite directions, twisting one plier towards you and one away from you, to further separate the ends.  DO NOT PULL the ends away from each other; just twist.

chainmail1-blog

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To close ring:    Just turn the pliers in the opposite directions until the ends of the ring are flush.

chainmail3-blog

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Directions:

1. Open one ring and close four.  These five rings will make a chainlet, the "building block" of the bracelet.

4 closed rings and 1 open ring for making chainlet

2. Thread the four closed rings onto the open ring, then close the openring.

chainmail5-blog

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3. Repeat steps 1-2 over and over until you have the amount of chainlets you  need for your bracelet.

4. Take one chainlet and lay it out flat exactly as shown.  Now we can refer to the center ring, the two top rings, and the two bottom rings.

chainmail7-blog

5. Lay a second chainlet directly under the first.  It must be in the EXACT same orientaton; the center ring crosses under the bottom two rings and over the top two.

chainmail8-blog

6. Open a single ring.  Thread this ring under the bottom two rings of the top chainlet and over the top two rings of the bottom chainlet.  Close the open ring, making sure not to lose any of the rings you just threaded on.  Now there should be three center rings, all threaded the same direction.

chainmail9-blog

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7. Keep adding chainlets to one end of your link by repeating steps 5-6, making a longer and longer chain.  Stop when your bracelet is large enough.

chainmail13-blog

chainmail14-blog

8. Open a ring and thread it through the final center ring on one end of the bracelet.  (See photo in Step 9.)

9. Now thread one part of the clasp through the open ring: if the clasp opening is too small, attach the clasp to a split ring, then thread the split ring through the open ring.  Close the ring.

chainmail15-blog

10. Open another ring and thread it through the last center ring on the other end of the bracelet.  Thread the ring through the other part of the clasp, then close.

chainmail16-blog

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Your bracelet is now complete and ready to wear!

How to Make a Charm Necklace - Easy Charm Necklace Tutorial

Charm Necklace Tutorial

Finished Charm Necklace
Finished Charm Necklace

Charm necklaces are easy to make and fun to wear. Once you have all your charms and the chain necklace gathered together, a simple charm necklace such as this can be made in a few hours or less including design, layout, and attaching charms.

So first you should gather your supplies together.

Materials and Tools:

Supplies for charm necklace
Supplies for charm necklace
  1. Charms - I love vintage sterling charms, but you can also use new charms, or make your own charms. Once you have your chain necklace, you can lay the charms around it and decide how many you want. You can always make the necklace with just a few charms, and add more as you collect them.
  2. Chain necklace - I am using a vintage sterling chain here, but you can use other metals and even make your own necklace with a length of chain and a clasp set. You can find chains at jewelry supply stores. Metalliferous has a large selection of chains and findings in both silver, copper, and brass. (They also have jeweler's tools including the pliers needed for this project.)  The individual links of the chain must be large enough to put a jump ring through though, as all the charms will slide to the center front if the chain is just slid through the jump rings.
  3. Split ring jump rings - I am using 5mm. sterling split ring jump rings for the sample. These are available at jewelry and beading supplies stores.   Split ring jump rings are much more secure than unsoldered regular jump rings.  Here is one source for split ring jump rings - Metalliferous sterling split rings
  4. Split ring pliers- These are the ones with the black handle in the photo. They have one flat pointed jaw and one hooked jaw end. The hooked jaw end slips between the two wires of the split ring jump ring to separate them.  These are available at jewelry and beading supplies stores.
  5. Chain nose pliers - These are the ones with the yellow handles. They have pointed jaws that are flat on the inside (where they meet when closed).  Make sure the pliers jaws are smooth, not serrated on the inside.  If they are not smooth, they will mark the jump rings.  These are available at jewelry and beading supplies stores.
  6. Wire cutters- These are the ones with the pink handles. You only need these if you have any old soldered jump rings that may still be on the charms and should be removed before adding the new split ring jump ring.  These are available at jewelry and beading supplies stores.
  7. Ruler - for measuring distances between charms.
  8. Thread - optional for marking links (especially center front) where you will add charms.  Pins are another way to temporarily mark links, but will tend to fall out of link easily.

Directions:

1. Try on the necklace chain and decide where you want the last charm on each side to be. The charms will lie nicer and be more comfortable if they are an inch or more down from your shoulders. You can hold the spot with two fingers as you take off the necklace, or turn the necklace and measure from the clasp to the point on the chain where you want the last charm.

example of last charm on one side marked
example of last charm on one side marked

2. With the last charm point measured, fold the chain in half and also mark the center front. You can mark the last charm point and center fronts by putting a pin or loosely tying a piece of thread through the appropriate links.

Center front of chain necklace marked with thread
Center front of chain necklace marked with thread

3. lay the chain necklace down on a table in an oval shape. I like to put down a large light blue sheet of paper under the necklace so the charms and necklace show up well against the background and are easier to see. Place the charms around the necklace as desired. I start with the middle chain in the center front.

If you want your charms to be evenly spaced, you can measure the spaces between the charms, or count the links. You can play with the layout until you find a design you are happy with. I try to have the charms balanced as far as size and shape on both sides. If a charm is larger than some of the others, you may want to leave more space between it and the one next to it closer to the center front, so the spacing appears more even. It is easiest to design a charm necklace with an uneven number of charms. Then you can have one at the center front, and the same number of charms on each side of the center front.

designing necklace - placing charms
designing necklace - placing charms

Charms from upper left to upper right:

  • six pack of enameled Coke bottles
  • rocking horse with enameled details
  • enameled eggs and bacon in pan
  • enameled ice cream sundae with enameled cherry
  • enameled birthday cake with pop-up candles
  • enameled ball of yarn with needles
  • toaster with enameled pop-up toasts
  • sled with enameled riders
  • Pet Milk can with paper label

4. Using the split ring pliers, hold the split ring jump ring in your non-dominant hand. With the pliers in your dominant hand, push the hook through the space between the doubled wire of the jump ring close to but not at the end of the wire. Push hard enough to separate the wires. The two jaws of the pliers will be touching.

split ring pliers opening split ring jump ring
split ring pliers opening split ring jump ring

5. Push the wire end through the charm hole of your first hole.

Attching jump ring to charm
Attching jump ring to charm

6. Remove the split ring pliers. With the chain nose pliers (or I even just use my fingers sometimes) turn the jump ring until both wires of the split ring are going through the charm hole.

Turning jump ring with chain nose pliers
Turning jump ring with chain nose pliers

7. Now take the charm with the added split ring and open the split ring again with the split ring pliers.

Charm with Link Attached and opened with split ring pliers
Charm with Link Attached and opened with split ring pliers

8. This time, put the wire through the center front link. Turn with chain nose pliers (or fingers) until both wires are going through the link.

Attaching charm to chain necklace link
Attaching charm to chain necklace link

9. Your first charm is now attached.

charm attached to necklace chain
charm attached to necklace chain

Charm partially attached to necklace chain - split ring not completely through here.

charm fully attached to necklace chain
charm fully attached to necklace chain

Charm fully attached to necklace chain - split ring completely through here.

10. Repeat steps 4 - 8 for each charm. I like to do the charm next to the center front on each side, then the next charm up on both sides, so I am working up the sides from the center front going from left side to right side and back to left side again and am continuing to see a symmetrical necklace as I work.

Your charm necklace is now finished!  Put it on and go enjoy the day. :)