Thursday, July 25, 2013

How to Use Your Computer to Design An Art Quilt

A snap of my Word Document
Well to say that Friday's post concerning coming up with 24 different designs for my piece got a bit of reader's response would be an understatement.  It seems everyone has an opinion on how much "Pre-Design" should go into a quilt.  I can answer that - As much as your patience will allow.  Andddd that is one thing I have developed over the years is . . . .patience.

Now that said. . . Do I really want to draw out 12 or 24 designs?  Ahhhh. . . .No!  And why should I when I have my trusty $300 laptop and printer at my disposal!  Lots of times when I'm coming up with designs, I sketch some - I use computer images for others.

I know what you're saying, "Nina, I have no idea how to use one of those fancy pants quilt design programs or the too complicated Photoshop editor"  Yeah - neither do I!!!  What I do know how to use is my WORD program (sorta - LOL!).

So here are the steps:

  1. Pick your image.  Edit (if you like in your fav photo editor - I didn't though)
  2. Open Word.
  3. Drag it onto a new page (or you can use the Insert Image function)
  4. Now you can make the image as big or as small as you want (pulling at the corners or sides)
  5. Copy/Paste copies of the images as you want - changing the scale of the picture
  6. Change the printer properties to "Economical" and Grey scale
  7. Print off several copies of your file
  8. Save if you want to for future designs.
Now with that done you have several copies of your image  - in all different scales.  Turn on your favorite music or Audiobook, grab some paper scissors and a glue stick (they're really cheap this time of year!) and start playing!

This week, I decided to play around with graphs.  Graphs do bring to mind traditional quilts, but they are really excellent way to organize an art quilt too.

First I use an irregular graph - with different scaled girls.  Notice how cut away the background but kept all the girls.  (I only used 3 last week but thought I liked all 5 this)

Next I wanted to play a bit more with a diagonal graph - fracturing it with the 5 girls.

Then I wanted to play with a changing scale graph (for your math people like a logarithmic graph scale)

Finally - I tried a totally irregular graph with angles just basically random and place the girls by eye!

 Okay - so for you that are keeping track - that's 8!  These are getting hung on the side of my design board to "cook" for a bit.. . . 'Cause you know how it is - the one you like today might not be the one that you like next week.  I didn't put in more ribbons since I'm not quite sure I want to go that route  - just sorta playing with composition  right now.

So do you think you could do this?  Easy-Peasy huh?!


Nancy Bowron said...

Thanks for sharing your process so clearly! I have been intimidated by fancy programs and when I do try to work with them my creativity is drained. Or if I am able to use technology, I feel guilty - like I've cheated somehow. And I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who changes her mind about a project depending on the day!

Gari in AL said...

I love that you use Word for projects, I have been doing that since way before I got EQ. Now I use both along with sketching. Of course I still don't do art quilts but I think I am getting closer. Maybe by the time I am 80 I will be ready to be an artist. ;-)

Unknown said...

Thanks for the encouragement. I turn 73 in a few days and I cant wrap my mind around all the technology out there but I muddle along and do figure out a few things eventually. I am now printing my own labels and am beginning to step outside the box in utilizing my creative abilities.

The Inside Stori said...

Great tutorial!!!!

quiltedfabricart said...

Ahhhh, noooo 8-/

But you make it look easy - thank you for showing us your method

Amy @ Amy's FMQ Adventures said...

Oh the analytical mind of a former engineer! I was doing fine with the Word doc and then you started talking graph terms! LOL.

Thanks for sharing your process and I agree, new designs take a while to percolate!

Cathy Perlmutter said...

That is so cool, Nina! So user friendly! Thanks!

Julianne said...

Thank you so much for sharing.