* Carmen Beecher * Cindy Michaud * Carol Schiff * Denette Schweikert * Donna Vines * Mary Warnick * Kathy Garvey *Fay Picardi * Jean Thomas

Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Little Bird Wings its way to Pillows

How postage stamp size ideas grow into something more with Photoshop and Spoonflower!

by Kathy Garvey
I sketched a lot of little birds on my recent trips to the Washington, D.C. area. On a snowy March 25th when it was too cold to be outside, I was especially taken with the little birds who would perch vertically in this funny little stance (the first little bird on the left page) and keep an eye out for their turn at the feeders. Sometimes they'd wait long periods like that for the squirrel to finish up. I played with this cute position in the doodles on the right page.

On March 26th and continuing over the next few days, I drew a little bird on 9x12 cold press watercolor paper with a black 005 micron pen based on the tiny rough in the upper right corner of my sketchbook.

Not sure which way to watercolor him, I scanned him into my computer when I got back home. On the 9th of April, I took the scanned image into Photoshop CS6 and played with it there for a few days. Below are some of the Photoshop color experiments.

This helped me decide I preferred the blues and greens over the reds and so on April 14th while at the Guild with my fellow Pieces of 8, I painted him in with watercolor.

The next day I thought the same little bird might work well printed to fabric. By moving my favorite of the Photoshoped birds (the green one) into an 18 x 18 inch file at 150 ppi (down from 300) and experimenting more with what the surrounding fabric might look like, I was able to design a pillow top.

Once I had the layout, I couldn't decide on colors - yes, too many options always gets me. Besides, one never knows how colors will print to paper, and fabric can be even more mysterious. But that's the joy of digital! Six different versions of the little bird later, each one was placed into a much larger Photoshop file of 54 inches wide by 36 inches tall (the size of Spoonflower's yard of Linen/Cotton Canvas). After saving it to jpeg and making sure it didn't exceed the 40 mb file size limit (it was only 23 mb) I was able to upload it to Spoonflower. 
Can't wait to see if my colors look good on fabric! I'm hoping that inspiring little vertical bird will have winged its way to at least six pillows in time for our next Annual Pieces of 8 Christmas Sale!

And, if the color is right, then even larger pillows may be in order based on more play with that same little tiny bird in Photoshop.

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