Here’s 15!


All of the patterns on this page are new, doodled up as I was transcribing the older ones from previous booklets and previous projects. I’m a sucker for interlaces. Try #87 with other small spot motifs (or nothing) in the centers of the intertwined wreathes. #88 is fun. It’s all 90-degree and 45-degree angles, but it gives the impression of close packed globes. #89 is not quite as mind bending as some of the other eccentric repeats. Younger Daughter sees two different design shiruken in it, but I think she’s been reading too many manga.

GIMP Charting Tutorial 102 – Getting Started

To start, obviously you’re going to need to download the software. As I mentioned before, it’s free, and its available here. You’re on your own installing it on your particular machine. I don’t have access to a Mac or Linux machine here at home, but I’m assuming that look/feel are very similar across all platforms. Also, I’ll be covering this pretty slowly, aiming at folk who are totally unfamiliar with this style of program. I know lots of you are further along the learning curve, and will be tempted to skip ahead. “Go right ahead! Get messy! Make mistakes!” That’s the fun of learning.

Upon opening the software you’ll see something like this (the red/orange is my desktop background, not part of the program):

12-7-2010 8-54-30 PM.jpg

The small, empty window is the program’s main work area. The long narrow window contains the toolbox of available commands. It may be smaller than this to start – I happen to have the detail control for the pencil tool displayed. You’ll note that unlike many programs GIMP’s various subcomponents can be opened or closed, or put anywhere that you find convenient. My first step is always to open the Layers subwindow. You’ll find it under the “Windows” command in the main window, under the menu entry “Dockable Dialogs.” I’m going to abbreviate the command tree like this:

WINDOWS-Dockable Dialogs-Layers

All caps will always refer to a menu item in the top line toolbar of the main GIMP window, with the items after that being in order of selection from that command’s sub-menus.

Now we have three little windows open. The main GIMP window, the Command Toolbox, and the Layers window (shown on the left of the Command Toolbox for now, but you can put it anywhere):

12-7-2010 8-56-07 PM.jpg

Next is to establish the settings and preferences we need to make drawing on a constrained grid quick and easy. I tried out many grid spacings before settling on these recommendations. Feel free to experiment, but start with this combo for the same look/feel I was using:

Open a new drawing: FILE-New

This will open a dialog box in which you can specify your new file’s size, and the measurement units used in it. I suggest something small to start. My little filling pattern swatches were squares of 320 pixels. And yes – I do advocate you use pixels as the measurement unit for now.

Specify the grid spacing: EDIT-Preferences

This opens up a large universe of settings to play with. We’re only concerned with grid spacing. Look for the Default Grid icon in the Preferences pop-up box. Click on that.

12-7-2010 8-58-17 PM.jpg

Under Appearance, select Intersections (dots) – this will render the reference grid in dot form so you can see where to draw your own later. For Spacing, enter 10 pixels width and 10 pixels wide. Under Offset, make sure both values are zero. Click OK. We’ve now got our grid, now we need to show it and constrain drawing so that we (mostly) end up creating dots and lines aligned with it.

To show the grid: VIEW-Show Grid

To constrain most drawing to the grid: VIEW-Snap to Grid

Your drawing canvas should now look like this:

12-7-2010 9-00-15 PM.jpg

Save it. Good job. In the interests of keeping these posts manageable we end here. Tomorrow we’ll explore creating layers, configuring the pencil tool for making dots, and making the dot layer.

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2 responses

  1. I have a dotted grid. Woohoo…lol

    Very cool beans…looking forward to the next lesson. : )

    Thanks so much!

  2. […] GIMP Charting Tutorial 102. Getting started, basics of working with GIMP. […]

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