iPad Art: Watercolor Painting to Digital Seamless Pattern on your iPad | Nic Squirrell | Skillshare

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iPad Art: Watercolor Painting to Digital Seamless Pattern on your iPad

teacher avatar Nic Squirrell, Artist and illustrator

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Painting the Artwork

    • 3. Photographing the Artwork

    • 4. The Pixelmator App

    • 5. Making Adjustments

    • 6. Removing the Background

    • 7. Making it Seamless

    • 8. Testing and Exporting the Pattern

    • 9. Final Thoughts and Project

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About This Class


In this class I will take you step by step through the process of turning a hand painted watercolour into a seamless repeat pattern tile using only your iPad and the Pixelmator app.

We will cover all sorts of things including:

  • What to think of while designing your initial artwork,
  • Photographing the painting
  • Adjustments
  • Removing the background
  • Making it seamless
  • Testing the pattern
  • Exporting

When you have finished the class you will be able to confidently make pattern tiles on the go without access to your scanner or computer.

This class is suitable for anyone from complete beginners to surface pattern designers looking for a way of working independently on the iPad.

With thanks to Pixelmator


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Click here for a link to the Pixelmator app

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Music: Age Of AI by [email protected] (c) copyright 2018 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/tobias_weber/57637 Ft: Kara Square

Meet Your Teacher

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Nic Squirrell

Artist and illustrator

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I am an artist and illustrator living in Kent, England.

I studied Creative Visual Art & 3D Design at the University of Greenwich and loved every minute of it.

My illustrations are on many products from prints to suitcases and everything in between.

I love drawing & painting on my iPad as well as using traditional media, particularly watercolour.

If anything stays still long enough, I will draw on it.

Follow me on Instagram to see what else I'm up to!

Nic Squirrell's website

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@NicSquirrell on Instagram

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1. Introduction: I'm Nick, I'm an artist and surface patent designer. My arts are on many products from prints to greetings cards, pillows, duvet covers, phone cases, and much more. In this class, I'll be taking you step by step through the process of turning a hand-painted watercolor into a seamless repeat patterned tile using only your iPad and the Pixelmate app. We'll cover all sorts of things including what to think of while designing your initial artwork, photographing the painting, adjustments, moving the background, making seamless, testing the pattern, and exploiting. When you finish the class, you'll be able to confidently make patents styles on the go without access to your scanner or computer. This class is suitable for anyone from complete beginners to surface patent designers looking for a way of working independently on the iPad. So let's get started. 2. Painting the Artwork: I'm going to start with a hand painted watercolor. I've decided to make mine a bit challenging and this way I can show you some of the pitfalls and ways to get around them. But you can make your life much easier by bearing a few things in mind. First of all, keep your icon separate with white space around them. This is the most important thing to do for this way of making repeat patterns. Try to keep your layout as near as possible to your finished pattern. You can make adjustments later, but it's much easier to get it almost right in the painting stage. My paint is going to work as a standalone print and also as repeat pattern so that I can sell it on a wide variety of products. It's much easier to remove the background if your icons are not extremely pale. Try for some contrast. In my painting I'm adding detail with a white pen and in some parts this touches the white of the paper, making it tricky to select. I'll show you how to deal with this, but you can avoid it and then things will be simpler. For the same reason if you want to leave the white of the paper, for example, as a highlight, it'll be easier if you make sure it's surrounded with color. Very thin lines like I have here will make removing the background more time-consuming and using a smooth textured paper will make removing the background easier as well. All of these things are just points to consider. If you were a way of working means that you want to include very thin lines and pale icons go ahead, it just make some of your processing more of a [inaudible] that's all. My painting has very thin lines, tiny details, textured paper, white pen highlights touching the white of the paper, and some icons that I want to move around. But at least I've obeyed the first and most important rule and I've kept all my icon set point. Paintings finished. So the next video is about photographing your work. 3. Photographing the Artwork: Now we need to take a photo, more painting. If you have more than one device use the one that will give the highest resolution photographs. You can check that in the link that I've put in the above section of the clause. The larger the pixel size, the better your finished tile will look. Make sure your painting is as flat as possible. If it's not, and sometimes with watercolors it does make the paper bend. Try weighing i, t down with some heavy books overnight. Also painting on a flat surface in natural daylight. The bright cloudy day is ideal either outside if it's not windy, or at least in front of a window. I put mine on the floor for conservatory, stand over it and keep your phone or iPad as level as possible to avoid any distortion. Take a few different shots so that you can pick the best one. In the next video we're going to have a look around the Pixelmator app. 4. The Pixelmator App: Go to the app store and download the Pixelmator app. There's a link in the About and the Project page of the class. They also have a Mac version available. The app opens on the home screen. Let's have a look around. You can sort shot images by dates or by name by pulling down from near the top of the main pane, and you can drag them into folders to organize them. Press Done when you're done. On the left is the plus button to add a new image or import from the cloud or your camera roll, or you could take a photo from here. Next is the Export button, which we'll cover later. On the top right is a question mark which tells you what everything does and then an Edit button where you can select images and then on the top left you can duplicate or delete them. Hit the plus button and choose photos. Bring in your photo and it will open in a new screen. Along the top bar of the following buttons, images takes you back to the home screen. Next to it is the Undo button, which is grayed out right now as there's nothing to undo. Tap and hold it for the Redo option. On the right side there is the paintbrush icon, which is the tools menu with lots of options. Next is the plus where you can add photos, layers, text, and shapes. Next is the Settings under the image setup. You can resize your Canvas and rotate the image. On the Devices, you can connect to pressure sensitive stylus. You don't need to do this if you're using the Apple pencil. The Help section takes you through to a lot more information on using the app. The next section is for exporting your finished art in various ways, and then the last button is the question mark again, as on the home screen and this brings up the tips. At the bottom right is Learn more about using Pixelmator, which is another way to get into the info screen. In the next video, we're going to make some adjustments to the painting. 5. Making Adjustments: We need to make a few adjustments to our painting. First, if you need to rotate your image, you can do so by going into the cog settings menu, choose "Image set up", and rotate. You can see your untrimmed image pixel dimensions there too, mine is 3024 by 4032, which is a good size once I've trimmed it and put it into repeat. Once you've rotated it, if you have click, "Apply" up in the top right. I'm just going to cancel because I haven't done that. Next, we need to crop the image, tap on the paint brush for the Tools menu and choose "Crop." Crop as close as you can, but make sure you don't chop off any important bits. It doesn't matter if there's a little bit of background still showing. Tap "Apply" in the top right of the screen when you're done. Let's sort out the color next. In the paintbrush tools menu, choose "Adjust colors." At the top, there are some filters which are worth looking at. I'm just going to go through and see if I have seen any of those. While you're doing this, keep an eye on the small details to ensure they don't vanish. This one's black and white, so I'll leave that one out and definitely I don't want that, although it's quite interesting. I'll reset the image and I'm going to adjust the image manually. There are sliders for the levels. Just brought in each edge. You can play with yours until it looks right. Whatever settings I'm using here aren't necessarily going to work on your picture. Up the brightness a bit. I've looked at the contrast a little bit up and saturation. I've just taken everything up a little bit. Then if you scroll down here by swiping up, I think I'm just going to go up a little bit on the red as well. To make it all really pop. You got red, green, and blue sliders. You've got white balance, you got a color picker if you want to use that to select your main white, you've got temperature tint and finally, curves. Settings are going to be different for every image. Just play around with all of these until you're happy with your image. Then hit "Apply" up on the top right when you're done. Now the painting is ready. In the next video we're going to remove the background. 6. Removing the Background: Before we remove the backgrounds. We're just going to do a couple of things. Firstly, we are going to put a temporary black layer below our painting so that we can make sure we've removed all the white properly. To do this, tap on the Plus, go to the layers, and tap on the Black Rectangle. Now it just automatically puts this layer on top. So we need to find the Layers palette and there's a secret layers palette which you can access by dragging from the left of the screen. The working layer is highlighted in blue. So I'm going to drag that down below the pectin. Just a side note, the number of available layers depends on the canvas dimensions and on the device. If you find you don't have enough layers, you can make your canvas a little smaller and try again. Next we're going to make a duplicate for painting layer just in case we need it. I'm going to tap on the layer to highlight it and tap again to bring up the layer menu and I'm going to choose Duplicate. I'm going to tap on the lower layer and tap again to bring up the little menu. For this one I'm going to choose Hide. So we've got the black layer, which is difficult to see on this interface. We've got our hidden layer, which is reinsurance layer in a way and, then we've got the top layer, which we're going to work on so I'm going to tap on that. We're going to deal with the tiniest details first because they don't select very well and really the easiest way to do this, apart from avoiding tin little lens in the first place, is to go straight to him with the eraser. In the paintbrush Tools menu, choose the first option, paint an erase. On the left there's a button which toggles between paints and erase and, the one that's showing is little confusingly not the one you're in. In the middle here where it says erase. That's the one that you are actually in. On the right it shows the eraser type at the moment it's on the Hard eraser there is various different types. I think I'm going to stick to Hard so am going to choose done and then next to it is the size. This is really huge. I'm going to state the size right down to something really tiny, maybe three or four and your ideal size, of course, will depend on your image. I'm going to zoom into really tricky bit. So maybe these little dashes, and I'm just going around getting rid of the white. You can of course select to do this. But from my experience, this is actually the simplest way just to make sure there's no white showing there. Let's take the tip off that one and you can see I've zoomed in so far that you can see little pixels. All the really skinny ones are done obviously does a lot more on my painting so that you don't die of boredom. I'm just going to go of camera and do those and come back in a minute. So it's just these little tiny dashes that I'm doing. See you in a moment. All the really skinny lines are done. I've left some of the less skinny lines because I think that the program will cope okay with those. You could actually go to any places like this where the white of the pen meets the white of the paper and just cut those off so they don't get selected, or you can just fiddle around with the selection. I'll show you how to do that in a minute. When you finished with the eraser tap Done in the top right to exit the painting erase mode and now it's time to use the Selection Tools. Go to the Paintbrush icon for the Tools menu and choose, Select. There's a range of selection tools and for the background removal, I like the Quick Selection. Then in the top right, I'm going to change the mode and make sure that it says Add to selection. That way I can choose multiple parts of the selection together. When you seemed right out, will select a larger portion and you can see it's actually selected some bits like these green bits that I don't actually want in the selection. So I am going to undo that. When you're zoomed in, it's a little bit more fancy. It's managing to go around those bits. It's a bit like changing the threshold. So you can use this to your advantage if you have some fiddly bits and if you have a really simple painting, then you can see my touts and just go for it. I just want to show this to compare because this is a much simpler image. I'm taking the photos very textured and I haven't really done anything to adjust it, but I'm just going to show you the selection and then to the select again and the Quick Selection. You can see how much simpler this is. This could take me a matter of a few seconds just to do the whole thing. A little bit of cleaning up to do that and even though some of these are actually quite pale, it's still managing to find niches. So apart from a few tiny bits that need touching up sorting out, that's the whole thing done. This is why it's going to be a lot easier if you do make a simple image to start with, with well-defined edges without erased tiny fiddly little lines. Let's get back to our main painting. Just let wider area, you drag over the canvas and to be more precise, you just tap. Depending on the complexity of your painting, you can either select the entire background this way or if your paintings fiddly like this, you can do it in bits, which I think is what I'm going to do. Where it's missed a little bit, so you can either just zoom right in and have them in or you can go in later with your eraser and fix them. Sometimes it's a little bit hard to select these very fine pieces. Can see now why it's sometimes easier to just go in with the eraser at the beginning. Then when you're ready, we're going to slightly expands the selection to avoid guessing a faint white line at the edge of each icon, like this one. We're going to go into, refine at the top left and then where it says softness we going to move the slider over. The more you move it, the more you actually expand your selection. So we only want to do this tiny bits. So the softness slider needs to be just showing the smallest amount of blue on the left of the slider. When you've done that press Done, then we're going to press Done again to exit the selection mode. Go to the paintbrush Tools menu. Choose Paint and Erase pivot to the eraser and, I'm going to take the size right up to 200, tap on the sides again to get rid of that menu. Then I am literally erasing the parts that are selected. I'm going to press Done let's de-select and just have a look. So that's got a much better edge to it now and a couple of bits that's missed. I'm going in with the eraser and take size right down again and just clean up those edges. So let's press Done and go back to the Selection Tool. I'm going to show you what happens when you're selecting where your white paint lines are touching the paper. So you can see where the marching and lines are, that it's gone right into these bits of the leaf. So I don't want those in my selection sang and to change the mode from, Add to Subtract from. Then I'm going to change the Quick Selection to Free selection instead and starting outside the selection. So on the parts that we want to retain, I'm just going to draw around and just effectively up those in stopping the bit you started, which is this blue circle. That's taken that out of the selection, seemed to get back into my quick selection, change it back to add to selection. I'm just going right round and add all my white paper to the selection, which might take me a while so we can come back in a minute. The other thing I'm going to do is without anything selected, I'm going to take my eraser to get rid of these edges where you can still see the floor of my conservatory. 7. Making it Seamless: At this point I'm going to save the clean document [inaudible] the main image screen to use as it is, and then I will work on a copy to make the pattern. I'm going to go up to Images, and choose Edit, then I click on my Painting, and I'm going to choose this duplicate symbol on the top left, and then I need to work on the copy. Next thing I'm going to just make sure my diets are on, by going into the settings menu which is this is coke. Go to Guides and mine are all switched on, but if they're not you can switch them all on. This is going to help us when we're doing a repeat. Click outside the box to get rid of it. Then we're going to go into the Layers menu and I'm going to tap on the original painting layer which we're now going to get rid of as we have a copy elsewhere. Tap again to bring up the menu and choose delete, and do the same with the black layer. We don't need that anymore. I am going to show case this layer and hides the lower one. This is really just so that we can copy elements from it later if we want to fill in the pattern and select the top layer to work on it. It's little bit hard to tell, but if I zoom right in and you can see that the bounding box doesn't go right to the edge of the art board. It's just surrounding the contents of layer off and the whole layer. For the next step, I want it to be right to the edge. I am going to do that by putting a little block of paint in each corner. I need to go into my paintbrush tool, choose Paint and Erase. At the moment it's erased because that's what we did last. I'm going to tap on paint. You can see it's paint in the middle now to confirm that's where we are. Depending on what tool you used last, it will say different things up here. I'm just going to tap on that. These are all your different brush menus. I'm going to choose Basic, and I'm going to choose hard in this. That's actually what is selection at the moment. I'm going to choose Done. Next is the size. I think about a 100 is not bad, but it will just depend on your image. Next one along as the color and I'm going to use this bright green because it's colorless noting my painting is bright. Now I'll be able to see it against the gray background. I'm going to tap away from that color screen and just with my finger, I'm just going to drag across the corner and we're going to do that in each corner. Doesn't have to be very big. Just go right to the tip of the edge. Don't let on all four corners, try to avoid getting too close to my layer contents. I'll have to get rid of that later. The next thing to do is you write out so that you can see all the way around your art board and please don't come out of the painting section. Let's just show you that it's now selected the entire page, so that's what we want. Next we need to duplicate this layer so that we have four copies. Tap on it, duplicate and repeat. The top side layer is selected and you can see that because it's bright blue. I'm going to drag that up to the top left corner, and in order to drag it, you have to actually put your finger or your pen on top of some of the red contents and not just the gray background. We're going to take it up to the left, and when he put it in the right place, these little yellow guides show up. I'm just going to make sure that I don't move as I take pen up. You can choose the next layer down either by tapping on something that's on that layer but it's a little confusing on this because its got the background, or you can just tap on the next layer down should be easier. This one's going to go up to the top right. Basically you need to take everything else to a corner. Then same with the bottom two layers and take that one out to the lower left, and the last on up to the lower right. Maybe it's starting to look a little bit less confusing. Then I'm going to tap off that and just invite in where I did these corners. Of course they don't match around the outside because I didn't do them in a way that would necessarily match. But you can see that there's no hairline gaps or anything like that, so it's actually matched it up really well and that's how it should be. Then I'm going to drag these layers down and this will group them. You drag the top layer down until it's secondly turns blue, and the same again till that four layers are just grouped together. Then I'm going to use the eraser tool just to get rid of that little green block in the middle because we don't need it anymore. I'm going to Paint and Erase. Choose erase this time and you can see it says erase in the middle layer. I've got an eraser selects already, which I hope will not be too massive. That's about right, great. A Then press Done because we've done with erasing for now. Using that eraser on all four pieces of the group has actually merged the group, so this is just one single layer now showing. Now I'm going to move things around a bit to get rid of the obvious seams. But I'm going to avoid doing anything to the bits that are touching the edges because I don't want to disturb that seamless fit. This is where you may want to go back to your original layer if you want to choose to duplicate any of the bits that are actually going half of the page. I can go back to the selection tool and choose the Free Selection. Draw around the icon that you want to move. I'm just going to choose this little thing here. Press Done, and then if you tap again inside the icon, you've got the choice to cut, copy, delete, duplicate and deselect. You can copy and paste but it's actually quicker to duplicate. The only reason you might want to copy it is if you want to copy it from one document and put it into another within pixel meter. If you don't have enough layers to have the lower layer that you could copy from, you could always go out to the other copy of the document that we made. Do that makes sense? I'm going to duplicate and you can see in the layers section that it's on a separate layer. Then once [inaudible] I can move it to up here. Then if I zoom in, you can use two fingers to rotate. You can also resize it using little handles, although wouldn't advise resizing up. It can certainly resize down. Some do that. I think the size is quite good to start with. The other thing you can do is go into the paintbrush tools menu, going to Format. This is all in the arrange section of this menu. You can go into Size and makes sure Constrained Proportions is on and then change the size, either using the number pad or you can just go up and down either the numbers or you can scroll. Take care of scrolling because it can scroll it way massively if you're not careful. Then if I go back, I can rotate it using this slider or you've got a 90 degree rotate left, rotate right. You can flip vertical, you can flip horizontal, and tap off that to cover that screen. I can now go into the Tools menu and choose Select again. I don't need to select the selection type because I've already got a selection on the screen. But make sure that my selections create new mode, and then I'm just going to go around and move a few things, copy a few things. That didn't work because I'm not on the right layer, so I'm just going to highlight the correct layer and do that. Once you've got a few of these lists typed up, we can just merge them down to keep things tidy, and offset stop self running out layers to work on. Well, the groups they still counters layers, say you didn't merge them in order to make enough room. That's why image is being cropped quite close to the icon. There's not too much to do to move things around a bit and fill the middle end. I'm going to just get on with that and see you in a second. It's done. Now I think I'm done. All of my layers have been merged up from that photo there underneath. I'm not going to need that anymore so I'm just going to tap on that and delete it. I got my one layer now, which is the Repeat Pattern. I'm going to put it back the other way around so that it looks more like my original. This is just really the same process as before, but because some of my icons are split and have gone off the edge, I don't need to put any paint blobs in the corner because my entire outboard is now selected. I'm going to make four copies. As I did last time, I'm going to pull each copy it up into one of the corners until the guides come out. I'm taking care not to move them as I move my pen from the page. Like that. Didn't actually intend to show that to demo it. I'm just going to zoom in and make sure that where the edges are and you can see that because you've got this very faint little line. It looks good and it does, that's fine. I'm now going to merge them back down. That is our patent tile, and I haven't got a background on it because I want to be able to put it on all different colored grounds if I want to say. I'm going to save that out to the main screen. In the next video we're going to test the pattern and I'll show you how to export it. 8. Testing and Exporting the Pattern: Now, we need to test the pattern. Duplicate it, main screen, and welcome the copy and duplicate layers until they are four of them. This is pretty much like we did before. Select the top layer and you have these little circles in each corner. I'm going to grab one of the circles and just bring it roughly into the middle, and there are some tiny little yellow guides here that I will show you when they are in the center. I'm going to do that for each of the layers. Just take the corner into the middle. I'm going to just zoom in and make sure it's okay, and you can see the line which is the edge of that particular tile, and the line goes through this bit so I can make sure that looks fine, which it does. Sending it to one bit horizontally. I'm looking vertical bit, that looks fine. I'm going to tap on the next layer down. I've already looked at the vertical join. Let's just click on the horizontal, that's fine, and the next one, that's fine. We know the last one's okay because we've already checked the same edges. Just zoom out, and that all looks good, hooray. I'm going out to the main screen. I'm going to delete this test one by choosing, edit, selecting it, and putting it in the trash. Now, I need to save out with the cleaned up image and the seamless repeat tile. I'm going to start by renaming them, by tapping on the name, crossing it down, and putting my own name in. I'm sure you all have your own naming conventions. I like to put the pixels size in mind because it helps with what I do with them. You can export both from this main screen and also from within the open document, and it's pretty much the same with the share icon. You can send a copy and you can choose where you want to send it. I'm going to select just that image for now, and you've got choices of sending it in the Pixelmator form, which is great if you also have the desktop app. Mine is a PNG at the moment, but you also got the choice of a JPEG, which should mean it's not transparent, and a Photoshop, if you want to export it with layers or if you wanted to export it as a Photoshop file. I'm going to choose PNG because I'm going to be putting mine on various items and make change in the background color, and then you can choose how to send. It's really all the usual ways you can add drop. You can just save image out to your photos, all the usual things. I'm going to put mine in Dropbox, and the other option would be to open another app to send to iCloud drive, which gives you access to all your files or to copy to photos that were just copied as a JPEG. 9. Final Thoughts and Project: So that's it. We now have the knowledge of how to make perfect, seamless repeat patterned tile on the iPad without using a scanner or desktop software. I hope that you enjoyed it and I hope you are going to be able to make use of this in your own workflow. I use my pattern to make products in my Print on Demand stores and if you want to see more about that, I have two classes available on Print on Demand for Artists. Please post your pattern in the project section. I do always look at them, I'll love to see them. If you enjoyed this class, please do leave me a review, it really helps me and it helps others to find my classes too. If you want to be kept up-to-date with my new classes, please be sure to follow me and do feel free to post on social media using the #nicsquirrellskillshare. Thank you and bye for now. [MUSIC]