I use an iPad Pro and an Apple Pencil stylus, and I have dozens of apps for image manipulation. By taking photographs of my drawings, paintings, gel prints, art journal pages, I am able to change colors and sizes, play with opacity, texture, filters, and layering to recycle and reimagine my work over and over again. For my holiday greetings this year, I'll be using this image that I created with three different StencilGirl® stencils, two free apps, and a photo of my daughter. Using standard stenciling techniques on the gel plate and then photographing the results, I created digital stencils to use in my digital collage.
To begin with, we have my lovely daughter, who was born in Ethiopia, and on the day I took this picture on a museum visit she was wearing a top with African-inspired motifs. I started this project by searching out Ethiopian designs.
|Ethiopian design motifs in painting, textile, architecture and tattoo!
We're not a religious family, but I do love the Ethiopian cross, which typically has four equal legs. You can find similar crosses in Celtic design, in the Maltese cross, and in religious iconography from many other cultures. StencilGirl® doesn't yet have any Ethiopian crosses, so I improvised. I used the Maltese Set S124 designed by Michelle Ward, the Ornamental Petals Mask M096 designed by Gwen Lafleur and the Boho Mandala Circle S609 also by Gwen Lafleur. For all three stencils/masks, I needed to isolate the image. After printing them I photographed them and then took them to a free iPad app called Background Eraser. If you print with a high-contrast color on white paper, it's very easy to remove the white background by selecting and deleting all the white in the photograph. You end up with a PNG file (basically an image with a "clear" background) to use as your digital stencil design. I also used the Background Eraser app to isolate my daughter from the original photo I took at the museum. Once I had my digital collage elements ready to use I went to another free app, one of the most powerful art apps you can get: Procreate. Procreate is where I began layering and resizing my elements, as well as turning one of my originally black prints to white. I like that the lacy cross is a bit reminiscent of snowflakes, and the traditional green-red-white Christmas palette is also common to much Ethiopian art and craft. The resulting digital collage is something I can use in lots of ways. I can print it on my laser printer, collage it into my art journal and then add more paint, stenciling, and collage to it. I can use another app to add text, I can insert it into a year-end "greetings from our family" letter to send by email. I can change the colors, add texture layers, make it painterly, make it sketchy - you name it.
|Ornamental Petals Mask M096
|Maltese Set S124
|Boho Mandala Circle S609