How to Make Your Own Art Brushes

I mentioned learning how to make art brushes in my end of semester discussion, so I thought I would just do another quick blog post about that whole experience.

So I was trying to make a color wheel, where the colors would go around the circle evenly, and it would look professional. I went on the World Wide Web and someone mentioned creating your own art brush to make the color wheel. This caught my interest, because I enjoyed making my own patterns a while back.

Making your own brush is surprisingly easy. All you have to do is make a string of shapes, lines, or stickers in a line like this:


Once you have have the stroke how you would like, go up to the brush definition tab, and select New Brush. This will lead you to a tab like this:


Select art brush and OK. Select your desired filters on the next screen, and then OK.



Now you have your own art brush! And it can go around any shape! This is how I used my rainbow art brush for my color wheel:


It creates a nice, even design that goes around the whole circle. Much better looking than me trying to painstakingly measure each individual color around the circle using the Snap Grid.

You can use the art brush for all kinds of shapes and lines, which would be really fun to explore. Once you like your art brush, you can press “Save Brushes” in the “Library” drop down menu under brush definition. This will save any brushes that you created on that canvas into your own set of brushes. Then, when you open a new canvas and you want your art brush you just click “User Defined” under library and your set should pop up.




End of the Semester: How I’ve Changed

Well, this semester has come to a close, and it’s time to reflect on all I’ve did. I remember last year we had a final project in Digital Arts, and you had to show all you had learned, or something like that. I found the project, and it looks like this:


You could say there may have been a little bit of improvement this year. Here some of last years other notable works:


This is a cute flower sticker I worked on last year, using Adobe Capture like I’ve talked about before. It’s got some great line work, and it’s fairly even, but still looks like beginner level work to me.jeanseau_abigail_sureallism-1

I also worked with photo shop more, creating pieces like these two blue people. Now let’s take a look at some of my more recent work:

Black and White Sasqautch Unisex T-Shirt Front

You probably remember this T-Shirt I made for my dad at Christmas time. I actually free-hand drew this, so my line has improved considerably from last year. I’ve been practicing more in my sketch book and on the computer. Here’s a ballerina I’ve started to work on:


This was also done in my sketchbook. It’s very clip-arty right now because I still have some work to do with the limbs and hands (one of her arms is looking a little limp, and the other is much too skinny!). But I do realize that last year, I wouldn’t have been able to draw this well. I pretty much had to do everything digital because I hadn’t practiced drawing regularly, but this year I enjoyed transforming my own drawings on the computer.

I’ve also been working on learning more about actual theory, so I made some color theory posters. You haven’t seen these yet:

Color theory

This first color theory poster was actually really interesting to make because I got to learn about how to make your own art brushes. Anyways, most of the color groups that I learned about, I had already heard about or talked about with my mom, but it still was a good refresher.

My poster about tones, shades and tints, on the other hand, helped me A LOT. My artist mom is always trying to explain to me the difference, but words do not make as much sense to me as pictures. This poster helped me actually understand how tints are the hue mixed with white, shades are with black, and tones are with grey. I also discovered a really nice option on adobe illustrator which allows you to pick color groupings and then Adobe will make the different shades and tints for you.


Tones, Shades, and Tint

Besides learning more about color and composition, I’ve also learned a variety of new skills for my digital tool box. You’ll remember I did that fun My Own Font! post, where I showed how I had made my own keyboard. Then, I learned How to make Patterns!! which was super fun. Here is one of those awesome patterns I made:


Wow! Cool paint swirly things! So fun.

I’ve also done a little bit of Photoshop, like in this piece:


But mostly I’ve steered clear of Photoshop because I’m stubborn, and I find Photoshop to be not as interesting as Adobe Illustrator, which has all sorts of cool features. A good goal for next semester would be getting more comfortable with Photoshop, because as soon as I tried out Illustrator I kind of just abandoned it. I takes a lot more patience, and for my distracted ADD brain, Photoshop is like sitting in a seat for more than an half an hour without moving.

Anyways, I haven’t really talked about it at all on here, but I’ve also looked into some of Window’s digital arts and graphic design apps. They are pretty cool, but I haven’t had a lot of time to really get knee-deep in them and figure them out. One cool Windows app is the Paint 3D app, which allows you to create 3D objects on a virtual plane. In this way, you can create entire scenes, with depth and different perspectives. It also hooks up to their new Virtual Reality portal thingamabob.  I’ve just been trying out making different shapes and moving them around so here’s what other people’s projects look like:

Image result for Paint 3D

Pretty cool, right? You can pretty much make entire worlds, and then walk right into them. Think of the facets for using this: video games, movies, or just cool art projects! Imagine having to make a cell model for science class, and you actually make a walk-in  cell model, using virtual reality technology.

Next semester, I just might want to look into this. It looks really interesting.

In other news this year, I’ve really developed my personal style for digital arts. I have learned how to make more clean, and refined designs,  like this poster I made for my mom’s studio:


I actually had meant it to be just an excercise in drawing vector images, but it turned out so well that she ended up using it on her gift cards. I’ve also been helping her design her websites, here, and here. I’m also recreating The Abbey’s newsletter. I figured out how to get her business on Google Maps, which was really cool to see. Helping my mom with her website design has made me realize how much I enjoy just learning about new technology and creating things. I started this class hoping I would find my own way to enjoy art that was different than the rest of my family, and I think I found it. Digital Arts is really fun, and there are always new things to learn and discover. Programmers are constantly critiquing and changing their apps, there are always new tools and workspaces. It’s a multi-faceted genre of art. T-shirts, stickers, video games, websites, anything.

I can make gift cards for my mom, or I can make crazy pieces like this, that are more artsy:


The Digital Arts converstation is always evolving, and I feel like I’m always growing.

Overall, I’ve learned a lot in this class, and I’ve enjoyed exploring on my own a bit. I’ve never really been bored, because there is so much to do. I’ve improved my line, learned about patterns and strokes, and ended up actually doing some real world projects for other people. I also started a Redbubble site which allows you to upload your digital art so people can buy it in the form of T-shirts, mugs, and that sort of thing. Next semester, I hope to expand my horizons and learn about other programs beside illustrator.

But that’s all for now. See you next semester!

How to make Patterns!!

After a nice thanksgiving break, I’m back to post something entirely new.

This week on blackandwhitesnapshots we take a look at feature not known by many. A feature that helps people not have to draw out the same shape millions of times. A feature that saves lives. Okay, not really, but it is pretty awesome.

Introducing: Patterns!!!

So. Much. Fun. I’m geeking out over this….

Okay there are two routes that I know of to make patterns. One involves using that Adobe Capture app I’ve been talking about so much lately, and one is right through illustrator.

The adobe capture way is pretty straightforward. You can take a picture of litterally anything, whether it’s a drawing you made or your eyeball, and Capture will turn it into a pattern. Then if your logged into an adobe account, it will pop right up in your library within illustrator. Drag and drop the pattern, and copperboom! You’ve got a pattern to use for anything. Pros: you can mess with filters to arrange the picture in a lot of cool different patterns like a kalidoscope pattern or triangle pattern. It’s also easy to do. Cons: less editing freedom.

The secound way is a little more complicated.  First you have to create a shape of some sort. You could do 3 triangles with alternating colors, some cool swirls or something like that. You establish the pattern, and how it looks. Here are a few of the patterns I started:

Cool sunset swirls:


Paint swirls:


Basic Blue stars:



Allrighty then, now that you’ve establsihed a pattern you can turn it into a pattern swatch. See, a pattern swatch will allow you to create any shape, and then fill it with the pattern you’ve created. So if I want to make a dress with pink, purple, and blue swirls in it, I can just add my pattern as the fill color and wa la, a swirl dress. Look how I did it here, filling a rectangle with the swirl pattern:


Cool huh?

You turn your pattern into a swatch by selecting your entire design, then going to the object tab, select pattern, and press make. You should get a screen something like this:


Personally the fact that the pattern took over my entire screen frightened me, but there is an easy to get past that. Under copies there is an option for how many times you want the pattern repeated. It won’t limit the copies to that, but it will just make it easier to manage while your editing and looking at it. Another way to control your pattern is by looking at the tile type selection. Your tile is the pattern itself, and by using this selection you can arrange the copies of patterns in different ways. The adobe help page explains the different tile types pretty well:

“Choose how to lay out the tiles:

  • Grid. The center of each tile is horizontally and vertically aligned to the center of the adjacent tiles.
  • Brick by row. Tiles are rectangular in shape, and arranged in rows. Centers of tiles in rows are horizontally aligned. Centers of tiles in alternate columns are vertically aligned.
  • Brick by column. Tiles are rectangular in shape, and arranged in columns. Centers of tiles in columns are vertically aligned. Centers of tiles in alternate columns are horizontally aligned.
  • Hex by column. Tiles are hexagonal in shape, and arranged in columns. Centers of tiles in the columns are vertically aligned. Centers of tiles in alternate columns are horizontally aligned.
  • Hex by row. Tiles are hexagonal in shape, and arranged in rows. Centers of tiles in the rows are horizontally aligned. Centers of tiles in alternate rows are vertically aligned.”

If you want the link to this site here it is: The help page

Once your done messing around with the settings you can press done, and the pattern will end up in your pattern swatch. You can access this by selecting the fill button at the top menu. The pattern should end up right there.


Now you have a pattern that you can use to fill any shape! One more thing though, when you open a NEW file, separate from the one you used to work on the pattern, your pattern won’t show in the fill drop down at first. What you need to do is select the fill button, then go down to the swatch library button, which is that first button in the left corner of the drop down menu. Go down to “Other Library…”. Select the adobe illustrator file that has your pattern in it. It can have more than one pattern in the file! Now your patterns should appear in the fill menu.

And we’re done! Hope that helped all your pattern making needs! I think patterns are one of the funnest things you can make, because there is really no limit to what you can do. Images, shapes, and colors can all be used, and it’s great for some fun experimentation.

See you next week!

Album Covers and Song Images

This week I didn’t really have a project I wanted to make. I was kind of done with typography and after messing around with some vector images, not really wanting to do anything cartoony.

First I worked on some art based on these two songs I’ve been listening too. “Wisdom Cries” and “Boxes” by AURORA. I worked more with Adobe Capture, which I’m really loving to use to transfer photos to adobe illustrator.

Anyways in my mind I just knew that this song had to be black and white, and kind of chaotic at the same time. I picked a few images, of a diamond, a girl opening her eyes, and a time piece. I used adobe capture to take these images from my computer and turn them into vector images that were black and white.
I started with the girl on my canvas, and then turned the song on. I loved that line about diamond eyes, so I made the diamond small enough to be her eye, but when I put it into her eye space, it just looked wrong. So then I expanded the diamond so that the girl almost seemed to have scars of the diamond on her face. I really liked this effect. I colored it blues, greens and purples to contrast with the black and white girl.
Then I focused on the chaos of this song. In the lyrics, the singer is stuck in some sort of anxious emergency. There is the beating of hearts, sighs, and clock strikes in the music. You get the sense of urgency. I copied the black and white girl’s outline several times in different colors, and then put them next to each other, so it was almost radiating. It reminded me of some sort of anxiety, like she was turning her head in urgency or something. I messed around a little more, the song came to a close and I moved on to the next picture.
 Here’s the end product:
Next song was called “Boxes” and this was the end result:
Those two images took me a week to finish…
The next week I made some funky album covers from a band I created in my head, because I wanted to work with filters and live paint and I thought it would be a cool way to explore that.
It was really fun to experiment with filters such as glowing edges, but I didn’t learn a lot new or exciting.
I did finally get a chance to use the flare tool in Adobe illustrator. If your familiar with the program, under “Make Shapes” there is a make flare tool, which is kind of useless. All I could find on the internet about it was that it was useless and kind of ridiculous to use. But if you’ll notice, I was able to make the right eye on this first album cover have a glare come off of it by adding a flare underneath the image. So that’s cool.

electricdragoneyes.pngalbulm art electric.png

My Own Font!

This weeks challenge: create an embellished A in your own font style.

And then completely get distracted and create an entire font line.

I started with a simple sketch of an A, then added vines, swirly que thingys, and leaves. In my head I was thinking of some sort of magical forest font- like something you would see in an old book about Fairies. I wanted it to be tall and bold, but also kind of fancy.

Here’s the original A I scanned into my computer using Adobe capture, which allows you to turn your drawings into vector images:

Then I messed around with effects and colors for a while. I didn’t like that the A was asymmetrical (haha), so I masked half of the drawing and then reflected the first half so it looked the same. Then I live painted the A this forest green color I liked. But when I finally decided on adding the glowing edges font, the green kind of disappeared. Sad that my image was now black and white, I copied the original A, and put it slightly skewed over the black and white one. Then I live painted that green. Bam:


It’s a lot darker than I was originally thinking in my head. I was going to go for something kind of airy and sprite like, but I also like how the A ended up turning out anyways.

Anyways, I enjoyed doing that so much, that I decided to do a whole font line with the same viney look. It’s a little weird, because when you zoom out you can’t really see the vines but it was still fun. Also another note: this font is not complete! There are still sections missing, lines that need to be connected, and you’ll notice there are no numbers in my template. I just wanted to try out the font machine I used without going through all the motions beforehand.

Okay. So all the letters I made are based off that one original A. I used the different lines already present in the A to form the straight letters, and used the warp effect to achieve the rounded letters. It took me about 3 hours just to put the whole template together, and I didn’t even draw any of the letters. I’m sure in some ways it might have been easier to draw the letters, but I wanted to see how far I could go on the computer, and you can’t those small leaf details without zooming in on the screen.

There were pretty much two main lines that I used to create all of my letters, and then it was just up to a few warps, turns and reflections to achieve the overall letter. The hardest part was making sure that each line fit together nicely. I think the letter S was the hardest to make because it was completely made out of curves. It was difficult to get all the pieces together. Here are the two lines I used:

curved linestraightline

Next part was to find a make-your-own-fonts webpage. I chose Calligraphr because it was easy to use, free for the most part, and the first one that popped up on my browser. Calligraphr has you download a template with basic letters and few punctuation marks, you can add some arbitrary characters, but some are restricted for if you pay for a membership.

Next step was to fill out the template! I dragged it into my Adobe file and dropped in the characters I had created. I learned the hard way that every part of the letter NEEDS TO BE IN THE BOX. It took me several uploads, and many minutes of frustration before I realized this. Here’s my completed template:


You’ll notice that the p, q, and g all take up the whole box, and their “tails” don’t hang down under the letter. This is easily fixed by messing with the “baseline” under “edit characters”  once you’ve downloaded the template into Calligraphr.

Finally I was done with my template! Next step is to press “Build Font” and it will process each letter. Here’s the examples I got:


And bam! I got my own font! I call it: FOREST MAGIC! Its a little weird, and off center, but it’s my own font! And it’s exciting. I can’t wait to use it.

Tune in next week for a new adventure….

Posters, Badges and Simple Images

It’s an exciting new year of Digital Arts and I’m back on the computer, ready to share some new designs!

This week I’ve been working on posters and badges to practice making vector images, freestyle, without an image to go off. It’s been pretty fun and I’ve learned a lot.

The first project I did was a badge. This work helped me learn about how to make complex shapes and experiment with using clipping masks.


Yeah, it’s pretty corny and fake, but it was fun to make, and I was able to work out some kinks in my designs like spacing issues and that sort of thing. The seam around the badge was hard to figure out, but I eventually found this website which was extremely helpful this week. I think I used the same link last year, but it really is very good.

Next Project! I decided to make a poster so that I could practice more symbols and trying to make simple images. That’s really hard for me, because I like to make things as complex and intricate as possible. But in the Digital Art world, I’ve noticed most practical applications of Digital Art involve simple logos or designs.


I did one in color and one in black and white. I actually think I like the black and white one better, it looks cleaner.

That’s about the extent of what I did this week. Tune in next week for exciting adventures in typography….






End of the Year

Wow! I haven’t updated this blog in a long time, not since it was an assignment for class. The school year is coming to a close, which means no access to creative cloud or digital arts for 3 months! Here are some of the things I’ve been working on lately as we finish up in class.

I did some work with clipping masks, and recreated this popular feminist symbol.
Typography Portrait
I worked on adding effects and warping text with this portrait of singer Aurora with lyrics.
Typography Portrait [Recovered]
Here is another version of the same project using cooler colors.
I worked on little fun illustrations that helped with forming images.
Road Sign-11
I worked on drawing flying cats (cause who doesn’t want to draw flying cats)
More warping text practice with a logo


I’m really enjoying being able to combine a lot of different things I’ve learned to make one big project. See you next year!