Friday, January 07, 2011

Designing Robin: Smaller Graphic Elements


I designed an image of Robin for 2011 New Year's greetings card. Here are a few of the graphic elements that compose the image next to the finished picture.

The red-brown breast is made with the Pages Draw Tool (last one in Shapes menu). I gave it a picture frame with blurred edges.

The eye is composed of two ovals, black and white. The white vertically squashed oval is the real gem: without it Robin's eye would have looked dull, but adding the white gives it the lively twinkle that makes the whole image so lively. They are a bit tricky to get right, so start with both oval shapes big, adjust proportions, then group both shapes under Arrange menu, and after that reduce the size proportionate with the rest of the bird. In my example the black oval is 0.42cm x 0.46cm (0.17in x 0.18in) and the white is 0.04cm x 0.07cm (0.01in x 0.03in).

There is a 'spare' tail of a natural length for using the image on its own. The shortened tail is for when you want the bird to sit on an object with part of the tail obscured by it, for example when the Robin is on a branch, a tree stump or on a fenc post.

Use Drawing tool to draw the main body of the bird. Don't make too many dots with the 'pen', otherwise the shape will be difficult to edit. I've used four for the lower part of the body and three for the head.

Make a rough outline, change default Stroke (frame) to Picture Frame, choose one you like, change thickness. Change default colour. My Robin has gradient colour fill starting with greyish red at top right and going to light grey at bottom left.


Then under Format menu choose Shape>Smooth Path and then Shape>Make Editable. Click on the shape two times – click, pause, click again – to make the editing points (little red dots) appear. When you click on a red dot it turns white and shows two 'propellers'. Move dots to change dimensions of the shape and rotate the propellers to change the curves of its contours. Propellers can be pulled out or pushed in. Neighbouring dots affect one another. You have to try several times to achieve the desired curve.

Click on images to see small details. 

Please read 'Curving lines and shapes - make them in Pages' and a full 10-step tutorial to making a greetings card in Pages. A list of other articles on curving lines and shapes is at the end of this post.

Christmas Robin by ©A.Anichkin

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