Versatile Vectors

posted in: Artwork, Pattern Design
Jacobean Vector Flower Colourways ©KarenSmith
I’m planning to create a series of laser cut wood blocks that I can make multiple prints from. I’m basing my designs on a series of original watercolours I painted last year

As I’ve said before I’m not done with my series of Jacobean patterns,  the strong floral designs are ideal for creating lino or wood print blocks that I can hand print from.

In order to convert my original paintings to a computer file format that I can load into a laser cutter, I have to digitize my work and output it as image files.

I didn’t want to create a smooth slick digital version of my paintings, which is the effect I would have got if I’d started again from scratch. Instead I scanned my images, and then using a Wacom digitiser pad, I drew freehand over the top of the image.

I had to make some visual design adjustments along the way, bearing in mind these images were destined to become print blocks, this is basically making every leaf and petal a stand alone shape with space around it.

defined shapes within image

I created vector line images, this type of digital image is very flexible, it can be scaled without loss of quality, and the lines provide boundaries within the file that can easily be filled with colour to gain an idea of how different colour printing inks may look. As a side benefit I can also go on to create repeat pattern image files as well.

I created a 9cm square laser cut block from dressed pine, the simple shape soon lent itself to multiple print designs, I really enjoy the handmade feel that I’ve managed to retain throughout the process.