In the first post of this series, I walked you through the basics of drawing shapes in OpenOffice Draw. Today, we’ll create a design using various shapes, select a portion to use for patchwork and fine tune the details. Don’t over-think your selections. Just start putting shapes on the page.
For this example, I’ve chosen eight shapes without regard to size or exact placement. They’ve been colored in one of four colors. At this point, nothing is certain. Everything can be changed–size, placement, orientation and color. Shapes can be added or deleted. Right now, the page is full of potential.
You can see the beginnings of a patchwork here. There are half square triangles waiting for some sort of order to be imposed. The rectangles are possible borders or sashing. This is the time for experimentation. By changing the upper yellow triangle to green and moving it down, I’ve created a trio of triangles around a square.Now I want to move the far rectangle in line with the edge of the triangle. When I do that, the rectangle is behind the square, as seen below. I could change the size of the square to solve the problem. But you can also change the order in which shapes are stacked.To do this, select the shape you want to edit. Then go to the bottom tool bar on the right side and click on the “Arrange” icon. See the image below. Choose from one of the options that pop up. In this case, I’ve selected the rectangle to bring forward. So I choose “Bring to Front” and the rectangle is now on top of the square. But I’d like to play with this little patchwork section all on its own. First, I save the file and then I start editing–taking out the rectangles and the green square. Next, I resize the triangles to match the size of my square. I’m ready to treat these elements as one piece–as a Group.To group objects, click in the area outside the set and move your mouse to cover the entire space occupied by your shapes/objects. When you release, you’ll see the green points around the outer edge. Go to the uppermost toolbar. Select “Modify”, then “Group”. Now your set of shapes will be considered as one shape and can be manipulated as such. (To ungroup an object, select it, go to “Modify” and then choose “Ungroup” from the drop down menu.)
I want some repetitions of this group. I simply select the group and then cut and paste it. (To do this you can either go to “Edit” in the uppermost toolbar and choose the “Cut” and then “Paste” selections from the menu; or you can use Control+C, Control+V to do the same thing.) After making three copies, I arrange them neatly but without any other modifications.Looks just like a patchwork block, doesn’t it? Simple set up of squares and half square triangles. You’re actually good to go with this. But let’s just play around a little more. For instance, what would this block look like in a repeat pattern? (Answer: see first row below.)Or maybe we could tweak it and turn the upper right block 1/4 turn to the left and the lower left block 1/4 turn to the right. The second row shows you how the block changes, as well as how it looks in a repeat. Three other possibilities are in the last row.
To keep things simple, I’ve maintained the colors from the original set. However, at this point, you could start playing around with color changes and come up with even more interesting patterns. Just remember, to change an individual shape that’s currently grouped, you need to ungroup it. Then you can select individual triangles or squares for color changes. Oh! I should tell you, Control+Z is your friend. Seriously. Control+Z will undo what you just did. So if you just moved a piece by accident…Control+Z. Hit “Delete” and immediately changed your mind? Control+Z.
Now, let’s go back to our original page but make different changes. Delete one green triangle. Add one blue rectangle. Rearrange the shapes.I like the grid the blue rectangles make but the colored shapes inside it need some help. So, I’ll fix that and also shorten up the rectangles.Easy peasy! Add white borders so the design floats and you’d have a wonderful pillow cover.
In order to keep things simple, the shapes in these examples are all clearly defined with no overlap (with the exception of the rectangles above, but that piecing is a cinch to do). You’re not limited to such orderly designs. Triangles can overlap rectangles that nest inside squares. It’s all up to you. The piecing will get more advanced when you do that, but I’ll be talking about that in the next post.
You may be feeling like that proverbial deer in the headlights right now. The blank white page can be very intimidating. To get past that, start with these simple guidelines:
- Draw a minimum of three different shapes
- Have at least two of each shape
- Choose three colors for your design
Now you have a starting point. Mix it up. Change it around. Ask “what if?” all the time. When you have something you like, save it. And then keep playing.
Next time, we’ll work on turning your drawing into a pattern you can make and show off. You can do this!