Five Digital Design Tips for Neophytes

I am a big fan of handmade objects and hands-on techniques. Technology is not always my friend.

But my perspective changed when I saw Diane Rusin Doran create awesome hand dyed-fabric effects with digital quilting imagery. You would swear these gorgeous fabrics were made in a dye studio–but were all done digitally.

sunrise serenade diane doran digital quilts
‘Sunrise Serenade’ by Diane Doran, made with digital printing techniques.

I loved her process and it made me resolve, once again, to learn to expand my knowledge of photo-editing software for fiber art.

Diane is an expert in using photos–even ones taken with her phone–to create beautiful digital collage art quilts. But the secret to her success, she says, is to just have fun and play around with your designs in the software. Don’t take it so seriously!

Here are some of Diane’s other tips for digital design neophytes:

1. If you like what happens after using a filter or modification, save it for later use. You can always come back and modify it more.

2. Be creative. Look around you at shapes, colors, and lines, and photograph them for use in your collages.

3. Think outside the box. Use photographs in your collages, but also consider scanning in drawings, paintings, old documents or photos, even fabric that you’ve painted, dyed, or screen printed.

4. If you make a “mistake” just undo it.

5. Think of the computer screen as your virtual design wall. Just as you use a physical design wall to study your composition, your virtual design wall can serve the same purpose.

More and more, I also think of my computer screen (or phone or iPad) as my virtual library. Digital versions of my favorite magazines and other reading material take up less space than the print versions and I can take them with me wherever I go.

Now, we have more options for you to enjoy all the wonderful galleries and technique articles (including Diane’s piece on Digital Drip Dyeing Feb/March 2014) in our Quilting Arts CD collections.

You can get 13 years of Quilting Arts on CD–including the just-released 2014 edition–and have plenty of shelf space leftover for your fat quarters and quilting notions.

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