Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Silly String Doodles And Digital Fabric Design

Are you feeling the need to shake things up a little at this point in the winter? I had one of those tired-of-gray days earlier this week, so I treated myself to a can of party string. It's less than the cost of a coffee shop beverage, has no calories, makes me smile, and was the source for this new fabric design.

Silly Billy Goats Gruff fabric by Donna Kallner on Spoonflower
Here's how I made it.

First, I shot the string on the snow out behind Bill's shop. Then I shot the string doodles with my digital camera set on its highest resolution. Later, when I opened this image in Gimp, what jumped out at me was the goat in the center. Excuse this small inside joke for the students from my 2011 Digital Fabric class at Sievers. Quoi avec Donna et les chèvres? D'abord la chèvre est dans le jardin, maintenant, elle les voit dans la chaîne de Silly. Temps pour le chocolat!

The goat was more clear after I desaturated the image and adjusted the brightness and contrast.

I cropped the goat element from the larger image...
... cleaned up the distracting bits...
... drew in some horns, a bell and some snacky flowers...

...and set up a seamless repeat pattern. I added a couple more elements to finish it off:

These clumps of grass, drawn with the wacom tablet, are from the doodle exercises I posted daily on my Facebook page during the month of December.

The color blocks were filled from a palette I made using the Copaso color tool on, where I'm donnastitches

In the screen capture above, on the left is a photo I took of some hand-painted fabric in my studio. To make a digital palette from a photo, I upload it to Copaso and click on different parts of the image. On the right, notice the text values under the color chooser sliders? Those are color codes. I copy the HEX or RGB values into a New Palette in Gimp. Palettes are very useful when building digital fabric collections. My goal is to build about 30 limited-color palettes over the next month or so. I'm posting some of the palettes on my Facebook page, some are just going into Gimp. Wilbur, the Gimp mascot, is happy.

If you're looking for another way to use Silly String for a winter creativity boost, here's a post I wrote a couple of years ago.

So what do you do when you need to shake things up a little? I hope you'll share in the comments section below or on Facebook!


  1. Great idea! Thanks for the step by step - I would never have guessed how you created the design. Isn't it amazing what a computer and silly string can do?

  2. Also amazing are the minds that came up with Silly String in the first place! Thanks for reading, Lisa :)


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