Painting with Patterns

Painting with Patterns

Did you ever think that you could paint with patterns? Well, you can! Here’s a very interesting technique to turn an image, scan, or photograph into a pattern, and then use the pattern to paint.

  1. Open the image that you want to use for the painting.

    For this example, I’m using a heart paperweight and some fabric that I scanned, as shown in Figure.

    Click To expand
    Figure: For this painting example, I’m using a scan of some fabric and a heart paperweight.

  2. Choose Select>Select All or press Ctrl/z +A.

    A selection marquee appears around the entire image.

  3. Choose Edit>Define Pattern.

    The Define Pattern dialog box opens.

  4. Enter a name for the pattern, and then click OK.

  5. Click the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layer palette.

    A new empty layer appears above the image. You can rename the layer to something meaningful, if you want. For this example, I renamed the layer Noise Speckle.

  6. Select white as the Foreground color.

    A fast way to do this is to press D, and then press X.

  7. Select the Bucket tool from the Toolbox and click in the image window.

    The layer is filled with solid white, obscuring the image below.

  8. With the white layer still selected in the Layers palette, choose Filter>Noise>Add Noise.

    The Add Noise dialog box opens, as shown in Figure.

    Figure: Use the Add Noise dialog box to create a speckled appearance.

  9. Select the noise settings.

    Set the Amount to 20%; under Distribution, select Gaussian; and select the Monochromatic check box.

  10. Click OK to close the Add Noise dialog box and apply the filter to the white layer.

    The layer is now speckled.

  11. With the white speckled layer selected in the Layers palette, use the Blending Mode drop-down list in the Layers palette to select Soft Light.

    Soft Light mode blends the white speckled layer with the image layer below, giving a grainy appear- ance. When you paint, this white speckled layer helps show your strokes and add texture.

  12. Click the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the Layers palette.

    A new empty layer appears above the speckled layer. This is the layer you’re going to paint on. You can rename it, if you want. For this example, I’ve renamed the layer Pattern Painting, as shown in Figure. You now have three layers and your canvas is prepared. Get ready to paint!

    Figure: You should now have three layers: the image layer, noise layer, and painting layer.

  13. Select the Pattern Stamp tool from the Toolbox.

  14. On the Options bar, choose Mode: Normal, Opacity: 100%, and Flow: 100%.

  15. Select the pattern of your image that you created in Step 4 by using the Pattern picker.

  16. Select the Aligned check box.

  17. If you want to give your painting an impressionist feel, select the Impressionist check box.

    As I painted this example, I selected Impressionist for the large washed areas, and deselected Impressionist when I needed to paint in some detail.

  18. Select a brush tip by using the Brush Preset picker on the Options bar or the Brushes palette.

    For my example, I loaded the Wet Media brush library into the Brush Preset picker, and used Oil Medium Brush Wet Edges and Oil Heavy Flow Small Tip. (To find out more about brushes and how to load brush libraries, take a look at Technique 23.)


    As you paint, you can increase the size of the brush tip by pressing ] (right square bracket) and decrease the tip size by pressing [ (left square bracket).

  19. Stroke with the Pattern Stamp tool to create your painting.

    Figure shows my example, which I painted with the Pattern Stamp tool.

    Click To expand
    Figure: The completed pattern painting.


    If you want to add more texture to your strokes after you finish painting, select the painting layer in the Layers palette, and then choose Layer>New>Layer Via Copy. Next, choose Filter>Sketch>Contй Crayon. In the Contй Crayon dialog box, set Forground Level to 12, Background Level to 6, and the Texture to Canvas. Click OK to apply the filter to the copied layer, and then use the Blending Mode drop-down list in the Layers palette to select Color Burn.

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