Copper Tiles Tutorial


Art is like magic. The audience never sees all the preparation and practice that goes into the making of the illusion and of course they never see all the steps necessary to do the trick. So, the effect can be both marvelous and mysterious.

And now for your amazement, here’s the finished painting.


The Trick Explained:

I painted this using six different apps on my iPad. It started as an experiment in InkPad. I wanted to see if it was possible to combine multiple shapes into a single mask over a texture. It turned out you could. So, I refined the test into this finished piece.

It’s basically a two step process. First, I created the textures outside of Inkpad and saved them to the Photo Gallery. Then I assembled the textures together in Inkpad using masks to create the tile shapes. In this case I used squares to keep it simple, but any shape would work including freehand shapes.

Step 1 – Creating the Textures:

I used an existing painting for the yellow background.


I imported it into the background layer in Inkpad, turned it 90 degrees counter clockwise, and increased the size to fill the frame. I just needed something to fill the edges of the painting.

I wanted the majority of the painting to have a blue textured background. I started in ArtRage to rough in the blue color on a canvas texture.


I started with a medium gray blue canvas. I used a large oil brush to rough in a variety of brush strokes of various values. I then used the palette knife to smear the colors a bit. Here’s the finished ArtRage painting that I saved the the Photo Gallery.


Next I opened the ArtRage image in Iris. I first applied the “Craquelure” FX filter. It’s located in the “Surface” collection. Here’s what that step looked like.


I then added the “Grunge Frame 2” FX filter. It’s located in “More…/Dust ‘n’ Scratches”. Here’s the finished blue background that I saved to the photo Gallery.


I wanted to try three different textures for the copper tiles. I needed a starting canvas like I did for the blue background but rather than painting a new one in ArtRage I decided to re-use the blue one and just change the color to reddish brown. I opened the blue ArtRage painting in Photogene and adjusted the Color Corrections until I got what I wanted. I then Exported it to the Photo Gallery.


This is the Photogene Exported image.


I opened the exported Photogene image in FX PhotoStudio and experimented with a number of different filters, but the first one I liked and saved used the “Dirty Picture 2” FX filter under the “Texturize” category.


Here’s what the saved image looked like.


I un-did that step in FX PhotoStudio and next applied the “Crumpled Paper” FX filter which is also in the “Texturize” category.


Here’s what the second texture
looked like.


For my third texture I used Snapseed’s “Grunge” tools.


Snapseed allows you adjust the Style, Brightness, Contrast, Texture Strength, and Saturation of the “Grunge” effect. Here’s what the finished Snapseed texture looked like:


Step 2 – Arranging the Textures in Inkpad:

Here’s what the finished painting looked like in Inkpad.


I used six layers.


As I mentioned above, I imported the seascape painting into the background layer. Next, I imported the blue background texture into the second layer. I then created a new layer and turned on the “Grid” and “Snap to Grid” and “Isolate Active Layer” in Inkpad’s Settings.


I then drew a square using a white fill and a one pixel wide, black stroke. I set a drop shadow using the ‘Shadow and Opacity” settings. The shadow opacity was 42%, the offset 13 pt., and the blur 37 pt. I made two duplicates of the square and placed them on the grid. I imported the first copper texture and moved it to the back. I then used the Multi-Select tool to select all three squares and united them in the Path Menu.


I added the texture to the selected objects using the Multi-Select tool. I then chose “Mask” from the Path Menu to mask the texture with the united square shapes. This is the “trick” that allows you to use multiple shapes to mask an underlying texture.


I used the same procedure to create the row 3 tiles in their own layer using the second copper texture image and to create rows 2 and 4 in another layer using the third copper texture.

Note: I didn’t use it here, but I also discovered that you can import more than one texture image in the same layer and apply a united shape mask over several texture images. Just select them all with the Multi-Select tool and then choose Mask in the Path menu.

Finally I added a signature in its own layer.


I discovered two things while adding the signature. First, the onscreen iPad keyboard does not have a copyright symbol. So, I copied and pasted one from Safari into the Inkpad text field. (Just do a Google search for “copyright symbol” to find a text sample).

I also discovered that the Eyedropper tool picks up colors from imported images as well as shapes created in Inkpad. I was able to click on a nice yellow in the border image to select a text color for my signature.


The process sounds complicated, but it’s actually pretty straight forward once you understand how to unite multiple shapes and apply a mask to an underlying image. This technique opens up all kinds of possibilities for painting with patterns and textures. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or if you use this technique in your own work.

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