Introduction: Designing a Mosaic
The purpose of this instructable is to show you how to design and layout a mosaic from line art. This will be especially useful for anyone creating larger mosaics. And anyone who is leading a mosaic instruction class can follow the steps to create your own design templates for students.
This step-by-step guide illustrates how to design a mosaic using a scanner, source artwork, and a PC with a printer.
Step 1: Obtain Source Image.
Locate a simple line art image you want to use for creating a mosaic. Make it 8x10 in size, super low resolution is ok in this step.
Step 2: Refine Image and Make Outlines Heavier
Print your image, then with a pencil first, followed by a heavier pen - create your outlined shape.
Step 3: First Trace
The outlined shape page is set under a sheet of graph or tracing paper. Then you outline that design in pencil - defining the edges of your outlined shape underneath. Please look at the second photo on this page to view the process!
Step 4: Refine Trace 1 - Outlines
Now sketch out the tile placement for the outlines only.
At this point I stop, make a photocopy of the image and then from then on I continue working off of the copy. This is primarily because I like to have version control with my drawings, and copying and setting aside the working copy at each major design step has it's advantages.
For example, I like to give a client a few options for design, and this streamlines that process by enabling a very methodical approach to creating multiple copies without needing those to be redrawn from scratch or digitally reproduced and altered in an image editor.
Step 5: Ink Outline
On a photocopy - outline the tile layout in thin sharpie. After you are done outlining the tiles: photocopy again, and set aside the original.
Now its time to play with lines and color. This is where you go wild with options. Make a few copies and determine the highlights and shadows of your piece. I chose to be very specific about the inside-the-lines tile design. You could be freeform here- and just go ahead with the tiling process if you like.
Step 6: Final Tile Design
After the inside tile shapes were drawn, they were outlined in fine point sharpie.
Step 7: Final Design Sketch
This is the final drawing colored. Make an extra copy of this to be used as reference when making the mosaic, without endangering the original.
Step 8: Poster Printing
Scan your final sketch at a decent resolution, then select the option to print the image.
In the printer options window that pops up, select printing properties button.
That opens a Printer Properties window, in that you navigate to the Page Layout Tab,
Then select the Multi-Page box, then select the radio button Poster Printing.
(Select poster page options (2x2, 3x3, etc) that best suit your needs.)
Then click OK, and printer will print your image over the number of pages you selected.
*Note - The pages will all have around 1/8" margin at the edge of the page. You will need to trim that off so the image is not broken up over the pages.*
Step 9: Transfer Image or Use Indirect Technique
There are so many ways to transfer the design. Here are a couple in addition to my choice of technique.
1. Apply photocopied image face down, saturate with rubbing alcohol (70-90%). This will transfer image to backerboard from paper. Optional - trace over these lines with a pen to darken.
2. Lay image face up over surface, then outline the tile shape with a rigid and pointed tool. You are engraving the lines into the wood. Then lift the image, and trace over the engraved lines with a pen to make the image visible.
Using Fiberglass Mesh:
You can have the illustration under a sheet of plastic film, with a layer of fiberglass mesh over that - the mesh being the layer which you glue the tiles onto, RIGHT side up. This is the direct technique.
Heavier paper was used because of the mosaic technique I apply, called indirecto (the reverse technique), where the pieces are applied face-down with a water soluable glue.The artist never sees the work until it is completed and the back of the piece is glued to a substrate. Only then, when the paper is soaked off the image face, does the artist get to observe the work of art.
Step 10: Voila!
The completed mosaic, which is glued onto fiberglass mesh - ready for installation.