Sunday, 27 September 2015

Stippling with the Silhouette Curio

I am going dotty – playing with the Stipple function on my new favourite toy – the Silhouette Curio machine. The Curio is the new digital cutting machine from Silhouette – it features a powerful bag of creative tricks, the Stipple effect being one of them.

My first “real” job was as a colourist in a textile studio. Many of the designs I worked on had stippled features – a budget airbrush-style pointillist effect. It was achieved by flicking a paint-loaded toothbrush. The paint was applied through a stencil. Fun, but labour-intensive. Now you can get a stippled effect – with much more sophisticated results ­– by clicking a selection on the Curio.

To actually produce the Stipple effects shown, I have used Sharpie markers held by a Silhouette Pen Holder. (You can also use Silhouette Sketch Pens, which need no holder.) A handy feature of the Curio is that it has two blade carriages – so you can double-up and do two operations at a time – two colours at a go or one colour, then cut.

The Curio Stipple has lots of fun options. You can stipple outlines, stipple-trace designs (great for photos), apply dots in undulating patterns of grids or shapes. You can also combine the Stipple effect with othe Curio functions, such as the Sketch Pens. So for some designs I have done the text in Sketch Pen outline and the design in Stipple.  I am still playing – but I am posting some of my first Curio Stipple experiments to share the wonder.
The stippling process isn’t quick if there are lots and lots of dots in your design (and you will probably want to go for it) – so make yourself a cup of tea and/or browse the web while the Curio is busily clicking away.

If you are lucky enough to have a Silhouette Curio machine and want to have a go with stippling, I would recommend two different ways to get started. Either start with a simple linear vector design and tweak it or scan in a photo and do the same. Select a photo with lots of contrast.

Another tip: if you want a multi-colured design, then you must stipple-prepare each section of the design that you want in a specific colour individually. When you output the design, you can then stipple colour by colour.