Inkscape Tutorial-How to Pick and Change Colors

In this video I show you how pick colors with the eyedropper tool, the color wheel, color numbers, or from existing color palettes.

Photo in video used under license  GFDL 1.2,  found on Wikipedia/Wikimedia: “ Lavandula,” by Fir0002/Flagstaffotos at

Lavender Nature Palettes created by Crystal Gillis, Images Clip Art, feel free to use the colors for any of your designs or projects.

Overview (after importing or pasting a vector graphic):

To Change the color using an existing color palette:

1. Choose the object by clicking on the select tool and then clicking on the object.

2.At the bottom of the screen there is a color palette, if all the colors don’t fit on the screen there will be a scroll bar to see all the colors within the palette. Once you find a color you want just click on it.

3. If you want to change the palette, click on the tiny arrow at the end or to the right of the palette to bring up a list of different palettes, choose the palette you want then follow steps 1 and 2.

To pick your own color from the color wheel, sliders or by entering color numbers:

1. Click on the stroke area on the bottom left, <or the shortcut is shift ctrl F> and this will open the stroke and fill dialog window near the top and to the right of your canvas.

2. Click on the Fill Icon Tab at the top of the dialog window.

3.Choose Wheel in the tabs, or any of the other tabs and either pick, fine tune your color further, or enter your own rgb or cmyk profiles.  There are also HSL and CMS options here if you need to work with those.  You can use the little slider arrows within the color bars to fine tune even more.

To pick up a color from a photo or other image or object:

1. Click on the object that you’d like to change the color of.

2.Press the F7 key to change your pointer into an eyedropper.

3. Click on the color you want from within the image.  This will change your objects color.  Additionally you can sample and mix a larger area of colors (to get one resulting color) by clicking and dragging.  You’ll see a circle encompassing an area to sample as you drag.  This is helpful when you are using a bitmap photo which may have areas that look like one color, but really, close up, you’ll see many different colors, usually slight various shades.




Inspiration and Good Advice From Kurt Vonnegut

In 2006 a class of students at Xavier High School wrote to their favorite authors and received one response back from Kurt Vonnegut with some very good advice that may help you too:

228 E 48 NYC 10017 212-688

November 5, 2006

Dear Xavier High School, and Ms. Lockwood, and Messrs Perin, McFeely, Batten, Maurer and Congiusta:

I thank you for your friendly letters. You sure know how to cheer up a really old geezer (84) in his sunset years. I don’t make public appearances any more because I now resemble nothing so much as an iguana.

What I had to say to you, moreover, would not take long, to wit: Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.

Seriously! I mean starting right now, do art and do it for the rest of your lives. Draw a funny or nice picture of Ms. Lockwood, and give it to her. Dance home after school, and sing in the shower and on and on. Make a face in your mashed potatoes. Pretend you’re Count Dracula.

Here’s an assignment for tonight, and I hope Ms. Lockwood will flunk you if you don’t do it: Write a six line poem, about anything, but rhymed. No fair tennis without a net. Make it as good as you possibly can. But don’t tell anybody what you’re doing. Don’t show it or recite it to anybody, not even your girlfriend or parents or whatever, or Ms. Lockwood. OK?

Tear it up into teeny-weeny pieces, and discard them into widely separated trash recepticals. You will find that you have already been gloriously rewarded for your poem. You have experienced becoming, learned a lot more about what’s inside you, and you have made your soul grow.

God bless you all!

Kurt Vonnegut

 (Source:  alxmog1 on reddit)

I checked Kurt out on Wikipedia and he is quite an interesting fellow.  Here are his awesome 8 rules for writing:

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a Sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8. Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To hell with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

(Source:  Bagombo Snuff Box: Uncollected Short Fiction, Kurt Vonnegut , Wikipedia)

Kurt’s Slautherthouse-Five (1968)  is also noted by Time magazine as one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century. (Time Magazine. Oct 16 2005.)

Free Digital Papers, Dream, Royalty Free

Free royalty free digital papers instant download with white text “Dream.”  on solid pinks, brown, Sage Green, and Dusty Blue.  All papers come as .jpg 300 ppi as well as the vector files as .ai (Adobe Illustrator) .svg and .cdr (CorelDraw.)

Just click on the above link or one of the images to save and download the .zip file.

You are free to do whatever you’d like except resell as they are and please don’t give them away-direct people here to get them.  Thanks!



This matches my royalty free 27 piece clip art set and 26 piece digital paper pack for sale on Etsy which features Chevrons, Feathers, Sailboats, Flags and Banners and Zig Zags in the above colors both in vector, and 300ppi .png and .jpg file types:



Making Money Designing on Zazzle-Tips

It’s true-to make money designing on Zazzle (enough to live on–that is) you need to have a LOT of products designed.  It is for this reason that you’ll find a lot of junk on Zazzle.

There are a couple of items below which serve as a good example of products or designs customers might actually buy and buy more often.

Also, it helps (but is not always necessary) to have a popular theme or niche for your entire store.  In the first example the seller has a dog theme for her store.

She also seems to have a productive process to artwork creation. There are some dogs which have had outfits and backgrounds changed, however you’ll notice that it is the same dog painting as the basis.  You can save yourself a lot of work, and reuse parts of artwork in different designs, even for different holidays or occasions.  For instance use a santa hat and a background for Christmas and then later, a pirate hat and map background like in the example below. Of course, you can use the same image for many different products too!

Miniature Schnauzer Pirate Messenger Bag
Miniature Schnauzer Pirate Messenger Bag by DogsInk
Browse more Dog Messenger Bags at Zazzle


Giving Credit for Images

Is Copyright Always a Good Idea?

In most cases getting permission and giving credit to use works of art or literature is necessary.  It’s just the right thing to do, if the creator wishes that you do so. I require it for some of the clip art I create, so I don’t take giving credit where credit is due lightly. There are many people  who would take advantage of “free” art, make loads of money, without a thought of compensation to it’s creator.

Grimm’s Cinderella, Illustration by Hermann Vogel, Public Domain

However, there is another side to this that people either don’t know about or don’t think about.  There are many creators who believe that people should be allowed to build upon previous works. It’s a way to promote the progress of future generations. Sharing their work also gives it new life, sometimes even becomes known because of a new spin off of their original creation.

Artists who share their work with the world without restrictions is one of the highest contributions an artist can offer to humanity.
Think of it this way, if Disney hadn’t been allowed to use old stories, or movies, MOST of his creations would not have come into fruition. You may not like Disney, but it’s a good example of progress that was built upon other artist’s ideas like Grimm’s Cinderella or Rapunzel.  You cannot deny that Disney has quite a fan base, and they do create spectacular works of art. The problem arises when companies like Disney use dozens of other people’s ideas, but do not allow the same type of use of their work.
I’ll leave you with this last thought: You may not know that the song, “Happy Birthday” is actually still under copyright. Seems crazy, but it is true. So what happens when you post your two year old’s birthday party onto YouTube? Interesting to ponder, especially nowadays, when corporations feel the need to make examples of the “little people,” and tend to set the example and precedence for the individual artist.
If you’d like to know more about the Public Domain and how to find Public Domain art, I recommend the book The Public Domain: How to Find & Use Copyright-Free Writings, Music, Art & More

by Stephen Fishman J.D.

4.6 out of 5 star rating with 88 reviews on Amazon

6 Great Resources for Artists and Creatives

8201034.JPG By rollingrosco on Morgue File

8201034.JPG By rollingrosco on Morgue File

  1. Morgue File-Has thousands of clearly detailed, large photos for artists (reference only) and can even be used in presentations.  The “Classroom”  is another great resource within that you should check out and learn from too.
  2. Colour Lovers-Are you at a loss for what color goes with the one you have in mind?  You’ll be sure to learn a lot about color in general.      Specifically be sure to download the Color Schemer.   BEWARE: Colour Lovers is sure to be a great source of inspiration too, just remember to use this as a TOOL not a distraction, when I first discovered the website I spent hours on it within a few days, there’s a great community that will suck you right in!
  3. Library of Congress-Lots of images and information to spark your imagination-there is a plethora of Public Domain works too (some are not-be sure to do your research.)
  4. Wikipedia-Though this may be an obvious one, I tend to forget about Wikipedia sometimes.  Wikipedia will give a great overview of a subject you are working on, giving you more ideas as well as lots of public domain images you can use or reference.  Wikipedia also has great lists to refer to such as when comparing software or hardware to use, artists, art movements, etc. so don’t forget to check for lists within a wikipedia article, they are a wonderful resource to make your work and research a lot faster so that you can move on to the creative aspect of your work.
  5. WetCanvas-If you’ve never heard of WetCanvas, here are some stats posted on their home page today: Members: 670,121 Online Now: 4683 Posts: 11,062,424.  Wet Canvas has been around for years, in fact I did some tutorials and created some acrylic pieces based on a couple of images in their enormous image library about 10 years ago. There is a whole digital art section too, in fact just about every media is covered.    This is a wonderful resource full of supportive people with forums and shops, tutorials, as mentioned a huge reference library which is contributed by users, and so much more.
  6. Pantone-Pantone rules the color world.  See what Pantone’s color of the year is which is sure to be popular since it will be in this years clothing and housewares lines, which inevitably affects artwork.  You can also view past recent years colors which will still be present in many homes and wardrobes.  Pantone colors are also used in artwork like logos (so that the company’s color is pinpointed) and screenprinting among others, and have whole Pantone dedicated color management palettes in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and even in CorelDraw for standardized color printing with print houses who offer Pantone Colors.

Sources of Inspiration Shared


I just had to write up a quick post to share a couple of inspiring finds I found recently. Both have empowered and inspired me.

You know how guys channel surf with the t.v. remote? I’m like that with the internet. It does make it hard to focus on work sometimes and I am working on that.

In fact, I’m currently trying to change that behavior and locate websites, people and blogs that I absolutely love. Every article has to be extremely meaningful to me to fit the bill.

If I’m going to invest my time in a persons work, I need to feel that they are being honest and hoping and trying to really help and understand other people. People who want to open minds.

I’ve been looking for a way to make myself feel more accountable on a consistent basis to my audience-you know how it is-”Oh, no one is probably reading this anyway” or “wow this stuff I’m creating really stinks, I need to get over myself,” that negative self-talk-creeps-in kind of thing.

…Which no one probably is reading incidentally-YET-anyway.   Starting out or starting-up something is a difficult period to get past, there is a lot of questioning oneself and it’s a quick easy route to self sabotage, sometimes resulting in giving up before you’ve even started.

So I figured a coach could be a great catalyst for me, I really want to progress with this website and graphics and try to help people and I need a little kick in the butt.

Somehow, I found Ramon Williamson on Google Helpouts and after reading his numerous outstanding reviews, I was even willing to pay if the price was right, when I saw that he offers a free (now “sold” out as of today of course) session! Gasp!

I was impressed, but before scheduling, I wanted to research a little more and found his wonderful website. There are numerous invaluable lessons within. Every single article made me feel more empowered. I was sold, even with the free price tag.

My second finding is “Brain Pickings,” the brainchild of Maria Popova, which seems to be geared toward creative philosophical types like me. This is in their about page:

The core ethos behind Brain Pickings is that creativity is a combinatorial force: It’s our ability to tap into the mental pool of resources — ideas, insights, knowledge, inspiration — that we’ve accumulated over the years just by being present and alive and awake to the world, and to combine them in extraordinary new ways. In order for us to truly create and contribute to culture, we have to be able to connect countless dots, to cross-pollinate ideas from a wealth of disciplines, to combine and recombine these ideas and build new ideas — like LEGOs. The more of these building blocks we have, and the more diverse their shapes and colors, the more interesting our creations will be.

Maria Popova. Photograph by Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

Maria Popova. (Fair Use) Photograph by Elizabeth Lippman for The New York Times

Whoa! Look at all those sticky tabs!  What I really want to know Maria is what is the method to the madness in that picture-I WANT TO KNOW-it looks like the terminator of chaos was at work-the ultimate organization.  I’m jealous.

Anyway, I read article after article, like “Advice to Sink in Slowly: Designers Share Wisdom with First-Year Students in Poster Series,” and “Famous Creators on the Fear of Failure,” and “How to Worry Less About Money.” and that VERY RARELY happens to me (as mentioned, I’m an extreme web surfer) so I’m adding it to my new focused, but small, list of consistent reads.

Thanks for visiting! ~Crystal

P.S. Feel free to snag the above blue “Inspiration” text “art” (be sure to click on it a couple of times to get the biggest version) that I made (above) and use it for anything you want-even commercial  use-no credit required to be given to me!


Drawing Ideas

Oh The Irony

Oh The Irony

Rodney White

Buy This at

What well can we draw inspiration from when we’re making our first rough doodles or sketches to help flesh out our ideas? What is the smartest route to take if we want to keep our audiences needs in the forefronts of our minds?

Personally, I doodle a lot and I have a huge list of the ideas and images that speak to me personally, my “likes”, so to speak.

Then I research the needs of my intended customer or audience, while using my list of likes  with one or both of the following:

1. Google’s keyword planner -to find out the most searched for images (as related to my intended customers specific needs-for example: “clip art” or “graphics” first then drill down to something more specific like “4th of July graphics”)

2.  Symbolism (usually I research this on Wikipedia)-Throughout history, symbolism has given so much more meaning to images than you may have realized.  People respond to symbolism because it gives art a deeper meaning.

Google’s keyword planner is pretty straightforward, you just type in a word such as “4th of July graphics,”



(after this page that’s shown above) and click on the “Get Ideas’” button to get results.  You’ll be able to see related ideas as well as your specific terms that you’ve typed in and how many people are searching each per month on average.

If the idea has a high number of searches per month, you now have an idea that has a great chance of being successful.  Don’t forget to make a note of the exact words people are using the most for that search/idea, so you can use them later if you’ll be posting your work online (use the searched word in your title or as tag words.)

As for symbolism, here’s a great example: I was working on a clip art frame from a doodle I had made which reminded me of the Statue of Liberty, so I did a little research on the Statue of Liberty on Wikipedia.  I found out that there is a lot of symbolism within such as:

“The seven rays form a halo or aureole.   They evoke the sun, the seven seas, and the seven continents, and represent another means, besides the torch, whereby Liberty enlightens the world.”


 There is a whole section dedicated to the design, style, and symbolism

of the Statue of Liberty and it’s a wellspring that can inspire you and assist you in your creation process.

So the next time you are in a bit of a rut,  look for what people want and research your topic, there’s bound to be a much larger story than you originally thought!