Jump to content
pete

Hope I Get More Response This Time Around

Recommended Posts

I have been tooling for many years and have always used patterns from books,pasting pictures together, etc. I have Pete Gorrell's book as well as design artistry (Baird) and 4-5 Chan Geer books. I am SO *(#)(*&$ frustrated that I can't draw a design that I like. They come out too stemmy, to much background, or usually so crowded that the stem and leaves are bigger than the flowers.

IS THERE A RULE OF THUMB or at least a consensus on belt patterns!?!?!

l know to start at the tip (duh!)

but when drawing, do you place your flowers and leaves and fill in the blanks? and if so, do you draw the stems up from the bottom or down from the top? I know it sounds stupid but I get the top flower done and before I'm at the next flower or leaf I've got a jungle going and have used up all my ideas!

I hope that Clay, Bobby,Randy, and others will chime in- I'm getting tired of the same old patterns (as great as they are) and have a new order for dozens of belts. I would happily use just the Chan Geer belt patterns for all of them but I really want to learn to create my own.

thanks to all

respectfully,

pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Pete, I saw your first post and just laid low because I haven't been real happy with belt patterns I've drawn either. But here are some thoughts I have about belt patterns in general.

Belt patterns are repetitive, so you figure out how long you want the segment/pattern to be and draw it once then make a tap off. The segments seem like they are usually between 6 and 12 inches long and repeat along the full length of a belt.

Not only are they typically in segments but sometimes a segment can be divided with a leaf and a flower alternating, so there is a flower at the leading end, typically on the right side as you look at the pattern with a leaf in the middle, with stems in between.

Some belt patterns have only flowers and stems and no leaves.

Most belt patterns are created along a sine curve or "s" curve, the curve can be flatter or more curved (compressed,)depending on what pleases our eye or what works for our design.

Sometimes the stems for the flowers and the leaves go in opposite directions in the same segment and intertwine as they go.

I would start by laying out your pattern geometrically, if that makes any sense. Draw a top and bottom border depending on what width of belt you are drawing that pattern for. Figure out what kind of flower you are going to use and place it at one end of the pattern. I use graph paper or grid paper for drawing all my patterns. It just makes life a lot easier and faster when you have the grids on paper to work with.

Essentially all decorative designs be it leather carving, wood carving, or engraving, are based around sine curves (S curvesor French curves,) and scrolls. People may not actually draw the sine curves or scrolls first but if they don't they envision them in their mind. I see that you are interested in Sheridan carving/designs. I'm sure if you draw your own Sheridan patterns you start out by filling the space you are working on with circles then connecting them. What you end up with is a series of "S" curves and scrolls. A belt pattern contains these same elements but you are filling a longer narrower space so the scrolls are more subdued and flatter.

So you start out with a long gradual S curve that repeats itself as it runs the length of the belt. The S curve starts on the bottom or top of the left end of the segment and gradually flows along the pattern to the right making a long gradual "S" until it ends at the opposite or right side of the your segment, envision a long flowing "S" laying down. This is the basis for your pattern. It might be helpful at first to very lightly draw the S curve in between your top and bottom border. You want it to begin on the top or bottom and one end and finish at the opposite end. This long S curve is the general framework for your belt pattern.

One flower or leaf is at the end on the right side and either another flower or leaf is in the middle. When your get the pattern completed and it moves along the belt the stems on one end should flow out of a flower or leaf. The S curve design should flow smoothly the full length of the belt.

Once you get your flower and leaf in place in the middle and one end of the pattern then you will fill in the stems and what other decorative features you can dream up along the S curve. The leaves coming off your stem should be pretty close to the same width just as in other Sheridan style or western floral designs to achieve balance.

Flow is a very important element in any design and I doubt that I can even explain what it is, but you can probably, "know it when you see it!" The stems should have a nice gradual taper as they go from the base of a flower or leaf back toward and meets the next flower or leaf That taper and thinning of the lines is what sets a really good design apart.

I believe drawing a belt pattern is no different than drawing any othe type of floral pattern. It takes practice and you probably need to start out with more simple designs and ideas and then start refining them and making them more elaborate.

One of the challenges is fitting flowers and leaves within the borders and having them look good. A lot patterns have a oval shaped flower and parts of it disappear under the border. Part of some petals can't be seen but your imagination can envision how they look. If done right this can look good. This is one of the more difficult parts of drawing belt patterns for me. To draw a flower that fits and looks right within the borders. I don't see a lot of belt patterns where the entire flower is visible, it seems to me that a pattern like that gets pretty small it's hard to make it look good. There are exceptions but you have to play with your flower to get it to look right.

In the situation I mentioned earlier where the leaves and flowers are flowing in opposite directions there would be two S curves that are creating a series of flat flowing figure eights along the pattern. That is a more complicated and difficult pattern to draw and probably something to try after you get the hang of more simple designs.

You mentioned having problems having too much background area. Drawing a belt pattern is the same idea as drawing a Sheridan pattern on a bigger space it's just a trickier because you are trying to fill up and long narrow space rather than a larger square, rectangle of circle. I just have to play with a design using trial and error as I draw in the stems between flowers and leaves.

I don't know if all of this make sense to you, and I hope I am not insulting you with these basic design concepts. Maybe some of this might give you some ideas or possibly someone else of this board that is just starting out. What I need to do is take some pix of some tap off designs and post them then if I can figure out how to do it, put some arrows on them to show what I'm talking about. I think if a person looks at some belt patterns that you like this will make more sense.

Anyway maybe some of this helps, I hope so.

Take care and good luck!

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill, Thank you SO much for taking the time to respond. I know that your explanation will be of help to many more that just me.

Please feel free to post your tap-offs!!! I have all of Chan Geer belt designs , but I love looking at as many styles as I can.

Again, great critique - thank you.

respectfully

pete

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill, I usually stay away from floral patterns because I've never understood how to get the 'flow' right. Thank you so much for the design explanation!!! This thread is getting pinned because I don't think I've seen it explained so well before.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill, I usually stay away from floral patterns because I've never understood how to get the 'flow' right. Thank you so much for the design explanation!!! This thread is getting pinned because I don't think I've seen it explained so well before.

Thank you sir, I appreciate your kindness. Glad you found it helpful, hopefully others who are starting out will as well. I would like to be able to include some photos and highight the things I attempted to describe. I am a visual person and it's helpful to me to be able to see what someone is trying to explain. Maybe I can edit my comments and add some photos.

Thanks again,

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do like the Sheridan patterns but am no where near the "create-your-own"

as a beginner I like the easy way to get a pattern. if I find a pattern that is belt sized I trace it onto a notebook paper. I then re-line it with a ultra-fine sharpie. When done the pattern can be seen thru on the back side of the paper.

I then trace the back side with the sharp-sharpie and cover both sides with thin packing tape (I now use tracing mylar and save myself the tracing twice thing---but I'm slow) . anyway, use it as the mirror to the front Add a flower (or whatever) in between and repeat the left/right pattern with a break --

uuhhhhl --- takes som fiddlin to make them blend but that's where a creative spark helps --- or just wing it.. .

Keep Poundin'

dn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to be able to include some photos and highight the things I attempted to describe. I am a visual person and it's helpful to me to be able to see what someone is trying to explain. Maybe I can edit my comments and add some photos.

I, very much, look forward to see this happen. I will continue to wait with anticipation...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Guys,

If you are intending to do much Sheridan style work and are looking for a step-by-step guidance on the sizing of your pattern, determining the flow, and using fill-ins.then you can't do any better than a book by Bob Park, a member on this forum. Bob has written tutorials for us on casing and edging that are pinned on this site. His book is called "Creating Western Floral Designs."

Bob can be reached by sending him a PM from the forum, by email at hiidepounder@cox.net, or by calling him at (602) 999-3099. I have struggled for years with pattern drawing, and this book cleared up every question I ever thought of about it.

I should mention that I am not affiliated in any way with Bob except for having corresponded with him on this forum. I'm just a completely satisfied customer.

Hope you take the time to get this book, and that it helps you as much as it has me.

Mike

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also will speak up for the completeness of the how to's and why's in laying out your patterns as it is explained in Bob's book. I have been making saddles and tooling for a long time. Mostly self taught, however; the additional knowledge that I gained from Bob's book really made a change in my work. When it comes to making saddles, I would put mine next to most without hesitation, however; my tooling is another story, while most I have done work for like what I do, I really wasn't happy with my own tooling till I got Bob's book and started using the principles the way he explained it. Neat thing, I talked to him personally when I ordered the book, and in just a few minutes it was like I was talking to an old time friend that I have known for years. When you read his book, the directions come across the same way. It's like he is there with you in the room, coaching you along. I highly recommend the book, it will answer the questions you have raised, and more.

Happy tooling,

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do a lot of tooling and there's no substitute for practice. Duh. When laying out any pattern, I usually draw it on tracing film first then transfer it once I like what I see. Cheaper than putting it on good leather first. I used to copy patterns and go that route, but found in doing so, my stuff looked a lot like everyone elses. At that point, there's nothing to compel anyone to buy mine if someone can do it faster and better for less....usually embossed instead of hand tooled. The basic process I follow when laying out designs whether on a saddle or other object is to start with determining the size and type of flower. Once I have it figured out, I decide how far apart I want them. On saddles and other items with more space, I generally keep the space for the vines between the flowers to about half the width of the flower itself. So if the flower is 2" across, the space between is around 1". I want the flower to stand out more. By putting more space, the vines start to look busy and you lose the flower among them. For a belt, or something like a billet, you're talking repetition. For larger spaces, I like to mix things up. Regardless of which one, I then determine where the stem attaches to the flower. Using a sine wave, much has to do with the spacing. The wave should cross in the center between the flowers finishing at the bottom near the first and top of the next. I determine the size of the leaves on the vine and adjust the line to allow me to finish them on both sides. Some turn towards the top and some towards the bottom. For thinner leaves then he wave swings higher and lower so it's closer to the edges. For wider leaves and thicker stem, then it's further away so when I finish a leaf near the edge, there's room for it. When I draw it out, I start with a series of arcs coming off of the sine wave. These represent the inside shape of the individual leaves and then I go back and start at the tip making arcs towards the main line to fill in the spaces and outline the rest of the leaf. The reason I go this route is The inside of the leaf generally ties into the outside of the one before it and where there's transition. It's easier for me to visualize how I want it to tie in at that point. If I want it to look like it's coming from behind the previous leaf, it ties in at an angle like the tip is only showing. If I want it to look like it's separate and distinct, the arc from the top of the leaf below flows seamlessly into the arc of the inside of the leaf above where it ties into the stem. This allows me to adjust how full the pattern appears and how much space there is. From there it's just a matter of repeating the pattern. I don't know if there's a rule of thumb for space to the rest and think it's a matter of personal taste and has a lot to do with how well you tool. I've seen some tooling where more sapce makes the rest really stand out. I've seen some like in Sheridan style where the masters are so good they can get away with little space, but the quality of what you see is so good it stands out. Going deep and adding dimension and detail versus shallow and flat looking. The finish will add shadows and such that really make the design pop, particularly when tooled deep. When you go shallow then not so much. So if your tooling is really well done and deep, you may get away with less space but designs that stand out more than one that's shallow with a lot of space and a dyed background. Bill Gardner and Clinton Fay have a good book on Sheridan Style carving with belt examples that's really good. It shows various approaches to laying out the design and different patterns that incorporate other features that's very useful. It also has pictures of how they lay out the patterns and the tooling process. I go with what works for me and what I like so order is very indivual as far as beveling, stamping, backgrounding, etc. It does give good insight into how flowers are places for smooth transitions and such.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first floral belt was, in a word, hideous. Never can seem to keep the cuts even, or even finish the same as I started. So, I cheated and got a Craftool. Geometric, inverted even figures I don't have much problem with at all, just floral. I love Sheridan, just can't seem to get the knack. I also have arthritis which hampers me a lot, hands just get too tired. Therein lies the main part of the problem. Starting...stopping...starting again...stopping again. Continuity is my major failing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Pete, I saw your first post and just laid low because I haven't been real happy with belt patterns I've drawn either. But here are some thoughts I have about belt patterns in general.

Belt patterns are repetitive, so you figure out how long you want the segment/pattern to be and draw it once then make a tap off. The segments seem like they are usually between 6 and 12 inches long and repeat along the full length of a belt.

Not only are they typically in segments but sometimes a segment can be divided with a leaf and a flower alternating, so there is a flower at the leading end, typically on the right side as you look at the pattern with a leaf in the middle, with stems in between.

Some belt patterns have only flowers and stems and no leaves.

Most belt patterns are created along a sine curve or "s" curve, the curve can be flatter or more curved (compressed,)depending on what pleases our eye or what works for our design.

Sometimes the stems for the flowers and the leaves go in opposite directions in the same segment and intertwine as they go.

I would start by laying out your pattern geometrically, if that makes any sense. Draw a top and bottom border depending on what width of belt you are drawing that pattern for. Figure out what kind of flower you are going to use and place it at one end of the pattern. I use graph paper or grid paper for drawing all my patterns. It just makes life a lot easier and faster when you have the grids on paper to work with.

Essentially all decorative designs be it leather carving, wood carving, or engraving, are based around sine curves (S curvesor French curves,) and scrolls. People may not actually draw the sine curves or scrolls first but if they don't they envision them in their mind. I see that you are interested in Sheridan carving/designs. I'm sure if you draw your own Sheridan patterns you start out by filling the space you are working on with circles then connecting them. What you end up with is a series of "S" curves and scrolls. A belt pattern contains these same elements but you are filling a longer narrower space so the scrolls are more subdued and flatter.

So you start out with a long gradual S curve that repeats itself as it runs the length of the belt. The S curve starts on the bottom or top of the left end of the segment and gradually flows along the pattern to the right making a long gradual "S" until it ends at the opposite or right side of the your segment, envision a long flowing "S" laying down. This is the basis for your pattern. It might be helpful at first to very lightly draw the S curve in between your top and bottom border. You want it to begin on the top or bottom and one end and finish at the opposite end. This long S curve is the general framework for your belt pattern.

One flower or leaf is at the end on the right side and either another flower or leaf is in the middle. When your get the pattern completed and it moves along the belt the stems on one end should flow out of a flower or leaf. The S curve design should flow smoothly the full length of the belt.

Once you get your flower and leaf in place in the middle and one end of the pattern then you will fill in the stems and what other decorative features you can dream up along the S curve. The leaves coming off your stem should be pretty close to the same width just as in other Sheridan style or western floral designs to achieve balance.

Flow is a very important element in any design and I doubt that I can even explain what it is, but you can probably, "know it when you see it!" The stems should have a nice gradual taper as they go from the base of a flower or leaf back toward and meets the next flower or leaf That taper and thinning of the lines is what sets a really good design apart.

I believe drawing a belt pattern is no different than drawing any othe type of floral pattern. It takes practice and you probably need to start out with more simple designs and ideas and then start refining them and making them more elaborate.

One of the challenges is fitting flowers and leaves within the borders and having them look good. A lot patterns have a oval shaped flower and parts of it disappear under the border. Part of some petals can't be seen but your imagination can envision how they look. If done right this can look good. This is one of the more difficult parts of drawing belt patterns for me. To draw a flower that fits and looks right within the borders. I don't see a lot of belt patterns where the entire flower is visible, it seems to me that a pattern like that gets pretty small it's hard to make it look good. There are exceptions but you have to play with your flower to get it to look right.

In the situation I mentioned earlier where the leaves and flowers are flowing in opposite directions there would be two S curves that are creating a series of flat flowing figure eights along the pattern. That is a more complicated and difficult pattern to draw and probably something to try after you get the hang of more simple designs.

You mentioned having problems having too much background area. Drawing a belt pattern is the same idea as drawing a Sheridan pattern on a bigger space it's just a trickier because you are trying to fill up and long narrow space rather than a larger square, rectangle of circle. I just have to play with a design using trial and error as I draw in the stems between flowers and leaves.

I don't know if all of this make sense to you, and I hope I am not insulting you with these basic design concepts. Maybe some of this might give you some ideas or possibly someone else of this board that is just starting out. What I need to do is take some pix of some tap off designs and post them then if I can figure out how to do it, put some arrows on them to show what I'm talking about. I think if a person looks at some belt patterns that you like this will make more sense.

Anyway maybe some of this helps, I hope so.

Take care and good luck!

Bill

I am a guy who has made a living doing art for 20 years. I put my designs on living skin. Bill has given very good advice here. After 20 years I can draw big floral/leaf/vine patterns for a big side tattoo right on the girls skin with a surgical marker and then tattoo it. I'm only able to do this after years of doing it on paper first and geometrically mapping it out (I also use graph paper) to ensure even and balanced spacing before even starting to draw the subject matter. What Bill wrote about the S curves is also a staple of artistic design no matter what medium you are working with.

Edited by mrnatural78

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am a guy who has made a living doing art for 20 years. I put my designs on living skin. Bill has given very good advice here. After 20 years I can draw big floral/leaf/vine patterns for a big side tattoo right on the girls skin with a surgical marker and then tattoo it. I'm only able to do this after years of doing it on paper first and geometrically mapping it out (I also use graph paper) to ensure even and balanced spacing before even starting to draw the subject matter. What Bill wrote about the S curves is also a staple of artistic design no matter what medium you are working with.

FYI if you do a google search of this site, there is a discussion somewhere i found once where a user was experimenting with tattooing leather. It is probably at least a 5 year old thread.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much great advice, I have never been fully happy with my designs, this explains well where I am going wrong.

 

Pip

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...