Water Pistol Find
I found a pack of four water pistols in a pound store – they would be ideal for a pattern design. At the time I thought the design would be for children, but after developing ideas they began to look a lot more like Andy Warhol than Andy Pandy. The water pistols are very translucent and in four wonderful lurid colours. Elephant Squirt Gun is embossed on the side, perhaps they were made in India for an American market?
Photographing The Squirt Guns
The first photos were shot with strong lighting from below, but this made them into silhouettes. Adding an extra light on one side with reflectors all round worked the best. I shot all four water pistols, but found the blue one had the best definition. This was then cutout with a clipping path. It was then easy to set up different hue and saturation layers to achieve all the different colours.
Converting To Illustrator Files
I used Illustrator’s Auto Trace to convert the blue photograph into just six colours. I then converted the six colours to different opacities of the same hue. It was then possible to use the same image 6 times over using different colours.
Adding Colour Behind The Pistols
As the design progressed, I wanted to be able to re-colour the pistols quicker. So instead of using six different opacities of the same hue, I changed each one to six different opacities of white instead. By adding a layer behind of the entire water pistol I could easily alter the colour quicker.
I experimented with adding a drop shadow generated by Illustrator, but it looked old fashioned so instead I used the background shape moved slightly. Then making it 20% black. So would take on the effect of the background.
I think the most appealing are those with one main colour with one secondary colour for just one of the pistols. Perhaps the least successful were the ones using all the colours at the same time.