How to Create a Dream Catcher in Affinity Designer

Post pobrano z: How to Create a Dream Catcher in Affinity Designer

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s
tutorial, we’re going to embark on a mystical journey and learn how to create
our very own dream catcher in Affinity Designer. Using a step-by-step workflow,
we’re going to see how we can achieve a detailed illustration with the help of
a few basic geometric shapes in combination with some stroke lines here
and there.

If that sounds interesting, quickly grab a fresh cup of coffee and let’s
get started!

Also, don’t forget you can always expand the project by heading over to GraphicRiver, where you can find a great selection of Native American inspired vector art.

The Origin and Meaning of Dream Catchers

Before we jump
straight into the tutorial, I want to take a couple of moments and talk about
the history and deep meaning that this sacred hoop carries within it.

From an ethnographic perspective, the dream catcher is thought to have
originated from within the Ojibwe people
(also known as the Chippewa, or as
they called themselves the Anishinaabe)
which were an Algonquian speaking
North American tribe, who in 1500 occupied what is now Ontario and Manitoba (in
Canada) and Minnesota and North Dakota (in the U.S.).

According to the Eagle Spirit Ministry, the existence of this mystical talisman derives
from the legend of the Asibikaashi
(the Spider Woman), in which an old grandmother who served as the spiritual
protector of the people could no longer watch over all the babies due to the growth and expansion of the tribe to all four corners of the
land.

To overcome this, she crafted what we now call a dream catcher, by taking a willow hoop and spinning a web around its center, which would then be placed above the sleeping place, where the sunlight could hit it.

Since the Native Americans believed that the night air was filled with dreams, both good and bad, the sacred hoop would attract and catch all the bad ones, which would be burnt by the light of day. The good ones would pass through its center and gently slide down the feathers onto the sleeper.

From a metaphorical perspective, the shape of the dream catcher is deeply tied to the natural world, where the hoop represents the circle of life as well as the passing of the sun and moon across the sky. The feathers act as a smooth ladder meant to carefully carry the dreams onto the person underneath, while the beads are thought to symbolize the spider that wove the web. The web itself is connected to the hoop with the help of eight nodes, which are thought to represent the legs of the spider.

I believe that knowing the history of an object is always important when deciding to use it as a symbol, since by opening the doors of knowledge you can decipher its true meaning and therefore portray it as close as possible to its true nature.

For me, the dream catcher is a powerful symbol of the Native Americans’ culture, which should not only be respected but honored since it managed to withstand the passing of time and prove that our connection to nature is more powerful than we can imagine.

Even though in its original version, the design had a spider-like web, over the centuries multiple iterations were created, gradually adding beauty to function. So I decided to take the circle of life metaphor and apply it to the web in order to make it feel more geometric.

I hope that by sharing this piece of information with you, I’ve managed to deepen your interest in this beautiful culture. Now let’s move on and start working on our little project.

1. How to Set Up a
New Project File

Assuming you
already have Affinity up and running, let’s set up a New Document by going to File
> New
(or by using the Control-N
keyboard shortcut) which we will adjust as follows:

  • Type:
    Web
  • Document Units: Pixels
  • Create artboard:
    checked
  • Page Width:
    640 px
  • Page Height:
    640 px
  • DPI: 72
setting up a new document

2. How to Create the Hoop Frame

Now that we’ve finished setting up our
document, we can start working on the actual illustration, and we will do so by
creating the outer frame.

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (M twice), draw a 252 x 252
px
circle, which we will color using #6D96D1 and then horizontally center
align to the underlying Artboard, positioning it at a distance of 262 px from its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the frame

Step 2

Create a smaller 240 x 240 px circle
(highlighted with red), which we will position in the center of the previous
one and then cut out using the Subtract
function.

cutting out the smaller circle from the frame

Step 3

Give the resulting shape an outline using the Stroke method, by creating a copy of it (Control-C) which we will paste in front (Control-V) and then adjust by changing its color to #433363, making sure to flip its Fill with
its Stroke (Shift-X). Set the Stroke’s
Width to 4 pt, and then select and group the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the outer frame

Quick tip: from this point on, I strongly recommend you
organize the different sections of the illustration using groups, which you can
rename within the Layers panel,
making it easier to identify and edit them if you need to later on.

example of organizing the different shapes

3. How to Create
the Woven Web 

Once we’ve created
our outer frame, we can gradually add the geometric web one shape at a time, as
we will see in the following moments.

Step 1

Create four 120 x 120 px circles
with a 4 pt Stroke (#433363), which we will position in the inner section of
the frame’s outline as seen in the reference image, making sure their strokes overlap. Take your time, and
once you’re done, move on to the next step.

adding the main circles to the woven web

Step 2

Add the remaining web segments using four more 120 x 120 px circles with a 4
pt Stroke
(#433363), which we will diagonally position on the frame as
seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, select and group all the circles
together using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut.

adding the secondary circles to the woven web

Step 3

Next, we need to add the little center cutout to the web, which we will
create using a clipping object. First, create a 240 x 240 px circle (highlighted with red), from the center of which
we will cut out a smaller 24 x 24 px one.

creating the clipping object

Step 4

Once you have the clipping object, all you need to do is go to the Layers panel and drag and position the
grouped circles within the larger shape.

masking the woven web

Step 5

As soon as you’ve masked the circles, you can select the clipping object
and remove its Fill color so that
you can have a clear view of the background.

removing the fill color from the clipping object

Step 6

Give the center hole an outline using a 24 x 24 px circle with a 4
pt Stroke
, which we will color using #433363.

adding the small outline to the center of the woven web

Step 7

Add the little
binding nodes using eight 12 x 12 px circles
(#433363), which we will position at the following intersections.

adding the nodes to the woven web

Step 8

Select the Pen Tool (P) and, using a 4 pt thick Stroke (#433363) with a Round Cap, draw the little string segments holding the web to the
frame. Use three 10 px tall
segments for each group.

adding the support string segments to the frame

Step 9

Add the main shape for the hanging string segment using a 16 x 16 px circle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#433363), which we will position above the frame at a
distance of just 8 px from its
outline’s top edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the hanging string

Step 10

Since we want to adjust the lower section of the circle, we’ll first
have to select it and then use the Convert
to Curves
function in order to get access to its nodes.

converting the hanging string to curves

Step 11

Once you’ve converted the shape, you can use the Node Tool (A) to select its bottom node, which we will push to the
bottom by 12 px using
the down-facing arrow key so that it ends up overlapping the outline of the
frame.

adjusting the shape of the hanging string

Step 12

Before we move on to the next part, make sure you select and group all
of the shapes together using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut, giving each section a descriptive name from within the Layers panel.

example of organizing the main shapes of the frame

4. How to Create
the Feathers

Next, we’re going
to focus on the lower section of the dream catcher and create the three
feathers which help all the good dreams slide down onto the person that it’s
protecting.

Step 1

Start working on the central feather by creating a 24 x 28 px triangle (#6D96D1) using the Triangle Tool, which we will center align to the underlying Artboard and then position at a
distance of 72 px from the frame’s
bottom binding strings.

creating the upper shape of the middle feather

Step 2

Add the lower section of the feather using a 24 x 60 px rectangle, which we will color using #6D96D1 and then
position below the smaller triangle.

adding the lower section of the middle feather

Step 3

Adjust the bottom corners of the shape that we’ve just created by
selecting them using the Corner Tool (C),
and then setting their Radius to 12 px.

adjusting the corner radius of the lower section of the middle feather

Step 4

Select the two shapes and unite them into a single larger one using the Add function.

uniting the two sections of the middle feather

Step 5

Give the resulting shape a 4 pt thick
outline (#433363), making sure to select and group the two shapes together
afterwards using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the middle feather

Step 6

Create the first color segment using a 12 x 16 px rectangle (#FFFAE9), which we will adjust by pushing its
right nodes to the bottom by 12
px
. Give the resulting shape a 4 pt thick
outline (#433363), grouping (Control-G)
and then positioning the two on the right side of the feather as seen in the
reference image.

adding the top-right detail to the middle feather

Step 7

Make a copy (Control-C >
Control-V
) of the outline that we’ve just created, and position it below so
that the strokes overlap.

adding the bottom-right detail to the middle feather

Step
8

Add the left-sided details using a copy (Control-C > Control-V) of the ones that we’ve just finished
working on, which we will vertically reflect (right click > Transform > Flip Vertical). Position the copies
on the opposite side of the feather as seen in the reference image, making
sure to switch the position of the filled detail with the outlined one.

adding the left details to the middle feather

Step
9

Create the shaft and the string segment connecting the feather to the
lower section of the frame using a 160
px
tall 4 pt thick Stroke line (#433363), which we will
position at a distance of 8 px from
the feather’s outline.

adding the string section to the middle feather

Step 10

Add the bottom blue bead using an 8
x 8 px
circle (#6D96D1) with a 4 pt thick
outline (#433363), which we will group and then position on the string, at a
distance of 54 px from the frame’s bottom
section.

adding the lower bead to the middle feather

Step
11

Create the red bead using a 16 x
12 px
rounded rectangle (#F76A4D) with a 4 px corner Radius and 4 pt thick outline (#433363), which we
will group (Control-G) and then
position above the previous one, making sure their strokes overlap.

adding the red bead to the middle feather

Step
12

Add the top bead using a copy (Control-C
> Control-V
) of the blue one, which we will reposition so that its outline
now overlaps that of the red bead.

adding the top bead to the middle feather

Step
13

Add the little node holding the beads in place using an 8 x 8 px circle, which we will color
using #433363 and then position onto the top bead’s outline as seen in the
reference image. Once you’re done, select and group all of the current
feather’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the node to the middle feather

Step
14

Create the left feather, using a copy (Control-C > Control-V) of the one that we’ve just finished
working on, which we will position on the left side of the frame.

creating and positioning the left feather

Step
15

Adjust the copy that we’ve just created by increasing the length of the
feather’s string from 160 px to 208 px.

adjusting the string length of the left feather

Step
16

Finish off the dream catcher, and with it the project itself, by adding
the right feather using a copy (Control-C
> Control-V
) of the one that we’ve just adjusted, which we will position
on the opposite side. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the shapes together
before hitting that save button.

finishing off the dream catcher

Great
Job!

As
always, I hope that you’ve managed to follow each and every step, and most
importantly learned something new and useful.

Also, if you have any questions feel free to post them within the
comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

finished project preview