Jazzing up your pictorial quilt


So you have a photo you want to use for a pictorial quilt but it’s not quite right just yet, so what do you do? First decide on what part is appealing to you that will become your focal point.  Discard any part of the photo that is distracting from the focal point, or that doesn’t work in the setting.  In the case of this photo, the water was cleaned up by taking out the little bits in the water and the photo was cropped to highlight one leaf in particular.  I think this made for a better relationship between the viewer and the leaf.



Original photo—Kings Park, Perth, Western Australia


Now to make the main leaf to stand out from the crowd. How to do this?  Well, the value of the whole picture was basically the same, so more contrast was needed.  I love Autumn leaves so having an orange leaf was the obvious choice for me (if I had to pick just one colour).  To make it stand out, the background became sepia tones and then darkened to achieve the right mix of dark, medium and light areas.  The colours you choose for the scheme may dictate the time of day or year, or the mood of the image too as you can see here.



Another leaf photo but the colours have been changed to indicate dusk on a wintry day


You don’t have to use the colour scheme as photographed, or even use every part of your photo.  Taking plenty of reference photos is a must for me.  I took 150 photos of these leaves in the park that day.  The surface tension of the water was terrific.   On a recent trip to Launceston, Tasmania, I took 5400 photos in six days.  You gotta love a digital camera. Trust me, there was that much to photograph!  Photos don’t have to be perfect for quilting—all you need is a bit here or there from them to build your image.

I hope you have some fun refining your images to create a fabulous quilt!

Happy quilting,


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