Little Red Triangle

The #ds106 Daily Create for December 26, 2019: Abstractify: “Re-create a popular book cover by keeping the same words and text but changing the imagery into abstract art.”

Here is what I made:

Little Red Riding Hood book cover with a triangle for the hood, a circle for the face, a rectangle for the cape, and an oval for the basket

I stared with this cover image of Little Red Riding Hood from a Project Gutenberg version, posted on Wikimedia Commons.

Little Red Riding Hood original book cover with a drawing of a girl in a red hood holding a basket

I added that image to GIMP and used the “smudge” tool to smudge the colours. I tried various brushes and various settings to get something that still held a hint of what was there before, but was mostly a bunch of colours.

Then I added a couple of new layers for the shapes. For each shape I used the select tool to make the shape and then the bucket fill tool to fill the colour in the selection. I put the circle on a different layer than the red block and triangle so I could move it around more easily and place it where I wanted.

For the basket I used one of the brushes that comes with GIMP and used a dynamics setting I no longer remember (had to play around with that one a lot too).

In other news, for this I downloaded GIMP 2.10.14, which definitely works better with my OS than the 2.8 GIMP version I was using a couple of days ago!

The cat is king

The #ds106 Daily Create for December 24, 2019 was: Dress your pet up as royalty. Here is my cat Marco dressed as King Henry II.

Painting of a king with a golden crown, a golden necklace and a red robe, except the king's face is replaced by that of a tabby cat.

I used an image of a painting of Henry II from Wikimedia Commons, and this picture of my cat Marco:

A tabby cat sitting on a kitchen counter in front of a refrigerator

I used GIMP to create this image (version 2.8.18, which seemed kinda buggy, and I just now saw that I’m behind a couple of versions!).

I started by importing both images into GIMP as layers, and then I had to scale each layer up or down to make the cat’s face fit approximately into the space in the painting where King Henry II’s face was. As you can see, it didn’t fully work, because basically the robe is around Marco’s legs rather than his shoulders. But this is where I ended up landing.

Then, after some aligning and cropping, I added an alpha channel to the painting image and started using the eraser tool to let the cat image underneath come through. The tricky part was the whiskers, which I had to do one by one on the crappy little trackpad on my laptop, which is not conducive to drawing straight lines nicely.

I also ended up doing some erasing, and then realizing I wanted to resize the cat image more, and so then the erasing didn’t fit anymore, and then I had to start over (the above is about the fourth version or so). I think layer masks might have been my friend instead but honestly, it’s been so many years since I’ve used them that I can’t remember how to do so (and it was late last night when I was doing this and I decided not to try to re-learn at that point).

When I had the erasing looking pretty good I got this image:

Painting of a King with a golden crown and golden necklace, except the King's face is replaced by that of a tabby cat. The robe is further down the cat's legs than in the first version of this image above.

The robe was sitting too far below his shoulders and I didn’t like the way it looked. But the erasing was already done and I wasn’t going to do yet another version.

So I imported the original painting into the image on a new layer, and erased everything above the collar. Then I moved that layer up, effectively moving the collar and robe up on the image. It still looks like it’s sitting a bit low on him in the final version (top of this post), but I think it’s better.

I kept thinking that it was possible to do a selection on an image and copy the selection to a new layer (rather than adding a new layer and erasing everything around what I wanted), but again, I couldn’t remember at the time. Of course, all I needed to do was a web search to find the answer, and yes it’s possible, as this post from Logos by Nick shows.

Now to download GIMP 2.10 and see what has changed!

Week 4 of #30dayTDC for June 2017

Yesterday was the last day of the #ds106 30-day Daily Create challenge. With this blog post I’m managing to finish them all. It’s been both harder and easier than I thought it might: harder to be creative even when I didn’t feel creative, and easier because I managed to come up with ideas and artifacts even for things I though I’d have a hard time with (and some of them I really did have a hard time coming up with ideas for!).

June 25, 2017

The daily create for June 25 was: “Do your colleagues think you’re a joke? Prove them right by turning yourself into a cartoon.”

The daily create page said we could try, which is an online tool that makes your images look like cartoons. I used a selfie of me in a hat given to me by Pat Lockley:

Me wearing a Pikachu hat

June 26

The Daily Create for June 26 was to caption a set of photos. Please see this blog post for a very short story.


June 27

The daily create for June 27: “Top this caption! So many possibilities. Create a tag line. An Alternate reality. Or just plain old royal humour.”

The Queen of England sitting next to her son Charles. Charles looks very dejected.

I used to add some quick captions.


June 28

The Daily Create for June 28: “The #30dayTDC is just like riding a bicycle. Show us your bicycle, or someone else’s bicycle, or just something about bicycles.”

I made this one with the Paper by 53 app on my iPad. It has some neat functionality: you can create a background with a colour and then change the colour of the background only quite easily even after you’ve put other stuff on there. You can draw something, like the bike, and then copy and paste more versions of it on the page. You can also move the elements you’ve put on the background.

I think I was channeling the “alternate reality” suggestion from the daily create the day before and I created an alternate reality where bikes could fly.

Drawing of a night sky with a bright, full moon and three silhouettes of people riding bikes against a background of stars. Written on the bottom is: Airbikes!

June 29

Daily create for June 29: “Create your fantasy band. Who (alive, dead or fictional) would be in your fantasy band, and what would your role be?”

I was in a drawing mood, and this one I decided to do on actual paper (okay, maybe not digital storytelling here!). I wanted to draw some cats playing music together, but my drawing skills are so rudimentary it was all I could do to create a solo act.


drawing of a cat sitting on a bench playing a keyboard and singing.

June 30

The daily create for June 30: “Tell a story in two images.”

I found this one difficult because it was so open–it could be any two images in the world! At first I tried picking two from five card flickr as @dogtrax had done for this one, but I just couldn’t put a story together I liked from my own set of five images.

So then I went to my own set of images from my phone and found a couple that I thought could work together. I then put them into the app on my phone and added text and some filters.

a lake with trees reflected in the water that are upside down, with the caption: "She had entered a strange, upside down world..."

Looking up at some clouds that look like pillows, with the caption: "Where the clouds were pillows for her bed."

Week 3 of #30dayTDC

I’ve got a week of catching up to do on the June 2017 30 day Daily Create challenge. Here are the ones I’ve done this week.

June 18, 2017

The daily create for June 18 was “Scribbles into photos”:

Use the fotogenerator to turn a series of line sketches into a photo. Draw yourself, your dog, your cat, your teacher, your anyone. How scary or realistic are the results?

My son and I both played around with this one for quite awhile. Here is what I landed on:

My son played with this app for over an hour, doing lots of drawings. Here’s one of them:

June 19, 2017

The daily create for June 19 was: “What animal would you be?”

If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Tell us, or show us, by any of the usual means. Or unusual.

I had a lot of fun with this one. I used an image of kittens from (licensed CC0) because I wanted to be a kitten in a basket of kittens. Then I took an image of me from a few years ago and put both of these images into GIMP. Here I am!

Once there, I had to move and scale the image of me so it would fit in the right place. My face is facing a weird direction compared to that of the kitten, but this is the daily create and I didn’t have time to mess around with that. I added an alpha channel to the kitten image, reduced the opacity so I could see my image under it, and moved my image around to approximately the right place. Then I used the eraser tool to erase around the kitten’s eyes so you could see my face underneath.

But of course the eyes weren’t in the right place, so I had to make a couple of copies of the kitten image and cut each eye out with the free select tool and then use the “cut” and “paste” functions to put each eye on a new layer (different layers for each eye so I could manipulate them separately.

Finally, I also recolored my face so it was a bit closer to the kitten’s face colour.

I also made a version with the cat’s nose. The nose is really off in terms of how it’s oriented, though.


June 20, 2017

The daily create for June 20 was: “Can you impress someone in 5 words?” Taken from a challenge, from this tweet. Here are a bunch of responses from others.

I was doing a 7-day drawing challenge from a local art store, and doing two challenges each day this week was hard. I decided to draw this one.

I thought later that it would be better for the person to ask if the other wanted help, but I couldn’t make that fit into five words!


June 21, 2017

The daily create for June 21:

If you can name a band “Men Without Hats” what else can you be without and still have a band? And an album?

Let’s see your bands name and make their new album cover!

I had a hard time coming up with ideas for this one. I kept thinking “men without hats” and what kept coming into my mind was something about “without cats.” My son is a huge cat lover, and if he didn’t have any cats he would be devastated. So that’s what I made.

I made this image in Pixlr:

boy with his hands covering his face as if he is very sad. Text next to him says "A boy without cats"

Then I used the Squigglish app in my iOS phone to add a squiggly drawing of him thinking of a cat. It worked really nicely and I tweeted the gif that resulted (the squiggles move), but now I can’t find the gif on my phone anywhere. I just tried to make another test squiggle gif and it saved to my phone just fine. I don’t know where this one went, and I can’t seem to download it from Twitter. Darn!

But here is the tweet…


June 22, 2017

The daily create for June 22 was to make a “lune” poem:

So we are doing the 30 day Challenge. Some of us want Talky Tina’s CREATORIST badge.

Let’s write a Lune using @johnjohnston’s Lune Maker about the joys of being a creatorist.

I hadn’t heard of a lune before, so I learned something! According to this web page from the poets collective, there are two forms of lunes. The one used by the Lune Maker linked to above is the second form: 3 words, 5 words, 3 words (no other rules).

picture of notebook & pen with the words: "I draw sometimes. think I'm no good. I draw anyway.

June 23, 2017

The daily create for June 23:

A new planet has been discovered. Sensors indicate it is a hospitable home for DS106.

You may name it. What are you going to call it? What are it’s features?


Here’s my contribution:

I did this one in GIMP using original images from NASA and @iamtalkytina.

Mars image (artist rendition of rover for 2020) from NASA.

Talky Tina image from @iamtalkytina, licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

In GIMP, I opened the Talky Tina image over the NASA image, and painstakingly used the eraser tool to go around and remove the background from it (after adding an alpha channel to give it a transparent background after erasing). That always takes a long time. But now I have that image cut out against a transparent background for future uses!

Then I recolored the Talky Tina image to make it look like she is on the planet. I played with several ways of doing so, and settled on “colorize,” adjusting the colour, saturation, and brightness until I liked how it looked.

Then it was just a matter of adding text. I used “Eurostile” for most of it, and then Haettenschweiler for “creatorists.”


June 24, 2017

The daily create for June 24:

What wisdom can you share with us and with future generations using Hieroglyphs?

The Hieroglyphs Generator will help you express your thoughts. Make them nice ones!


Here is mine:

It says: “Make time for art.” But it’s a little small, so I did the option where you can take out vowels and it came out bigger:

Tomorrow I catch up on the one from June 21 and also do tomorrow’s one. It is sometimes difficult, but a lot of fun, doing all of these. I must say I am getting less sleep this month than usual, though, because I always do my creates after everyone else has gone to bed!


Maps, moving pictures, and mermaids…

… and other daily creates from this week.

I haven’t blogged about my daily creates for 6 days in this 30-day daily create marathon, so I’ve got a bit of catching up to do. And I am behind on one of them from this week already.

The daily create for June 12 was:

Maps are crazy things, full of inaccuracies, strange proportions and distortions, and there often be dragons hiding off the edge of the World!

Add to the craziness of cartography by using the tool at Map Stack to create a visual piece of art that uses a map (either of your place or some other place) as the source of inspiration. Add layers to make a rich interpretation of the world.

Map Stack is a lot of fun. It’s like an image manipulation tool like GIMP only for maps (and not as powerful). Here is the one I made of the area of Melbourne where I lived when we spent a year on sabbatical in Australia (2012-2013…I first took DS106 in the Spring of 2013).


The daily create for June 13, 2017:

ZOMG ROTL art! Follow the lead of Slut4Art and create a TIL, TFW, ICYMI type tweet for what is going on in classic art.

I took a long time for this one. I went to the openly-licensed collections listed in the Creative Commons search tool to find an image I could say a TIL or TFW or ICYMI thing about. Finding the right image took at least an hour…I can’t remember exactly how long. Here’s what I came up with:

Appraising the Day’s Work by Anna Ancher (1883), licensed CC0 on Europeana.

If I’m just going to add text to an image, usually I use Pixlr Express because it’s super easy and fast. But I wanted to use speech bubbles and that just wasn’t working out easily. Once you set text or stickers in Pixlr Express you can’t move them again later, and that was too limiting.

So I used GIMP for this, and created speech bubbles myself. I used the rectangular select tool to select a section on a new, transparent layer, and then used the bucket tool to fill it in. I used the free select tool to create the little arrow thing pointing to who is saying what. I put each of the speech bubbles on different layers so I could move them independently. Having them on layers meant I could adjust the transparency of them as well, which I liked.

The best part about this one, though, is that I got a reply from Skagens Museum to my tweet with this image in it (a set of museums focusing on Skagens painters, of which Anna Ancher is one):


The daily create for June 14:

Panorama clone yourself!

More of me? I mean you? Yes! Try this low tech approach to place yourself multiple times in a mobile phone panorama image.

You will need a friend to operate a mobile phone camera in panorama mode. The idea is to have them pause their movement after they pass your first position, then you run around behind them and set up just ahead of the continued motion.

I played around with this multiple times and had some pretty strange results sometimes. This one turned out the best. Thanks to my son for moving the camera!

Dinner would be done quicker if there were more of me.

You can get strange effects with this, like this one where my son’s arms disappeared in the middle image for some reason.

Look ma, no arms!

The daily create for June 15:

All this one said was: “I am nervous.”

I did a quick drawing…

This was the only thing that came to me when I saw the prompt.


The daily create for June 16:

Design the poster for a movie with this plot: “A mermaid rebuilds the Brooklyn Bridge out of paradoxes.”

(from Magical Realism Bot on Twitter)

This was a challenge. I spent the day trying to come up with something, and in the end what I did was kind of literal–a mermaid spewing paradoxes that actually hold up the bridge.

Sources for image:

  • Brooklyn bridge, licensed CC0 on
  • Mermaid icons purchased from (I have a yearly subscription, which also allows you to download in colour). The Noun Project has a handy app that’s great except that you can’t find links to the icons on the website through it, so I don’t have a link for the mermaid icon I used.

I’d like to say I made the speech bubbles easily like in the Anna Ancher image above, but I tried to do something fancy with the one holding up the bridge and spent way too long on it. I wanted to warp it to fit the bridge shape, and spent a long time trying to figure out how to do that in GIMP. Suffice it to say I didn’t really figure out a good way, though much time was wasted playing with Tools->Distort->Curve Bend, which works okay except you can’t see exactly what it’s doing until you close out of it and so you have to do it over and over (there is a “preview” function but that didn’t seem to do much).

In the end I used the free select tool to make it more rectangular, and then used bucket fill as well as the eraser to take out the curves I had added and make the speech bubble more like a rectangle. Overall, this was over an hour’s worth of work, which is far too long for a daily create, especially for results I’m not that excited about.


The daily create for June 17:

Terrible, terrible headlines!

Use the Upworthy Generator to see examples and create your own DS106 Unworthy Headline. Bonus internet points if you find an appropriate image to go with your headline.

And wrap a story it innuendo about it.

Okay, so I hadn’t actually heard of Upworthy, and I had to go look not only at the parody generator but the original site too. Even then the easiest way for me to go about this one was to find an image first. I searched through some of my old images and found one I took in Costa Rica last December. A friend who is a botanist said it’s some kind of passion flower.

I took a picture of it originally because I thought it looked like something out of Dr. Seuss. Hence the headline here.

I did this one in Pixlr Express, which also has, I discovered, a “splash” tool that desaturates the whole image and lets you ‘paint’ the colour back in where you want it. This one truly took me more like the 15 minutes a daily create should take!



Illustrating logical fallacies

The #ds106 daily create for June 11, 2017 was:

Are you sick of slippery slopes and red herrings? Do illegitimate appeals to authority set your teeth on edge? Why not channel that emotion into art?

Channel your anger at politicians and illustrate their fallacious reasoning instead. Pick your favourite fallacy and illustrate it for us.

Through this daily create I found the great site, which has a nice summary of various logical fallacies along with examples.

I saw this great one by Jenny Hayman and decided I wanted to do a comic as well. And I remembered that Kevin Hodgson often does comics for the daily create. I looked around at various online comic maker sites and I didn’t like most of them but I liked the look of I think that is one he often uses. It’s pretty minimalist and you don’t have a ton of choices for objects or characters, but it gets the job done and you don’t have to sign up for any service (you can do it anonymously).

Here’s what I made:

And here it is on stripgenerator, as an “anonymous” strip.

This was fun, and something I could maybe use in teaching. Students could make comics and not have to sign up for anything, and it’s pretty easy to do.