How to create a Pop Art Explosion

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This article is part of the HOWTOs series.
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Pop art result.png
Key
This article uses these graphical conventions
Tutorial template icon window.pngWindow 〉〉 Tab/Panel in Window
ButtonMenuChoiceKeyboard

Introduction

This tutorial will show you how to create a pop art explosion.

Specific techniques used in this tutorial

  • Creating shapes.
  • Creating a polygon.
  • Transforming shapes with rotation.
  • Creating a pattern.
  • Filling with a pattern.
  • Converting text to outlines.

This tutorial can be followed by anyone with a basic knowledge of Scribus but should probably not be attempted by people who have never used Scribus before.

Set-up

First you'll need to download and install the "Startling Font" if you don't already have it from here. (You can use any font but this one looks right.)

  • Open Scribus and create a new document (A4/Letter Portrait will be fine).

This little project needs quite a bit of space so it's probably best to create each "layer" on a different page.

  • Choose menu PageInsert…
  • Change the number of pages to 2 and OK the dialog.

The Background "Flower"

Figure 1
  • Go to the document's first page.
  • Choose menu InsertDefault ShapesRight-angle triangle (it's the third one down the list).
  • Click somewhere near the centre of the page.
  • Enter a Width of 14 and a Height of 150.
  • OK the dialog.
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours set the Line colour to "None".
  • Set the Fill colour to "Red" with a Shade of 60%.

You've now got your first starting triangle - see figure 1.

Figure 2
  • With the triangle selected, choose menu ItemDuplicate
  • Select the duplicate and in Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 X,Y,Z press the "Flip Horizontal" icon (the double-headed horizontal arrow).
  • Change the Width to 24pt.
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colors set the Fill colour to "Yellow".
  • Drag the new yellow triangle to the right a bit (so you can more easily select the other one).
  • With the yellow triangle still selected, shift-select the red one.
  • Choose menu WindowsAlign and Distribute
  • In the Align and Distribute palette, set "Relative To" to Last Selected.
  • Press the "Align right sides of items to left side of anchor" icon (top left).
  • Press the "Align Tops" icon (second from left on the bottom).

You should now have two triangles the same as figure 2.

Pop art rotation origin.png
  • Select the red triangle.
  • Choose menu ItemTransform…
  • Press the Add button (bottom left) and choose "Rotation" from the drop-down menu.
  • Set the Angle to 13.9 degrees (you'll have to type it).
  • In the "Origin" box select the top-left circle.
  • Set the number of copies to 25.
  • OK the dialog.

Halfway done, now for the other bit.

Figure 3
  • Select the yellow triangle (you may need to drag-select it to make sure you don't select anything else).
  • Choose menu ItemTransform…
  • Press the "Add" button (bottom left) and choose "Rotation" from the drop-down menu.
  • Set the Angle to 13.9 degrees as before.
  • In the "Origin" box, this time, select the top-right circle.
  • Set the number of copies to 25.
  • OK the dialog.

You should now have a nice "flower" like that in figure 3.

Warning
You might notice that the bottom "petal" doesn't look perfect but that's not too much of a worry. If you're really bothered about it you can go back and mess around with triangle widths and rotation values to get it looking how you want but that may take quite a bit of time.

Don't worry about the edges being ragged, you'll fix that at the end.

  • Drag-select everything you've drawn on this page.
  • Choose menu ItemGroup

The Explosion

Now you'll need to draw the "explosion" that goes between the background and the text.

Figure 4
  • Scroll down to the second page.
  • Choose menu InsertInsert PolygonProperties…
  • Change the number of corners to 7.
  • Click the "Apply Factor" check-box to activate it.
  • Set the "Factor" to -45% (minus 45).
  • Set the "Curvature" to 20%.
  • Click near the middle of the page.
  • Enter a Width of 260pt and a Height of 160pt.
  • OK the dialog. (Drag the shape, if necessary, to the centre of the page.)
  • With the shape selected, in Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 X,Y,Z set the Rotation to 330 degrees.

You should now have your starting shape as in figure 4.

  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Line set the Line Width to 3pt.
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours set the Fill colour to "White".
  • Choose menu ItemMultiple Duplicate
  • OK the dialog without making any changes.

Now for the dotted fill. Hold onto your hat!

Figure 5
  • Choose menu InsertDefault ShapesCircle
  • Click anywhere you have some space.
  • Enter a Width of 16pt and a Height of 16pt also.
  • OK the dialog.
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours set the Fill colour to "Blue".
  • Set the Shade to 60%.
  • Set the Line colour to "None".
  • With the small circle selected, choose menu ItemTransform…
  • Press the Add button and choose "Translation" from the drop-down menu.
  • Set both the Horizontal and Vertical values to 8pt.
  • Set the number of Copies to 1.
  • OK the dialog.
  • De-select everything and re-select just the copied circle (on the right).
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours set the Fill colour to "None".
  • Drag-select both circles.
  • Choose menu ItemGroup
  • Choose menu ItemSend to Patterns
  • Enter a name of "Dots" and OK the dialog.
  • Select the spiky shape you created earlier (it's actually the duplicate on the top of the two).
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours press the Fill icon and choose "Pattern" from the drop-down menu below it.
  • Select the "Dots" pattern.
  • In the "Scaling" area below the patterns, set both the Y-Scale and Y-Scale value to 25%.

Phew! You should now have your dot-filled shape as in figure 5.

  • Drag-select both the spiky shapes.
  • Choose menu ItemGroup
warning
Bug Watch
Because of a bug in the current version of Scribus, if you save a document with a grouped pattern, when you re-open the document the group will have been given a black outline which didn't previously exist. For this reason it is recommended that you keep the "Dots" group in your document, just off the page perhaps, so you can re-create the pattern before exporting.

The Text

Now you'll create the text.

Figure 6
  • Scroll down to the third page.
  • Create a text frame that is around 400pt across by 160pt high.
  • Double-click the frame and enter "BANG" (without the quotes) as the text.
  • Select the page background to de-select the frame.
  • Re-select the frame.
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Text, set the font to be "Startling Font".
  • Set the font size to be 100pt.
  • In Colour & Effects set the text colour to be "Red".
  • Choose menu ItemConvert ToOutlines
  • Re-select the text.
  • Choose menu ItemUngroup
  • Choose menu ItemCombine Polygons
  • Re-select the text.
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colour set the Line colour to "Black".
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Line set the line Width to 3pt.
  • Choose menu ItemMultiple Duplicate
  • OK the dialog without making any changes.
  • Select the text (actually the top copy).
  • Press the down cursor key twice.
  • Press the right cursor key twice.
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colour set the Fill colour to "Black". (This is in case you want to move the shadow farther along.)
  • Choose menu ItemLevelLower

You should now have some text with a shadow, like figure 6.

Warning
You could have got similar effects with the Text Outline/Shadow functions (Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Text 〉〉 Colour & Effects) but you would find aligning the text with everything else later a bit more difficult.
  • Drag-select the text.
  • Choose menu ItemGroup

Bringing Things Together

  • Select the text.
  • Scroll up and shift-select the spiky shape.
  • Scroll up again and shift-select the "flower".
  • In the Tutorial template icon window.pngAlign & Distribute palette (open it again if you closed it earlier) make sure the "Relative To" is set to "Last Selected".
  • Press the "Centre on vertical axis" icon.
  • Press the "Centre on horizontal axis" icon.

Finishing Up

Just one more thing to do to tidy things up.

  • Choose menu InsertInsert ShapeDefault ShapesCircle
  • Click anywhere on your page.
  • Enter a Width and Height of 300pt.
  • OK the dialog.
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Colours set the Line colour to "White".
  • In Tutorial template icon window.pngProperties 〉〉 Line set the line width to 6pt.
  • With the white circle still selected, shift-select the "flower".
  • In the Tutorial template icon window.pngAlign & Distribute palette make sure the "Relative To" is set to "Last Selected".
  • Press the "Centre on vertical axis" icon.
  • Press the "Centre on horizontal axis" icon.

And there you have it. Your very own piece of pop art.

Pop art result.png