With the holiday seasons coming up sooner than anyone really wants I have started making a new gift idea that I have had in my head for some time. From the cartoon strip “Calving and Hobbes” I have always enjoyed the snowmen from the strip. With that in mind I engraved four of my favorites on to a large 13" X 4.25" ceramic tile. In order to display this large piece I created a simple knock down frame out of draft board to support it and show it off. The only real work in creating this piece was recreating the artwork on my computer. Not a hard task but it did take me some time to get it right. Let me know what you think of my latest project.
That’s so cool! Great use of line work on a white tile - no colouring needed
It never ceases to amaze me how great ceramic tile comes out in the laser. Nice!
Cool. Bill Watterson should be proud.
This is so cool! Love the Calvin and Hobbs comics.
I have done both bitmap tracing and creating paths from lines but haven’t loved the process. If you’re willing to share, could you say more about how you traced the artwork so that it would engrave the line? Did you use a marker to darken the lines?
When I create laser engraved artwork for my Glowforge I either create the artwork from scratch depending on what I want/need or I pull in images that I find online to copy. When I use the online images I put them into Coreldraw software. (You can use any good drawing software for this process but that is what I have been using for years. ) From there I draw over the image to create the line artwork such as the snowmen posted here. This is time consuming for sure but it gives me the best results I have found rather than trying to use the software to create bitmap images. This is purely by preference when doing this type of work. With doing the drawings in this way I can modify any image to suit my needs or taste. A plus some times for sure. Once I have the line drawing completed I delete the original images that I put into Coreldraw when I started. Then i simply export the drawing as a PNG file and it’s ready to engrave.
I do use a Sharpie to darken the lines. I just finished a project where I needed to make fourteen displays that were all the same. I was able to refine my technique in cleaning up the tiles that I had made. I marked the tiles using a good sized Sharpie and then wiped them off with a paper towel and rubbing alcohol. I found out that it is best to just have the paper towel being damp and not wet with rubbing alcohol. This reduces the chance of removing portions of the marked lines and having to go over them again and again. I started out taking about 20 minutes to do one tile (with a wet paper towel) and ended up only taking 10 minutes (with a damp paper towel) to clean up a tile. So only use a damp paper towel. It will save you a lot of work in the long run.
Thanks for the explanation
The snowmen comic strips have got to be my favorites in the whole Calvin & Hobbs adventures. This is a lovely way to display them!
Love Calvin and Hobbes
I have settled in a similar method using InkScape as you describe for drawing the lines. Since I don’t consider myself an expert at those tools I’m glad to hear I stumbled on the same method you use; I just couldn’t get what I wanted from bitmapping alone.
And I also used the same method for engraving tile with good success.
I needed a tile sample for a presentation I’m giving next Monday called, “The Model Shop: It’s Not Just for Models.” And you inspired me to do a Calvin and Hobbes tile. A snowman one, too. I made a high res scan from my Calvin and Hobbes book and engraved the bitmap and it came out great.
That is way better than I would have expected from a bitmap. Maybe my settings are just poor and I have more attenuation to do.
That looks awesome. I have some tile that big and am inspired…
you have to start with a really good bitmap. the one i used was ~4800px wide (on a 12" x 4" tile). i had the advantage of scanning from the book.
if you start with a low-res image from the internet, it’s not going to engrave cleanly. now, if you search google for the image, make sure you go to tools and tell it to be a “large” image and you might find better quality to start from.