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Category :Design Tutorials

<font face="Arial">How to Draw Paper Soldiers</font></b></p><p><b><font face="Arial">by <a href="mailto:matt-fritz@comcast.net">Matt
Fritz</a></font></b></p><p><b><u><font face="Arial" size="-1">It's Easier Than You Think</font></u><font face="Arial" size="-1"></font></b><font face="Arial" size="-1">I've
been able to draw lots of paper soldiers despite have almost no
artistic talent. If I can do it than so can you. This article
is intended to give you some tips and suggestions so you can learn
from my mistakes. This is basic stuff, so if you're an artist,
or have a lot of experience drawing paper soldiers you might as
well stop reading now.</font></p><p><b><u><font face="Arial" size="-1">Don't Start From Scratch</font></u></b><font face="Arial" size="-1"> The hard part is getting a decent looking
basic  figure in a useful pose. I've already done it so use mine.
It'll save you loads of time. Go to the <a href="../paperbw.html">Black
&amp; White Paper Soldiers Page</a> and find the paper soldiers
that are closest to what you want. It's easiest to start with
one of these, but if you can't find anything close look at the
Masters. These are basic black and white line drawings of human
poses, humans on horses, weapons, heads, and other useful stuff.</font></p><p><b><u><font face="Arial" size="-1">Create a File in Paint</font></u><font face="Arial" size="-1"></font></b><font face="Arial" size="-1">I
draw my figures using Paint. It's an easy program to use. Cut
and paste the figures you're going to modify into a new file,
you only want the front view right now. Later you'll make the
reverse sides. Save it as a GIF, and make sure the image is large
so you have room to work. You should draw your figures the size
you want them. If you try to resize them after they're drawn you'll
lower the quality of you art work. So if you want larger or smaller
figures now is the time to make the change. Resize them if necessary
and clean them up before you start modifying. Use the View menu
to Zoom in and get a large close-up of your figure. This will
allow you to see the individual pixels and make the necessary
modifications to the drawing.</font></p><p><b><u><font face="Arial" size="-1">Keep it Simple </font></u></b><font face="Arial" size="-1">Now use the pencil tool (black and white)
to make the figure look the way you want. Often it's easier to
cut and paste pieces of other figures or Masters rather than drawing
things from scratch. It's not a coincidence that all my figures
look alike! You'll find that the Transparent Copy tool is very
useful. When drawing curved lines try using the Oval tool rather
than the Cuved Line tool. The Curved line tool is a bit squirrely.
If you need a nice curve draw an oval, then cut out the arc you
need and paste it onto the figure. Keep it simple, don't try to
draw too many small details. Very small items like buttons, stripes,
and lace shouldn't be drawn at all. They can be added when you
color the figure. Diagonal lines don't look very good at 72 dpi
so try to draw spears and other linear objects vertical or horizontal.
The pose will look a bit stiff, but it's better than the alternative.
Also keep in mind the joys of symmetry. If you're drawing something
symmetrical, like a pattern on a shield, you can draw one side,
then copy, flip, and paste to get the other side. Also don't forget
about Undo. You can undo only the last three changes so fix errors
right away.</font></p><p><b><font face="Arial" size="-1"><img src="sidebyside.gif" naturalsizeflag="3" align="RIGHT" border="0" height="119" width="132">Drawing
the Reverse Side </font></b><font face="Arial" size="-1">If you've
made a side view then you don't need to draw a reverse side, skip
down to the next section. If are doing a front/back figure then
this will take a little more effort. Copy the front view and paste
a copy into the image so you have two identical figures. Go to
the Image menu and use Flip/Rotate to do a horizontal flip. This
will give you a mirror image of the figure. Next erase most of
the interior lines while leaving the outside intact. If you change
the outline the two images won't match up. If an interior line
shows a feature that will be shown on the back side, like a belt,
then keep it. Go ahead and draw the back side of the figure. It's
easiest to have the front side right next to the back so you can
refer to it as you draw. Again, remember to use cut and paste
whenever you can. There are no masters for the reverse sides.
They would be useless since the outline wouldn't match the modified
front side. So browse through the black and white figure sets
to find useful pieces you can cut and paste. Just make sure that
you don't change the outline of the figure. Once again Transparent
Copy will come in handy.</font></p><p><b><font face="Arial" size="-1">Preparing to Match up the Figures
</font></b><font face="Arial" size="-1">Now that you've got the
two sides of your figure drawn it's time to put them on bases.
Start by moving all the poses to the bottom or top of the image
so you have plenty of room to work with - cut and paste them into
a larger image if necessary. You can crop it later. Next draw
a horizontal line across the image. This will be the fold line.</font></p><p><b><font face="Arial" size="-1">Lining up Side View Figures
on Bases</font></b><font face="Arial" size="-1"> Start by drawing
a base for your figure. I use the Oval tool, or Curved Line tool
to draw an arc and add a horizontal bottom to it to make a semi-circular
base for the figure. Or you can draw a rectangular base using
the Rectangle tool. Once you have a base that is the right size
you can Select it and drag it into position behind the bottom
of your figure. Make sure you are in Tranparent Copy mode when
you do this so you'll see both the figure's lines and the outline
of the base. I like to have two pixels between the bottom of the
figure's feet and the bottom of the base. After the base is in
position set the color to White and use the Pencil to eliminate
the parts of the base outline that overlap the figure. The figure
should appear to be standing in front of the base. When you are
finished use Select to select the figure and base, copy it, and
drag it down to the horizontal line. The bottom of the base should
be on the fold line. Paste another copy of the figure into the
image and use the Image Flip/Rotate menu to do a vertical flip.
Drag the flipped copy into positon. It's easy to line them up
if you are set to Transparent Copy. You can drag it so the bottoms
of the two figures overlap, adjust the horizontal alignment, then
drag it straight down.</font></p><p><b><font face="Arial" size="-1"><img src="../masters/bases.gif" naturalsizeflag="3" align="RIGHT" border="0" height="46" width="116">Lining
up Front / Side View Figures On a Base </font></b><font face="Arial" size="-1">First you need to put the base in position on the
fold line. I use a rectangular base. You can draw a rectangle
with a horizontal line across the middle or use the one on this
page. Drag the rectangular base into position so the fold line
is right across its middle. Next Select and Copy the front view.
Drag it down into position on the base. Again, I like the feet
of the figure to be two pixels above the fold line. If you're
putting more than one figure on the base then  paste a copy of
the figure and drag it into position beside the first one (two
pixels above the fold line). You should be able to fit two figures
on the base without overlapping each other, but if you want a
third figure on the base you will have some overlap. If you want
a single figure on the base you will want to cut down the size
of the base. Use the Pencil tool to white out the parts of the
base that overlap the figures, and if necessary to correct any
figure overlap. The next step is to put the reverse images in
place. Start by Selecting the reverse side image and use the Image
Flip/Rotate menu to rotate it 180 degrees. Copy it and drag it
into place on the bottom of the base. You can line it up with
the front side images by dragging it so the bottoms of the feet
on both images overlap, correct the horizontal alignment, then
drag it straight down so it's two pixels below the fold line.
Repeat the process if you have multiple figures on the base. 
Finally, use the Pencil tool to white out any overlap.</font></p><p><b><u><font face="Arial" size="-1">Coloring Basics</font></u></b><font face="Arial" size="-1"> The basic method of coloring figures
is to simply use the Paint Bucket tool to paint the areas of your
figure. The tricky part is getting the shades of color you want
using the awful Paint color editor. You can customize the colors
by using the Colors menu. Good luck with it, I find it frustrating
to use. A shortcut is to browse through the figures on the Color
Paper Soldier page to find the colors you want. You can then cut
and paste a piece of the figure with the desired color into an
empty spot on your figure page. The eyedropper can then be used
to select the desired color for the Paint Bucket tool. Another
useful tool is the <a href="../masters/pallete.jpg">palette</a>
Alex Kremer has created. You copy your figures into the center
section. Then you can select colors from the color chart around
the edges. When you're done painting trim off the color chart
edges, or cut and paste your colored figures into a new file.
The pencil tool can be used to color in very small details like
buttons, stripes, and lace.</font></p><p><b><u><font face="Arial" size="-1">Advanced Coloring Techniques
</font></u></b><font face="Arial" size="-1">You can get great
results by using a more advanced image editing program and working
with layers to create shadowing and noise. I don't know how to
do that, however, so you're on your own if you want to go that
route. I sometimes use a Gradient Fill feature in a photo editing
program. Gradient Fill will create a nice shading effect which
can be used for lustrous metal or shadowing. You set two colors
- a light and dark shade of the same basic color. You can set
the gradient so the lighter shade is in the center, or the top,
or wherever is appropriate for the figure. Another tool I sometimes
use is Blur. This tool is good for giving a grainy look to the
base.</font></p><p><font face="Arial" size="-1">Once you're finished the figures
are ready for printing and basing. Check out the <a href="paper.html">How
to Print and Base</a> article for some tips on how to do this.</font></p><p><font face="Arial" size="-1">Other sites with more information</font></p><ul><li><a href="http://www.paperworlds.com/"><font face="Arial" size="-1">PaperWorlds.com</font></a><font face="Arial" size="-1"><a href="http://users.skynet.be/gwindel/index.html"></a>Great resource for paper accessories for tabletop miniatures
  gaming, wargaming, roleplaying and more. Also a good place to
  look for tutorials.</font></li><li><a href="http://users.skynet.be/gwindel/index.html"><font face="Arial" size="-1">Cardboard Warriors</font></a><font face="Arial" size="-1"> website by Patrick Crusiau featuring a great how
  to article, and a bunch of excellent historical soldiers</font></li><li><font face="Arial" size="-1">Brabatini discussion group on
  <a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/">Yahoo! Groups</a>, about cardboard
  wargaming and sharing paper soldiers.</font>