Those without an iPad may wish to head over to Elaine's blog to access her free tatting design software for the computer. I will be focusing on using an iPad, so the first few parts of this tutorial will not be relevant to computer users (though you may find some helpful tips later on in the tutorial).
Update: If you are using a different kind of tablet, you may have better luck searching for "Doodle" or "Drawing" in your App Store. I've run a quick search and come across Magic Doodle, which seems to be a comparable program for the Android. It's also free.
For those with an iPad, the first thing you will need to do is go to the App Store and search for "Kaleidoscope." Here you will find a free app called Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad by Bejoy Mobile. Download this to your iPad.
The app is pretty straightforward, but I will go over some of the features that I regularly use.
You can invest in a stylus for drawing, though I rarely ever use mine and I don't think it adds to precision. I purchased this one for $5 at Five Below.
From here on out, I will be circling things in red to draw your attention to them. When you open the program, press "New" to create a new drawing. Choose Master Mode so that you have some control over what you are drawing.
You will be taken to blank drawing space with several icons. The icon showing three colored pencils will set your pen style. I recommend using the style third from the left as it will be the least distracting.
Click on the tubes of paint to set your pen color. I always set my color to a solid, though you can keep it as a rainbow (default) if you like a lot of colors.
Unfortunately, the current version of the app does not support choosing pen width. The pen width will randomly become thicker while you are drawing, which can be very annoying. The only work around I have found is to go back to the pen style selector, choose a different pen style, and then choose your original pen style again.
The snowflake at the top center of the screen controls your symmetry.
Please note that, as of a recent update, you can change symmetry while you are drawing. This is a very useful tool when designing crosses. To make a cross:
1) Start with square symmetry and draw your design
2) Change to butterfly symmetry and erase only the bottom portion of your design
3) Continue with butterfly symmetry to draw the bottom portion of the cross
Possibly the most important button of all is the undo button, which can be found at the bottom of the screen.
I use this button regularly when making a drawing. Be careful not to push it too quickly in succession because there is no redo button! Undo comes in handy when trying to draw accurately shaped and positioned rings and chains. Because there is no way to tell where the lines of symmetry are, I sometimes have to draw an element 10 times to position it correctly. This is another limitation of the software, but one that I have learned to deal with.
When you have drawn something you want to save, click on the icon at the bottom right of the screen. This will bring up a few options: "Save" will put the image into the Kaleidoscope Drawing Pad gallery, and "Share" will let you save the file to Airdrop, email, or your camera roll. I always save the file to the app's gallery as well as my iPad's camera roll.
It's a good idea to save your drawing to the app's gallery so that you can come back and edit it if you need to. To edit a drawing from the gallery, go back to the home screen and choose "Gallery." Select the drawing you would like to edit and choose "Edit" at the bottom of the screen. Remember to "Save as New" if you'd like to keep both old and new files.
That's it for this part of the tutorial, so I will leave you with some images I have drawn using the app:
Tomorrow I will talk about how to draw something that can be translated into tatting. Click here for Part 2