The great thing about Pages is how it’s both a word processor and so much more than a word processor at the same time. For example, the Shapes menu gives you access to a selection of shapes to be dropped right into your document. Using the Inspector tool, you can customize the shape’s color, border, orientation, and even add a drop shadow.
But it gets even better than that! With some creativity imbued along with the tools available, you can actually make some pretty neat works of art. Said works of art could even be submitted to online contests, such as the one we’re hosting right now.
Here’s the deal: the tutorial below will help you draw your masterpiece with Pages. Take a screenshot and then send it in!
I’ll walk you through the basic steps for making fanciful designs. Have you ever seen user-submitted Mii’s for the Wii? I often scratch my head, wondering “How did they do that with the few things they’re given?” You need to adopt the same mentality with Pages. Push it as far as you can take it. Use punctuation for facial features, incorporate text, use borders as part of your subject.
1. Build a “Gumby” foundation
For whatever reason, when you drop a new shape into Pages, it appears in “Gumby” lime green. You can always change the colors later, but for the foundation, I recommend focusing more on the design you’re trying to achieve. Here’s the start of a self-portrait using just the shapes to “build.”
When thinking of something to draw, try imagining it as the different shapes Pages offers. Try rotating the shapes to fit your needs. This can be done with the Inspector tool. You’ll become real familiar with this guy. Click on the blue “i” in the menu (or option-command-i) and then select the Metrics tool (ruler icon). Click on the rotate dial and turn the shape until it’s where you need it.
Also, when placing shapes, you can always right click on overlapping shapes to either send them back or bring them forward (think of pieces of paper physically layered on top of each other. How would you want them to be layered?).
Once you have all the pieces in place, go through and determine how the outlines of the shapes will play into your drawing. Do you want the shapes to stand out, or would you rather they meld together? Since I have multiple shapes in play for different parts of my face, I removed the lines. In the Graphic Inspector (square and circle icon) you can change the line settings or remove it all together.
Notice that I left the eyes outlined so that I could actually find them in the sea of green.
Here’s where the fun begins. Now you can start to give your drawing some life by replacing the lime green with colors. Again, using the Graphic Inspector, you have a variety of options with Fill. Play around with the different options until you find what will work best. You can even change the colors of the shape’s borders to blend them.
4. Add details
Here’s where you add the finishing touches. The pen tool in the Shapes menu can help add those fine lines. Drop shadow can be used to add a dramatic effect. I have a fever, and the only cure is more drop shadow!
5. Finish it up
I added a white box with no border at the bottom of my picture to even out the arms and torso. I then placed a larger “frame” box around my picture and sent it to the back. Finally, I used a line shape to bridge the area covered by the white box. By using the jagged border, it kind of blends them together. Then I finished with a gradient I liked.
6. Take the screenshot
If you don’t know about shift-command-4 then you’re missing out on a wonderful tool. Hitting this key combination will turn your pointer into a crosshair. Click and drag it over the area you’d like to capture, and it will instantly take a screenshot and save it on the desktop as a .png file. You can rename the file and also turn it into a .jpg extension if you need to. Not happy with the area you selected? Hit Esc before letting go of the mouse and the crosshair goes away. Watch out that you don’t capture your Pages cursor in the shot.
Here’s how to enter…
We at The Real Mac Genius want to see how far can YOU take drawing with Pages? The contest is simple: “draw” anything you’d like using just the shapes in Pages. Draw your favorite Apple product, a self-portrait, or even your favorite Smurf! Take a screenshot, and e-mail it to me at: [email protected], with “PAGES CONTEST” in the subject line. Please note: NO clip art or photos can be incorporated into the drawing. Basically, don’t bring anything into Pages. This will help keep the drawing focused on what Pages can do.
So, what’s it all about, Alfie? Well, we have two cool prizes to give away, thanks to Targus.
1st place: Targus Truss Case & Stand for iPad 1 & 2
2nd place: Prize detail to come shortly.
You must be 18+ years of age and reside within the 48 contiguous United States. One entry per person. Final entries due by Saturday, May 28 at 11:59 PM EST. No entries received after this time will be considered. Winners will be selected based on creativity, design, and adherence to the rule of not importing any clip art or photographs. Winners will be notified by June 1st. Good luck!