Making a digital “Chop” on Painter X

    “A chop is a square seal with which the Chinese emperors, and later commoners too, signed their documents and letters. Pressed first into ink, which was often bright red, the chop leaves an identifying imprint, originally in wax or clay but now on paper. This definition does not convey the traditions that have grown around the chop since it first appeared in the Shang Dynasty over 3,000 years ago. Down through the centuries, chops were embellished with characters and elegantly mounted on handles carved from jade or some other stone….”

Why not make a digital chop?



I chose the above  image from my lute iconography file, and opened it on Painter, cloning it, and closing the original. (How cautious I have become since trashing a favorite original by mistake!) Then I selected “quick clone”, which places a piece of virtual tracing paper over your image. I toggled the transparency of the paper to around 50%, and using “pencil”,  loosely sketched the forms beneath. I decided I rather liked the broad lines, but that it needed a little more “attitude”.

Under “effects”, I played around with “woodcut” settings, settling on proportions that remind me a bit of “molas” from the San Blas Islands, with their even distribution of positive and negative shapes. Can you still see the musician serenading his lady?


Then using Effects>surface control>color overlay, I dyed the negative spaces red, and declared it a Chop! All that remained was to shrink it to the size of a postage stamp, and to save it on my desktop in Jpeg, for copying and pasting onto emails.




3 Responses to “Making a digital “Chop” on Painter X”

  1. Very good! It’s on my list to do. Karol

  2. Cool idea, I must try this 😉


  3. Garfield Estabrook Says:

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