This particular client gave me a photo of a door with a very ornate pattern. She wanted the design cut out of wrought iron so I needed to turn her low resolution JPEG into a scalable vector. Not the easiest task, after all it’s not just time consuming, but because parts of the image are not clearly visible even at 1000% you have to guess what the original would have looked like in certain places. Also, the machine used to cut the metal design cannot handle very fine detail, hence the need to ignore the smaller sections within the center of the oval.
To start on this project you need to draw a circle, then determine the section that can be duplicated to create the design. (A circle is just easier to work with, when you are finished you can scale the sides to create the oval.) Using the rotate tool in Illustrator and starting the point of origin within the center of the circle, allows you to duplicate the section thus creating the ‘iris’ pattern. Of course, before you do that you need to figure out how many sections will be needed to fit within the circular pattern and the angle of rotation. Make sure the sections join perfectly, after all this will be turned into a door, so strength is needed.
The hardest part is not getting frustrated at the complexity of it all… you need to break the design down into its basic components; curls, arrows, hearts, etc…. then draw them out in Illustrator; create a section; duplicate. With so many parts these designs always take longer than you think, so be patient… unless you are on a deadline like I was… in which case screaming, a few liters of coffee and prayer are all perfectly acceptable ways to deal.