Tracing an image in EQ

How to trace images in Electric Quilt (V6 and V7)

Portrait of a Pampered Pooch

Have you spent quite some time tracing a picture you want to use as a design, only to find the lines aren't there any more once you go to colour the patches?

Tracing an image in Electric Quilt was sometimes frustrating, as lines which weren't joined

disappeared in the Color tab. Previous versions of EQ decided that the 'patches' weren't complete, so deleted all your hard work for you.

No longer! EQ6/EQ7 treats unclosed patches as quilting lines, so you can go back into the drawing tab and reposition the closing nodes to complete the patch.

Pooch Portrait

I decided to try my hand at tracing a puppy's head to see how much detail I could get now that EQ was easier on the process.

First step is to bring the image into the worktable.

Block > Import image for tracing

Browse to where your puppy's (or other subject's) photo is, and select the image to import.


Size or resize?

One of the new feaures is the ability to resize the picture to suit the block size on the drawing board. Depending on your image, you might like to experimentt with the settings each time you import a picture, as each image will be different.

I like to bring the image into the drawing board and then manually resize with the sizing handles which appear when I click on the image.



You can choose to make the image barely visible by sliding the lightness adjustment slider across as far as you like. Leave it at the default of 50% to start, as you can change it by clicking on the image tab and altering the lightness at any time.


Get the details right

Use the Freehand tool to draw your patches. Zooming in will help to get really good detail if that's what you are trying to get, perhaps if you are tracing a child's face.

If you find having the image behind the drawing is distracting, then click on the little 'cactus' icon in the toolbar to show/hide the image.

Taking shape

Start drawing your portrait with the larger easily traced parts — I chose the ear, the nose and the eye. For the ear I used the teardrop patch tool (next to the heart patch), for the nose I used the heart patch tool, and the freehand tool for the eye outline.



In the picture above, I drew the white shaggy part of the pup's nose. It looked like it was joined at the top where I started, but when I moved to the colour tab I found it was a line, not a patch.

If it's not closed...

When I zoomed in I saw the gap very plainly. (See next page, top left.) Back to the drawing, I zoomed in, and with the Shape tool, I clicked to select the end node — a larger black square appears —



and then dragged the end node over the start node and dropped it on top of that node. The line joined to itself and became a patch so that I could then colour it.


Keep tracing

Continue to trace around the parts of the head, using patch tools (like a circle for the iris, the head) and editing these by adding nodes, or reshaping with the Shape tool.

For a recap on how this works, see page 247 in your EQ6 manual for a lesson on Shaping Patches.

The eyebrow

I used the Brush Stroke tool and set it to points at both ends with a boldness of 3.


This was a little too heavy so I changed the setting to 2. Then while the patch was still selected, I converted the stroke to a patch with the tool in the toolbar shown below.


Then I changed it with the Shape tool until it looked like the pup's eyebrow. Do this with any of the other parts of the face for easy 'patches'. They are already joined into patches and are roughly the shape you need them to be.

Add the finer details

Use the freehand tool to draw lines for either embroidery or quilting to show the whiskers, some of the facial details, or other parts you want to enhance the portrait with.

Save, save, save

Make sure you save often. You can always clean out the extra drawings from your sketchbook when you have finished the portrait. Imagine having to start again from scratch should anything happen!

You'll love making portraits this way.

The finished portrait

What a Lucky (that's her name) dog to have her portrait on a quilt block.



Have fun...

1 comment

  • Comment Link Luann Thursday, 16 May 2013 02:23 posted by Luann

    Excellent Tutorial! I can't wait to do this. Lu

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