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This is a simple tutorial about how to draw a simple sentence in Paint.NET.  If you don't have Paint.NET, you can download it for free here.  It is freeware, so if you paid for it, get a refund!

Basic knowledge of the program is required, but it's hardly anything complex. If you know what a paintbrush does and where the eraser tool is and the basic premise of layering, you'll be totally fine. If not, I do try to make this as simple as possible so you can follow along.

You can view full-size images by dragging them to the URL bar.

1. Open the program.

  • I've labeled the basic panels. I figured they ought to be self-explanatory, but if you are new to editing or just new to Paint.NET and need a point of reference, here it is. There is also a History panel, but I don't use it. Maybe you do, I don't know, but this tutorial will be done without.
  • And, yes, there are a whole array of options in the toolbar, adjustments, effects, and nifty stuff too. If you want to mess with those, go ahead, but this is not that kind of tutorial.
  • Don't resize the canvas; keep it at 800x600, or even larger.

2. Select the Ellipse Tool.

  • It's the very bottom left.
  • Shortcut is "O"
  • Make sure you are drawing only an outline. The left top red-circle shows what this looks like. Other options include a filled shape and a filled shape with outline. We're only interested in an outline.
  • Your brush width is, ideally, set to 2. 1 is skinny and sometimes distorts during rotation. 3 is thick, and the thicker the line, the bigger your circles have to be. Quite frankly, 2 is both functional and stylish.

3. Create the Rings Layer.

  • Click on the little green plus sign on the Layers panel. This will create a new layer.
    • If you accidentally x-out of a panel, just go into Window on the main top bar of the program, next to Help, and select the panel to bring it back.
  • Double-click the new layer and name it "Rings".
  • Do not change any other settings.
  • Click "OK".
    • Obviously, you can name the layers whatever you want to help you remember what they are. These are merely suggestions.
  • Click the check box to the right of the Layer name (back on the Layer panel) to hide the layer. We don't need this yet.

The Sentence and Basic Notes

So, what exactly are we making here? Well, we're going to learn to introduce ourselves. "My name is [your name here]." This ought to be a nice icebreaker on the Forum. If it helps, you can zoom in or out of the canvas as you please. Personally, I like to zoom in quite a bit, three- to five-hundred percent. I like smaller circles, but that's just me. We're going to be drawing four basic circles, so keep that in mind as far as spacing. Again, I'll try to make this as painless as possible for the computer-illiterate, but some basic knowledge would be helpful.

4. The First Word.

  • Our first word is going to be "odadi" (he/she/ze/it is). Two consonants, three vowels, five total spaces.
    • If you're worried about spacing (which, in this word shouldn't be hard) then here are a few simple tips to make it easier:
    • If the number of letters is even, a letter will be on both the absolute top or absolute bottom (as opposed to just off-center on top).
    • If the number of letters is odd (such as odadi), the letters toward the top will be off-center, not sitting on absolute top.
    • For smaller words, you can draw spacing lines (half for two, cross-hairs for four, star for five, etc.).
  • Create a third layer and name it "is"
  • Your circle doesn't have to be super big, but go with whatever you're comfortable with. The one I made below is only 64x64.

5. The First Letter.

  • Create a new layer. I didn't name it, but you can.
  • Draw a little circle. Teeny tiny. Then, if needed, drag it inside the larger circle to the absolute-bottom position.
    • To move the circle, either click the very top-right icon on the Tools panel or use shortcut M.

6. Open Letters.

  • Our second letter is "d" which is an open letter. And it's not on an absolute position (top, bottom, left, right) so it will need to be rotated. Here comes the fun! (do do do-do)
  • Create a new layer and an oval as shown.
  • Now we have to rotate the letter. Not a lot, but we do. So, go to the top bar and click "Layers" then go to "Rotate/Zoom" (Ctrl+Shft+Z)
  • 28 degrees ought to do it. Your screen should look something like the image below.
    • It's important to note that in Paint.NET, the layer rotates around the center of the canvas or selected area. So if your circles are out toward the edge of the canvas, they may disappear completely from the canvas (and in P.N, they don't come back). Keep your stuff as near to the center as possible.
    • Now then, drag the oval partway into the circle, but don't let it touch your first circle, the "o".
    • Erase everything outside the larger circle.
    • Select the layer "is" and then choose the Eraser tool (shrt: E).
    • Erase the part of the outer ring that is within the inner ring.
    • Your picture should now look like an upside-down Pac-man.

    7. More Vowels.

    • Next is the letter "a".
    • You could create a whole new layer and make a whole new circle and blah-blah-blah. Or, you can copy and paste from the "o" layer. After all, they're both made with little circles.
    • So, click on your "o" layer (in my case, it's Layer 4).
    • Either go to Edit-->Select All-->Edit-->Copy or Ctrl+A-->Ctrl+C
    • Click on your "d" layer (Layer 5).
    • Create a new layer.
      • P.N creates new layers on top of whichever layer is currently selected. You can move layers up and down with the corresponding arrows on the Layers panel.
    • Paste the copied layer with either Edit-->Paste or Ctrl+V.
    • The new "a" layer will paste directly on top of the "o" layer. Drag the "a" layer to the following position.

    Wait a minute, what about...?

    Oh, you mean the lines and dots and things? Those will come later. You may want to make a mental note of which letters need what; you may even make tiny dots or little line-stubs to refresh your memory. They will come, but not until the end.

    8. Another open letter.

    • Now we've come to the letter "d" again. Like the letter "a" we don't have to make it again, not completely.
    • With the "d" layer selected, copy it.
    • Select the "a" layer and create a New layer.
    • You now have one "d" directly on top of the other.
    • Now go to the "Layers" menu on the top bar and click "Flip Horizontal".
    • Go to the "Layers" menu again and now click "Flip Vertical".
    • Still doesn't look quite right, does it? Needs another rotation.
    • Go to Layers-->Rotate/Zoom.
    • Your preferences from the previous rotation will automatically be saved, and that's all you'll need.
    • Click OK.
    • Drag the letter into position.
    • Click on the "is" layer.
    • Select the Eraser tool and get rid of the unnecessary outside circle.
    • Your picture should now look like this:

    9. The Last Letter.

    • The final letter here is "i" which, if you're any bit of intelligent, is a vowel. It's going to be a little circle just like "o" and "a".
    • So basically, it's another copy&paste. You can copy "o" or "a" since they're the same.
    • Be sure the proper layer is selected for you to copy.
    • Click on the second "d" and create a new layer.
    • Paste the new vowel and drag into position.
    • You now have this:

    10. Combining Layers.

    • It would be a real pain to have to drag and reposition all the layers when it comes time to make the sentence, wouldn't it? Thankfully, you won't have to. Now when you combine the layers.
    • On the Layers panel is a button called "Merge Layer Down". With the topmost layer selected (it should be the "i" layer), click it.
    • This combines the "i" and [second]"d" layers. Keep clicking. "di" will become "adi" and "dadi" and "odadi". STOP HERE!
    • The next layer should be the layer you named "is". This is the ring we've been working around. With the letters layer selected, click "Merge Layer Down" one more time.
    • Now your image should look like this:
    • If you want, you can now fill in the necessary dots on the "o" and "d" letters. Select the Paintbrush (B), set brush width to 4 and insert the dots.
    • Do not include full lines off the "a" yet.

    Public Service Announcement: Save Often

    Save, save, save! There are a lot of layers and a lot of little tidbits that can be frustrating and difficult to reproduce (precise rotations for one thing). Save often. Paint.NET saves layers in a .pdn format. Please save as such; anything else will flatten the image and that could be disastrous. Save often, save .pdn. Save and Carry On.

    At This Point...

    "Odad" and its various forms are very common; they'll appear quite often as you write and draw. Our next word "ɪmɪl" is also going to be popping up quite a bit. You may want to take the time to open a new document and copy & paste or draw these common words (among others that will appear). That way, later on, you can just open up the common words, copy & paste what you need, and carry on. Believe me, it will save you a lot of time!

    11. Begin the second word.

    • Create a new layer and call it "my".
    • Somewhere in the canvas, away from "odadi" draw a circle. It only needs to be about three-quarters the size of the "odadi" circle.

    12. Cloning

    • Your first is ɪ. So, create a new layer on top of "my" and draw a little vowel circle. Move it to the outside of the circle in the absolute-bottom position.
    • Your third letter is also ɪ. Create another new layer and copy & paste the first ɪ circle into the new layer. Move this to the outside of the circle in the absolute-top position.

    13. M and L

    • "M" is very simple. Create another new layer, either on top of or between the ɪ layers. Then draw a little larger circle.
    • Move the "m" circle inside to the absolute-right position.

    • For "l", create a new layer and draw an ellipse half-in and half-out of the larger circle in the absolute-left position.
    • Erase the excess outside the larger circle.
    • Copy the "l" layer and paste it in the same place. Move it just to the left of the outer ring. Erase the excess.
    • Select the "my" layer and erase the portion of the outer circle in the inner "l" lines.
    • Add the dots to the ɪ's.
    • Click the topmost layer and continue to flatten until you have only four layers: "my" "is" "Rings" "Background"
    • If you were to click the checkbox on the "my" layer, only that word should disappear. If you were to click the checkbox on the "is" layer, only that word should disappear.

    The Third Word: Mini-Grammar

    The third word is zɑʔslɪ (name). But you can't just throw it in there. You need at least one important affix. That would be -na, ɪl's counterpart, marking that it is the thing owned "by you 'my'". If you wanted to be super-formal, you could also include -oz which marks the subject of a sentence. And in most "odad" sentence, you do need -oz. However, this is one of those understood sentences. If you want to include both, it becomes zɑʔslɪjozna, but if you want to be pretty casual, just zɑʔslɪna. For tutorial purposes, I will go for the super-formal zɑʔslɪjozna.

    14. The Biggest Circle

    Zɑʔslɪjozna is a big word. Unfortunately, it's also an odd-number of letters, which can make spacing tough for beginners. You may want to start by looking up each letter. Smaller or more compact letters are very friendly and circles can be smaller. This is not one of those lucky words, however. There are only four small-circle vowels and everything else is either a big circle or concave. Means we're going to need a big circle.
    • The first letter is "z" which uses one of the concave letters (like n). Draw this in a new layer and don't forget to erase the extra.
    • The second letter is a vowel on the inside. Draw this in a another new layer.
    It's a good idea to name these layers after the letters you are drawing, that way you can keep them straight in your head and it serves as a sort of spell-check.
    • The third letter is ʔ and it is a half-pie letter.
    • In a new layer, draw a normal consonant-sized full circle.
    • Draw a line within that circle, and only in that circle, cutting it in half. It may go horizontal or vertical. This is just a reminder.
    • Draw two dots in one half of the circle.

    • The next letter is "s" which is just like "l" but with a third bar.
    • Basically, repeat the steps for "l" but add an extra layer and copy & paste.

    • And repeat the steps for "l" again because that is the fifth letter.

    You'll notice they look a little skewed, l and s, and that's because I did not rotate them. You don't have to. As long as the bars can be clearly seen, rotation is not necessary on these letters. It makes them look better, sure, but if you're in a rush or can't get it right to save your life, you are perfectly at ease to leave it as is.

    There is nothing of any real significance to report about the final letters. They are all pretty basic - just circles or concaves which we have covered in length. And because I'm sure you have a pretty good feel for how this works, I will let you have a go at it. However, by the end, you should get something that looks a bit like this:

    And don't forget to flatten your layers!

    15. Your Name

    I can't tell you how to do your name. I don't know your name, and going through half a bazillion mini-tutorials on how to draw your names would be dumb. (Instead, you can head on over to the Forum where we have a Names thread.) So this time around, this is all you. Your circle, your letters, totally and completely yours. Unless you happen to have to same name as me which I will be showing for demonstration purposes.

    16. Placement, Rings, and Flourishes

    Now then, time for placement. You will recall that Gallifreyan is read counter-clockwise in sentences as well as words, so our first word will go at the bottom. Also in Gallifreyan, the verb always comes first, which means we place "is" on the bottom. Next is the possessive, so "my" followed by the possessed "name" at the very top. Last in your name. So it looks like this:

    Next, select and make the Rings layer visible. Select your "Ellipse" tool and draw a big circle around all the words, keeping "is" as close to the absolute bottom as possible. Then do it again, keeping them pretty tight.

    Now we get to go back through and add all the lines and stuff! Fun, right? You can use the Alphabet book as a guide since I won't be going through each letter again with you. But when you get done, it should look something like this:

    And your tails may go in any direction as long as they can be seen which letters they attach to. This is not always easy.

    17. Finishing Touches

    If you are happy with your work, flatten the image by either going to Image -> Flatten or pressing Ctrl+Shift+F on the keyboard. Next you can crop your image by using the Rectangle Select and Ctrl+Shift+X. And save with Ctrl+S.

    The End

    If you have any questions, comments, concerns, want to show off, or just want to rail at me, come just us on the Forum!

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