Learn how to make a dreamcatcher using Symmetry

Symmetry is a brand new feature in both Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer 1.7 and using it in your illustration work couldn’t be easier. We have put together this quick dreamcatcher tutorial to get you started…

We made this project in Affinity Designer, but it works just as well in Affinity Photo.

1. Background

Create a new document (ours is A4 landscape) and use the Rectangle Tool to draw a shape that fills the whole canvas, then use the Fill Tool (called the Gradient Tool in Affinity Photo) to create a subtle gradient of colour.

We then used the Xenon Galactic Brushes to create a starry sky look to the background.

2. Circle

Use the Ellipse Tool to draw a circle shape which will form the main part of your dreamcatcher. We set the Stroke to 4.5pt and the fill colour to nothing for a transparent centre, this creates the ring that our ornate pattern will sit inside.

3. Feathers

Using the Pencil Tool with the stroke set to 2.5pt, freehand draw some curved lines coming down from the circle, these are the central staves of your feathers. Activate ‘Use Fill’ on the Pencil Tool and draw the feather shapes, using the Fill Tool to create gradient shadows to make the feathers appear to fall in front and behind one another.

The feathers before they’ve had details added to them.

Change to a lighter colour and deactivate ‘Use Fill’ to draw some details on the feather in a thinner stroke. The final touch is some beads which can be drawn in the same way as the feathers or by using the Ellipse Tool.

The feathers after the detail has been added.

4. The dreamcatcher

Create a new Pixel Layer, switch to Pixel Persona and go to the Paint Brush Tool. Activate Symmetry and drag the centre point to the middle of your circle—you may want to create guides to help you position the symmetry line accurately. Increase the number of lines of symmetry to 8 (or the number of your choice!) and click Lock when you’re happy, this stops the symmetry lines moving while you are drawing.

Select the paint brush and colour you wish to use—we used Natural Pencil 4B from the Pencils and Charcoal category, in white.

Starting from the middle and working outwards start to draw a pattern to create your dreamcatcher threads. You can work across different symmetry planes seamlessly.

A variation of the final dream-catcher design with the guides and symmetry lines still visible.
A variation of the dreamcatcher design with an alternative pattern.

Have fun experimenting with different colours and combinations of lines, the possibilities are endless.

Learn more about symmetry…

If you would like to learn more about symmetry and mirroring in Affinity Designer and Affinity Photo check out this short tutorial: