A holly has distinctly-shaped green leaves with red berries, a color combination fit for the Christmas season. The prickly leaves is said to symbolize the crown of thorns worn by Jesus while the red berries symbolize Christ’s blood. This is a popular image used during Christmas whether for decorations, wrappers, cards and other related ornaments.
You can create your own holly images with the use of an image manipulation software. There are some free imaging programs available such as GIMP which has basically the same capabilities as other commercial software. For this activity, you can use GIMP or any other software which has corresponding commands as the instructions below.
Creating Holly Leaves
In order to create a holly, you must first create a leaf and then create the edges by cutting into it using circle shapes. At the menu bar, click FILE->New and choose the canvas for your leaf image. At the canvas, create a circle using the Ellipse Tool at the Toolbox dialog or by clicking TOOLS->Selection Tools->Ellipse Select at the menu bar. To create an even circle instead of an ellipse, hold down the SHIFT key while dragging the mouse. Click EDIT->Fill with FG Color to add color to your circle.
A leaf shape is created by overlapping two circles at its edges. Make another circle using a different layer or simply copy the first circle and paste it as a new layer by clicking EDIT->Copy then click EDIT->Paste As->New Layer. Drag the second circle over the first circle to create your desired leaf shape. Now, adjust the transparency of the two layers in order to distinguish the overlapping area or the leaf shape. Go to the Layers dialog and set the transparency of both layers to 50 percent.
Once you can make out the leaf shape, it’s now possible to acquire the image using some color selection tools. First, combine the two layers into one image by clicking IMAGE->Flatten Image. Select the leaf shape using the Fuzzy Select Tool at the Toolbox dialog or by clicking TOOLS->Selection Tools->Fuzzy Select then clicking at the overlapping area. You have now selected the leaf shape. Click EDIT->Copy then click EDIT->Paste As->New Image to set the leaf as a different image.
At the new leaf image, cut into the edges using the Ellipse Tool in order to create the spiky holly leaf. Drag the circle you’ve created from the Ellipse Tool along the edges and click EDIT->Cut to sculpt the leaf edges. After you’ve made your holly leaf, click FILE->New and choose a canvas that will accommodate the whole size of your holly image. At the holly leaf window, click EDIT->Copy then go to the blank canvas and click EDIT->Paste As->New Layer repeatedly according to the number of leaves you want.
Completing the Holly Image
Once you have all of your leaves, it is now time to assemble them to make a holly image. Drag the layers to middle of the canvas using the Move Tool at the Toolbox dialog or by clicking TOOLS->Transform Tools->Move at the menu bar. Rotate the other leaves to your desired results by using the Rotate Tool at the dialog box or by clicking TOOLS->Transform Tools->Rotate at the menu bar. Before rotating the layers, make sure you’ve selected that particular layer at the Layers Dialog box.
You can give the leaves a green color using the Fuzzy Select Tool on the shapes and clicking EDIT->Fill with FG Color, making sure you’ve changed your foreground color to green. Once you’re done with the leaves, you can now add the berries by simply using a circle brush at the Brush Tool at the Toolbox dialog or by clicking TOOLS->Paint Tools->Brush. Add a new layer first by clicking LAYERS->New Layer and make sure that it’s the topmost among all the layers at the Layers Dialog.
The berries have a red color so you have to adjust the Foreground Color to red before drawing with the Brush Tool. Under the Brush tool settings, choose a circular brush and adjust the size that is appropriate for you holly. Click once at the middle of the holly leaves to create the first berry, then space the other berries accordingly. To create a light reflection on the berries’ surface, adjust the Foreground color to white and choose a smaller-sized, circular brush. Click once at the upper areas of the individual berries to create that sheen effect.