Gimp Tips - Parchment

Think you could have done a better job than 'ol Tom Jefferson at writing the Declaration of Independence? Well this is how you can do it and make your writing look authentically old and founding fatherish.

It is very important that you use a good font for this to look at all right. You need a handwriting font, and one that looks like old handwriting. I recommend Jefferson or if you have money to spend, anything from

  1. Area filled with a light tan color First, fill the background layer with the color (243,229,180) (that means select red:243, green:229, and blue:180).
  2. Area filled with an off-white color Add a new layer and fill it with (246,238,214).
  3. Solid Noise dialog box Add a layer mask to this upper layer and fill it using Filters|Render|Clouds|Solid Noise. Set the detail level to 1 and both sizes to 8 (you may need to adjust the size based on the size of your image; play around with it and see what looks best for you).
  4. Parchment pattern The result is a nice parchment-like surface to write on.
  5. Dark brown text on parchment Now add your text. Select a good handwriting font that fits the period and use the color (88,60,21).
  6. Shrunken selection with glint gradient applied It still doesn't look quite right, because back in colonial days the paper wouldn't take the ink this perfectly, and the quill pens people wrote with didn't always contact the paper this exactly. So we need to add some flaws to the ink. Add a layer mask to the text layer and fill it using Filters|Render|Clouds|Solid Noise. This time set the sizes to 16.
  7. Glassy shape with text on it Now adjust the result with Colors|Brightness-Contrast on the layer mask. Here, more brightness equals more ink on the paper and contrast is how strong the difference is between where the ink took and where it didn't. I used +75 brightness and +95 contrast.

There you have it. Feel free to rewrite the Declaration, the Constitution, or whatever founding document or statement of principles you choose. Lord knows we've seen enough of that lately.