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THIS PAGE IS GRAPHICS INTENSIVE AND WILL LOAD SLOWLY

The borders below demonstrate ways of giving side-bordered backgrounds a continuous look,
but with minimal work to make them appear continuous.  I created this page in an attempt to be
helpful, after a graphic artist told me that making continuous borders was too difficult.

Bordered backgrounds look best if the image at the left appears to be continuous.  Repeating a
discrete image over and over again doesn't look very good.

Each comment refers to the graphic above it.

 

This is one of my favorite backgrounds.  The varied colors and positions of the leaves
and flowers make the border look continuous.  In actuality, the artist only needed to split
one flower over the seam.  Also, that is one flower repeated over and over again, but it
looks like different flowers because it is in different positions, it is mirrored, and it is in
different colors.
   
This background is effective because the colors, positions and angles of the paws are
varied (artist: Cindy's Heartworks ).  No connection of graphics over the seam is necessary.
   
By having two flowers instead of one, and four leaves in different positions, this artist
(Countryside Heaven) reduces the monotony.  She only had to worry about connecting the
stem.
   
This is a highly effective border by Mary's Little Lamb.  She avoids a repetitive quality in
two ways:  by making the image high (so that it doesn't repeat as much), and by varying the
positions of the elements.  There is no connection of the graphics over the seam, but it looks
as if there is..
   
By having four elements on the string, in different shapes and colors, this artist keeps
monotony to a minimum, and she only had to worry about connecting the string.  (For you
artists who like to do bird houses, consider putting three or four birdhouses on one continuous
pole.)  (Artist unknown.)
   
I made this background myself from Corel clipart.  It is one discrete image which repeats
over and over, but it works because it is tall and slender and has a uniform width from top to
bottom, which helps to make it look continuous.
   
I just adore this background (Country Clipart by Lisa).  It has everything.  It has regular
geometric shapes (the triangular dots), vertical lines (the purplish-red and brown stripes), and
varied natural elements (the flowers and leaves).  It manages to be both symmetrical and
complex.  Even more surprising, it is composed of only line art and colors no shading or
gradations.
   
A multitude of small images (in this case, stars) can make a border look continuous.
 
Here, the multitude of images overlap (Pat's Web Graphics).  Only one object, the star,
connects over the seam.
   
This border also has a profusion of elements.  Notice that only one yellow flower overlaps
the seam (Purple Woods, one of my favorite artists).
 
This artist reduces the monotony simply by reversing the image and having it lean in different
directions.  This technique works only with simple images.  (Artist unknown.)
   
Here, the artist only needs to connect the bamboo poles.  Monotony is broken by having
two groups of leaves going in opposite directions.  Aside from stems, strings and poles, other
connecting images could be a lattice, a thin branch, a slender tree trunk, a string of yarn, and
an electrical cord with Christmas lights.
   
This is not the best graphic I have seen, but it shows how flowers and leaves with small
lengths of stem can create a continuous border (artist unknown).  Notice that each pair of leaves
seems to grow out of the flower below it there are barely any stems visible.  I would love to
see a good country artist take a crack at this design using blue and lavender flowers.
   
Monotony is held to a minimum by the height of this image, causing it to repeat less.
When tiled, it also appears that the stem at the bottom is coming out of the leaf below it,
though there is no connection over the seam.  (Artist unknown.)
 
This is a really fabulous background.  It is composed of lotus leaves and stems on top
of three vertical bars.  All the artist had to do was to connect the bars.  The use of colors is
very original.  (Artist unknown.)
   
Repetition can be soothing to the eyes when the graphic has certain qualities.  In this case,
Karen S. Nicholas has drawn these Celtic biting animals (dogs? dragons?) with a pleasant
symmetry.  The image has a consistent width and complexity from top to bottom, thereby
making repetition an advantage.  The image is also high and therefore repeats less.  As you
can see, there is no connection over the seam, although it looks continuous when it is tiled.
   
This is my favorite border.  It works so well because the flowers are so delicate, and because
the stems pass down next to the flowers below, giving the border a continuous feeling.  I highly
recommend this technique of overlapping an image side-by-side.  I wish more artists would
attempt to duplicate the look of water colors.  (Artist unknown.) 
   
This border, by Nancy Lalonde of Purple Woods, looks varied, but it is really just one
graphic of four leaves applied twice in two different positions and shades of green.
 
This border by Nyanna couldn't have been too difficult to connect since all she had to join
was the stem.  However, the stem is fat and has leaf-like projections, making it harder to connect
than a skinny stem.  Even so, the technique is simple:  Draw the connecting part of the graphic
(the stem), then apply it to the top and bottom of the image, then remove the excess at top and
bottom (using "canvas resize").  Just be sure that you put the top and bottom images in the same
position horizontally.
 
Unlike more complicated images, geometric patterns look best when repeated (artist:
Karen S. Nicholas).
 
All Camille had to do to make this border continuous was to split one of the flowers in half. 
Indeed, all she did to make the border was to take a flower image and a leaf image and overlay
them (isn't that cheating or something?).  The border would have been more interesting if she had
used two different flowers and two different leaves, or if she had added a stem.
  
This background is by one of my favorite artists, Little House Graphics of Japan.  Like
the daisies above, all she had to do to make it continuous was to split one snowflake.
 
This more-complicated background, also by Little House, is made up of many more
discrete elements than the others in this list.  Several discrete images of grass are split by
the seam.  But once you've learned the technique of laying an image across the seam,
why limit yourself to just one?
 
I love this bold background by Web Voodoo.  Two of the swirls are connected across
the seam.
  
By having three fishes in different positions, monotony is reduced in this border by Gemini.
  
Here is a border from Melanie.  She repeats the sun over and over again, but at least she
put the sun on a continuous, plaid background, which relieves some of the monotony.  It also
helps that the sun and the plaid background are similar colors.  If the background had been, say,
green, the repetition of the sun would have been more obvious.
  
If the image is simple, repetition actually makes it look better, in the same way that patterned
woodwork is pleasing.  The monotony has a mesmerizing effect.  The more "classic" the shape,
the better.  (Artist: Grapholina)
 
This is another simple shape which benefits from repetition.  Remember, it is the complex
images which suffer when they are repeated.
  
   
This border by Cottage Group works for several reason.  First, the classic design looks
good when repeated.  To make it more interesting, the artist reversed the design and applied
it a second time in different color.  No connection over the seam is required.
 
Here is an example of what NOT to do.  A discrete, complex image is being repeated over
and over again.  The irritating repetition is made worse by the frame around the jewel.  In this
case, there are other mistakes as well.  The jewel should sparkle, but it doesn't, and the blue
of the border is not a good match.  Also, in web art, photographs will never be as appealing as
art is.
   
I wanted to include more examples of what not to do, but I don't want to offend or hurt too many
people.  But we've all seen it:  the image of a cute puppy, bear or angel repeated over and over
again, ad nauseum.  Putting a frame around the image always makes the repetition more obvious.
Even worse is repeating a miniature scene over and over again, such as a woman at a mirror.
In short, a complex image must have a consistent top-to-bottom width to be repeated successfully
(which an oval doesn't), or the image must have a variety of elements or a very simple design.

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