The 4-suit playing cards are usually made up of four distinct shapes namely, spades, hearts, clubs and diamonds. These shapes are great for Old Western themes as well as Poker or other card game events or themes. They can also be used as design elements in various media such as in web, graphic or fashion designs. However, when grouped together, all the 4 shapes combine to convey a portrait of one of our universal favorite pastime.
Most of us are familiar with the shortcut keys for these shapes in our keyboard using the ALT keys and number series combination. However, these hotkeys don't work the same for graphic text editors. For GIMP, you have to press CTRL+SHIFT+U then type in the Unicode for the corresponding symbol. You can make the 4-suit card shapes easily using these preset shapes you can find in most computer fonts.
Creating Solid 4-Suit Symbols
At the menu bar, click FILE->NEW and specify a canvas wide enough to accomodate the 4-suit symbols. The default color for the text will depend on your foreground color which you can adjust at the FOREGROUND COLOR box at the Toolbox dialog. Once you've selected the color that you want, activate the TEXT Tool at the Toolbox dialog or click TOOLS->Text at the menu bar. This will open the GIMP TEXT EDITOR dialog where you can write your symbols.
For a solid spade, click CTRL+SHIFT+U at your keyboard then type 2660. In the text editor, it will appear like an underlined "u2660" until you press ENTER at your keyboard which will then give the solid spade symbol. Follow the same steps for creating the other symbols using the corresponding unicode which is 2663 for a solid club, 2665 for a solid heart and 2666 for a solid diamond.
Creating Hollow 4-Suit Symbols
For a hollow heart shape, click CTRL+SHIFT+U at your keyboard then type 2661. Make sure it looks like an underlined "u2661" at the editor before hitting the ENTER key. To make the other symbols, use the corresponding unicode namely 2662 for a hollow diamond, 2664 for a hollow spade and 2667 for a hollow club. The hollow areas reflects the current background color. You can change the inner color using the Fuzzy Select and Fill commands.
Once you've typed characters inside your text tool, it basically works as a layer. Albeit, a Text layer which you can keep editing as long as your file is in XCF format and not in any image format which will finalize your work making the text itself non-editable. You can save your current working file as XCF and save another copy as an image file. Ideally, you will keep a working file, derive the 4 individual shapes from it then save each of them into separate images.