1/15/2018

Variations in Using a Card Sketch

Today's card starts from a single card sketch.  There was a discussion this weekend in a Facebook group I belong to about using card sketches.  They can be super helpful both when you're in a hurry but also as a starting point for making several cards.  I'm a member of the CAS Colours & Sketches challenge blog and it is always interesting to see how everyone interprets the same sketch. You might think the cards would look monotonous but they don't!
Lemon Builder
All three cards here originated from the same sketch on Splitcoast Stampers. The one on the top right I made first and the one at the bottom I did last.  I also rotated the sketch in the lower one.  Here is the sketch that was posted:
The first one I made was pretty straightforward - two panels of patterned paper and images stamped and punched out using the coordinating punch.  The second one adhered more directly to the sketch - I kept the square and used an embossing folder on the long white panel.  All have the central panel and a focal point, but only one uses the square shown the sketch.
The third one was actually the most work and varies most from the sketch.  I kept the off-center panel, but my focal point (the grapefruit) is not as large as the one in the sketch. I made the fruit patterned paper by stamping and masking.  There is a very similar paper in the Tutti-Frutti cardstock pack that could easily be substituted.  The green stripe could also be substituted with the green check from the same pack (if you only wanted to use one pack of patterned paper.)
I finished off the cards with baker's twine, linen thread or ribbon and some enamel dots.  All cards are birthday cards and say either "live it with zest" or "squeeze it for all it's worth" and Happy Birthday on the inside.This stamp set has some really cute sentiments in it.

I hope this shows how easily you can use a sketch as a starting point for multiple cards.  I love using them when I just can't seem to make a decision on layout or I need to make a card quickly.  I have several layouts that are my "go to" layouts.  Finally, entering sketch challenges are a fun to see how differently others see the same thing - I encourage you to enter them!

Here are the supplies I used.  (Please use Hostess code CYB2H9TW when placing an order. If you order $150 of products-before tax and shipping-do not use the code so YOU get the hostess benefits.)

Lemon Builder Bundle
Stitched Shapes Framelits
1 3/4 inch Circle Punch
Layered Leaves Embossing Folder
Cardstock: Whisper White, Pear Pizzazz, Flirty Flamingo
Tutti-Frutti Cardstock pack
Coffee Break Designer Series Paper

Inks: Daffodil Delight, Pear Pizzazz, Old Olive, Lemon Lime Twist, Basic Black, Flirty Flamingo
Ribbon/Twine: Flirty Flamingo Grosgrain ribbon, Linen Thread, Basic Black Baker's Twine
Glitter Enamel Dots
Glitter and Clear Epoxy Shapes
Tutti-Frutti Cards & Envelopes (FREE with a $50 purchase)

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1/12/2018

Design Decisions - Mixing Patterns

Happy Friday!  I wanted to bring some sunshine to winter so I thought a bouquet of flowers would be nice.  Today I'd like to discuss how to choose patterns when using more than one on a card or to coordinate with your focal point.  You can really make your cards shine when the elements look well thought out. 
design decisions
For many of my cards, I have a general idea of what I want to create but pick colors based upon one element.  In this case I knew I wanted to use this paper, so I picked the flower colors based on that.  This paper came in a large pack of coordinating prints.  When using paper sold like that it is easy to use a few patterns together without much thought since they "are meant to go together."

Choosing patterns can be a little tricky - it is much more than making colors match.  It is about color, and scale, and style, and contrast versus similarity (tip - you need a little bit of both!).

For this card I had two papers of the same pattern but the scale was different.  One had small flowers about the size of those in the bouquet and the other was larger (shown here.) I felt the larger one worked better as it contrasted the scale of the focal flowers, but was not so large that they overwhelmed those flowers.  Keep scale in mind.  The scale gives contrast here, the colors lend similarity.

The card needed some color down the side.  It would have been very easy to add a strip of plain card stock or a piece of ribbon.  However this washi tape adds a bit of shine and color, along with a cottage chic look.  The tape works because there is some similarity (in the color and style - cottage chic), but also contrast (in the pattern).  The floral is very loose and organic in contrast to the geometric pattern of the chevrons.  The scale of the chevrons also complements the floral.

Geometric patterns - dots, stripes, checkerboards, etc. - are wonderful to use, especially when paired with something loose and organic. 

A pattern's style should also be considered when choosing it.  Does it complement your image or detract from it?  Be aware of using styles that have no relation to one another.  Here the main flowers aren't particularly realistic or "cartoony", so finding a pattern that complemented them wasn't difficult.  This card would look quite different if the background was filled with Victorian realistic roses while the bouquet of flowers was doodled line art.  Even if the colors were the same, it probably would not work as well.

There are no hard and fast rules, just considerations.  I've seen combinations work often because of a third element or pattern that pulls everything together.  My daughter is the queen of doing this with clothing - we all know someone like that.  No matter what they wear, they look stylish.  Cards can be a lot like that.

When choosing paper/patterns ask yourself - Does this detract from my focal point?  Are you only seeing the pattern paper?  Is there contrast and similarity in patterns or between the pattern and main image?  Do the elements on the card blend without being monotone? Is there a relationship between elements?  What is the common thread among elements?

I hope you learned something today to make some of your design decisions easier or least more thought out.

If you have questions please send me an email or leave a comment below.  I'd love to hear from you.

Dies: Cottage Cutz Flower Bouquet Jar 
Paper: Craft Smith Oooh La La
Washi Tape: Recollections
Inks: Distress Oxides

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1/10/2018

Watercolor Pencil Techniques - Part 3

Hi everyone!  Today I'm sharing another card using the stamp set Friendship's Sweetest Thoughts and watercolor pencils.  Have I mentioned how much I love this set?
Stampin' Up! Friendship's Sweetest Thoughts
The style of it is perfect for watercolor.  When choosing how to color an image giving some thought to the natural style of the art is important.  I love using alcohol markers, and they can be used loosely, but my style of coloring with them is much more controlled and precise - probably not the best way to color the images in this stamp set. For me, this set calls for a loose, quick style and watercolor is a good fit.
When coloring this image I opted to use a blender pen and Shimmery white card stock as opposed to a brush, water and mixed media or watercolor paper. To get the shadows in the cart top I shaded it in the middle by pressing heavier with my color and also adding some grey pencil.  You can see I also added a little grey to shade the ruffle trim.  When using blender pen to mix two colors it's best to go from the lighter into the darker shade/color.  This keeps the darker shade where it should be.  If you pull the dark into the lighter shade sometimes you end up with not much color where you want it dark and all your color where you want it light!

To get the background sky use a very light touch with the pencil  just next to the image and then use the blender pen to soften it out.  The same with the foliage between the flowers.  I used a light touch with my green pencil and even added a little brown near the cart for depth.  When I blended it out with the pen it gave it a nice soft feel and depth.


I decided to highlight the cart with a heart shape window based on the sentiment.  I could have used dimensional foam dots or tape to pop the front off of the back of the card base, but I wanted to add a little something extra.  So I cut three pieces of Bermuda Bay the same size as the front and using the top panel as a template I die cut a heart in each of the colored pieces and glued them together.  For my card with the pink topped cart I used Flirty Flamingo.

I used a bit of washi tape to accent the card front and then adhered it to the colored stack.  I did need to take scissors and hand trim a bit off of some sides. When doing this technique it is more important to get the window lined up rather than the outside of the card!
The stacked card stock gives a very pretty little bit of color to the shaped window.

Here are the supplies I used.  (Please use Hostess code CYB2H9TW when placing an order. If you order $150 of products-before tax and shipping-do not use the code so YOU get the hostess benefits.)

Stamps - Stampin' Up! Friendship's Sweetest Thoughts
Stampin' Up! Watercolor Pencils
Stampin' Up! Blender Pens
Sweet and Sassy Heart Framelits  
Pick a Pattern Washi Tape 
Shimmery White Card Stock
Bermuda Bay Card Stock, Flirty Flamingo Card Stock
Basic Black Archival Ink

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1/09/2018

Watercolor Pencil Techniques - Part 2

Today is very exciting for me!  I begin as a Design Team member on the CAS (Clean and Simple) Colours & Sketches blog!  I was a guest designer last fall and am now a member of the design team.
Stampin' Up Friendship's Sweetest Thoughts

This week's challenge is a sketch challenge.  Here is the sketch that was posted:
My card today uses the same stamp set as yesterday - Stampin' Up! Friendship's Sweetest Thoughts, however rather than a traditional watercolor look, I wanted a smoother casual look.  I thought this went with the look of the stamps and the sentiment that I used (from Bird Banter).

For this image I used Shimmery White card stock NOT watercolor or mixed media paper.  I know that yesterday I said you must use one of those, but that was if you are using a brush with water.  This card uses a blender pen.  For those who feel watercolor is too loose and uncontrolled - this combo of pencils and a blender pen will be right up your alley!
After stamping the image, start by loosely coloring over the branches and leaves with pencil.
Then use the blender pen to LIGHTLY (I can't emphasize lightly enough) go over your pencil to blend it out.  The pen has water and glycerin in it and when used lightly will not pill the Shimmery White card stock as it has a coating on it.  If you press too hard you will disrupt the coating and the card stock will pill.  (You can use mixed media or watercolor paper with blender pens, but I like the smoothness of the Shimmery White for stamping.)

I love this way of working with watercolor pencils and you can see by the first close-up that you can get some nice shading even when you have colors near one another that you don't want to combine.  In this case the red and blue.  Since you don't have water that is running you can be much more controlled.
If you want to intensify color, try taking pigment directly off the tip of the pencil with the blender pen.  You will get some very nice intense shading. To clean the pen tip just wipe it off on scratch paper until it no longer gives any color.  The tip may remain stained but this won't effect it's use.

This card uses a sentiment from another set.  Mixing sentiments from one set with another set is a great way to get more mileage from them, but you need to be keenly aware of style.  Both of the sets I used are lighthearted casual styles and their sentiments work well with the graphics from the other set.  I'll discuss mixing and using fonts, sentiments and graphics more in a future post (one could probably write a book on that - I'm guessing one has already been written!)

Here are the supplies I used.  (Please use Hostess code CYB2H9TW when placing an order. If you order $150 of products-before tax and shipping-do not use the code so YOU get the hostess benefits.)

Stamps - Stampin' Up! Friendship's Sweetest ThoughtsBird Banter
Stampin' Up! Watercolor Pencils
Stampin' Up! Blender Pens
Shimmery White Card Stock
Basic Black Archival Ink

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1/08/2018

Watercolor Pencil Techniques - Part 1

Happy Monday!  This week I'll be posting three cards colored using watercolor pencils.  I love watercolor pencils because they give you the look of watercolor with the control of a pencil.  For those who aren't comfortable with (or haven't been successful with) traditional watercolor this can be a tremendous help.  I'll be giving tips and techniques Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Stampin' Up! Friendship's Sweetest Thoughts
All cards feature Stampin' Up's "Friendships Sweetest Thoughts" stamps; today's card has a traditional watercolor look.  I used mixed media paper, but you can also use hot or cold press watercolor paper.  To be successful, you really must use one of the papers I mentioned.  It has to be able to hold water (lots of it) without pilling.  Watercolor paper is best suited for this but I sometimes feel it is a bit rough (especially cold press) for stamping, which is why I will use mixed media paper. And be sure to use a permanent ink so that your stamping doesn't bleed!
To get a good saturation of color, press firmly with the pencil where you want your color to be most intense and darkest.  Don't worry about being neat, the areas you color will be blended out. Use a paint brush or aqua painter to pull the pigment into the lighter areas.  Your brush should be just damp, not dripping.  Too much water and you will wash all the pigment away!  It is easier to add water than take it away.  Be aware that if you do add too much, you can always blot it up with a paper towel and begin again.  What you want to do is use just enough water to smooth out the pencil lines and blend the color to a nice shaded effect.  Since it's watercolor, don't worry about a perfectly smooth blend; it's the mottling that gives it that nice painterly look.
With pencils, your color mixing can be done on the paper using various colors of pencils.  To get a terracotta look here, I mixed a black pencil and a pumpkin pencil then added the water. The pots on the left have been blended out; the ones on the right have not.
I enhanced the painterly look by applying water to areas, letting them dry a bit and then going back into the area with more water.  You can also shade areas (like the flower centers) by penciling in some color after you've already gone over and smoothed an area with water.

I hope you enjoyed my tips for watercoloring with pencils today.  Tomorrow I'll share tips for using a blender pen with the pencils.

Here are the supplies I used.  (Please use Hostess code CYB2H9TW when placing an order. If you order $150 of products-before tax and shipping-do not use the code so YOU get the hostess benefits.)

Stamps - Stampin' Up! Friendship's Sweetest Thoughts
Dies - Stampin' Up! Layering Ovals
Watercolor Pencils - Stampin' Up! Watercolor Pencils
Stampin' Up! Basic Black Archival Ink 
Aqua Painters

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