Sunday, January 20

Little Notebook

After stamping and watercolouring the octopus image, my paper was so warped that I almost threw it away. Then I had a light-bulb moment realising that all it really needed was a good firm base and some strong glue to hold it flat. My answer? Chipboard!

At this stage it was still my intention to use the octopus on a card. If I'd have thought a little further ahead I would have realised that the chipboard would be much too heavy for a card. But since I didn't think ahead I ended up with a piece of chipboard decorated with a watercolour octopus that was of no use for a card. What to do now? Believe it or not, I had a second light-bulb moment (I'm pretty sure that's it for the rest of the year) and a little notebook came into being.

It was between these two photos when I realised my
octopus would be much too heavy for a card.

Friday, January 18

By The Seaside Card

Yesterday's watercoloured pelican is today's beach-themed greeting card. I've added the starfish and shells from the same set, which I've also coloured with paints, as well as droplets of different mediums for a little bit of texture and interest.

Thursday, January 17

One Image - Four Ways

I decided to do a little experiment to see what difference the colouring medium can make to an image. The four picture below are of the same image stamped or printed on different papers and then coloured with the associated medium. Clockwise from the top left we have Prismacolor pencils on Bristol paper, a pre-coloured digital image on Stamping Up Whisper White card stock, Copic markers on XPressIt blending card, and watercolour paints on cold pressed watercolour paper.

Have a play with the mediums you have in your collection, it's really quite interesting to see how different the end result can be. Don't forget to switch the paper too... although some mediums won't work well with certain papers, such as alcohol markers with watercolour paper, you can get great results by mixing and matching.

Tuesday, January 15

Focal Point

The focal point of a card or papercraft project is the area to which the viewer's eye is automatically drawn. It provides information about the theme or meaning of the project and helps the viewer interpret what they are seeing.

Most paper crafters understand and use focal points in a practical sense - it's where we place our main image or embellishment. It sets the theme of the project and gives the viewer information in a quick and concise way. For example, a Christmas card may feature an image of Santa or a shiny bell, holly sprig or little gift. It's the item the viewer notices first and provides them with information about what the card is for.

There are a few different ways you can emphasise or create a focal point. Areas of warm or bright colour will attract the eye, as does texture and contrast. As humans, we are always drawn to other people, so if you add a human form in your project it will automatically draw the eye of your viewer.

Some projects, such as the card above, have multiple focal points to help direct the eye around the image. Areas of dark or bright colour, sharp contrast and directional lines attract your attention and keep you moving around. Take advantage of your focal points by adding items that you want your viewer to notice, such as special sentiments or personalised embellishments.

Sunday, January 13

Meet The Designers

If you've ever been curious about the fabulous designers who contribute content to the blog, then wonder no more! We've set up a brand new section introducing the fabulous people who provide inspiration and ideas, including links to their social media pages, challenges and personal blogs. You can find a link at the top of the page just under the banner, in the side bar on the left of the page, or simply click the link below.

Saturday, January 12

One Grand Adventure

A couple of days ago I shared a tutorial on how to stamp a focal image and background all at the same time. Happily, my demonstration piece has since found it's way to the front of a greeting card.

Here's a link to the tutorial on how I created the background:

Thursday, January 10

Stamp Your Background

Stamps are fabulous for creating a focal image on our cards and paper craft projects, but we shouldn't limit their use just to the spotlight. They're also great for creating wonderful, coordinating backgrounds, which also means we're extending the usefulness of our stash and getting more value for our money. Happy days! Today I want to share a simple background technique that can be achieved using any of your stamps, even your digis if you're handy in Photoshop. Just grab your favourite image and get to work...

I'm using the starfish and shells image from By the Seaside for today's project, and I'm going to stamp the image repeatedly on a piece of kraft card stock using "Desert Sand" Memento ink.

1. Imagine you're making a CAS style card with just one stamped image... that's where you want to position your first impression. For the purpose of this tutorial, we'll call it the focal image.

2. Ink up your stamp repeatedly and stamp around your focal image, turning it each time to fit into the space. You're aiming for a "patterned paper" look.

3. Allow the stamp to go over the sides of the card stock and make sure you hit each of the corners. Try not to leave too many large blank spaces.

4. When you're satisfied with your stamping, add some ink to the edges of the card stock. It will help to define the borders or boundaries of your panel.

5. Time to add some colour! I'm using pencils, but you can use your favourite medium or even print out a coloured version of the digi, fussy cut and adhere it over the top. The panel is now ready to use on a card.


Tuesday, January 8

Tutorial: Star Effect Cards

This fabulous project is called a Star Effect card, for obvious reasons. It's an awesome display card that I think would look particularly good at Christmastime, and has the added benefit of disassembling for postage. There aren't a lot of complicated measurements either so it would be relatively easy to adjust the size if you were after something larger.

1. You'll need a piece of card stock measuring 5" wide x 6" high and a piece of patterned paper that also measures 5" wide x 6" high.

2. Place the card stock vertically on your score board and score at 21/2", which is the centre line. Fold your card in half.

3. Using a trimmer or craft knife and ruler, cut from the top of the score line to the bottom corner of each side of the card stock. You'll end up with three triangles, as shown in the photo below. Set aside.

4. Measure and mark the centre of the patterned paper and cut in half vertically. You should have two pieces of patterned paper measuring 21/2" wide x 6" high.

5. Cut each piece of patterned paper on the diagonal so that you have four triangles.

6. Trim a small piece (a little less than 1/4") from the bottom and side of each triangle, if desired. This will give you a small border around each piece of patterned paper. Since I'm using double sided paper, I'm going to flip two of the triangles over for some variety.

6. Use glue or tape to attach the patterned paper to the card stock.

7. Working with just the large triangle, fold it in half along the score line with the patterned paper on the inside.

8. Line the triangle up with the lines on your cutting mat. Using a craft knife and ruler, cut a 1" vertical slit on the long, diagonal side of the triangle about 1" from the bottom left point. Refer to the photo below. Ensure that you have cut through both layers of card stock and patterned paper.

9. Layer the two other triangles one on top of the other and secure with glue or tape. It doesn't matter what angle you place the triangles on or even how straight they are in comparison to each other. Altering the angles and positions will give you a slightly different look to each card.

10. Slot the triangles in to the slit you made in step 8 and your base card is done. All that's left is to decorate your card for whatever occasion you like.

Stamps: Waratah

Photos and written instructions are copyright Beccy Muir.
All rights reserved.

Monday, January 7

No Line Colouring

If you haven't already tried no-line colouring, I highly recommend having a go. You end up with a fabulous image that looks like it's been hand drawn rather than stamped. It works with both digital and traditional stamping as well as any type of colouring medium.


Saturday, January 5

A Wonderful Friend

A couple of days ago I shared a technique for colouring the waratah flower, which ended up gracing the front of this card. I added a little bit of white pencil around the outside of the flower, just to give it an extra lift, then mounted the panel on a piece of black card and teamed it up with some patterned paper and twine for a fairly simple design.

Thursday, January 3

Colouring the Waratah

Today I want to share my technique for colouring the waratah flower head with Prismacolor pencils. I'm using kraft card stock as my base, but you can substitute white or any other light coloured card if you prefer, and whichever pencils you have in your collection.

I start by laying down a light layer of my mid colour, in this case Poppy Red (PC922). Take care not to press too hard with your pencil, you want a light coat that allows you to add more pigment over the top.

The second layer uses the same pencil with a slightly heavier pressure. The colour is the same, but the intensity is increased in the areas around the base of the large petals and the bowl of the flower. Again, take care not to press too hard with your pencil. 

I'm adding Tuscan Red (PC937) to deepen the image and help shape the petals. Dark colours recede while light colours come forward helping to give the appearance of dimension.

I applied the Tuscan Red to the bottom of each large petal and 2/3 of the way up the bowl of the flower. Then I added more Tuscan Red between the individual florets in the top 1/3. You want to keep the lighter colour visible at the top of the flower where it would naturally be hit with more sunlight.

At this point I like to add in a little highlight colour, which is Pale Vermillion (PC921). I find it easier to switch between the shadows and highlights to give a more balanced look to my overall design.

I keep the highlights to the tips of the large petals and the top 1/3 of the florets. Again I'm thinking of where the light would hit if the flower was out in the garden.

In the two photos above, I've tried to illustrate the benefits of deepening the shadows and adding brighter highlights to help give your image more depth. I've added Black (PC935) for deep shadows and Canary Yellow (PC916) for the top highlights on just the right hand side of the flower so you can compare.

My flower head is now completely coloured. You can see how the contrast between the lightest and darkest areas of the flower help to "trick" your eye into believing there is shape... which, to me, is one of the main reasons why we colour.

The stem has been coloured in a similar manner to the flower head. I've kept the highlight down the centre of the stem to give the illusion that it's rounded. Remember, darker colours recede, so when applied to the sides of the stem it gives the impression that they are curving away from the viewer.

As always, the best way to improve your colouring is to play and practice. Try a range of different colouring techniques and styles without worrying too much about the end result. There are lots of tutorials on the internet with different techniques for adding colour... it's just a matter of finding the one that works best for you.


Photos and written instructions are copyright Beccy Muir.
All rights reserved.