Sunday, August 25

Old Farm Door

It's no secret that pencils are my most favoured colouring medium. They are versatile, simple to use and will go on almost any paper surface. Most of us started using pencils when we were in primary school so there isn't the mystique and confusion around them that some mediums tend to have. And if that isn't enough to convince you of how fabulous pencils are, then just take a look at the rainbow of colours that are available to us. Ahhmazing!

Today I want to share a mini-colouring tutorial about adding extra little details to your coloured images. I'm using the farm door stamp from the new Welcome Home set.

I began by stamping my image with light coloured ink that will virtually disappear once the colour is applied. This gives a painted, rather than stamped, look to the finished piece.

I applied a layer of medium grey pencil around the door frame, and then gradually built up the colour with lighter grey and eventually some white. Using grey, rather than white means that I've still got somewhere to go if I want to lighten (or darken) areas of the frame. Be cautious of using lots of bright white on anything. Bright white usually implies a high shine, such as you'd find on clean glass or polished metal. Very few "white" objects are actually purely white.
Similarly, the cracks in the wood have been accentuated with dark browns and reds rather than black. Always keep in mind what the item you're colouring is made from as it will help you to choose your colour palette.

When colouring doors, furniture and buildings in general, keep in mind the effects of weather and handling. For example, you might notice that I've started to accentuate the cracks in the wood at either end of the wooden beams. These are places that water would normally pool, where dust would fall and where moss and moulds would grow. I've also thought about human interaction with the object. In this case, years of handling the door bolt would have worn away the red paint, as would pushing the door open at the bottom with a foot. It's these added details that add interest to your finished piece.

Don't forget to add shadows. Little shadows on things like cracked plaster and raised bricks are virtually invisible... unless you don't add them. If I had not pointed out the fact that I've added tiny shadows throughout the brick and plaster work you wouldn't have noticed. However, if I had just coloured them without the shadows your eyes would register a completely flat wall. You'd be thinking "wall paper" instead of old bricks covered by cracking plaster.

You don't have to stop at the lines the stamp artist has given you. Use your creativity to add your own additions to the scene, being mindful of what overall feel you're trying to achieve. I've added some green pencil around the flagstones and bottom of the wall to resemble moss. That gives the viewer subconscious information about the scene, such as the weather, how much moisture is present and how often people pass through the door.

It's a good idea to keep track of the colours you're using. You'll start to learn what combinations you like, which pencils shade or highlight well and what doesn't work together.

Lastly... practise! Not everything you colour has to end up on a card, layout or other project, so just play. Colouring books are a great way to practise without feeling you need to do something with the end result, and there are lots of free digital images and colouring pages you can download from the internet and print at home. Colour the same image in a few different ways. Play with shadows and light, change the combinations just to see what happens. Enjoy!


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

Friday, August 23

Deanne's Studio

Fussy cutting is a fabulous technique that can give your images a neat die-cut look. Some people cut right up close to the outer line of the image for a seamless fit with the background. Others prefer to leave a little white border all around, which frames the image nicely. 

Deanne has been hard at work fussy cutting her way around a couple of the images from The Slow Lane digital stamp set. In the image above, she has even paper pieced parts of the little scooter to add more dimension to her project.

Tuesday, August 20

Live Your Life

When you're in the mood for bright colours, a tortoise with a rainbow shell will fit the bill every time.
Add some polka dots in the background and you have a jolly happy creation!

Sunday, August 18

Welcome Home - with Carla

Carla has used her collection of coloured pencils to create three stunning cards, each featuring a beautiful collection of die cut embellishments, ribbons, twines, patterned papers and embossed backgrounds. It's the attention to detail that really makes these projects something extra special.

For more inspiration visit:

Friday, August 16

Copic & No Line Colouring

Last week I stamped and heat embossed this image, then coloured it with watercolour paints. Today it's all about Copic markers and no-line colouring. For anyone who hasn't seen no-line colouring before, here's a TUTORIAL using digital images. If you want to use a traditional stamp, which is what I've done for this card, then simply use a very light coloured ink pad.

I've included a few photos of my colouring process, as well as a colour guide, below.

Thursday, August 15

Everything Papercraft - Marbling

Marbling is a method of liquid surface design that can produce patterns that bring to mind smooth marble or other stone. Coloured mediums, such as paint or ink, are floated on either plain water or a viscous solution known as size, and then carefully transferred to an absorbent surface, such as paper or fabric.  Usually the floating colours are manipulated either by blowing on them directly through a small straw, fanning them or by stirring them with a stick or brush.

A fun and simple way of achieving a marbled background is to use shaving foam to float the colour. Pieces of cardstock or paper are easily laid over the swirled colours and then removed to reveal the pattern. You can find a full tutorial on shaving cream marbling right HERE.

Tuesday, August 13

Hot Tip Tuesday

When you view a painting or photograph you might have noticed that the first place you generally look is into the eyes of the subject. Most artists are aware of the importance of eyes when painting, drawing or taking photographs. That's the place to seat expression, feeling and character. The eyes can also convey information about age, well-being, ethnic heritage and the species of the subject - think snake eyes! With all this potential information, you can see why it's so important to get the eyes right when you're colouring an image.

Start by colouring the iris of the eye. Generally, the darkest part of the eye will be around the  highlight, and there will be a bit of a shadow from the top eyelid. When choosing colours for the eyes, keep your theme in mind as well as the other colours in your palette. 

Use a black fine line pen to fully colour the pupils. You want them solid and dark.

Now use a bright white pen to add the highlight. It's very important to place the highlight in the same place on both eyes... not a mirror image. If you place the highlight at the top left of the right eye, then you need to place it at the top left of the left eye too. Highlights in different locations will give your character a cross-eyed or cock-eyed look, which can be used to your advantage with some characters.

I've made the highlight much bigger and in a slightly different place from the original stamp. This gives the eyes a glassier look making the character seem more alert.

Play around with different highlight shapes and locations, you'll be amazed at how it can change an image, for example, drawing a broken line along the bottom eye lid will give you tear-filled eyes! Try a square instead of a dot, or a ring around the iris, add a few dots in different sizes... just remember to keep them the same in both eyes. Good luck!


Sunday, August 11

Black or White

Today I'm using one of the stamps from the Welcome Home set to do a comparison between black and white embossing. I've stamped and heat set both images then coloured them with watercolour paints. It's amazing what a difference the colour of the line work makes to the finished piece.

I personally prefer the black embossing powder, I think it works better with the subject matter and gives an earthy, solid feel.


Friday, August 9

Tutorial: Suspension Cards

Often called Spinner Cards, these fabulous creations add a little bit of excitement to your card giving. Wind up the suspended image, fold the card and wait for the squeals of delight when it's opened and the string spins back into place. Great for people of all ages and easily adaptable for just about any occasion.

1. To make a card similar to mine, you'll need a card blank measuring 4" x 51/2" when folded, a piece of card stock measuring 33/4" x 51/4", and a piece of patterned paper measuring 31/2" x 5". You will also need two flat mirror image embellishments that you can suspend in your card, such as a stamped image, paper flower or similar. You don't have to use a fussy cut image like I did, a small card stock circle with a little stamp will work perfectly. Select a die that fits completely around your little embellishment.

2. Using repositionable glue or tape, secure the single piece of card stock to the front of your card blank keeping a nice even border around the four sides.

3. Cut a window through the piece of card stock and the front of your card blank using the die and a die cutting machine. If you don't have a die cutting machine, use a kraft knife or trimmer to cut a window through both layers.
Cut a length of heavy thread, crochet cotton or similar. It has to span the window with a little extra on either side that can be anchored in place.

4. Secure the thread across the centre of the window with tape and glue. The tape will hold the thread in place while the glue dries. Make sure you allow plenty of time for the adhesive to dry before adding the embellishment.

5. Secure the piece of card stock over the top of your card blank, sandwiching the string in the middle. Take care to line the windows up and keep the side edges parallel. Allow to dry completely.

6. Cut a slightly larger window from the patterned paper and adhere to the front of the card. Nesting dies are ideal for this step.

7. Place a strip of double sided tape on the back of one of the little embellishments and press it down over the string. Make sure your card is open so that you don't adhere the image to the inside of the card! Add a second piece of double sided tape to the back of the other embellishment.

8. Flip the card over so that you're working on the inside and on the back of the first little embellishment. Add strong glue or tape and secure the other embellishment over the top, sandwiching the string between the two. Add any additional decorations, stamped sentiments or ephemera that you wish.

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

Stamps: The Slow Lane