13 January 2010

It's been a while since we've Looked in the Book... (p 7)

It was way back in November actually. The Christmas season was upon us...nuff said.

Got your Punch Art Fun book near you? Open up to page 7 and you'll see these cards in the book.

Here they are. Bears at the beach having a great time.

With all these Look-in-the-Book entries I try to post a card or two from the page we're talking about. I don't have real-life version of these cards, so I took some photos of them instead. I own all the rights to the art and the books, so I can do that.

Now, I said I didn't have an exact card, but I did find this.

It's the first card I ever made of a beach scene like this.

I almost didn't post it...well...because it's not good really. I mean, the concept is there, but the fine tuning isn't. As you can see in the corner it was 1999 when I made it. And 1999 is back in the day of punch art beginnings for me.

After a bit of deliberating, I decided to post the card for teaching purposes. I'm all about the teaching, so let's get to it.

Let's do a comparo of the two cards...the good, bad and ugly in the first (made in 1999) and how I improved on it in the second (re-made a few years later for the book in 2002).

1. Good - the concept.

It's a fun concept - I think I'd made a small version of a lady bear on the beach and wanted to expand on it. When I put the googles on the swimming bear, I cracked up.

Summary here - make something you like, it's more fun.

That also means, if need a male card and you can't think of anything to make, go buy one. Go on, just buy one and forget about it. Just because you make cards, it doesn't mean you have to make every card you send out. You know, it's like the pioneers in the scrapbooking world who say you don't have to scrapbook every photo (aka Stacy Julian).

Hey, you can make every card and scrapbook every photo if you want to, but you don't have to. Okay?

Summary here - it's okay to buy cards and send them out. Good for us.

2. Bad - The colours are quite frightful.

Look at the difference between the two! I used blues for the water and sky, and yellow for the sand, but honestly, the saturation of the colours makes a huge difference.

I used the colours available to me at the time and with anything, you always look for better versions as you go along and develop in your craft. You can see in the years between these cards I found some newer, brighter colours to add to my personal stash. They certainly look better - the pink towel, the lighter green fish, the darker orange fish. It's the beach yellow that's the most insipid - the second beach yellow gives the card a much needed boost. A lot of colour changing and re-arranging, hey?

The colours I used in the book aren't Bazzill, I wasn't using them then (did they exist?) - they're A4 cardstock that I bought from my local scrap shop. I also found others in bigger art stores in those huge sheets. The important denominator between them all was the saturation levels - ie. they matched colour-wise. No fluros allowed!

If you're not sure, use a trick from the quilting world. Take some swatches of your cardstock choices, stick them to a piece of paper and then photocopy them in black and white. If one sticks out too much, it's not a match because its saturation level is different from the others.

And incidentally, I use that beach yellow in the first card all the time (ie. in 2010). I use it for faces. Wouldn't be without it. Sometimes it's not the colour, but how you use it that matters.

And a second incidental - I use Bazzill almost exclusively now. It's a given with the colours they have.

Summary here - colour can make or break a card. Seriously.

3. Ugly - Too much embellishing.

Whoa, too much in the embellishing department! The Dimensional Magic on the waves/umbrella is too much and those circles on the sand/fish bubbles are too big.

See the second card? Fish bubbles became dots and the sand circles are omitted altogether. Much better.

Another thing to talk about here is pen nib size. On a busy card like this you need to use a small nib. I use 005 or 01 at these times. The 005 size is in Zig and is very small, but it's necessary sometimes. If you can't find a 005, use a new 01 - sometimes all you need is a new pen.

(I use 01 most of the time on my cards)

Summary here - Do a Coco Chanel, look in the mirror and take something off before you walk out the door. Bit hard to do on a card, but you get my drift.

PS. It's okay not to take your own advice sometimes :o)

4. Ugly again - Making things too complicated.

Let's just get it all out there. Yep, this is the ugly section again. It happens. Ugly's a bit harsh, but that's the terminology I started with!

Look at the red togs on the lady bear. Too complicated. To make them you punch out the bear in red and snip the head, arms and legs off to leave the red togs. I used a circle punch to do all three. On the bottom bear, I cut the legs off with regular scissors. Much easier and neater.

(You can see examples of this in Punch Art Fun for Everyone on page 7 - I've included some pictures so you can see where to cut)

My favourite togs to make are the black ones the boy bear is wearing. Three snips, all straight, and you're done. Hard to mess them up. The circle ones, well, they're easy to mess! (Note the right hand side of the leg of the togs - snipped a bit much off there)

Another complicated thing? The sunglasses. Both pairs on both cards are made from a heart that's been trimmed. On the first card I used a circle punch to trim, and on the second card I went for the easy option and used straight scissors.

Summary here - Don't make things complicated if you don't have to. Things that are easier to make usually look neater anyway.

5. Last point - After talking about keeping things simple (ie. reducing the embellishing and not complicating things) you'll notice that the second card has more on it. This sounds like a contradiction, but it's not.

All the added things are in keeping with the theme and they work because they add to the whole beach concept. I know what I mean by that, but I'm not sure if I'm explaining it right.

Let me put it this way - If I was to make this card again, I'd make it the same way and I wouldn't change anything. That's a good bench mark for a card (or design). If you're willing to make it the same way 8 years later, it works.

Summary here - Punch art doesn't go out of fashion. It doesn't. A circle punch is as in fashion as it was 10 years ago. More so probably.

6. Your skills will improve. Yes, they will. If you keep making cards and using those skills, they'll improve. You can see mine did in the couple of years between the cards above - the faces are better, the colours are better, it's all just better. Your skills will improve and you won't realise by how much until you go back and look at your previous stuff.

Do you take photos of the cards you make so you've got a bank of ideas to draw on? It's a good idea. It's fun to check your progress too and see how things (ie. your skills and style) have changed.

Summary here - just keep having fun. You'll get better at it.

6. Last point, really this time. This is all my opinion and if it doesn't suit you, that's fine, of course. We're all different and that's what makes the world go round!

Summary here - thanks for reading my blog. Hope to see you tomorrow!


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