Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Penscrappers June Challenge

I submitted this layout for the Penscrappers.com challenge for June. The theme was to scrap what you love using  a freebie kit by Michelle Coleman called "Wild Hearts." I love Michelle Coleman's work and have quite a few of her kits. I was trying to figure out how to make these photos fit with this kit. Sometimes it's not always obvious. There was some green paper in the kit but the pattern was all wrong. Thankfully there was a grungy yellow cardstock that works perfectly for the background of this layout. I wanted to use a little more color so adding the red reinforced the theme and drew the eye through the layout. I also worked the key-lines in to contain the layout and give it form (see this tutorial at Designer Digitals for more about this.)

I converted one picture of the peony using the Colored Pencil Filter in PSE. I like how the filter caught the water droplet detail. I used the same filter on the background photo before blending it into the background. I am trying to figure out ways to use the multitude of photo effects available in PSE in my scrapbook layouts. It just makes the layout more interesting than using the ordinary photo. I suppose it also depends on the story I am trying to tell and making it all fit. So much more to learn!

The journaling is:
Two, not just one, but two hand-sized blossoms opened to greet the morning sun. “I have a peony bush!” I stared in disbelief. How could I have lived here for seven years and not realized that I have a peony bush right outside my kitchen window? But sure enough, wedged iin between the overpopulated tiger lilies, is this two foot high bush with dark green elliptical-shaped leaves holding up twin fluffy orbs of fragrant white petals. What a gift! Did someone sneak into my yard and plant this little beauty when I wasn’t looking? Did it get mowed down our first summer here and take all this time to grow big enough to blossom? It’s a mystery and I love it! {June, 2010}

Monday, June 21, 2010

Ladeau's Advisory 2009-2010

I made this card to give my students for graduation. I really like how the blending modes hide my so-so extraction of us from the background. I used textures and brushes and text to fill up the space.

Sorry about the blur spots. I don't have permission to post these kids' images so this is how I keep them anonymous. I suppose if you know who they are you could pick them out, but I don't think you could identify them from this.  I don't know if there are any other ways to post layouts of this nature that keep identities private. I guess I have to do a little research on that and find out how other people do it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Paperclipping Festival June 2010

I just love the things that I learn from Noell over at Paperclipping. Since I've been a member for more than a year and a half now, I have gone from paper scrapping to mostly all digital. (I am not giving up hopes of going back to paper because I LOVE it! Digi is just easier and less messy.) That doesn't mean that the many (almost 150 now) video tutorials members receive are not applicable to me. Good design is just that - good! And it doesn't matter if you're paper, digital, or both. Just tell your story and use good design elements and you will have created something you want to show everyone!

This layout is going to have to go down as one of my all-time favorites. (Another all-time favorite is here on my blog.) I used things I have been learning from Susan Tuttle's book Digital Expressions and the foundational understandings of good design I have learned from Noell. The concept I wanted to practice in this layout was leading the eye (Episode 19 Leading the Eye and Episode 22 More Ways to Lead the Eye). In the tutorial Noell talks about strategies used to help the reader move through the layout in the way that you intended. Some of the techniques that I used here are directly from this tutorial. First of all I created a focal point photo that is bigger than the rest of my photos and prominently located on the left side, where the reader will begin looking at the page. The next place I hope the reader goes is to the title, emphasized with the same brown as the mat on the focal point photo and the large blended background photo also creates a natural resting place for the eye. The oversized brown stamped letter "E" that begins the journaling completes the visual triangle (Episode 1 Visual Triangles) and the brown corner brush and painted heart element invite the reader into the story.

Here's the text: Emerging from the woodsy path onto the back part of Lake Runnemede, we were greeted with the sight of the lily pad covered inlet. We began to walk around the lake with your classmates looking for frogs and turtles but you kept your eyes on those flowers. Each time we came along one close to the shore you would remark how you wanted one. I told you that it was hard to pick the lilies because they have long stems that go deep to the bottom of the lake. When you saw that your classmates had pulled a few from the water's edge, you sighed wistfully, "I wish I had one of those flowers."

Now up in the field and heading to the other side of the lake, the lilies were no longer accessible. I thought you had given it up. You were content to get your pants as glistening wet as possible by walking through the tall grasses along the path. The water seeped through the cracked soles of your sneakers soaking your socks, but you didn't complain. The warm air kept you from getting chilled.  

We stopped and played at the gazebo with your classmates for a few minutes before venturing onward. The grassy path snakes around the edge of the lake. In some places the brush was cleared for closer viewing of the water or for anglers to cast a line. We came upon your friend Maddy and her dad. Maddy was admiring her beautiful white lily flower. "Oh I wish I had one of those! I want a flower," you told her not really expecting that it was possible. Maddy's dad heard you, and, as luck would have it, at that particular spot along the path, we could see the lilies perched upon their pads in wondrous glory. Thanks to knee-high boots, Mr. Henig cautiously stepped into the shallow water to pluck a small white lily from its throne. "Thank you," you said with awe and glee.  

The rest of the walk around the lake was effortless. You held your flower to your nose, consuming its awesome scent. "It smells like licorice," you observed and offered it to my face. "You're right. It smells exactly like anise," I told you. You used it for a microphone and sang your lungs out! You talked to it. You told it your wishes and dreams. All the way home, almost two hours later, including the bus ride back to school, sitting with Colin, and going to the restroom -  where you put it in the sink - you kept it safe and intact. We put the flower in a water-filled tin by the kitchen sink where it burst in sweet fullness all evening. By morning it had closed but the memory of your lily flower lingers like its licorice perfume. (Windsor, Vermont, June 10, 2010)

As the reader finishes the text, the series of four action shots serves as the great parting shots to complete the story. I am wondering if I need something at the end of them to serve as a period of sorts. Any thoughts?

There are a few more design principles at play here that help structure the layout. I like to be able to print my layouts on my 8 1/2 by 11 inch printer so I used a 17 by 11 inch background for the base of the layout. I knew that my story was going to require a lot of space on this layout and I didn't want to feel cheated in writing all the details. I chose to use two-thirds of the layout for the journaling and the last third for the shot of my daughter and her friend holding their lilies. The rule of thirds is carefully explained in Episode 40 Designing with Lines.  Although I am a little worried that the text might be hard to read because it goes right through the page split, scrapbook pages in an album lay flat and I don't think it will be that much of an issue. As it is I spent more than two hours making that journaling fit in the space I allotted. I made sure the text butted up against that dividing line and carefully sized the series pics to follow the same line as well.  I am very pleased with the results. I hope you like it.

If you read other posts on my blog you will see that I've been learning some digital collage techniques from Susan Tuttle. She does excellent work and her book is jam-packed with easy to understand and follow tutorials. The background blending is all a result of what I've learned from her as well as the word play around the title with the subtle text accents. I just love that stuff.

Credits: Laurie Ann, Music Note Paper, "Play it Again Sam," for ScrapArtist.comEclectic Designs by Gabi, Pink, Brown, Cream Cardstock, "Simple Basics," for ScrapArtist.comPainted Heart Embellishment, Anna Aspnes, "ArtPlay Pallette 10 Things 2 Heart Collection," www.designerdigitals.com

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Digital Expressions-Veruca's Dream-Painting with Color Fill Layers

From Susan Tuttle's "Digital Expressions."

This one is about trying to create a timeless feel with hand-painted portraits. The technique is simple: Select area, Feather, Fill Solid Layer with a matching color, adjust opacity of new layer. You do this over and over again for each area you want to color, such as skin, hair, lips, eyes, hats, boas.  Here's mine. So much fun! I used Coffeeshop's Vintage Lace Texture. I tried other textures but the effect was not subtle enough or was too much for the photo. This works pretty well.

Digital Expressions-Harvest-Replicating the Look of Traditional Painting

From Digital Expressions by Susan Tuttle.

I used brushes from Velvetcat and Shady Medusa to create a digitally painted canvas. In Susan's directions you change the blend modes of the paint layers to Linear Dodge. This was fun to see how the colors interacted. Once most of the paint is down you apply the Craquelure Filter which gives the piece texture. I liked it at this point. Then I adjusted the colors with Auto Smart Fix. It corrected the colors. Applying the Liquefy Filter was the most fun because you got to move the paint around and see what happened. It's totally random. Finally, I mounted the picture on a frame and drop shadowed it.

While creating the painting was fun, I am not sure how I would use this technique for scrapbooking. I made up a little layout using a piece of clipart of a person looking at an empty art frame, but I am not sure what other application I could try. I also thought it would be a fun way to create background paper. Any ideas out there?

Digital Expressions-Shine Light-Making Drawings with Artistic Filters: Colored Pencil + Dry Brush

Making Drawings with Artistic Filters: Colored Pencil + Dry Brush (Susan Tuttle's Digital Expressions)

Susan teaches how to combine artistic filters in Photoshop Elements to achieve a variety of effects.  Here's the photo of the newt untouched.

Here's what happens when I add the Colored Pencil Filter. I used the same settings suggested by Susan: Pencil Width: 2; Stroke Pressure: 11; Paper Brightness: 44. It's a little difficult to tell from the preview what the effect will be. I think I needed to zoom in a little more to see it because I didn't notice how the newt is outlined. I like it.

Finally, after applying the Dry Brush filter with the suggested settings: Brush Size: 8; Brush Detail: 10; Texture: 1; I have this:

With Dry Brush the lines are softened quite a bit. I am not sure it's as effective as the Colored Pencil Filter alone. I think I will have to do some more research on this filter to see what types of photographs it works best with. I have noticed that some filters and textures definitely work better on single subjects, uncluttered backgrounds, or solid backgrounds for example. Susan's example in the text is of a dragonfly on a light wood background. The dry brush brings out the texture of the wings. With the newt the dry brush covers up the texture of his skin.

Off to learn more. I will update this when I have learned something new!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Digital Expressions-Sweet Slumber-Making Drawings with Artistic Filters: Colored Pencil

Susan suggested Pencil Width 10. I noticed that the higher the number the more white showed up on the paper. I decided for 11, as lower than that made the drawing look more like a photograph that had been drawn upon rather than a colored pencil rendering.

She suggested Stroke Pressure 11. This controls how dark the picture looks and how much detail is preserved. I opted for 7; it brought out the major lines in the picture and I think makes it look more like an actual drawing.

I kept the Paper Brightness at 41, as suggested. That affects how the whites come through underneath the color.

I had fun with this and it doesn't take very long at all to get the right effect.

This photo of the iris took about five minutes to render. This is very cool. I am just curious how to use the effect in a collage style layout???

Digital Expressions-Unbound-Designing with Type

Lesson 3 from Susan Tuttle's "Digital Expressions" - Unbound.

I find working with type to be the most time consuming of things to work with. It takes a lot of type to make a statement. There are a gazillion fonts to choose from. The options for color and size are paralyzingly infinite. Then you have to further complicate things with creating word art. Yikes. This took me about an hour probably and it is only two picture files, quickly blended. The rest of the time is creating type layers, altering colors, fonts, size, stroke outlines, etcetera. I like the effect, but if I used type more extensively I would have to have had the words decided ahead of time. Maybe even have the text all ready in separate files to be added or stamped into the piece. As it is I took the type directly from Susan's example-not much additional creativity needed.  Good font sources are also necessary. There are a bazillion free fonts on the internet. I had to download the outlined one and it took forever to figure out the font used for the main title. That one is called Traveling Typewriter. Although I had it loaded, I didn't recognize it at first. I think if I had used my TFT that would have helped because I could have seen the fonts in larger samples.

A great tip from this tutorial is the site morguefile.com which offers free stock photography images.