Greeting Cards

Greeting Cards

Back in February I created a series of gift tags using flower images on Kraft card stock, and have been working on a related greeting card that is similar in feeling, but not the same. In the intervening weeks I have played with Vellum, cutting out shapes, and using handmade paper as a background. While all the cards were ok, none of them really worked – the fourth version didn’t even get glued down..

IMG_0091This week I have been mulling ideas over to finish this project – and so get my work table clear for the next project. I decided that having been through all my textured papers an handmade papers and found nothing that worked, I would look for some paper that was lightly patterned, and in the off-white to coffee color range. After feeling i would have to create a background as I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I noticed a pad of Kraft paper with designs printed on it. I was surprised to find it had a range of designs from subtle to dramatic, but could see enough sheets that had potential so bought it and came home.

It took a while to decide on the size and variety of flowers to use, and then which sheets to cut down to use. Finally I had the papers and the flower layouts set, printed them, cut them up, and these were the result. I am pleased with them as they retain the simplicity of the initial design, but have a little added color that makes them more interesting in this larger size.

Happily tuned into music on Spotify, I quickly finished making the sets of cards that have been in limbo for over a month. This is how they turned out:

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Butterflies!

Butterflies!

With a few days of warm weather last week, and again this coming week, I’m more than ready to let winter go and move into spring! For our upcoming sales and fairs, I want to create more home decorations as well as the cards and stationary that have served us well so far. As I pondered my options, I came up with two main directions, and the fist one I decided to explore uses butterflies.

After looking through all my textured and handmade papers, I found that cutting shapes from them can be tricky, as the different thicknesses cause the shapes to distort. After cutting so many heart shapes out too, my enthusiasm for hand cutting hundreds of shapes wasn’t high. I spend several happy hours researching paper cutters that had butterfly shapes, and finally found three that had essentially the same shape and proportions, and in different sizes.

Having found the special papers I’d expected to use weren’t ideal, I decided to print a variety of green, blue and teal textured papers using my textured paper designs and see what I could do with them. It turns out that the answer is, ‘a lot’.

I began by using a beautiful gold handmade paper as a background, but while gorgeous in its own right, it didn’t enhance the appearance of the butterflies I laid on top of it. Since all the papers I created began from the same basic water colour pages, they are tonally related. I took a lighter page and cut a background and then darker butterflies and added them, but it was still not very interesting.

I suddenly recalled a small devise I bought eons ago, that adds texture to a piece of paper. I found it, and mercifully it adds textured stars to the paper, so ran my first background sheet through it. The stars were not too prominent, but do add another layer of texture that adds to the visual appeal of the design.

I then cut double copies of each butterfly shape, and pasted one flat to the textured background, and then folded the second one, and glued only the body to the flat shape. Each card evolved slightly differently, so while having the same number of butterflies on each card, their formation varies from card to card. My first design used a lighter blue back ground and darker blue and teal butterflies on top of it.

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I then found a blue glitter paper I created, and used very pale blue paper for the butterflies. I like this variation as the glitter adds an aura of ethereality to the design.

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Look out for more butterflies, as art as well as cards in the coming weeks. I’m so glad I spent time creating all those textured papers!

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Drawing again

Drawing again

Every so often I have to prove something to myself, and this week it was that I can (sort of) draw. With the need for more cards for Easter and Mother’s Day, I decided to draw a card to colour that was of my own design. I then traced over my design to make it easier for those coloring it in to see the lines, then scanned it to use. This Mother’s Day card – ready for the UK Mother’s Day on March 6 – is the one that has made it to the Etsy shop so far.

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Drawing again

Doodle Art

In talking with my daughter, she felt we needed to create something that built on the success of the coloring books and the popularity of the downloadable greeting cards. Since I am convinced that I can’t draw beyond the level of the average 5 year old, such requests tend to fill me with despair. For a while I have been dabbling with creating doodles and Zentangle designs, which reminded me a great deal of the Italic handwriting and letter based page borders I had used to create in junior school.

The square format of Zentangles is great for cultivating mindfulness, but I found it to be less interesting to me as a design option. Pinterest fortunately helped me find (many) other options. I also realized that there was a vast field of people creating doodle designs, for use as tattoos, freehand quilting, fabric design, and pretty much any other application you can consider!

Then came the problem of where to use my designs since I didn’t want to create only squares. I started a public domain search for line drawings, and since most forms haven’t changed a lot in 100 years, was able to find a quantity of line drawings I could download, adapt, and use. After many happy hours of cleaning up images to remove extraneous lines, dots, and scanned detritus I was left with a number of images I could print and start to doodle in. The subject matter of the forms was very random, but I hope to refine the final designs and have clear categories to use for a book or download.

For now I am scanning the designs I am happiest with, and realizing that if the designs are too intense there is very little white space left for the end user to color. As I am still in the experimental phase I am still refining the doodles I like to create, which designs make for good large area fillers and which work best for smaller, tighter spaces. It is easy to fall into a rut and suddenly two pages are full of just four doodles, hence the Pinterest board to remind me to vary what I do.

Here are some of the first designs I created, and which are ready to scan for use. As you can see the outline forms are very diverse, and some designs are rather more more intricate than others.

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The heart design is currently available (as of February 2016) in our Etsy shop as we test the waters to see if this idea is popular with buyers. Check back to see how this project grows and expands!