Artist trading cards are fun to make, but artist’s block is a legit thing. It’s not always easy to magically be inspired to make stuff.
So today I bring you an idea that I hope will inspire you! I actually don’t know that “improbable maps” is an accurate way to describe them… but that’s how I think of them! I’ve recently been making these abstract “maps” on a ton of cards.
For example, here is the simplest variety:
As you can see, these improbable maps are really just a lot of shapes drawn so that the spaces in between, or the “roads,” are approximately the same width between all the shapes on the card. The shapes themselves are pretty random, but drawn carefully in a bold pen to keep the edges looking clean and straight.
What you’ll need
ATC blanks, standard 2.5 x 3.5″ size (thick, sturdy paper like watercolor paper works best)
Something to draw with (I used a Sakura Pigma Micron pen, size 08, but this is really up to you and your favorite drawing tools)
Patience! Go slow to keep your lines as clean as possible.
This is the fun part–deciding how to vary up this concept to make a unique design. I find that something that feels limited like this simple idea is actually very freeing for creativity.
For example, you can try:
Different pen thicknesses
Different shapes (e.g., all straight edges, including curves or not, only triangles or only rectangles, etc.)
Selectively coloring some parts but not others, for emphasis
Different simple patterns to fill the spaces
Cleaner or messier lines, depending on how many times you trace over them
Different sizes of shapes or “roads”
Structuring the map as a logical grid versus centered around a point or random
Looking at real (probable) maps for inspiration!
My examples: photo dump time
I hope that my ATC examples sparked some inspiration for your own art! Thank you so much for reading and I’ll see you soon!
Artist Trading Cards (or ATCs) are cute little pieces of art meant to be traded with other artists. What are ATCs used for? Collecting! That’s it.
I mean, I guess you could argue people use artist trading cards for inspiration… either for more ATCs or other forms of art. But really, it’s just a lot of fun to trade your art away and get someone else’s in return. Especially in such a small, collectible format.
Okay, so… how do you make an ATC?
One of the coolest things about ATCs is that there are very few rules. All you really need to do is make sure you’ve got something (thin cardboard or watercolor paper, ideally) that measures 2.5 x 3.5″, which is the same size as a typical poker playing card or trading card.
(You can optionally round the corners off like a playing card. This is super easy with a corner punch and I do it literally every time because I just like the way it looks. I’ve never seen it required for a swap, though.)
Got it? Now make art! 🙂 Just decorate one side of the card however you’d like. Collaging, painting, drawing, sewing… anything goes, really.
When you’re satisfied, it’s a good idea to seal the card with Mod Podge or the like. I alternate between matte and glossy Mod Podge because the glossy stuff looks cooler but takes a lot longer to cure (so it might be sticky even if you don’t realize it).
The final step is labelling your ATC with your information. How much you provide is totally up to you, but personally I include the following:
My full name, username, email, city and state, and country
The title of the card
The date I made the ATC
What kind of exchange it’s for (Swap/trade/mingle/RAK [Random Act of Kindness])
The theme of the exchange it’s for
At first, I just handwrote this info in Sharpie on the back of each ATC. Now, though, I print premade ATC backs and glue them to the back, filling in the blanks with a Sharpie.
I mostly use Swap-bot and ATCs For All, personally. Those links are my direct profiles, so feel free to reach out and say hi. 🙂
Swap-bot has a lot more to it than specifically ATC swaps, but they’re all swaps–meaning you send a card(s) to someone and they send to someone else. It’s a lot easier to get involved in ATC swaps on Swap-bot once you’re in a mail art-specific group.
On ATCs For All (or AFA), you can also find trades. So you might message someone if you see a cool ATC in their online gallery, they respond with what they like of yours, etc. You directly exchange in a trade.
A swap on AFA means that every player sends cards to the host, who then redistributes them among all the players (sometimes randomly, sometimes thoughtfully).
In some private groups, there are “mingles,” which mean the same as swaps do on Swap-bot (so you send to one person, who sends theirs to someone else).
RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness) can take place anywhere, basically. If someone feels like sending you their cards out of nowhere, with no expectation of a trade or swap, that’s a RAK.
I’m stuck at the “make art” part. Where can I find ideas for ATCs?
The good news here is that usually you’ll have a theme to work with for whatever kind of exchange you choose. Limiting your options can help you get creative!
Creativity and video games don’t always go hand-in-hand. I mean, it’s not uncommon to picture a “gamer” as someone who’s great at some first-person shooter game or something. Halo? Call of Duty? I don’t know. I might be outdated in my references because I usually hate FPS. 🙂
Point being… gamers aren’t stereotypically creative. If anything, they’re destructive.
But! I’m here to tell y’all: there are games out there that allow for tons of fun with art. And they aren’t even kid-oriented! Yes, that’s right–you can play video games and be creative over the age of 18. You’ll be better off for it!
Now, I present the games:
The Sims 4
I understand this might be a divisive choice because it’s popular and therefore many people have Opinions(TM). But honestly, find me a better game in which you can create people AND houses. I don’t think you can!
(But, um, if you do? Please let me know like yesterday because I would probably love it too.)
If you don’t know Sims at all, essentially what you do is make a person or people (Sim[s]) and set up their house (which can be premade or you can make it however you want) and then… you do whatever you want.
The open-endedness almost makes it difficult to make a case for its addictive game-esque potential, but you can lead your Simulated lives just however you want.
Maybe you want a vegan blogger who barely leaves the house, or a giant traditional family, or a supervillian in a mansion, or [insert whatever you want]. Your sims have a personal appearance, a wardrobe, and a personality you create in Create-A-Sim.
And if you’re like “idk what I want, lol” there are always randomize buttons. So you can see something you hate and then change it. 🙂
Customization potential of The Sims = ridiculous
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the extra layers of creativity that Sims 4 Custom Content (or cc) provides.
There is just So Much out there to download for your sims experience. Like, I don’t know how to quantify it precisely, but as for my personal collection, I have over 2.5 THOUSAND files just from The Sims Resource alone.
I think I might write a whole post just about Sims 4 cc because it’s too much to cover in brief, but basically, you can download not only objects, rooms, entire houses, clothing, makeup, etc, but also scripted mods that change your gameplay. You might want Myers-Briggs-based personality type traits or a nursing career track in your game and the cc community provides.
If you’d like hints on where to start with Sims 4 cc, here’s my Pinterest board devoted to it.
The creative possibilities for Sims gameplay are really pretty endless. And the base game itself is not too expensive. The catch is that EA charges an arm and a leg for expansion packs, which add things like the ability to own pets or perform magic. Just wait for a sale on those, maybe. 😉
I’m really excited to give a shout-out to House Flipper because it’s indie and I’ve loved it since it came out in 2018. It’s the most played game in my Steam library at 506 hours of playtime. I’ve played for the equivalent of three weeks, 24 hours a day. I mean it when I say I love this game. Lol.
The premise of House Flipper is that you’re a handy(wo)man trying to fix up old and/or trashed houses so you can make them pretty and sell them for a profit. The making money dimension is not the focus of the game, though. Making them pretty is where it’s at.
Every house or job you take on has you starting with tasks like cleaning up literal garbage and sometimes vacuuming cockroaches (ew), but you’ll always end up doing a great deal of interior design.
And when I say “interior design,” I mean you, as a one-(wo)man crew, can go in there and change as much or as little about the house as you want. Don’t like that wall? Take a sledgehammer to it. Oh, whoops, you needed that? Rebuild it!
Then you do all the painting/siding/paneling/flooring and then you have a huge catalogue of furniture and decorations to make the house look like an actual home.
This part is the most time-consuming part, really. You’ll spend most of the time choosing and arranging furniture to your (and your buyer’s) liking. Although I should say, again, the emphasis is not really on the people-pleasing objectives but rather the potential to do whatever you want.
Customization potential of House Flipper = also ridiculous
Speaking of doing whatever you want, House Flipper has a decent modding community, too! So people have taken the time to custom-make basically any object or wall or flooring you can think of.
I used to spend time every day downloading every single item I thought was cool. I did this for probably a few months and eventually got overwhelmed.
The mods are available through the Steam workshop, too, so the downloading process feels considerably less sketchy and is always free. There’s no guarantee that player-made mods won’t dramatically break your save, but, you know, they probably won’t. 🙂
I should also note that if you’re scared by House Flipper’s price tag, bear in mind that it goes on sale pretty often. And it’s so worth it!!
SuchArt! is another indie game on Steam that I absolutely adore. You’re an artist in some future environment where you get your own studio to paint and decorate and weak havoc if you so choose.
That’s because the game feels very realistic and immersive, with amazing physics behind it that make you feel like you are actually throwing paint onto that wall-sized canvas. Or carefully pencilling in the lines on your next tiny masterpiece. You know, whatever.
You do technically do commisioned art “jobs” that will specify canvas size and sometimes the subject or preferred style/colors, but I’m not sure how much the AI actually cares what you paint, as long as it’s the correct canvas size.
With the jobs comes money and thus upgrades to your space and tools. There’s really a lot of content in the game and the devs keep updating it.
But I think what’s most incredible about SuchArt! is that not only is it just a fun and content-rich game, but the artistic potential is surprisingly legitimate. I mean, when you look at the gallery of what other players have created, you have enough tools at your disposal to create genuine virtual works of art. You wouldn’t expect to have that kind of control with this virtual interface and just your mouse and keyboard.
I sincerely hope you give this game a shot because it’s criminally underrated. And there’s a free trial! Please? 🙂
Coloring Game (any/all versions)
I hope you’re not tired of my references to Steam games, because here’s another series on Steam!
This one is arguably less open-ended than any of the others because it’s coloring in predetermined pixel art, but it’s still worth mentioning because it does what it does really well. It may be a simple ask to play a coloring game, but I’ve tried many and this one is by far the best.
I think where they got it right was integrating the idea of coloring with pixel art, because you’re able to zoom in and out without distorting the image or accidentally coloring outside the lines.
My favorite thing about the Coloring Game(s) is just that they’re very relaxing and satisfying. The most complex designs take several hours, though you can always save and return to it later.
There’s just something about coloring so cleanly–the pixels you need to fill in are highlighted for you, too, and so you just legitimately don’t need to worry about anything other than finding all the little gray squares that correspond to the color you have in hand.
Also of note is the plethora of versions and expansion packs available, and all of them are surprisingly cheap. I mean, typically about $1.99 each? Don’t quote me, but that’s in the ballpark.
Hopefully at least one of these games speaks to you! Video games don’t have to be about violence and shooting. They can also be about creativity and art!
This seems like a basic thing, but what do we really mean by “coordinating”?
Lots of different things, as it turns out. I’m resisting the urge to pull out a color wheel because it seems like everyone and their cousin does that. Not without good reason, I guess, but I’m tired of color wheels. I’m gonna assume you’ve got the very basics of color down. Deal? Deal.
You might have forgotten the names of things, though. So, a good rule of thumb is to consider a color’s friends and enemies. Friends meaning the colors who are its neighbors on the color wheel and enemies meaning the ones opposite.
Real Artists(TM) would call these analogous and complementary colors, and they’re useful to recognize because the combinations achieve very different ends.
What are friends for?
Friends, or analogous colors, always play nice together. If green is our reference point, yellow and blue will never let you down. You can’t go wrong. This also starts to feel like a spectrum is forming, which usually has broad appeal.
You want friendly colors when you’re looking for a way to branch out without getting too crazy. Mild salsa is not the most exciting choice, but it’s also popular for a reason.
The above photo also speaks to the point that analogous colors can safely mix, as in paint. I go to analogous colors all the time, especially when I’m painting.
Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer?
Complementary colors, on the other hand, tend to scare me a bit. Color wheel enemies, like blue and yellow, have a strained relationship at times.
I’m not saying they can’t hang out, but you kind of need to plan ahead if you want to include them. Blue might say something snarky to Yellow if they’re seated next to each other at dinner.
But that’s not to say it’s a bad idea to play with complementary colors. Exhibit A:
Man, does that yellow POP, right? You cannot possibly ignore that lemon. That lemon has something to say.
I actually adore the combination of blue and yellow. I’ve recently figured that out because I really like Van Gogh, and blue and yellow are a big theme in his art.
But if this idea appeals to you, bear in mind that mixing their paint will reveal a friendly green, which is an entirely different vibe. Blue and yellow is bold; it almost operates as black and white does. But there is a time and a place both for strongly contrasting black and white AND graceful transitions of shades of gray.
Pick your battles
Speaking of which, these friends/enemies ideas apply to intensity, too. Like, if you want a really intense focal point, it should be surrounded by peaceful neutrals or it won’t stand out. Whereas if you’re looking for a pretty even spread of intensity, stick to similar levels across the board. Intensity friends are nice to each other.
Nature is Cool
Finally, my favorite advice about color theory: just look at pretty things and steal their colors. Most of this stuff is intuitive, right? It helps to have a vocabulary and make intentional choices, but you also can grab stuff that looks good and do amazing art with it.
One resource I found today that’s really fun to mess with is this palette generator called coolors. It somewhat randomly chooses colors for you and you lock in your favorites one at a time. It has some intelligence about it, too, so whatever it generates next goes with whatever you’ve already locked.
I came up with this one when I was playing around:
I named it “Raspberry and friends,” because of reasons.
I just love it because I never would have picked out this palette had I not seen the colors next to each other. Hooray for serendipity!
Well, I hope you got some colorful inspiration out of this. Color coordination means something different to everyone, but knowing what combinations create what kind of tension will help you make more confident choices. And don’t forget to just wing it sometimes to broaden those horizons!
I’ve recently started playing around with Canva and am having a lot of fun with it. I only have the free version, which is frustrating, but you can still do a lot with it! I”m surprised at how much I’m able to do, actually. I expected them to stop me from downloading my designs or something.
But yeah, so I’ve been designing some postcards and I thought I’d share with anyone who’s interested. I’m no professional graphic designer, by any means, but I think these designs are cool enough that I plan to use them, so why wouldn’t someone else?
The “catch,” I guess, if there is one, is that you would either need to get these PDFs printed professionally as postcards or be cheap (as I am) and somehow stick them to fully blank postcards. I tried it with Mod Podge (both between the paper and postcard and over the top to seal it and give it texture) and it worked decently.
I say “decently” rather than a more positive adjective because it did warp the cardstock a bit and I will probably end up taping the edges (with clear Scotch gift wrapping tape or similar) to make sure nothing catches or rips when it goes through the scary postal machines.
Here’s a little before and after picture demo (while still wet versus fully dry):
So you can see that it does work, if not perfectly. I bet it would flatten more if I pressed it with heavy books or something. If you do try this method, I would hold off on taping the edges until you write on the back, because you probably won’t be able to write over the tape as easily.
This sort of thing works better if you use less Mod Podge or none at all. I would recommend the UHU glu stick because it’s amazing. I’m not an Amazon affiliate or anything, it just is a really good glue stick and that’s the best price I could find, especially when shipping comes into play.
Seriously, if you’ve only ever used an Elmer school glue stick, you think you know what a glue stick could be, but you don’t. It’s so strong and dries so fast. The only reason I couldn’t use it for this demo is I don’t have any! But it’s on the way from Amazon. I know, I sound like I’m benefiting from this somehow, but I’m honestly not. If I join an affiliate program, I’ll say so!
While I’m giving shoutouts, also–shoutout to Postcrossing. I just joined yesterday finally and am really excited about it. It’s a global postcard exchange program that holds people accountable via postcard ID that the receiver registers on the site. You can also upload pictures of the image side so everyone can see how cool and unique you are. That sounds sarcastic, but I mean it genuinely!
These designs would be fun to use on there, which I plan on doing. So, yes, arguably I’m making them less unique finds by freely sharing, but I think it’s all right. I would rather inspire more people to get into postcard and mail art than be worried about uniqueness.
So let’s get to the sharing, shall we? I’ll share my PDFs as downloaded from Canva. It worked when I set up my printer to print at “default” scale, by the way.
I will ask that you kindly only use these for personal use and link back to this blog post if you want to share.
The first design is “Books not guns”-themed, as pictured in my demo above:
Oh man, you guys. This was truly an adventure. By which I mean I had a looottt of trouble getting something simple to work. More on that later. 🙂
First, a disclaimer: I’ve never really played with Canva before. I’ve been interested in trying it, but this is really my first experiment. So I fully expect I did some stupid things. Please let me know if you have tips!
This is more a post to walk you through my experience, rather than Knowledgably Advise you on how to do this. But, to my credit, I now know at least one way to get the job done!
The first steps
I first just opened a blank “Play with Canva” file because I have no clue what I’m doing.
I decided the first thing to do once I was in was literally just search for a color palette template. At least I was smart enough to do that, and not try to reinvent the wheel!
Bear in mind, I only have the free version, so there aren’t that many options. I first picked this one:
Little did I know the Hell that awaited me.
I wanted to upload a picture and see how easy it was to let Canva pull out the colors for me. As it turns out, that part was very easy and user-friendly.
All I had to do was upload something (though I know that part was probably unecessary because they have free images, too) and click on it to add it to my existing project. I chose a somewhat clumsy golden retriever pixel art I made last year, mostly because I only used 4 colors and it would make it easy.
Fairly straightforward so far, right? I had figured out I needed to do this because when I clicked on the color palette (as highlighted above), I could see that Canva automatically tells you what colors are present in the photo/project over on the sidebar.
So my little dog pixel art resulted in this (I needed to click “See All” under the colors in the photo):
Massively helpful. Thank you, Canva! It also gives you the hex code for each color when you hover over it with your cursor.
I thought “Wow, this was easy. I’m basically done!” But… I’ve foreshadowed enough. Here comes the trouble.
I was able to do a number of small, basic adjustments like moving things around, resizing, updating the text to reflect the real colors in the dog, but I couldn’t get the color palette itself to have all rounded corners once I cropped the extra fifth color off.
I know it sounds like no big deal, but I spent a very long time trying to figure it out. See, there are frames in Canva which will crop your image to the frame. So I should have been able to simply drop the palette piece onto a rectangular frame with rounded corners, but it just wouldn’t work.
This is where you find the frames and what they look like, by the way:
After suffering for a long time and trying and retrying resizing in every which way, I nearly rage quit the project altogether. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but every tutorial was like “it’s so easy, just drag and drop! :)” and meanwhile absolutely nothing happened when I did that.
I suspect the problem is either something is too fixed about the template I was using or I wasn’t able to resize finely enough or something? I’m not sure. This is what my experiment looked like when I gave up on it:
Experiment part II
But instead of rage quitting, I decided to try a different template. I picked the sandy beach one you’ll see here, right above the one I first chose:
It was all smooth sailing from there. I deleted the background sand, which left me with a square frame. I was worried, but this time, my dog image actually resized to fit it. Amazing.
Then it was just some copying and pasting and changing the colors over to eventually get this:
It was a wild ride, maybe, but I got there eventually. And now I know how to do something new!
I learned a lot in general behind-the-scenes, too, just figuring out what’s available in Canva and that sort of thing. It seems like a great tool. I wish the paid version didn’t cost so much, or they’d have me as a customer.
I hope that you got something out of this, if maybe only entertainment at my Canva ignorance. Thank you for reading, and I’ll see you soon!
I hadn’t planned to write this today, but I was just printing a bunch of stickers and ephemera to use for mail and/or collage art. I was frustrated both by how many of the resources were NOT actually free or came with obligations to sign up for mailing lists and the like.
But I also found plenty that were great quality, with no catch!
Note that I’m only looking into what works for personal use, so I can’t guarantee if they’re clear for commercial licensing, etc. My intention is to only use them for hobbies!
And I’m sure I’ll make more posts like this, as I discover more stuff. I’ve found most things through Pinterest. If you want to see my “Collage Art” board, you can find it here. Just know that I’ve not necessarily vetted all the resources and some of the pins are just inspirational (i.e., not resources).
*Disclaimer: none of these people sponsor me or anything. I’m just trying to help y’all out.
So a lot of sites have free SVGs, but one I came across recently and really like is craftstarters. They have sooo much stuff and most of it is simple but realistic silhouette-style. I love that style, and it’s perfect for making little stickers (as I was) because the design is readable at any scale.
I know that their licensing agreement is free for personal use only, so be good! No selling things with anything of theirs.
I found HG Designs through Pinterest and they have tons of cool-looking stuff. It tends to be overlays, textures, layers, and patterns, so this might be better for those into graphic design or collaging digitally. What makes them especially unique is you don’t even need a commercial license to use their freebies.
I don’t yet know my way around Photoshop or Illustrator (I don’t have them!) but I am very much interesting in getting them someday and learning digital art on alternative software in the meantime, so I’m really looking forward to having some cool free materials.
Smaller collections/specific printables
Most of these still have multiple images or versions, but I’m organizing them this way just to make this list less chaotic. These are typically blogs who do more than provide printables, at least. I’m extra proud of these finds because they’re harder to come by!
Today I found some awesome vintage sheet music printables on this blog. What I love is that Rose provides several different size and shape options for the sheet music snippets, so you’re guaranteed to find something that fits what you’re looking for.
Oh, whoa. So I hadn’t noticed just how many collections of free printables Rose Clearfield actually has up! Here’s her free printables page.
Personally, I’m most interested in the vintage-style stuff. There’s a lot of sheet music and hymns, but also dictionary pages and textbooks. Look at this algebra textbook stuff! I am really excited, you guys.
Pillar Box Blue vintage world maps
This blog has a page of 13(ish?) sets of vintage maps. I printed a really neat world one and was honestly a little surprised that it printed as well as it did.
I think there are probably a lot of vintage map ephemera resources out there, but this is one I know for sure is solid because I’ve tried it.
Rad Planner free blue stickers
So there are a lot of free planner stickers out there, but what I like about this post is that there’s at least one sheet that seems more widely applicable, if you know what I mean. It’s not all planner-focused.
I picked the “Blue Stickers” one to print and it looks great. Note that there’s a specific personal use-only warning on these.
Sarah Titus adult coloring book pages/stickers
This blog post has, well, an entire coloring book’s worth of black-and-white printables. They might not all be helpful for collage art purposes, but they certainly have potential.
If you scroll all the way down, you’ll find the page with 12 little flower mandalas–that’s the one I printed and am planning to make stickers with. They’re a great size, too. Large enough to be intricate, but small enough to be a sticker.
Sorry I haven’t featured more samples of the freebies here–it’s because my blog might be considered commercial use and I don’t want to risk it.
But I’ve linked all over the place and I promise that at the time of writing, the links work! I hope that you can find this useful.
Let me know if I’m overlooking some good resources you know of! I’m aware of the bigger sites like Pexels or Unsplash, but I’m interested in finding more sites with vector images, papers, or ephemera.
Good morning! I hope all is well with everyone out there.
So I’ve been working on a card that I was able to finish last night. It’s for a lady I’ve never met, whom I know through Swap-bot. (Swap-bot, by the way, is an amazing site you can use to coordinate and find snail mail “swaps” either with strangers and/or private groups. I’ll write a post going into more detail soon!)
Part of the conditions of the swap I’m participating in is that we follow the card sketch referenced above–basically a suggested layout for your card. If, by the end of this post, you’re motivated to try it out for yourself: here is the blog post and here’s the sketch in detail:
Now, if this seems restrictive, don’t worry! I don’t know all “the rules” as this is my first card sketch-following adventure, but from the provided examples on the blog, you can tell that it’s meant to be inspirational rather than strictly limiting.
I’m really happy with how mine turned out, though I certainly made A LOT of mistakes. Let me walk you through my process with this project. Apologies for not many pictures; I’m still getting used to this whole craft blog thing and I just didn’t think to document it! Lol.
The first steps
The first step for me was to raid the stash of all the papers I have available to me. I knew that the person I’m making this for is into fall colors and texture, so I went for tan/brown/red/orange in my colors and made sure that the biggest contrast piece was textured.
I cut everything to the specifications in the sketch (well, mostly). I found it interesting that the sketch doesn’t assume you’re making a whole card? I mean, the face is listed as 4 x 5.25″, but if you want the background solid color to fold and form a greeting card, you need to actually cut an 8 x 5.25″ piece and fold it in half. Maybe this is obvious to everyone else, but my newbie brain wondered at it! 😂
Anyway, so far so good. This is what my card looked like at this point:
Though not really a “mistake” you can see that I kind of exaggerated how big the smallest strip should be. I just liked it better that way, plus my paper scrap happened to be that wide to begin with, and I’m lazy. Let’s just be honest. 😂
Phase 2: the creative block and moving past it
At this point, I set the card aside for a couple of days. On the one hand, I felt like I was nearly done (nope!) and on the other, I was overwhelmed by the “finishing touches” elements I could include.
Sure, I was following the layout of the sketch, but what and where should I stamp? What should the message be? Should I add some background accents? Etc etc.
I’m really interested in how we as creatives encounter this kind of paralysis and what we do to move past it. But more on that in future blog posts. 🙂
In this case, I felt motivated to return to it because my swap deadline is approaching (you need to indicate that you’ve sent your items within an agreed-upon timeframe on Swap-bot) and my stepmom was feeling crafty last night.
It was easier to get started by simply being around her and talking it out as well as asking her for help and suggestions (She’s also crafty and provides A LOT of my supply stash.)
So yeah, I eventually hit a “f@#k it” point and started trying things because I couldn’t stand there forever.
You guys, I made so many mistakes. I thought all was lost. Like, several times.
It turns out, I don’t really like stamping. Especially not stamping directly on what will be my finished product. I could have thought to stamp on my smaller pieces of paper before gluing them on, but that would have made FAR too much sense.
But! Here’s what I also figured out! When (not if) you mess up with a stamp, one solid option is just to keep stamping with it. Make it look like you actually meant to create a texture rather than a well-defined image.
Want to see what I mean? Let’s look at how my card turned out.
You see the brown texture? Yeah. All that was just covering up a terrible stamp job.
The cinnamon color coming out from behind “You make me smile” is covering up my attempt to stamp a different message with that color of paint.
And the stamped message–“You make me smile”–was a scrap of paper I found already stamped so I didn’t have to deal with it.
I learned a lot from this project, but especially that a big part of being creative is just rolling with the punches, letting your mistakes alter your plans.
I also found a texture stamp I really love (note the reddish flecks) and tried out a couple of different ways to create interesting edges: rubbing the paper edge over a stamp ink pad and dipping my finger in acrylic paint before running it over the edges (beware of papercuts!).
Overall, I’m just really happy that the finished product turned out looking like I know what I’m doing. Trust me, I don’t. 🙂
Final words, links, and inspiration
I hope that some part of this inspired you. Feel free to reach out to me with any comments or questions!
If you want to know more about what to expect from this blog (since it’s a baby!), here’s my introduction post.
All credit for the card sketch goes to Julee Tilman and her Poetic Artistry blog post.
Finally, here are some of my favorite examples from other artists who tried out this layout (taken from her above linked post):
I’m Allison and I’m excited to get started posting here. My hope is that Making Stuff Today is not only fun for me to write and research for, but also fun (and valuable!) for anyone stopping by. I have tons of ideas planned, but in general you can expect to find topics in these areas:
the creative process
how to [insert crafty or artsy technique]
how to make specific projects
resources to help you get started on a craft
inspiration for future projects
I make no claims of expert knowledge, but I do have some valuable tips and tricks up my sleeve.
What I Love Most
I’ve always been interested in art to some extent. I’ve gone through very passionate phases with several hobbies and I expect to continue to cycle through topics as we go here. So–expect some variety! But these are some more specific topics I’m especially interested in:
So yeah, it’s kind of a long list, huh? And I’m sure I’m missing something!
In general, you’ll usually find me most comfortable with modern styles, or a modern spin on a traditional medium. I may quilt, but not like a grandma (though I mean no offense to any grandmas or older ladies)!
Let me show you some recent examples of what I’ve been working on.
If any of those look interesting to you, feel free to ask about my process! I would love to share tips with anyone curious. It’s highly likely I’ll blog about it in the future at some point, though, so stay tuned!
I hope you’ll join me as I struggle (and hopefully succeed) to figure out what I’m doing. Let’s make stuff together!