This card is now almost finished. I have learned some things from yesterday’s debacle. Mainly that I’d make a much wider border for the embossed background.
I did add Speckled Egg Distress ink to this embossed background, but it’s such a lovely, subtle colour the camera hasn’t picked it up well.
The embossed layer is so tactile! I used some Micro Glaze to seal it so that being touched won’t affect the distress ink.
Actually, I used Micro Glaze on the top layer too!
I could only find cream coloured card blanks and envelopes, and these layers really didn’t look too good on them. So, hopefully I’ll remember where my card blank stash is, or I’ll make a blank and envelope.
In the video I try embossing an envelope – a case of ‘envelope art’. I’m glad I did. The embossing works well. However, the areas where the flaps are glued together on the back of the envelope make indents in the front. Distress Ink brings these out so much. So, I’ll be sure to emboss the front of the envelope, and colour with Distress Ink, before I glue it all together!
All in all, I’m much happier with this card. Mind you, I do have ideas for others! Probably too late for Christmas now, but … there’s always lots of other reasons for sending greetings cards, including ‘just because I can’.
Winter solstice 2021 Mandala
Winter Solstice Greetings and Wishes to you all to the north of the equator! Summer Solstice Greetings and Wishes to you all south of the equator!
Some sunshine on a chilly, dull Winter Solstice day here in the Valleys of South Wales, UK.
Actually, the title should be ‘How Not to finish up…’. I had a bit of an accident. More about that in a minute.
This morning, I decided to work on finishing up one card design. I knew I wanted to add another layer beneath the panel already finished before gluing it to the cream-coloured card blank.
I dug out some scrapbook paper from my stash. Nothing felt right. The colours were just ‘off’. That’s when I realised I needed to use Distress Inks to colour the lower panel.
I could have used them to colour the panel, then use pens (black, fineliner or metallic) to draw a pattern on it. Instead, I decided to try to emboss the pattern into the paper using a dotting tool / parchment craft ball tool / embossing tool.
Before I did this, I experimented on some scrap paper to see how I could colour the paper (more on this in today’s video).
I decided to emboss the paper first, then add Distress Ink (pine needles) with the black side of a piece of Cut ‘n Dry foam. That kept the embossing white. I found that if I used a blending brush (aka make-up brush!) more ink settled in the embossing. That is also a lovely look, but not what I wanted.
Inside this border, I added some gold ink to create a gold border around the upper panel.
That looked fine and dandy. The horror story came with the next step…
I added some foam tape to the back of the upper panel to add some dimension to the card, along with some glue so I had some wiggle time to make sure I got the panel centred.
The glue was the mistake I think. I had the panel nicely centred until I turned it over to add some pressure to get it to stick firmly. It must have wiggled and become de-centralised.
And when I noticed it was very firmly stuck.
I was so annoyed with myself as I know this is something that nearly always goes wrong when I try to make cards.
The only way I can ‘fix’ things is to cut out that central panel and re-make the embossed border and reassemble the card once again. This time I’d consider having the embossed pattern going under the central pattern so that if it is a little off it won’t be quite so noticeable.
I’m not, however, going to do that. This time, I’m going to make notes in the card about what I did, the media used, what I like, what I don’t like, and what I need to be very, very mindful of the next time I make a card.
Reflecting on the card creation
I know I’m fairly happy with the design. I like the central motif of holly leaves. The sutble pattern in the border around it is nice too, as is the embossed border.
I do wish I’d not used chalk pastels to add colour to this panel. There’s something dusty and muted about it that I’m not at all sure of. I think that keeping things mostly monochrome on a coloured background works best for me, with touches of gold and white, with some shading perhaps.
It’s that thing again. I love colour, but making use of it always has me feeling that it’s where I mess things up, unless I keep the colours really simple. Simple as in black, white, the background colour, and a shadow colour, and maybe touches of metallics for some sparkle and shine.
I do better with colour when I work digitally, but in traditional media I always feel like I struggle.
It’s always a learning experience, more so when things don’t go as planned or when I’m not entirely happy with what I produce. My problem is I try the same kind of thing over and over and expect it all to improve. I think I’m hoping that I’ll work out how to make the various media work for me at some point.
I say, often, I’m going to stick to monochrome, and then go and try working with colour, often with the same kind of feeling at the end. The feeling I like the pen drawing, but the colour/media isn’t what I’m looking for.
Perhaps time for me to make use of this colour printer and add colour digitally and print it out!
I was awake way too early this morning, but just couldn’t get back to sleep. So, what am I going to do? Art of course, after a while of tossing and turning that is.
Completing the holly design.
I spent some time yesterday adding colour with various chalk pastels. I finished off the last few areas with fineliner pens. Then, I added another layer of gold to the stars and inked around their outlines again.
To finish the holly design, I wanted to seal the surface. I’d done some experiments to see how a multi-media gloss finish and micro-glaze would work. With both, there was very little shift of any of the media I’d used on my test pieces – chalk pastels, graphite pencil, tinted charcoal, and Ecoline watercolour inks. The only difference was the gloss medium was a bit glossy, while the micro glaze lacked any brush strokes.
I decided on the microglaze. It helped to bring out the colours, as well as stop them being rubbed off. There’s also less chance of me making a total mess of things too.
All in all, I’m fairly happy with this panel for a card. Despite all my doubt and misgivings during the process of drawing the design, it’s turned out quite OK.
Notes on the mistletoe design
For this design, I decided to create a separate centre panel. I also painted a square of gold beneath where this panel would go.
I used Ecoline watercolour ink to add colour to the drawing on the Distress Ink coloured panel. Then I attached it to the base ’tile’.
Next, it was time to decide what to do with that big border around the mistletoe. I went with the tangle pattern Diva Dance Rock and Roll.
I knew this tangle pattern would add a lot of black to the border, but I think I wanted that to be the case. The black helps the central panel to stand out, I think.
I still have some work to do on this panel, but I to focus on inking in more of the last couple of templates for Adorable Dogs.
A work in progress as I try to work out my Christmas card design for this year. I’m not entirely sure it works, so will let it ‘sit’ in it’s folder for a couple of days before I commit to adding colour to it.
I’ve had a busy day with Entangled Starry Skies. I woke with some kind of inspiration for a couple of the last templates to be created, and so I worked on them. I have three templates left to do, though I’ll be trying to get some more done so there’s some choice for the book.
Me getting engrossed in templates is the reason some personal artwork is later today than usual. Still, it was fun to do! I think it’s time for some ‘Angela’ time now.
This week’s template is a combination of dangle designs and little pictures. Not one large and often intricate image to colour this week, but a series of little ones so that the template can be coloured in one little bit at a time. This is great for people who get overwhelmed by large, overly-complex colouring pages.
Just as a note, my book “A Dangle A Day” is available. It’s a tutorial book showing how you too can create your own cute and whimsical dangle designs. The dangle designs in the book are a lot smaller than this template!
This design was drawn on Rhodia Dot grid paper using a “F” Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pen and then cleaned up digitally. I then added a wintry background and added some colour to some of the motifs.
I always love to see the many different and unique ways colorists bring my designs to life. Colour really does make all the difference to the templates.
If you’d like to download and print the template to colour, then all you need to do is pop over to the group and join! It’s free!
I’m flagging at the moment. I didn’t sleep much last night; I’ve picked up some kind of stomach bug and so was back and forth the bathroom. My tummy is still not well today. I was, however, determined to get a seasonal greeting out to one and all.
Drawn with Faber Castell Pitt Artist pens. Typography and colouring done digitally.
Of course, December brings Christmas and the start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Familiar motifs are stars, hearts, holly, fir trees, gifts, sweet treats, poinsettias, Santa hats, baubles. I’ve included these in this month’s coloring template, though there are many more motifs to consider – ivy, bells, angels, hot chocolate, socks, gloves, scarves, hats, ice skates, sleighs, reindeer, pine cones, fairy lights, to name but a few.
If you’d like to download and print this template then pop along to the facebook group. It’s free to join and free to download the template. All I ask is that you follow the terms and conditions of use and don’t share the uncoloured template. A mention of myself as the artist would be most welcome when you share your gloriously coloured version.
Wishing everyone who visits this little space on the interwebs all the very best blessings and wishes of the season.
I also wish to thank you for visiting, for sharing my posts.
However you spend this day, whether with friends, family, at work, or by yourself, I wish you well and the best.
About this image
I woke early-ish this morning and had an idea that involved creating this mandala/wreath design, so I had to do it!
Unusually, I drew the motifs in colour! Yup. No black line, just colour.
They’re all very simple with simple colour gradations. The black lines were created by removing colour so the dark background would show through.
I think the outer ring of leaves could be a little lighter, but then it does give a sense of the outer ring bending away, with the hearts and mistletoe on the high point of the ‘wreath’.
Adding texture to the design helped to scuff up the perfection of the colours.
I really enjoyed doing this, as simple as it is.
I am really grateful that I used an insulated mug for my gingerbread mocha latte this morning – I forgot all about it for over 3 hours, so engrossed in my art as I was, and it’s now just the perfect temperature for drinking!
My tools were Microsoft Surface Pen, Microsoft Surface Studio and Autodesk Sketchbook Pro. Yes, this is a digital piece of art.
The rest of the day I intend to spend in arty/creative pursuits, including finishing off my knitted cuddly triceratops (yes, I know yesterday I incorrectly said it was a stegosaurus).