Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Playing Around With Photos

Hi everyone.

Well, hopefully that's got the "dreaded lurgy" out of the way for winter, although there is still a long way to go yet, of course! Anyway, I'm back at work again after having had to take my first official sick days since January. Mind you, I seem to have started coughing again today but hopefully it's just the damp weather or the central heating.

I've been doing rather too much thinking while I've been laid aside and watching far too much TV but you're allowed to do that when you're ill, aren't you? One of the things I've been thinking about is how to create my designs. I realise that probably sounds a silly question for a designer to ask but as someone who can't draw for toffee, or indeed any other sweet, I can't design from my own artwork like most designers do.

I've been experimenting quite a lot with doing designs almost exclusively from photographs (my own and copyright free ones) with just very small amounts of ready-made graphics thrown in.

While I was working recently on designing the first digital craft supplies for my soon-to-be opened Etsy shop, I found this gorgeous photo of a floral painting on Public Domain Pictures which is one of my favourite sites for PD photos.

As soon as I saw it, I immediately wanted to start creating a background or 8 x 8 scrapbook paper from it and actually came up with three designs in the end, so my break obviously did me good.

My first design has kept the original colours of the photo but I've added a watercolour effect and a blend mode using Craft Artist 2. I also added a script overlay from a Graphic Authority digikit and re-coloured it. A simple design but quite effective, as I hope you'll agree.

For my next design, I re-coloured the photo in the Photo Lab section of CAP2 and added lots of re-coloured crackle and distressed overlays from the same Graphic Authority kit to create a more vintage look which I felt worked really well with this photo.

The final design turned out very differently from the other two, showing just how versatile one photo can be. Admittedly I used a different section of the original but I think you might be hard-pressed to identify it as also coming from the same photo.

To achieve the basic design, I put a pink block of colour under the photo and added a blend mode and a colour fill. Then I took it into the Photo Lab, again in good old CAP2 and played around with the hue channel sliders and various filters until I eventually came up with something I was happy with. I still felt the design needed something to create "texture" so that it looked more like material than paper and I found the perfect digital embossing folder in one of my DaisyTrail digikits.

Now all I need to do is to stay well and keep working on how to create my own embellishments from photos, which is not so easy!

Enjoy the rest of October and I'll see you in November. (Where is this year going?)

Monday, 5 October 2015

DaisyTrail CraftScapes Autumn Country

Hi everyone.

When I was a child, one of my favourite books was Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I liked my heroines to be strong and gutsy but if they also had long, shiny chestnut hair and lived in the country, then that was a plus too.

I must admit I couldn't have told you that the quote I've used on the first of this post's projects came from the book but I'm glad it did. Although I'm a lot less keen on the month of October than I used to be (thanks to all the firework fanatics), I still think it is a great month for inspiring art and design. As I said in my last post, you can't beat an autumnal colour palette for stunning beauty and breath-taking tones.

The three projects below have all been created using the CraftScapes Autumn Country digikit from DaisyTrail. Those of you who follow my crafting blog will know that I'm a huge fan of the CraftScapes digikits and this one is a definite favourite, reminding me a bit of the Montgomery books. You even get the smoke to put on the cottage chimney!

I decided to design a page from a calendar for my first project, building up a scene using the lovely "watercolour" style embellishments and including the quote from the book. I added a "stamp" effect from the styles tab in Craft Artist Professional to the days of the week and dates as I felt this really complimented the artwork.

For my second project, I had an image in my head of a country kitchen with decorated tiles. I must admit I hadn't thought of doing a tile design before but the artwork in this kit seemed to fit the country kitchen image so well. Originally, I was only going to have a plain white background but I felt it needed something more and the border has really emphasised the focal point of the design. Of course, this design could also be used for the front of a square greetings card.

Finally, I decided to design a DL size party invitation. I don't really favour celebrating Halloween, so this is my version. I wanted to keep the tones quite soft and gentle and I think I achieved that by shadowing everything, including the "stitched" border. I've no idea who Janet and Steve are but I'm sure they will enjoy their party!

I hope you continue to see lots of the lovely autumnal colours as we get further into October and meanwhile, I'm off to see if I can pick up a cheap copy of Anne of Green Gables on eBay!

All designs copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015.