Sunday, 3 December 2017

Downloadable 2018 Calendars

Hi everyone

How did it get to be December?! This year seems to have flown by, although I probably say that every year now.

I've been very busy recently and have finally set up a designing website and the relevant Social Media pages. I really enjoyed doing all of that, especially the website portfolio, although it did take a lot longer to complete than I'd expected.

Here are the relevant links if you have a moment to drop in on any of them:

Just before I embarked on all of that, I made sure I had designed some downloadable 2018 calendars for my Etsy wall art shop. I really enjoy designing calendars and not just because I prefer New Year to Christmas. They are quite a straightforward item to create, once you have the template and layout sorted, so I thought I would share some of my designs with you in this post.

For the first design, I used elements from a lovely digikit from Crate Paper called On Trend. It has a 'modern vintage' look to it, if that makes any sense, and is packed full of gorgeous embellishments from butterflies to florals, pocket watches to birds and tea-cups to word art. The background papers are fab too and I created my own from one of them.

For the next design I used a Creative Commons photo of some beautiful trees that are bursting with pink blossom. Just what we need to remind us that spring will turn up again eventually! I added some elements from a digikit called CS English Town (from the late lamented DaisyTrail) which seems to give the design a slightly more quirky style. 

The third design was created using another lovely DaisyTrail digikit called Woodland Walk. This is one of my favourite kits as it has some really beautiful water-colour style images of wild animals, as well as some pretty florals. For calendar designs, I particularly like digikits where there are suitable images to match the months. I added some embellishments from the kits to one of the papers to create my own background.

All final images Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2017

These calendar designs, as well as a couple of others, are all available as instant downloads from my Etsy shop and would make an attractive and very affordable Christmas present.

If I'm not back here again before Christmas, have a good one. 

Happy designing and Happy Christmas.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Peerless Designs Tangletastic CD-Roms

Hi everyone.

I hope you are fit and well. I'm trying hard to stick to my resolution of blogging "little and often" although it's rather a loose definition if I'm honest!

There is quite a lot going on in my life at the moment and I am always looking for ways to de-stress. One of my new favourite stress-busters is the art of zentangling. If you've never heard of zentangling before, this definition may help:

The Zentangle Method is an easy-to-learn, relaxing, and fun way to create beautiful images by drawing structured patterns. Almost anyone can use it to create beautiful images. It increases focus and creativity, provides artistic satisfaction along with an increased sense of personal well being. The Zentangle Method is enjoyed all over this world across a wide range of skills, interests and ages.
You can find out more at:

Artwork from Peerless Designs Tangletastic 3 CD-Rom
Final Image Design by Melissa Lawrence

I first came across zentangling when it was demonstrated on Create and Craft by Mel Heaton. To be honest, I was put off it at first because it felt too "regimented" and also because I didn't have enough confidence at that stage in my artistic skills and thought I couldn't do it.
Then along came Sarah Hallam, the multi-talented artist, designer and founder of the crafting company Peerless Designs. She had produced an amazing range of CD-Roms called Tangletastic which were her version of zentangling and perfect for people like me who were put off by "proper" zentangling and wanted to do their own thing with pattern and design using Sarah's wonderful artwork.

Artwork from Peerless Designs Tangletastic 3 CD-Rom
Final Image Design by Melissa Lawrence

Thanks to Sarah, I now feel much more confident about zentangling or "tangling" as we non-purists prefer to call it and have been frankly amazed at some of the designs I've been able to produce. Yes, it is incredibly relaxing to do and a great stress-buster, but it's also helped develop my art and design skills, as well as increased my awareness of pattern. So whatever your reasons are for wanting to try it, just go for it. You won't be disappointed and your family and friends might not even recognise the new, wonderfully calm you!

Artwork from Peerless Designs Tangletastic 3 CD-Rom
Final Image Design by Melissa Lawrence

Happy designing!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Art Journalling The Digital Way

Hi everyone.

I hope you are having a good summer, assuming it is summer in your part of the world, of course.

I recently made a Mid Year's Resolution (as opposed to a New Year's Resolution) to change my approach to blogging and go for "little and often" rather then "long and infrequently"! So I'm starting as I mean to go on with this art journalling page, done the digital way.

I started art journalling in the real world last year, thanks to a brilliant book I found by art journalist Dawn DeVries Sokol called Art Doodle Love. I'd highly recommend it, especially if like me you are new to the wonderful and creative world of art journalling.

One of the problems I find with art journalling is that I can't draw, at least I don't feel I can but that's a whole other story. So when I discovered a fantastic digikit called Pitkinesque by Gibby Frogett Craftations, I was delighted to realise that I could now create just the sort of designs I was looking for but digitally instead of by hand. Here is the first page I have done.

Artwork by Gibby Frogett Craftations
Final Design by Melissa Lawrence

Thanks to the very inspiring items in this amazing digikit, I feel that it might not be too long before I feel ready to have a go at creating art journalling designs with my own hand-drawn artwork. In the meantime, I'm just really glad that there are such talented artists out there who are willing to share their considerable artistic talents with us lesser mortals!

Pitkinesque is a Personal Use Only digikit and currently only intended for DaisyTrail members. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Sunflowers & Stars Digikit from MJM Studios

Hi everyone.

So things haven't exactly gone according to plan since my last post due to my "hormonal hell" (as I've taken to calling it) which has pretty much brought my life to a complete standstill over the last couple of months or so. Fortunately, I do seem to be moving forward again now, thanks to a combination of HRT and a lot of rest but I wouldn't say I'm quite out of the woods yet.

All things work-wise have had to go on hold but I have just started to try and catch up on the projects I was doing before things went so awry. I was pleased this week to be able to finally finish the samples I was asked to do for Michelle Jackson-Mogford to help promote the fabulous new digikits she launched on DaisyTrail way back in September.

If you would like to see my samples from the first three digikits you can find them here:

My final samples come from a digikit which Michelle has called Sunflowers & Stars. Like all the other kits, it was inspired by one of her favourite artists. In this case it was Vincent van Gogh, the famous Dutch post-Impressionist painter.

The first design is for an A4 'Year At A Glance' calendar which I had actually managed to complete before I went AWOL and when 2017 still seemed fresh and new in everyone's minds. I used a calendar template I had already designed using the CraftArtist 2 Professional computer software and added a background paper from the digikit. I then blended in some of the lovely hand-painted embellishments to create my own bespoke background. For each month, I chose a different and appropriate embellishment and finished the design off with the artist's own quote which was one of several that Michelle had included in the kit.

For my second sample I wanted to do something a little different and used a design mock-up photo of two notebooks. This is the original photo:

And here are the designs I've added using some of the gorgeous hand-painted sunflower embellishments and a section of digital material from the digikit. Quite a difference, isn't there?

My third project is a piece of wall art which I must admit is probably my favourite of the three. I found a Creative Commons image on the internet of one of van Gogh's self-portraits and took it into the Cut Out Studio in Craft Artist to remove the background. I then added some appropriate embellishments to one of the scroll embellishments from the kit. The background was a blend of a digital background and a section of digital material with star gem embellishments added to create the starry sky. Finally I "frayed" the edges digitally to give it more of an artist's canvas look.

It has been an absolute pleasure to work with all of Michelle's digikits and I can highly recommend them whether you are new to the wonderful world of digital crafting and design or just starting out on your journey. Like most of us who admire her work and have been inspired by it, I can't wait for the next ones.

Happy designing! 

All final designs copyright Melissa Lawrence 2017