March 25, 2010

Building a better card...

Well here we are, folks. Welcome to Building a Better Card 101! If you've ever looked at someone else's card and thought, *I wish I could stamp like that*.....well, I'm gonna help you out today. It's about building your card upon simple design elements. Let's get started.

First, use your tools that you've spent all that hard earned money on. If your supplies just sit on a shelf, you'll never know their full potential. Papertrey has oodles of supplies to help you out....from new dies to patterned papers to buttons. The possibilities are endless.
For my cards today, I had a basic sketch in mind with a rectangle focal point. Nothing too fancy about the finished card design....but it's the details that make my cards exciting today. I want to show you some progression photos so that you can see how I *build* my cards. You'll be amazed at how the layers of details result in a fun focal point.

Today I'm using the flower stems from Wishing You, die cut flower doodads I made from Beautiful Blooms II and the matching dies, and a sentiment from Vintage Picnic Sentiments. Don't be afraid to get all mixy matchy with your stamps sets. It's okay.

As you can see in the photo below, I started out with some simple stamping of the flower stems with the doodad flowers attached with pop dots. The sentiment is stamped below the flowers. Nice. But I don't want just nice, I want to use some of my new dies and punches and patterned paper. I want some pizazz.
So I reach for some patterned paper (Green Boutique and Pretty Pastels) and make some punched circles and scalloped edges. I adhere them to my focal piece. But they seem to be *floating* in space. The pieces aren't grounded and they don't tie together.
So how about adding some black stitching around my rectangle focal piece. The stitching touches each added element and ties them all together. The lines created by the stitching also add a border to my focal piece. No need to go all the way around because the black sentiment creates the bottom border. I've not got a framed little piece of artwork, so to speak.
But my focal piece still looks a little bland. So I added some more tied buttons to the green punched circles. That looks great, don't you think?

Here's where the design elements come in to play. You probably didn't even notice I was using design elements, right? Say what? Well, once you get used to thinking in a *designer* sort of way, it should come natural. It all just happens.

So what did I do that was so special. Let me lay it out for you:

COLOR: I used colors that were pleasing to the eye. Notice how the color of the doodad flowers and the scalloped pieces are the same tone. Notice how the flower stems and the punched circles are the same tone. That creates an overall nice look.

GROUNDING: This isn't really a technical term but it's very important when designing a card. Don't just let your design elements float around in space. Ground them by creating a border, a horizon line, a grouping.....something to tie all the elements together. Balance your elements.

REPETITION: Repetition is repeating some of the same design elements over and over. I already talked about how I repeated the use of the same color scheme in the color section above. Another way that I used repetition is with shape. Notice all the circular elements on my card. The flower is a circle. The inside punched text book paper is a circle. The three accent buttons are circles. The scallops are circular in nature. And look closely, the little stamp under the flower stems are a row of circles. Similar design elements are pleasing to the eye. Square buttons might not have worked as well on my focal piece.

VISUAL TRIANGLE: This is very important. A visual triangle is simply three elements that are grouped together to draw the eye to the other elements in the triangle. The triangle does not have to be perfect. Just a grouping that creates a triangle. Can you point out some triangles on my focal piece? Let's see, the three peach buttons create a visual triangle. The circles that the buttons rest on create a visual triangle.
And notice below that I went in after the fact and added an aqua punched circle behind the green punched circle. That adds a third aqua color element which creates a visual triangle. Now at this point, scroll back up to my first image, then scroll down. It all makes sense and my focal point now has lots of interesting details. Did I just luck out? I think not, friends. I used some great design elements to make it look great. You can do it too!
Now how about the rest of my card? I had lots of color options that I could use behind that focal piece. Usual In Bloom patterned paper, I had a subtle floral theme to choose from. I laid out a rainbow of colors below so that you can see lots of options. Zoom in on the photo below. I actually like ALL of the choices below. Each background paper gives a different look. The bright yellow looks punchy and fun. The green looks earthy and flowery. The brown looks a little vintage and subtle.
The black even looks great because it ties in with the black stitching on the card and the black stamped sentiment. I almost chose black with an aqua ribbon.......
But I decided to use the red background paper. I thought my green stems and greenish-blue flowers would compliment nicely with the red paper.

COMPLEMENTARY COLORS: These are colors opposite each other on the color wheel. Even a touch of a complimentary color will make your project pop. Coloring purple flowers with Copics? Add a few dots of yellow somewhere on the flowers and they will pop right off the paper. Seriously, you'll have to pick the flowers up off the floor.
And here is my finished card. I continued the theme of repetition by stamping polka dots on the bottom of my card. And I used more of the same green patterned paper as I did for the punched circles on my accent piece. I finished off the card with a torn piece of Japanese masking tape (you can google and find it lots of places).
A fun grouping of cards that were well thought out. I used my design skills to tie all the elements together. It works for me. It'll work for you!!
I hope you've learned some good tips today. Do you think you'll try some out on your next card??

Here's a link to some other design element terms you might find helpful. Enjoy.

90 comments:

Banu said...

WOW...This is so informative and inspiring and make me think out of the box. Thanks so much for sharing your insights on creating a beautiful card.

Cindy Jenkins said...

Hi....That was a GREAT lesson!!! I'm looking forward to putting those to work.....I've always enjoyed your work....Thanks for sharing some of your tricks!!!
Hugs, Cindy

Jen said...

mish...i am such a fan!! love this post..you are so good!! thanks for sharing!

Gayatri said...

Fantastic information. Thanks for sharing with us!

Sharon Keanly said...

What a wonderful tutorial you've posted for us today. You make it seem so simple and yet when I sit down, my head is full of ideas, but the brain/hand co-ordination just won't work. That's why I love visiting your blog, it's so inspiring. hugs Sharon

Taheerah said...

I just love the way you laid out your tutorial Mish! Very informative, and your teaching style is so engaging and fun! I really enjoyed reading this!!

Danielle Daws said...

Thanks for such a wonderful tutorial! I'm inspired now!

Mariah said...

fantastic post...just what I needed!

Kristy Hansenwi said...

Thank you --great information and the cards look great......I love to read your blog and learn--(or copy:) teehee) kh

Kathyc on SCS said...

Thanks so much for the design lesson today Michelle! I never would have guessed that the red background would look so great; I hope to put some of these tricks to good use this weekend.

iluvsassafras said...

Thanks! Its very informative!I love your kit and its always sold out! It will be great if you can do a walk through on the process of that. Love your work! Thanks

Lisa H. said...

this is great! glad to know, I'm doing some things right ;) love your group of cards-fabulous design!

patriciad said...

Wow, Mish, you really went all out on this post. Thanks for all the great info for design-challenged chicks such as myself! You are such an inspiration, girl!

Melissa said...

You are truly an artist! I loved all the tips you provided in creating a card - start to finish & the thought process that you go thru. Great post! Thanks!

Sue said...

Thank you for this lesson,when your mojo has gone on holiday it helps when lovely people do tips like this.
Sue

Ted said...

Very helpful post...thanks for this, Michelle! :)

Kelly S. said...

Great tutorial...I like the red floral background best, too :)!

Bonnie said...

Thanks so much, great lesson on design. Beautiful card!!

Elizabeth (Beth) Moore said...

Thanks so much for the great lesson! I need all the help I can get from great designers like yourself!

Kim Marie said...

Wonderfully done!
Kim Marie

Abegaile Valencia said...

I love your blog! Ever since I found it a few years ago, I know that when I want some eye candy/inspiration, I can come here and find that. Thank you for a very informative, inspirational tutorial/tip. It's nice seeing how you go about building your cards because I think you're one of the best at showing how the different sets can all work together and that you're not afraid of color! LOVE IT!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this turorial. I am a long time stamper but had forgotten all this and now struggle to get my cards balanced.
Edie

Diane Jaquay said...

Love posts like this that teach me! I wish there were more blogs that did that. Your cards are beautiful btw :)

Kim G said...

I have always been such a fan from a long time ago. I faithfully come to your blog every day to see what you have come up with next. No exception, todays post rocks!!

Kacey Elliott said...

You make it all look so easy :) Beautiful cards!

Tracey McNeely said...

Thanks Michelle for the great tutorial. It was really enjoyable and you make it seem so easy.

Geri said...

Michelle....you should have been a teacher! Your information was so well presented. I HONESTLY believe that I can do this now! Thank you so much!

Heather Jensen said...

Thanks so much for the info! Fabulous cards. I like the red best too. :)

Ruby said...

Thanks for the great tutorial. I use the thirds rule but really found it fascinating about using that rule as much with colour as you would with the elements. Thank you for sharing, look forward to the next one ;o)

Maureen Merritt said...

Awesome, thank's for all of the tips to make card more visually appealing. I would love more installments like this, "Friday Card Building with Mish" :)

GaMtnScrap said...

This was an awesome posting and tutorial, thanks for letting us in on how you do things and think things through. It's really insightful and informative, a great teaching tool. Thanks, Mish! (Of course, you make it look easy, and nobody does cards exactly like you! :) )

Sue said...

Hi Mish - Great tips on building a card. Thanks so much for sharing with us. How did you know that I've said "I wish I could make a card like that!" :)

Vicki B. said...

You truly are the best! Thank you so much for posting these card making tips! Especially helpful for us beginners!

joy said...

Wow, thank you!! I like the way you have laid it out for us step, by step!

Sarah said...

Thank you for the easy tutorial. As always I love your designs and colours.

Márcia Mattos said...

Loved your tutorial and the cards are really pretty!

thanks
Marcia

Chinnu said...

Wow, fantastic post, Mish... really helpful, thanks. LOVE the step by step instructions and guidance. Thanks so much for sharing. Now if only I could remember all this when I sit down to create a card...

Sue Lelli said...

THIS is the most helpful and informative tutorial I have ever seen! You make it sound so logical! Up until now I have been just placing things on a page without any thought as to why and now I understand the why and how important it really is!!! Thanks so much!

Lynn said...

thanks for the tutorial, very helpful. I liked the way you showed the steps of "building" your card! Always admire your work, Lynn

Vera W. Yates (Ling) said...

Thank you for the tutorials. This is awesome.

Wendy said...

That was a great lesson.
I've been a fan of yours for a long time, I just love all of your work, I can't get enough!!!
Thanks for teaching us how you do it!

Linda said...

Well Mish, thanks for showing us how to use all these "tips" to build a card but you still make it look soooo easy. Your style is my absolute favorite and I find myself using your cards as reference so many times. I constantly pick up ideas from your designs but now you are giving an "art" reason for these choices that I didn't know I was using. Thanks for all your inspiration!

Laura said...

Thanks for sharing this information with us. :-)

For anyone who is interested in learning more about complementary color schemes (in a nice visual manner), this site does a great job: http://www.tigercolor.com/color-lab/color-theory/color-theory-intro.htm

Juanita B said...

WOW, what beautiful results!!! I LOVE that you are a teacher because teachers rock and that is what many of us need as adults. You bring such awareness to my senses. Thank you.

Debbie said...

Thank you so much for the step by step build. I found it interesting that you did not start with the base card. Does it end up being 4 1/4 x 5 1/2, or do you make the card to fit the focal piece? The triangle rule was very helpful as my cards do not seem to have any kind of sense to them.
Thanks again!

Nicki said...

Thank you for this! I love to create cards and want to do more, but I always get stuck. Looking at your post today, it's the little things all put together that can make a great card! Thank you!

Jingle said...

This is such an amazing post! Beautifully written! I think I'm going to print this out as a reminder! Thank you!

Melissa said...

You are so adorable Mish...I love visiting your blog...and these cards are my most favorite ever.
Melis

Nancy said...

Thanks so much for this informative tutorial...it's all becoming clear now. Sometimes my cards work and sometimes they don't and it's always been by chance. Now I'm on a mission to incorporate some real design concepts and see what happens.
Your cards are wonderful, and now I know why!

resmith said...

Mish, this was fantastic!! Thank you for showing us how you design your cards. I looking forward to trying your tips on my next project.

Alicia a.k.a. Crafty Al said...

Wow, I always love your cards and now seeing your thought process is fabulous. TFS!

julie said...

What a great lesson thank you for sharing. I will try it this weekend.

marcie said...

wow Thanks for the lesson i never would have thought of going through these steps to build a card but I will def use it now thanks so much for taking the time to teach us.

Sharon said...

I love your latest post:Building a better card. WOW! You're a wonderful teacher. I frequent your blog to see what you have done, and sometimes I try to copy your work-because I absolutely love your cards. Thanks for all the tips and ideas (and reasons). Now I CAN build a better card! You are an inspiration!

Betsy said...

I just love your site; I check it everyday to see what delicious treats you have to offer. Your lesson today was perfect and the photos lovely as usual. The color combinations of all your projects get me so excited as do all the little details. Just PERFECT!

Mariana said...

Thank you,thank you for the lesson, I have a now decent amount of PTI goodies, but I have been afraid of not "using them right" but your lesson really helps me to loose my fear!!

scrapfancy said...

Thanks for taking the time to make this tuturiol. It is a nice chance to get into your head and have a chance use your creativity.

tchrtiff said...

Thank you for such a detailed lesson. Loved the photos and step-by-step directions. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Kristie said...

What a wonderfully informative post. You explained things so well and seeing the progression is a huge help. This sure will help me to create rather than copy cards! Thanks soooooo much.

Cammie said...

Thank you for sharing your design sense. You are a very good teacher with clear instructions, good visuals, and a touch of humor. I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this post. I have you listed in Google Reader and love your blog. Thank you for always providing such wonderful inspiration.

Sally said...

Loved seeing your process unfold. Thanks for sharing the ideas and attention getting tools. Seeing how the center piece came together first is very different from my process, I go from back ground into the focal point. I'll try your way and see what emerges. Thanks for all the creative wisdom.

Rachel May said...

Excellent blog post-thank you! I really enjoy your cards and papercrafts-they are outstanding. My favorite part is the color theory put into it, the difference between that black backdrop and the red really changes the mood of the card, thanks for pointing out those things!

Anonymous said...

Very useful information!!!!!!!! Thank you for your effort.

Carol's Ink Spot said...

Excellent tips for building cards. Your creations are so wonderful! Now to take this info and use it. Thank you.

Chris said...

Your great tutorial just makes me want to rush off to the table and get creating - fantastic and thank you so much for the inspiration!

Jeanne said...

Thank you for your tips on design. I will try to put these tips into action. You are an inspiration!!!!!

Lori said...

You had such a great tutorial and it was so well presented. This will make a difference in the way I look at my projects, thanks so much for sharing such valuable information!!!!

diane mcvey said...

Fantastic tutorial! Thank you very much. It helps a lot to know the design "process". I certainly have no training in such things, and just use trial and error...lots of error! LOL
Thanks again, and have a great weekend! :D

Becky Halfhill said...

Mish, thank you so much for the lesson! Help's to put a finger on the little datails that make your card's so special!

Candi said...

This is truly one of the best written articles I have read on design elements. It all makes so much sense and makes it so easy. Great job!!!
candi

Jannette said...

I am so happy to follow your blog! You are a natural teacher! Thanks for a great lesson! I was using some of these elements but definitively I will try to incorporate the ideas that I learned with you today! Have a happy and great day!

Blueangel Crafts said...

Fantastic tutorial and gorgeous cards! I'm going to try your tips next time I make some cards, so thank you!!

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing tutorial. I struggle to put a card together and never think of the things that you pointed out. Thank you so much for sharing all the tips.

Linda D.

Chrisd said...

Thanks so much for the color theory and card design review tutorial. No matter how long you have been making cards, it is always helpful to go back to basics... especially when you lose your mojo.

Rebecca said...

Great tutoriat! You picked the absolute best floral paper to go with the card fronts. That red just is so snazzy!

Dotty A Cards & Things! said...

I love the way you explained that...
Where do you get your beautiful bottons??

dotygirl said...

Great lesson, I like what you said and the step by step thought that went into why and how. Great thanks so much

Shauna said...

Those are some great tips. You break it down really well, and I love the card you came up with in the end.

Deb Zaremba said...

Thanks so much for sharing such great information on building a better cards. Love your work. Thank you again.

Anonymous said...

This was a fantastic tutorial that you shared with us. Thanks so much.

Lori said...

Hi Mish,

Well, I printed off the "link" you provided on design... there is a lot of information in there and very detailed.... Whew, it's going to take me a while to understand all of it, but thanks, it is a challenge. Your presentation was a lot more fun to read I'm going to have to say... you are a doll, thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

this information is so useful! definitely a way to take it a "step up"! love reading your tips & creations!

Anonymous said...

after reading this I just want to sit down and get to work. thanks for posting such great info.

Darlene

Kathi said...

Always love everything you make!! Which PTI scalloped border did you use...the med or large??

Deirdre said...

Great step by step. Beautiful cards - Thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

This post has been fabulously helpful, Michelle. I have learnt so much and my card creations are reflecting my new approach ~ Thank You!

Barbs said...

Thanks for your detailed lesson. It certainly has been very helpful to me.

Aliessa said...

Thank you for sharing this, I'm looking forward to making a new card now! I do often look at others cards and wonder how they make it so very nice, hopefully now I'll be able to make my own "very" nice cards. :)

Gabriele said...

Thank you so so very very much for this comprehensible, exciting, informative, inspiring, great lesson!
I enjoyed reading it... and I am sure that it will help me some time in future ;)

I`ve just discovered your blog and I`m looking forward to reading more of your articles!

Tom said...

All I can say is WOW over and over again! Thanks for sharing with us! I LOVE your art! Dee AKA RubberLady603

Related Posts with Thumbnails