Hello again one and all! Welcome to sketchPLATE Saturday 0011! This project was initially inspired by a super high contrast monochromatic image. At first blush, it seemed like it would be a straightforward process… or so I thought! Amidst all the work involved in learning and trying to get my head around website SEO, implementing all that SEO jazz and image optimisation and working on getting the cart software to work properly … I actually hit scrapper’s block at least a dozen if not more times as I was creating the layout for this project. I couldn’t believe it!!! Scrapper’s block! It took a while but I finally beat the scrapper’s block. The finished layout that formed the base of this week’s template is a complex page the makes crafty use of out-of-bounds photo manipulations against a backdrop of ink stamped elements, flourished with shiny chrome accents and firey-reds tones. The design process behind this project was fraught with obstacles. Nonetheless, I finally got there with it and the SEO and designing a new kit and image optimisation and the cart … it is all starting to gel. And I think that that is what was holding me up; I was simply trying to implement too many things, learn too many things, master too many things simultaneously and floundering as a result. Despite that, the sketchPLATE is complete and the coordinating digital scrapbooking kit Lucky 13 is also done and I managed a two-page layout as part of the whole process. #Winning This sketchPLATE has a very special place in my heart; I love how it turned out and I hope that you love it as much as I do.
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Who said that out-of-bounds images are passé?
Quite some time ago as I was browsing through a bunch of pins, this poster by Tyler Spangler (originally found via Pinterest) really jumped out and caught my eye with it’s dramatic use of line, combined with the perpendicular juxtaposition of a circular cutout.
At first, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to use the inspiration, all I knew was that I was definitely going to create something with lines like this AND especially retain the concept of the out-of-bounds photograph treatment.
Flourishing in Simplicity
Because the inspiration piece is classic in line and texture with a simple monochrome colour palette, I wanted to retain as much of the character of that simplicity as possible. That was actually a far more difficult task than initially envisioned. More about that later.
Creating Depth and Texture
Furthermore, because the inspiration piece has a very highly graphic magazine quality to it, I also wanted to break that up a bit and soften it out. That actually drove me a little nuts and was far more difficult than I had hoped. More about that later, also.
What Happened in My Art Journal
Initially I thought that I would add stitching and an inked border on top of a curled edge torn cardstock piece on top of a plain cardstock backing, topped with a lined patterned paper.
Once I put that idea on paper, together with the cutout and circular photo, it became apparent that the lines would end up being too visually heavy and, as you can see from the notes I made, I decided that the finished sketchPLATE would have a more pastel tone to the lined element.
In an effort to start adding softening elements I threw on the ubiquitous flower accent and then decided to experiment with designing flourish accents.
The Completed Pencil Draft
So, once all those thoughts were traced out, I trimmed the penciled work from my Art Journal to use in the creation of my layout:
The Scrapping of a Layout
Usually when I create a layout, the various elements are designed as I go along. Which is opposite to how I design .. I usually design a kit and then try and scrap with it. Then, if I feel something is missing as I’m scrapping, I design and add to the kit. Now, after completing several of these sketchPLATE Saturday projects, now I think the second method is much much easier! Funny how we learn new ways as we start to do things differently.
The first session that I started working on the layout I hit a brick wall with the flourish. I totally hated how it looked on the page! I had actually forgotten that the lines on the top layer of paper were mean to be pastel toned. I was trying to create a dark stamped flourish to go on top of a high contrast patterned background and I just couldn’t get it to work.
It was ages before I finally cottoned on that I had diverged a little too far from the noted ideas I had added to right of my original hand drawn art journal version. (Note to self: look at the art journal version too, from time to time.)
I worked for a looong time on getting the background papers just right.
In the end I dropped the curled edge torn cardstock idea ~ there was already a lot happening on the page and the curl/torn edge combination just did not look right. It also meant an additional layer of cardstock which further complicated the look of the framing plus the additional drop shadows … it was too much!
It looks a lot better without out the curl to be honest.
Photo Manipulations: Using Layer Masks
With only the one special birthday photo that I wanted to use on this page, for this layout I had already decided to craft an out-of-bounds effect with the photograph, which was totally in keeping with the inspiration poster. I have used out-of-bounds design elements before, but not often, so I was keen to get started working on that particular aspect of this project.
To achieve the effect I duplicated the main photo which was initially a little dull and grainy due to the lighting … and the limited lens on my phone camera! I then created a clipping mask around the birthday cake, duplicated it several times, added more clipping masks on the candle flames and added layer styles to emphasise the fire glow on the candle tips as well as added a pop-out style drop shadow on the base layer with the original clipping mask to give additional depth to the cake on the cake stand.
Phew! that was pretty easy really, but took a little bit of work and some tweaking to get it looking just right.
Building and Rebuilding Flourishes
The flourishes were still plagueing me though. I just could not get them to work properly! I think that if I had Adobe Illustrator on my machine I would have been able to pull them off but my darling old laptop is just not capable of running it … still dreaming of the day that I finally get my dream machine.
Nonetheless, not to be totally deterred, I finally settled on a commercial use flourish and after a little bit of work manipulating it I finished it up by styling it with a bright and shiny chrome effect. A very nice finish.
Working with Typography: The Title, Number 13, wordART
The next thing I spent a fair bit of time working on was the positioning of the title and the number accent. This required the creation of a new chrome alphabet set so that I could place a number 13 on the page. This type of design work is my forte and works so beautifully on this page.
After that was completed I worked on a title; initially I used straight text style title but in the end I opted for a more ornate and decorative approach. That resulted in a chrome wire title…
As I have mentioned before, I really enjoy working with typography as a design element and so as I was working on the layout and ditched the straight text title, I created a chrome wire style wordART piece using the word lucky as the focus word. I have created chrome wire wordART before (see sketchPLATE 0007) and love designing them.
These wire wordART pieces that I create are fairly straightforward but actually quite intricate to execute well. Attention to design details is always the key focus when I design any of my digital scrapbook items and products ~ if I don’t love it it just doesn’t make the cut.
Also, 13 is a lucky number for my family of origin so it was a lovely word to add to the number element that I had already added.
I adore how this one turned out.
Background Elements: Stamps, Stamps, Stamps and more Stamps!
I had soooo much fun designing all the different stamps that are featured on this layout! There are literally heaps of them. Take a look at the Lucky 13 :: Petite Collection in the Shop for an idea of how many are actually on the page!
Doing this type of brush work is one of my favourite ways of embellishing layouts … I may end up creating a brush set with even more brushes because I created a bunch of others as I was scrapping/designing that didn’t end up on the finished page but I love. Stay tuned.
Clustering for Depth and Balance
Finally, the focal point of the page, aka the out-of-bounds photo, was looking out of place where it was originally positioned after I did away with the original idea of a flourish in the bottom left hand corner. To create additional depth and balance the composition I clustered a bunch of arrow tags and word bits together with some stamps and a cute little cardstock heart. I also added the date to give time context to the page. Overall, that little cluster has an almost vintage envelope postmark esthetic to it. Love it!
Tweaking the Stamps
Once I had all the elements on the page, I started deleting items. Yes, deleting them!
There were too many stamps and it had started to feel a little overcrowded. Over the years I have found that I tend to do that a lot and there is a saying that a design is not finished until you can’t remove any more parts from it.
Location, Location, Location: Final Positions
In the final phase, I spent a fair amount of time resizing and repositioning the lucky wordART title and the #13. Finally, balance had won the page! and as I am often wont to do, I added the running spray of chrome brads in the bottom left corner to complete the layout in style:
Aaaaaah! Birthdays! My son, Logan, he was so happy on that day. He was finally a teenager!
On that day we had gone to the movies to see one of the totally awesome movies that were screening at that time … a convoluted way of saying that I can’t specifically remember which one we saw … I’m sure that it was totally awesome especially because it was Logan’s choice as part of his birthday celebrations.
When we returned home it was time for cake and I must say at this point that I completely approve of Logan’s choice of chocolate mud cake for his birthday cakes, they are his favourite and he has extremely good taste in that regard.
With only one photo that I wanted to use on this page, for this layout I decided to use an “out-of-bounds” effect with the photograph. To achieve the effect I duplicated the main photo and then created a clipping mask around the birthday cake and added layer styles to emphasise the glow of the candles as well as adding a pop-out style drop shadow to give additional depth the the cake on the cake stand.
As an aside: My sons and I have a family tradition of drinking non-alcoholic Prosecco (a traditional Italian sparkling red wine) on every birthday, for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, and for every celebration really. We always do this, but the glassware that I currently have is not great and my cake stand is just a cheap porcelain one. I used to have a large selection of beautiful Luigi Bormioli glasses from my Wedding Gift Registry. But, alas, glass and hard floors just don’t mix well together when you have young children, so over the years you can imagine that not much survived from my previous sets. Now that my sons are young adults, perhaps I can start buying some beautiful glassware again and teach my sons a little about wine etiquette while serving genuine Prosecco together with some delectable cake on a gorgeous cake stand … Thank goodness for Amazon Wish Lists!
Celebration Ideas: Present the Cake Fancy & Give ’em Bubbles
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Two Weeks Later …
Stepping back and looking again after a couple of weeks, I must say that the page gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. I love that the candles seem as though they are burning right in front of me.
The memories of that day with my new teenager and my darling 11 year older are vivid in my mind’s eye; I almost feel as though I could just reach out and give them both a hug.
After finishing the Lucky 13 :: Petite Collection, which was the decorative base of this project, and looking at this layout again I actually started creating a second page with multiple photos. As at the time of publishing this post, the second page design is actually finished and is just awaiting arrangement of the photographs.
Converting the layout to the sketchPLATE was pretty straightforward, however, because this project was created from a new Collection, this time most of the accents and embellishments in the template are “blanks” so that you can customise to your heart’s content.
Created with you in mind, I give you sketchPLATE 0011 for your enjoyment.
The sketchPLATE is licensed for Personal Use Only; all the files are combined into one convenient .ZIP file for you, including:
- the .TIF file version of the layered template;
- the .PSD file version of the layered template; and,
- the separated, untrimmed .PNGs files on 12×12 transparent backgrounds.
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Lastly, and certainly not leastly, thank you! Thank you for participating in today’s sketchPLATE Saturday, part of our ongoing Digital Scrapbooking Projects & Inspiration series. The complete index for previous sketchPLATE Saturday Projects can be found on the sketchPLATE Saturdays home page.