sketchPLATE Saturday 0010

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Good morning DigiScrappers! Today it is my great pleasure to present you with the first of the brand new range of sketchPLATES for 2022. After last year’s hodge podge of mixed blessings, so far this year is shaping up to be pretty awesome. The Design Shop is on track to reopen on Monday, 1 February, and a new kit will be gracing the shelves very soon. #FutureGoals Spotlighting this sketchPLATE Saturday offering, the idea for this page was originally sparked by those awesome ampersands that were so popular a little while ago. Having spotted a few on Pinterest I decided to try my hand at designing one using a shiny epoxy layer style used in a page composition inspired by an artsy poster. The result has turned out better than I thought and I hope that you love it as much as I do.


First … a little housekeeping


From Artsy Poster to First Draft

Back to the sketchPLATE … the artsy poster that caught my attention for this sketchPLATE is this one by Xavier Esclusa, found on Pinterest:

That vintage floral image growing though the typographic element, against the deep darkness of the background … very cool!

Typography is a bit of a side interest and, over the years, I have used decorative fonts in my design work a lot! So it was quite natural to incorporate the ampersand in the design in place of the original “S”. The pencil draft is quite sleek looking, almost magazine style, which for me is not my usual style, thus creating a bit of a design challenge to retain the timeless simplicity of lines in the background.

Furthermore, looking at the poster, I kind of wholesale borrowed the beautiful incision of the negative use of the serif letter “I” that so cunningly creates depth in the background behind the decorative floral and typography pieces. To finish off, I capped it by adding my own take on the classic juxtaposition of vintage and modern aesthetic!


The “On Paper” Version

The penciled work in my art journal turned out like this:


Getting the Lighting Just Right

Referring to the sketch often, the background was the obvious place to start. The basic structure was easy enough to create but for some reason I found working with dark colours in the foreground of the paper layers was just not working. I think that that was partly due to the papers I used which came from a very old kit of mine, called Little Black Christmas Dress (to be remastered). Changing the papers to lighten the page looked much better in the end.

Once I had settled on the basic structure I needed to build the ampersand. After much tweaking and more than a few different approaches to the styling, finally the element came to life. It was so curvy that I was just about bursting with satisfaction.

Originally, this sketch was intended to boast an oversized daisy as the floral accent. However, by the time that I finally got stuck into working on the page it was leading up to Christmas and I knew that I wanted to use a poinsettia in the design instead once the layout was completed. So plonk! On it went.

The next thing I spent a fair bit of time working on was the positioning of the title and the journaling. The balance was a little off since I was working on a square canvas with a lot of white space running down the right hand side of the page. Actually, to be honest, it took an embarrassingly long time to get that right. I think I need to scrap more pages more often to sort that out.

Adding the photos was simple enough although as I was working I changed from a single round photo, to two rectangular photos and then swapped back to round again. The 90° angles just felt a little harsh against the rounded corners of the background and the curvy lines in the ampersand.


Creating a Cohesive Canvas

Pulling everything together I decided to run a spray of small paint splatters from the top left corner through to the bottom right hand corner, right where a nice little tag cluster now sits. The page was still feeling a little off balance until those design elements were added. I considered using glitter but opted against it because I felt that glitter might introduce too much texture to the finished page.

Finally, the focal point of the page at the ampersand and the flower desperately needed to have more depth and variation. Adding a simple black tassel and a few leaves under the poinsettia, combined with two round tags underneath the ampersand brought exactly the right amount of depth without overpowering the photographs.


Christmas Memories Layout Finished!

Punctuating the page with some simple, shiny brads finished the project in style:

Shop This Look

The Great Unboxing

Vividly do I remember that Christmas Day; the temperature was in the high 30°C’s and humid! Bleh!

Having said that, I think that the journaling for this page perfectly tells the story:

”’Twas the First Christmas for our Taran & Logan was so excited helping him to unwrap all his presents. I think that he secretly knew he would get to play with most of the gifts too & so he figured why not be part of the Great Unboxing. After all … how many times does a Big Brother get to help his Little Brother to celebrate his First Christmas?”

As an aside: I simply adore beautiful Christmas ornaments and have a small collection of simply stunning fine quality glass baubles. My favorites are the ones commemorating my sons’ respective Baby’s First Christmases. One Christmas unfortunately, my first baby’s bauble was accidentally shattered. I kept all the pieces and placed them inside another bauble, but … Swarovski have gorgeous ornaments that they have been creating for decades … I located one for sale for 2003 and one for 2005. #wishlist

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A beautiful, fragile and intricately created Swarovski Crystal Christmas Star ornament with year date 2021. An intricate and stunningly crafted Swarovksi Crystal Christmas Star ornament. A very cute and delicate precious Swarovski Crystal Christmas Reindeer ornament.

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… Two Weeks Later

Stepping back and looking again after a couple of weeks, I must say that I really like the subtle sense of motion that the ampersand gives to the page. The page feels almost gentle if that can be said of a digital image. It certainly has heart.


sketchPLATE FREEbie Just For You

Created with you in mind, I give you sketchPLATE 0010 for your enjoyment.


In the download, 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;
  • the separated, untrimmed .PNGs files on 12×12 transparent backgrounds.


Please be my guest and grab sketchPLATE No.0010 now in the Design Shop now and please remember to use coupon code:

Future free downloads will be for newsletter subscribers only, so please be sure to sign up today for the next one.


Bringing Down the Curtain

That’s all folks for this edition of sketchPLATE Saturday.

Please remember to share a link to your layout so that I may see it too. Tag me in the credits on your publicly viewable layout if you post on Facebook or Instagram @anitarichardsdesigns and I promise that I will take a look.

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.


Anita Richards Designs | Featured Image | sketchPLATE 0010
Featured Image | sketchPLATE 0010
Presenting the first of the sketchPLATES for 2022. The idea for this sketchPLATE was sparked by those awesome ampersands so popular a little while ago.


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