Janelle’s latest Coaching Session on designing handmade cards was on using abstract stamps. I had challenged her to use one or more of the abstract stamp sets she’s purchased, but never used. She loves to buy stamps and dies, but doesn’t use them as much as she’d like. The more we do these coaching sessions, the more I see that she doesn’t make cards because when she gets stuck in the design process, she gives up. I’m on a mission to help her change that!
Here are the stamp sets she brought to the session. You can click on the images to see larger versions.
Since she needed two birthday cards, she brought another stamp set and coordinating Framelits:
Number of Years (140653) and Large Number Framelits (140622)
I had also given Janelle a color challenge. The last few sessions, she had only used analogous color schemes. Analogous means the colors are all next to each other on the color wheel. You can see the cards from those sessions in these posts: How NOT to Design Cards and How to Get Unstuck.
I asked her to use either a complementary color scheme (colors opposite each other on the wheel), or add a non-analogous color to her combination. Here’s a color wheel so you can see what I’m talking about:
Janelle decided to use a complementary color scheme, which can be a challenging combination. She got out my set of color cards and laid them on the color wheel until she found the combination she liked: Marina Mist and Tangerine Tango.
You can see that blue and orange are opposite each other. “Complementary” doesn’t mean the same thing in the world of color theory as it does other places: i.e., harmonious and compatible. Complementary colors are high contrast, as one color will be warm and the other cool. See this post for more information: Warm Colors, Cool Colors. On a canvas the size of a handmade card, the two opposite colors can be a little jarring, and you have to find a way to use them that’s interesting without clashing.
Janelle really struggled with using the abstract stamps. She knew she wanted to use the starburst, with the die-cut numbers on top of it. But she needed to just play with the other images to get a sense of how she might use them. Here are some of her early background practice pieces.
She saw that her first results were pretty chaotic, and the images didn’t come together in a cohesive design. I suggested she play with using fewer images, stamping off some of them, and even trying to add a neutral. I also asked her to try using some of the images on a diagonal line.
The simpler she made the pattern, the better she liked the results.
The piece on the left was her “final” practice piece. However, I challenged her further. I have noticed that she usually uses Whisper White for her backgrounds. I asked her to try Very Vanilla just as an experiment, even though she was sure she’d like Whisper White better.
Then I asked her to look at how each one impacted the color combination. I asked her which seemed to bring all the colors together in a harmonious blend. Although she really liked the Whisper White, she realized the Very Vanilla created less contrast, and brought the Sahara Sand into the combination better. Much to her (and my) surprise, she decided to go with Very Vanilla.
Janelle is very happy with this card. She said it’s important for people to see how many practice pieces it can take before you complete a design.
The coaching sessions with Janelle are based on the online class, The Art of Designing Cards. She has struggled for years to design handmade cards she really likes. Now she’s practicing what she’s learned, and making cards she’s proud of.
When you’re ready to learn the skills you need to design awesome handmade cards, check out The Art of Designing Cards!
Be sure to leave a comment for Janelle to let her know what you think of the results of her coaching session on designing cards with abstract stamps.