Rule of Thirds in Fall Card Using Lovely as a Tree

If you like learning design tips for your handmade cards, you’ll love to see how I used the Rule of Thirds in this fall card using Lovely as a Tree Stamp Set. My Facebook followers have asked for samples of masculine cards, and we’ve been sharing how a color scheme can make the difference between guy cards and girlie cards.

Masculine Fall Card with Lovely as a Tree stamp set

The tree is stamped on a piece of Shimmery White Cardstock, and colored with a Blender Pen and inks: Cajun Craze, Pumpkin Pie, Crushed Curry, and Early Espresso. The dry yellow grass, blue sky, and the Crumb Cake background were all stamped with this image from Timeless Textures Stamp Set:

wood scrap image from Timeless Textures Stamp Set
What great texture, it kind of reminds me of a Van Gogh painting, especially with the bright yellow against the sky!

When you design a handmade card, here’s a design principle you’ll want to learn to use: The Rule of Thirds. I posted a video on it recently, which you can see in this post: Rule of Thirds. It’s a good starting point for understanding this design principle, and it shows how to make a grid of third lines on a piece of vellum.

Let’s look at this new card with the grid of thirds on top of it.

  • The left vertical line goes through the center of the ribbons, and the tree trunk is close to that same line. I didn’t line it up exactly, because that would have put the entire focal point too close to the left edge of the card.
  • The right edge of the focal point is almost exactly on the vertical line.
  • The bottom horizontal line is at the bottom of the tree trunk, and the sentiment is close to being centered in the bottom right rectangle.

Rule of Thirds grid on Lovely as a Tree fall card

With the Rule of Thirds, a design usually won’t hit every thirds line. Sometimes part of an image fills a thirds rectangle, other times the “sweet spots” where two lines cross are at notable areas of an image. Here are a couple of other examples.

In this card,

  • the bottom horizontal line is just above the top of the banner.
  • The right hand vertical line goes through the center of the small flower, with the “sweet spot” almost on the center.
  • The larger flower is almost centered in the middle rectangle.

Rule of Thirds grid on Special Reason Card from Stamping Madly

By now you’re probably beginning to see how the lines and sweet spots don’t have to line up exactly. Even if aspects of the card are close to the lines and/or sweet spots, the eye sees the placement of the elements as harmonious.

Here’s another example.

  • The left vertical third line goes through the flower bud, and along the left edge of the flower.
  • While the flower isn’t completely in the center rectangle, it is close enough to be effective.
  • The sentiment is just under the bottom horizontal third. The post I referred to discusses how you have to be flexible with using this principle. Be sure to take a look, it’s an example of where I let the “rule” interfere with my natural instinct for a harmonious design. Here’s the link again: Rule of Thirds.

Rule of Thirds grid on Birthday Blooms card for fall

Please leave a comment and let me know if this Rule of Thirds lesson was helpful. As we’ve been exploring this principle on my Facebook Page, I’m noticing how “seeing” the thirds in a design is easy for some cardmakers to grasp, and harder for others. Which category do you fit in?

I hope this exploration of the Rule of Thirds in my new fall card using Lovely as a Tree has inspired you to look at your cards with a new perspective.

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5 Responses to Rule of Thirds in Fall Card Using Lovely as a Tree

  1. Marsha Fante October 11, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

    This page really helped me to see what The Rule of Thirds is all about. Guess I was just focusing on the focal point, previously! Yikes~~

    • Sage October 11, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

      I’m glad this was helpful. I had someone else tell me they were trying to fit the images or sentiments inside the different rectangles. So I realized there are probably more people who weren’t getting it. Let me know if you start seeing those lines and sweet spots on the cards I post on FB. It’s such an important design strategy, and helps you make better cards than ever!

  2. Sue Townsend October 25, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your techniques. This “rule of thirds” is a winner! I watch a lot of videos and read many tutorials, and eventually it will all come together. Without a formal art background, I need all the help I can get! I appreciate your time and effort!

    • Sage October 25, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

      You’re so welcome, Sue. I don’t have a formal art background either, but my mom was an artist, and I must have gotten the art gene from her! I’m glad you like the Rule of Thirds video, it should help a lot. Keep at it, keep watching those videos, and keep creating!

  3. Joanne Vargas October 28, 2017 at 10:28 am #

    Many thanks Sage.

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