Greetings, blog train passengers! Have you been enjoying the ride so far? It’s been a while since I felt inspired to hop on the train myself as a designer, and I’m pretty excited about what I have for you today. My offering is broken up into three parts which you’ll find interspersed throughout this post.
I posted earlier about my recent foray into the world of art journaling, and this month’s blog train theme, Autumn Art, and its rich, vibrant color palette were a perfect fit. I am particularly smitten with my Painty Bits, which were inspired by the work of designer Lynne-Marie, whose artsy designs I’ve been creating with lately. I experimented and came up with a bunch of new techniques I’d never tried before, which is always a fulfilling process. The Painty Bits download also includes a stencil, and a tutorial on how to use it to turn any patterned paper into your own beautiful falling-leaf painty bit.
I’m in sort of an awkward period right now as a designer. I was approached by someone I really respect about designing things for sale (super flattering!), but I feel like I currently rely too heavily on other people’s commercial use products to qualify as “real” designer. There’s a popular “computer generated” look to many digital design materials that just isn’t my cup of tea, and so then we’re in the realm of extractions of real-life objects, and of Illustrator and Photoshop and just plain artistic skills I don’t (yet) possess.
I recently had the opportunity to beta-test a class for beginning designers offered by Marisa Lerin at Pixel Scrapper. I thought this could be a perfect chance to start honing these skills, and the papers I have for you today were indeed generated as assignments for the class (still using some CU resources for textures, etc.). But when I got to the elements portion of the class… well… it turns out that it’s not just about skills. There’s a big dollop of patience required to fiddle endlessly with layer style adjustments, trying to find the exact bevel height and angle and shading to make something look “real.” And it kind of bores me. I want to be making the things I see in my head, and when the fastest way to do that is to be a “magpie,” pulling resources together from here and there, that’s what I’m inclined to do. My thinking for now is that I’m making stuff to give to people for free – I want it to look awesome, I can allow myself to not be worried about some kind of professional pride.
Maybe when I have more time, when I’m not doing grad school and practicum and chronic illness and house-caught-on-fire all at once, I’ll have the spaciousness required to get to this next level of design-independence. And I don’t want to sell myself short – I am always learning and gaining new skills. This month I made my first-ever flair and I’m pretty proud of how it turned out. The wooden leaves and gear were new forays for me as well. (Lesson learned from wooden leaves: something looks “off” and computer generated? Slap some paint on it! I think they turned out pretty well in the end.;))
Thanks, as always, for reading (I’ve been wordy as usual) and for downloading. I love knowing my designs are being enjoyed! (Does anyone actually scrap with these things, or just enjoy the deliciousness of the download? The sheer pleasure of the digital hoarding is totally legit, but I find I’m so curious – have any of you made anything with a design you downloaded from me? Let me know in the comments!) (Edited to add: I am absolutely not trying to imply there’s shame in hoarding, I use the term affectionately to describe the great pleasure I get from collecting, unpacking, and organizing my mountains of digital supplies. It’s a different aspect of the hobby, but one I think is a ton of fun!)
Finally, here’s a look at the stencil that is included in the Painty Bits download. It’s based on a cool set of brushes from Lileya and will allow you to turn a patterned paper into a pretty falling-leaf design (could be great to use on other interesting papers from this blog train that catch your eye). (Edited to add: The tutorial included with the stencil walks through how to use the stencil in Photoshop. If anyone uses it in a different program, leave us a comment here so others know they’ll be able to use it, too. I imagine it will be usable in most.)
Alright, blog trainers, thanks again for stopping by and now, onward! To find the whole list of Pixel Scrapper Autumn Art blog train goodies, check out this thread at Pixel Scrapper.