Pixel Scrapper October Blog Train ~ Autumn Art

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.

Blog train freebie links only stay up for a limited time (though you can still find older blog train goodies if you explore the blog). My Autumn Art kit is no longer available here on the blog but you can check out my other designs (with an option to download things for free!)  at Pixel Scrapper.

Free digital painted elements from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Free digital painted elements from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

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.

Free digital arty papers from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Free digital arty papers from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

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.;))

Free digital autumn elements from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Free digital autumn elements from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

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!)

Free digital stencil from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

Free digital stencil from Scrumptiously for the Pixel Scrapper October 2014 Blog Train

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.

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Trying something new

I’ve mostly stopped taking pictures. I’ve completely stopped Project Life-ing (although I am still making desultory movement towards getting something done for 2012 and 2013 – mostly learning Lightroom so I can wrangle my photos before PL-ing them). I’ve felt mostly too busy with school and practicum and house stuff (only now really starting to recover from the fire) to design for blog trains. Plus being tired all the time puts a damper on creative inspiration.

So when I saw buzz going around about a mysterious new art-journal-ish project that was starting up at digital scrapbooking store The Lilypad I followed with interest but no real idea that I’d participate. I don’t have a lot of disposable income, and I pretty much only spend digital-designs money on commercial use products so I can keep making more & varied freebies for y’all. 🙂 But I am super interested in digital art journaling and was looking for something to give me motivation and structure to make things again, so when the big reveal came and it turned out to be a subscription to a monthly mixed-media/art journal style kit made by four of the most creative, high-quality designers in the biz, and that the project would be supported by a private forum with weekly challenges and a community of people sharing their creations, I decided to try it out for a few months. (I’m not trying to be an ad for this, but I’m also not trying to be cryptic; if you want more info you can find it here on one of the designers’ blogs.)

M3_08_14_embrace_possibility2_web

It worked!! I have been making pages again! I’m still pretty new to making pages that aren’t pocket-scrap style, but I’ve been having a ton of fun. Art journaling is compelling to me because it traditionally allows for expression of the full spectrum of emotion, introspection as well as celebration. Some of the pages I’ve made are too personal to post, but I wanted to share a few here. Each of these was made for a particular challenge in the M3 forum.

houston

This one might need a little explication. I’ve been intrigued by a new layout style Sissy Sparrows has introduced, called Pocket Journals. You make your whole layout on an 8.5×11 page, print it, and then fold it so it becomes a little physical booklet. So cool! (A brief sidebar here – I love Sissy Sparrows so much, I collect their freebies avidly, and I’ve been inspired by them in my own creations many times, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually bought anything from them. I was feeling kind of bad about that until it turned out they make throw pillows! I had over a dozen I needed to replace from the fire so I am now the proud owner of this awesome owl pillow and my guilt has been assuaged.) The above version is how I laid it out to print, with the back and front covers over on the bottom left. I’ve rearranged the pages below in case you want to actually read stuff that’s not upside down. Incidentally, another reason I love art journaling is that I feel like I’m allowed to say things like “when I lost you I lost a piece of my heart” which I would never normally say due to aversion to cheeziness and melodrama. 🙂

houston_reorder

I am apparently full of feelings once the art journaling gets rolling:

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Credits:
What If?
All materials except those listed below are from Mixed Media Monthly ~ August 2014 (Just Jaimee, Quirky Heart, Lynne-Marie, and Little Butterfly Wings).
Papers and elements were used from main kit, Lynne-Marie ~ Artsy Bits add-on, and Mixed Media Monthly Sampler.
Template, incl. stitching: Captivated Visions ~ Yes You Can
Brushes: Captivated Visions ~ Mishmash stamp stash, Marisa Lerin ~ Gesso
Confetti: Crafty Button Designs ~ Feminine Touch Mini
Vines: Idees De Christine ~ Mixing It Up
Photo filter: Sparklestock ~ Instant Hipster Retro Actions (Hudson)
Lyrics: Fidelity by Regina Spektor
Pocket Journal
All materials except those listed below are from Mixed Media Monthly ~ August 2014 (Just Jaimee, Quirky Heart, Lynne-Marie, and Little Butterfly Wings). Papers and elements were used from main kit and Lynne-Marie ~ Artsy Bits add-on.
Book binding by Mercurycode on Deviantart.
Very Quiet
All materials except those listed below from the Mixed Media Monthly M3 August collab by Just Jaimee, Quirky Heart, Lynne-Marie, & Little Butterfly Wings.
Materials used from main M3 August kit and Lynne-Marie ~ Artsy Bits.
Raindrops: Maya de Groot ~ Zen & the Art of April Showers, Just Jaimee ~ Painted Newsprint
Fonts: Special Elite, Edwardian Script