Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Right Gear

Just got good news from Candice--it's a go on the new sheet! Yay! I'm excited to use these myself, actually. A long time ago (erm, 4 years?), when I first started stamping, I discovered (for myself, I'm sure others already knew about it) that you can produce some pretty cool effects when you paint ink on a rubber stamp that has a large surface area, and then vary the ink with water. This is what you get (look at the pears in particular):

Heather Taylor, Pear & Dragonfly

But it's difficult to find rubber stamps that have such a large area to cover. The one's we'll be coming out with are not quite as broad an area, but they are pretty flat, and I bet there will be all kinds of playing going on!

In the meantime, I've been cruising along with the digiscrapping, which is improving my Photoshop skills immensely. Always a good thing, when you're entirely self-taught! I've been aided along the way by a couple of pointers from a blog I discovered scrounging around for something, I forget what: Mindtracks. I like this blog because it combines some different interests: "Web design, network literacy, digital culture and the visual arts [... and in particular,] how the web may be used by visual artists and how it might enhance their practice." A couple of cool and useful links I got off there were from 3DTotal for 100 Photoshop Tutorials, and a link to for some very cool Photoshop brushes. Somewhere along the line I also discovered Mel Rodicq's brushes and Obsidian Dawn's brushes, which really rock (I keep on blocking Stephanie's last name [Shimerdla, it just came back to me] because it sounds awful from a French-speaking perspective *lol*). So, I've been messing around with their brushes, but also, by doing so, learning how to make my own. Pretty cool stuff!

Also, I've done a couple of scraplifts, and have learned more tricks by copying what I see. I'm not entirely sure the designers are thrilled with this, but I do credit them, so hopefully it'll be ok... The following layout involved a profusion of elements that I tried to recreate, in particular:

Heather Taylor, The Right Gear

This is a scraplift of Kim (SAHMom) of Designer Digitals (I <3 My Boots). Tools used: Grid overlay, Erica Hernandez (2Peas), Vibe kit freebie; Various Simple Fabric and Highlight Glitter Brushes, Obsidian Dawn; Hand-drawn flourishes and alphabets inspired by Katie Pertiet (Designer Digitals); Fonts: Madness, Tully's Hand, Times New Roman, Stamp, and Switzerland Inserat.

So, I had fun creating those little wash swooshes (with one of those brushes I made myself)--it's hard for me to do (i.e., to be happy with) freeform stuff, but I was ok with this here. Much room left for improvement, but it was ok... Learned how to make a felt texture (basically, just add noise), and serendipitously discovered a neat way to make the stitching indent: add the stitching to the same layer as the felt, make your layer styles (drop shadow, emboss), then select the stitching, remove it, and put it on a new layer in the same spot. Removing the stitching allows those holes to take on the style effects, so it looks like the stitching is pulling the material down...

I'm still stymied on how to get a square-edged selection that's proportionately larger than the photo for a white border. Everytime I transform the selection, it doesn't leave equal borders; but if I use the Expand function, it rounds off the corners. Annoying! However, align horizontal/vertical midpoints is your friend! Just highlight the photo layer, and the background layer, and click on those funny looking boxes up top with a line running through them. Easy!

I need to make a couple of grid brushes for myself--it would be pretty easy. I enjoyed the look of that in the background. I also liked the watery brush style over top and underneath--added at low opacity/flow (around 10% or so) it's nice to be able to build up color until you like it. Additionally, it really adds a lot of luminosity to the background, having that white show through...

I really had fun doing those alphabets, too. Although I created only those letters for this layout, it would be easy to just make the whole alpha... I think I'd change the color on the "right", though--the black is a little stark. Plus, I'd like to add some thin eraser marks to the background.

And the glitter was made in ArtRage, a new cheap program I got precisely because it could do that. I'm still trying to figure out how to combine brushes in Photoshop so that it'll choose from them randomly... if you know how, I'd love to learn!


  1. ahh... I remember my early stamping days, lacking inks I'd try to use paint on every stamp I owned. It didn't took long to realize that only works with solid stamps, lol.

    I liked the colors of your layout and all the things you can do, considering it's all self-taught! :)

  2. You are the smartest! Go, go, go! BTW, been terribly ill (spent the last 4 days in bed) so haven't been able to play with your kit =(

  3. Thanks so much for the link and the kind words! I appreciate it. :)

    I married into that last name, unfortunately. I was a Jackson! And no worries, nobody can remember it, much less say it correctly. ;)

    Have a great day!

    Stephanie Shimerdla (Obsidian Dawn Brushes)


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