Monday, 21 December 2015

DigiFiddle Designs Mistletoe & Wine Digikit

Hi everyone.

So this is Christmas. Well almost, anyway. Mind you, the way the weather has been in the UK this last few days, it feels more like the middle of May, than three days before the Big Day.

Those of you who kindly follow My Kind Of Crafting Blog may recall that I'm not really a huge fan of Christmas any more, although I love New Year and can't wait for that "clean slate" feeling. At the risk of sounding like Scrooge's maiden aunt, it's always hard for me to motivate myself to design and make anything with a Christmas theme which is one of the reasons (illness being another) why I've not blogged so far this month.

Anyway, to make up for that and to try and get into the spirit of all things festive, I have designed three projects, all using elements from the lovely Mistletoe & Wine digikit which can be downloaded for FREE from DigiFiddle Designs. And while you are there, take a look at some of the other stunning kits which have been beautifully created by the very talented Anne Nelson. (You will need Craft Artist Professional software to be able to use these digikits.)

I particularly enjoyed working with this digikit as it is not too "Christmassy" and is more about a celebration of winter, really. Definitely no skating penguins or cartoon snowmen here, thank goodness!

My first design is a piece of home decor or wall art which introduces the theme of the kit. With apologies to Sir Cliff (I'm sure he doesn't need the royalties!) I have added a line from his best-known Christmas single as I felt it was an important message to get across, particularly at this time of year. I have recently discovered the embossing style feature in Craft Artist and can't stop giving everything a 3D effect.



It wouldn't be Christmas without a robin on a Christmas card and the one in this digikit is so colourful and bright, I couldn't resist him. I did a bit of trickery with the blend mode on two copies (one reversed) of the window embellishment and was really pleased with the way it turned out. I love the crackle effect on the backing paper from the kit and how  it has blended with the window frame.



Finally, I decided to design a party invitation. After all, if you can't have a party at Christmas, when can you? Again, I like the fact that the elements in the digikit meant I could produce something quite different and much more sophisticated than a lot of the invitations you see in the shops. I particularly like the ivy trail digital brush which I've used to create a frame around the design. And isn't the reindeer magnificent?


All designs Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015

I hope you have enjoyed looking at these designs and that they might have inspired you to ask Santa for a digikit or the Craft Artist software in your stocking this year. Now all that remains for me to do is to wish you a very Happy Christmas and I'll see you on the other side!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

2016 Calendar Designs

Hi everyone.

I hope you are safe and well tonight. It's been a tough few days, hasn't it? I'm sure you would want to join with me in sending your thoughts to the people of France and in particular Paris, after such a horrific series of incidents last Friday.

I know it sounds a bit pathetic in the light of other people's troubles but a combination of recurring illness, the horrible weather (when did it get so dark?) and a few personal problems which I won't bore you with, have rather lowered my productivity this month. I've also been trying to get some new stock ready for You Know What in my various online shops, so blog projects have been a bit thin on the ground.

Given that we are not too long from the start of a whole new year (hoorah!), I thought I would share a couple of 2016 calendars that I've designed and made. They are actually based on the same photo I used in my last blog post (http://melissalawrencedesigner.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/playing-around-with-photos.html) but I've used the photo in quite a different way.

I started with a calendar template from one of the Cottage Arts digikits and designed my own background using the photo. In case you missed my last post, here is the original photo which I found on
http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/



I placed a white background behind the calendar months so they showed up more clearly and added a swirl pattern. Then it was time to go to town on the photo, adding blends and various effects in the Photo Lab of Craft Artist Professional. I also added a script overlay and some re-coloured "distressing" from a Graphic Authority digikit. The finishing touch was to create a small embellishment, also using an element from the photo, to add to the foot of the design.



I was so pleased with the results (although I do say so myself!) that I decided to produce the design in another colour. I took it into Photo Lab again and played around with the colour temperature, saturation and intensity which is something I've only recently discovered how to do, to produce the same design in warmer colours.



Both calendars have now been printed out and mounted onto card, then hand-finished with a little glitter, ready to put into an A4 frame. They are both currently available to buy at http://www.melissalawrencedesigns.com/ourshop/cat_1023803-Calendars.html

Here's hoping that 2016 goes some way to bringing the peace in our world that we surely all seek.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Playing Around With Photos

Hi everyone.

Well, hopefully that's got the "dreaded lurgy" out of the way for winter, although there is still a long way to go yet, of course! Anyway, I'm back at work again after having had to take my first official sick days since January. Mind you, I seem to have started coughing again today but hopefully it's just the damp weather or the central heating.

I've been doing rather too much thinking while I've been laid aside and watching far too much TV but you're allowed to do that when you're ill, aren't you? One of the things I've been thinking about is how to create my designs. I realise that probably sounds a silly question for a designer to ask but as someone who can't draw for toffee, or indeed any other sweet, I can't design from my own artwork like most designers do.

I've been experimenting quite a lot with doing designs almost exclusively from photographs (my own and copyright free ones) with just very small amounts of ready-made graphics thrown in.

While I was working recently on designing the first digital craft supplies for my soon-to-be opened Etsy shop, I found this gorgeous photo of a floral painting on Public Domain Pictures which is one of my favourite sites for PD photos.





As soon as I saw it, I immediately wanted to start creating a background or 8 x 8 scrapbook paper from it and actually came up with three designs in the end, so my break obviously did me good.

My first design has kept the original colours of the photo but I've added a watercolour effect and a blend mode using Craft Artist 2. I also added a script overlay from a Graphic Authority digikit and re-coloured it. A simple design but quite effective, as I hope you'll agree.



For my next design, I re-coloured the photo in the Photo Lab section of CAP2 and added lots of re-coloured crackle and distressed overlays from the same Graphic Authority kit to create a more vintage look which I felt worked really well with this photo.



The final design turned out very differently from the other two, showing just how versatile one photo can be. Admittedly I used a different section of the original but I think you might be hard-pressed to identify it as also coming from the same photo.

To achieve the basic design, I put a pink block of colour under the photo and added a blend mode and a colour fill. Then I took it into the Photo Lab, again in good old CAP2 and played around with the hue channel sliders and various filters until I eventually came up with something I was happy with. I still felt the design needed something to create "texture" so that it looked more like material than paper and I found the perfect digital embossing folder in one of my DaisyTrail digikits.



Now all I need to do is to stay well and keep working on how to create my own embellishments from photos, which is not so easy!

Enjoy the rest of October and I'll see you in November. (Where is this year going?)


Monday, 5 October 2015

DaisyTrail CraftScapes Autumn Country

Hi everyone.

When I was a child, one of my favourite books was Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I liked my heroines to be strong and gutsy but if they also had long, shiny chestnut hair and lived in the country, then that was a plus too.

I must admit I couldn't have told you that the quote I've used on the first of this post's projects came from the book but I'm glad it did. Although I'm a lot less keen on the month of October than I used to be (thanks to all the firework fanatics), I still think it is a great month for inspiring art and design. As I said in my last post, you can't beat an autumnal colour palette for stunning beauty and breath-taking tones.

The three projects below have all been created using the CraftScapes Autumn Country digikit from DaisyTrail. Those of you who follow my crafting blog will know that I'm a huge fan of the CraftScapes digikits and this one is a definite favourite, reminding me a bit of the Montgomery books. You even get the smoke to put on the cottage chimney!

I decided to design a page from a calendar for my first project, building up a scene using the lovely "watercolour" style embellishments and including the quote from the book. I added a "stamp" effect from the styles tab in Craft Artist Professional to the days of the week and dates as I felt this really complimented the artwork.




For my second project, I had an image in my head of a country kitchen with decorated tiles. I must admit I hadn't thought of doing a tile design before but the artwork in this kit seemed to fit the country kitchen image so well. Originally, I was only going to have a plain white background but I felt it needed something more and the border has really emphasised the focal point of the design. Of course, this design could also be used for the front of a square greetings card.




Finally, I decided to design a DL size party invitation. I don't really favour celebrating Halloween, so this is my version. I wanted to keep the tones quite soft and gentle and I think I achieved that by shadowing everything, including the "stitched" border. I've no idea who Janet and Steve are but I'm sure they will enjoy their party!





I hope you continue to see lots of the lovely autumnal colours as we get further into October and meanwhile, I'm off to see if I can pick up a cheap copy of Anne of Green Gables on eBay!


All designs copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Vintaj Autumn Crush Digikit

Hi everyone.

Here I am at last with my first "official" blog post for my new designing blog. I feel really excited (and a tad nervous) about my new career but raring to go! Hopefully this will be the first of many posts about the wonderful world of design and it's great to be here at last. However, if you want to reminisce about the good old days of my crafting blog and see some of my previous work, do take a look at My Kind Of Crafting Blog.

As an independent creative designer (I'm still getting used to calling myself that!) I'm inspired by all four seasons but I definitely feel most inspired by autumn. That wonderful colour palette with all those rich reds, gorgeous greens and beautiful browns... how can you not be moved to try and create something to do it justice?

I recently started designing with one of my favourite company's digikits, the lovely Autumn Crush from Vintaj. You can buy it here if you want to have a go at working with it yourself. You will, of course, need Craft Artist Professional to be able to access the artwork if you don't have it already.

My first design was a card front for an A5 portrait card. I used some of the fronds and foliage in the kit to create the focal point and one of the digital intelligent frames as a border. I put a blend on the first frame, then added another frame and another blend. There is also a background paper in there too, to help achieve that multi-layered, distressed look. All I had to do then was add the metallic style embellishments, create a sentiment from one of the tags in the kit and put a "torn" edge on the central panel.



For my next project, an 8 x 8 scrapbook paper, I used the first background paper in the digikit and overlaid it with one of my own photos of some autumn leaves and branches. The combined design then had a blend mode added to it, followed by several re-coloured overlays from the Graphic Authority Timeless I Brushes & Stamps Vol I digikit which is one of the most useful kits I've ever come across, not to mention the one with the longest name! Finally, I reduced the design in size, added an "edge" and put it over another copy of the original background paper.



I wanted to do an A4 digital scrapbook layout for my final project and I found a lovely PD photo of a red squirrel on the internet as my grey squirrel photo didn't really work with the autumn colour palette. (Sorry squirrel!) I built up some of the embellishments from the digikit around the photo and also used it as a background with the transparency reduced, overlaid onto an enlarged tag. I added a piece of "material" as a matt under the photo and used the digital ribbon strip and the yellow swirls to lift the page. Finally, I put a background paper under the whole design to create a border.



Thank you for reading the first "proper" post of my new blog and I hope you've found something of interest or something enjoyable to look at. Hopefully this will be the first of many posts and I very much look forward to having your company on my new journey.


All designs copyright Melissa Lawrence 2105.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Welcome

Hi everyone.

Welcome to My Kind Of Designing Blog. This is a brand new blog which I've just set up as I start my career as an independent creative designer.

I'll be posting properly (as opposed to improperly!) very soon but in the meantime, if you'd like to see some of my work, please do take a look at my crafting blog which is at:

http://www.melissalawrencecrafter.blogspot.co.uk/

Thanks for visiting and I'll be back very soon.


Copyright Melissa Lawrence 2015