Thursday, December 25, 2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Dove Card Tutorial

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ornament Tutorial

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

How to Cut a Snowflake

1. Cut a circle from a square.
2. Make 6 evenly spaced cuts around the circle. Don't cut all the way to the center.
3. Between the long splices, cut little v's. (Image 4)
4. Now cut an entire branch out. I work down one side and then the other. (Image 5)
5. Work around the circle cutting out flakes.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowed In

I'm working from home today due to snow and ice. Our office manager lives only a few miles away and came in at a roaring 5 mph. The other editor Zach got stuck near Portland last night and is currently slowly making his way south. We're Oregonians. We're marksman when it comes to rain gear. We shut down at the slightest threat of snow.

I can't edit (no editing equipment in my apartment) so I'm continuing to work on chapter art for the Christmas craft tutorials. Here's a third one.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Chapter Break Art 3

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Chapter Break Art 2

OK so "ornament" needs some centering but I think we're on the right track.

(Thank you Mom :)

Chapter Break Art

I will be posting some Christmas craft videos in the next few weeks. For those videos I'm designing chapter break art. This is a very (very) first draft of one. It's forcing me to push my comfort range, and it's a lot of just trying something, walking away, and then coming back to assess the design.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Einstein- Final Draft

Here's the final piece for Inspire Me Thursday's subject of "Einstein." To see the progression look below. There isn't too much change between the three.

Again, the quote is:
"Imagination is more important than knowledge.- Einstein

Friday, November 21, 2008

Snowflakes 3 (a card)

I loooove designing snowflakes. I think I might have found a new obsession. (There is a unified less-than-enthused "Yay" from my family.)


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Einstein First Drafts

The Einstein quote behind reads, "Imagination is more important than knowledge.- Einstein

I'm going to let it sit a bit before I critique, but the easiest is that the "I" and the "n" of the top line should move off the page a bit. The whole letter shouldn't be visible. Also once again I can't get the right color for the butterfly. I want a vibrant red and it keeps coming out duller than the pallet picker shows me. Hmmm...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Snowflakes 2

You guessed it, more snowflakes.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I'm working on snowflake patterns for my winter digital work. There will be a lot of these in Craft Amor's future.

(click to enlarge)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Final Try

This week's theme at Inspire Me Thursday is "coffee break."

My graphic. The graphic's evolution is down below.

Coffee Break 2

Here's the evolution of what I worked on today for Inspire Me Thursday.

I took the McJumpquez's comment and added color to the steam. I have them red for love but the reds aren't translating well from my Photoshop file to the web conversion. I'm still mastering opacity so that's part of it.

I like:
I like the more dramatic values of the squares. I'm still deciding if I like squarer shape, and I'm leaning toward yes. I like the love in the base of the cup. I like how it creates the corner. Also the white line running behind the mug added a lot and helps the lettering placement make visual sense.

I don't like:
The color and value (but I think mostly value) of the steam hearts makes them hard to see. The cup jumps because it's an 8 while the dark hearts are almost the same value as the dark gray on the right. I prefer the hearts' hue in the bottom images, but the orange hearts stand out better.

I need to repeat the black somewhere or cut off an edge of the cup. I tried cropping the cup edge and it makes the image unbalanced. However the big block of an 8 value grabs focus instead of the steam. It's amazing actually that even though the hearts are red they command less attention than that (almost) black mug. Oh the power of Values.
(click for larger images)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Coffee Break

The Inspire Me Thursday's theme is "Coffee Break." Here's my first graphic although I'm not going to link until I've thought about it a wee bit. I like the heart steam but I'm not sure about the colors or the text. I look at it and sort of think, "What's the point of looking at this?"

Thursday, November 13, 2008

No Drinking and Shooting

I made both of the papers used here. When I thought about combining them for a card the cup paper was blue in my mind. Blue and silver...because those are the paints I used. Yet when I glued it down against the copper brown color it seems very green. Green isn't bad but it has this camouflage feel that is a bit confusing. As in, "Why is my martini ready for hunting season and what does this have to do with thanks?"

I'm sending it anyway!

(ps- It's a thank you card for a friend who hosted a cast party at her house.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Graffiti- First Attempt

I can never spell "graffiti" right. I have to spell check it every time.

OK, so this is my first attempt at vectors in the graffiti style. At 17, I visited Berlin and fell in love with graffiti. My German cousin is a graffiti artist and took me on an East/West wall art tour and since then I have sought it out in every country I've visited. I've still never seen anything as cool as Berlin but in the graffiti world that makes sense.

Lisa Engelbrecht mentioned graffiti a lot when we filmed her DVD. Now that I have my evenings and weekends back I'll be working on calligraphy and font play in general.

Friday, November 07, 2008

peace and joy

I'm giving in to the Christmas spirit. I'm not a humbugger but I find holidays overwhelming. I don't like crowds. I don't like guilt. I like mankind and the idea of being surrounded by those we love. But Christmas music has started in the stores, and I can feel my blood pressure creeping skyward. Instead of fighting it, I'm going to embrace it. And by embrace I mean start making cards. That's how I cope with something: make a card.

So here's attempt one of hopefully many. I like the swirls (which is a big deal actually for me) but I'm not sure about their placement. The card is trying to incorporate a few too many different design feels, and I think it hurts the cohesion. Also, it's heavy to the right.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Autumn Paper

Last night I worked on paper for autumn cards. I like how the paper turned out but realized the leaf print was too large for cards. It wouldn't read on a 4x6" area.

1. Brown paper and covered it in Mod Podge.
2. I cut out a stencil in cereal box cardboard and applied brown craft paint with the design.
3. I painted a green glaze (craft paint and Golden glazing medium) and used bubble wrap to create texture.

4. Back to the cardboard stencil with light violet glaze (purple craft paint and Golden glazing medium.) I also used the leaf shape remaining from the stencil cut and painted around the outside edge of it.
5. Stencil and copper paint. When the paint was still wet I used a rubber leaf stamp and stamped off the wet paint.
6. Second purple paint glaze. This one a bit darker.
7. Mod Podge.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Oh Sun, See You in June

This pattern is in exact opposition to what I'm seeing outside of my office window today. It's cold. It's dark. It's blustery and wet. September and October were some of the prettiest I've ever seen here in Oregon. November might just let us have it.

As I was browsing Michael's yesterday for post-Halloween sales, I realized that I often get excited about a holiday right after it's over. Maybe it's because the pressure is gone. So I've decided that I can make cards for any time of year at any time during the year. I'll just keep them and send them appropriately. I know this isn't a rocket science realization but it's funny how we need to give ourselves official permission to do certain things. I've given myself permission. I'm also writing it down (here) for when I forget.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Vector Hair

I'm learning how to do vector hair. Or at least I'm trying to learn. This is formal attempt #1. The original image is from Anthropologie by way of

The goal is to not completely replicate the source material but use it as a guide.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Dia de los Muertos

Perfect timing! This week's Inspire Me Thursday is Dia de los Muertos. I was originally going to post these after I sent them off to family and friends...but tomorrow is Halloween and I still haven't. (Sorry Andrea...yours is totally coming...eventually)

Happy Halloween!


Last year for Halloween I folded a bunch of envelopes out of lime green wrapping paper. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work. This year I took white envelopes and had at them with stencils and inexpensive craft paint. Some came out better than others but it was a good excuse to let my mind wander and just play.

Now...if only I'd send those cards.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Halloween Fabric Ornaments

Cereal Box Cardboard
Ribbon (I used 3/16 in)
Hot Glue Gun

1. I used the top of a Jacquard Textile bottle to trace circles. Cut the circles out and place them on a small square of fabric.

2. Tape the ribbon down on either side of the cardboard. Circle the cardboard with a ring of hot glue.

3. Place the second piece of scrap fabric over the top to create a sandwich. Press down lightly with your fingers. (Careful it's hot.)

4. Cut around the hot glue.

5. Hang on your gesso-painted branches.

Painted Pumpkin

This pumpkin is simply a combination of 3 inexpensive craft paints (orange, brown and copper) and a final coat of gloss Mod Podge.

This project was fast and easy and could make very cool decorations for either Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Mummy Fingers

I'm making little mummy fingers for the cast and crew of the show I'm in. Here's a finished bundle. Originally I was going to make them into a necklace or at least give each person 5...but then I ate them. And I know myself better than to go back to the store and buy more...because I'd eat those too. (Ahk!)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Twix Mummy Fingers

Mini Twix
Plastic Wrap (Saran wrap)
Brown Floral Tape
Small Sponge
White Gesso
Brown Acrylic Paint
Red paper
Red Fingernail Polish

1. Cover wrapped Twix with plastic wrap. Just enough to hold down the edges of the Twix wrapper. Tape.

2. Wrap in brown floral tape. I wrap the ends first and then the length.

3. Use a small sponge and dab on brown paint. Dab on white gesso. Let blend a bit on the finger.

4. Cut out fingernail from red paper. Glue on end. Paint with red fingernail polish.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Halloween Card-work in progress

This makes it Halloween.

I need vines but I'm terrible at drawing vines. There is something I can never quite get right. I don't even know what it is but after I finish trying to do vines something just always seems off.

I'm not sure about the placement of the type. Maybe the pumpkin needs to be bigger.

OK, number 2 is bigger. Still unsure. I want to see more of the green damask pattern.

Work in progress.

Damask and Polka Dots

These are kind of Halloweenesque?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October, really.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Halloween Card Tutorial

Assortment of Inexpensive Craft Paints (I like to use metallic and glitter paints in analogous colors.)
Black Gesso
Mod Podge Gloss
Paint Brushes
White Wrapping Paper with Design

Black Paper (for backgrounds)-
Take white wrapping paper (mine was white and silver #3) and paint a thin layer of black gesso (#1). Let it dry and then cover the paper in Mod Podge for sheen.

White Paper-
Take plain office paper and cover it with white paint and pearl metallic paint. After it dries, cover it in Mod Podge.

Orange Paper (#2)-
This paper is a combination of browns, oranges, golds, copper, and orange glitter paint all dabbed about haphazardly on white office paper. There is no wrong way to do this so have fun. When the paint dries, paint on a layer of Mod Podge.

Green Paper-
Use several colors of green paint. Add a little copper and green glitter paint to give it sparkle. After paint dries, paint a coat of Mod Podge.

I cut out my designs (using an XACTO knife for the skull's teeth), glued everything down with the Mod Podge onto precut cards. After the medium dried I used sharpies to draw designs on the skull.

John Salminen Interview Excerpt (continued)

John Salminen (continued): In the early 80s, I had an opportunity to study with Cheng-Khee Chee at the University of Minnesota and Chee, at that time, was being introduced to western design and he was sharing all of that with us in the class. That was actually my first experience with a practical application for design, how you can use design to actually improve the painting that you were working on.

Creative Catalyst: And this was a major breakthrough ?
John: I think it was. As I look at it now, it’s been such a dominant influence on my thinking and my work. I don’t know if I recognized it as a break through at the time, but everyone in the class, and I’m sure this is fairly typical, we all wanted to paint just like Chee. I realized early on that that was not a productive route to follow, to be the second Cheng-Khee Chee. I had been looking around for other painters and discovered Robert Wood and the whole California school of fast and loose painters.

In that genre, I fixated for a while on a California painter named Morris Shulman and in particular his paintings called “Bus Stop” and “The Arches.” For the next couple years I literally copied Morris Shulman. I had Chee, Robert Wood and Morris Shulman and I was internalizing what they were doing by attempting to copy them. All of a sudden one day someone came up to me and they said, ''We saw one of your paintings. We always recognize your work by its style.'' I hadn’t really thought at all about having a style at that point in time, and in reality, there was the combined influence of de Koonig and Franz Kline and Cheng-Khee Chee and Robert Wood and the California painters and everything else I’d seen along the way that probably had an affect.

Images: John Salminen

To read the first part of the excerpt, go here:

Monday, September 29, 2008

Congratulations Nicholas Simmons

Watermedia artist Nicholas Simmons won top prize at the Pennsylvania Watercolor Society for his piece Tokyo Express (originally titled Canton Express.)

Catch the opening October 12 at Westchester Art Association.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Halloween Dino

Working on newsletter. Should come out tomorrow.

Posting has been a bit sparse in that in my non-work life I'm getting closer and closer to opening night for the play I'm in. Next week starts rehearsals for 3hours a night, 5 nights a week. Which is only slightly different than the past weeks at 4 nights a week. I'm not complaining though every moment of this production has been a blast.

Back to the newsletter!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Learn to Carve Your Own Stamps

I think I've said this before, I'm a terrible stamper. There is a look I never achieve with store bought rubber stamps. Other artists can do it. I've seen beautiful work...but it's not for me. This is why I was so surprised at how quickly I fell in love with carving my own stamps. There is a tactile quality in the process, and I love how you can see cut marks in the final print. I had no idea how carving my own stamps would change the way I approach my work both on the computer and on the page but it has. I have Gloria Page to thank for all of that.

This week at work they are putting the Gloria Page gift set on sale. People save $15 if they buy Gloria's book and art instruction DVD together. If you're interested go to Creative Catalyst Production's site: here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pineapple Damask

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall Leaves


Thursday, September 11, 2008


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

More Patterns

I played around with more damask today. Every once and awhile when I needed a break from editing I'd add a leaf or put in polka dots. Here's what I came up with. I think I like it for the most part.