Monday, August 26, 2013

A Study in Contrast: A Before and After Lesson

Today, I'm sharing two cards that demonstrate the value of contrast. First, let's look at the monochromatic card, which is very, very brown.

My design concept was to make the area above the line busy and energetic, and the area below the line clean so as to draw attention to the sentiment. That contrast, I thought, would add interest, and I was sort of right...but this brown version of the concept doesn't quite work.


I wanted to play with metallic markers, so I masked the bottom third of the card, repeatedly stamped the floral stem from SU's Pocket Silhouettes, removed the mask, drew a copper metallic line, and added brown and amber bling.

Not thrilling. Very brown.

Did I point that out already? Yes? Sorry. But it is very, very brown.

Plus, the silhouette stamp is kind of heavy, but my copper marker has a fine tip. The proportions don't seem very good on the first card. It feels heavy and sort of clunky.

So I decided it was time to add some contrast between the metallic shade and the ink pink and silver worked perfectly. I also lightened up the stamp by choosing one with thinner lines from the same set and used a thicker metallic marker to ground the plants.

Much Better

How much fresher and cleaner this feels!!! I also love that the silver half-beads unify the design much better than the brown bling in the first card did.

So there you have it: a study in contrast.

Just remember that if you ever have a concept you're pretty sure will work, it might take more than one try to get it right.

stamps: SU Pocket Silhouettes, Papertrey Simple Little Things
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: metallic markers, metal ruler, rhinestones, silver half-beads, post-its for masking


  1. Hi Susan, I must say I love both of these, I love warm colors so for me the first one looks inviting, not at all too brown! :) I love the contemporary, more metallic feel of the other card though. Pink and silver are a great match.

  2. I also love them both and don't find the first too brown.

  3. Good point but I am with Nonni - and I love them both. But I know you have to be happy with it so that is what counts. Super tutorial on theory though. Thanks.

  4. Hi - I agree with Nonni. With fall just around the corner, the warm colors of the first card appeal to me.

  5. Hi - I agree with Nonni. With fall just around the corner, the warm colors of the first card appeal to me.

  6. Beauty is in the eye of the love love the brown
    appreciate the contrast shown in the two cards...helps me hone in on my style

    patti moffett

  7. Great design lesson! I can see why the pink card is better, but I do like the other one too - a perfect card for someone who invites you to Thanksgiving dinner up here in Canada since Thanksgiving is in October!

  8. Thank you for taking the time to explain what you learn while making your cards. I keep coming back to glean more!

  9. I'm with you, Susan, I like the second one better. Just wondering what you will do with the brown you still send out cards you don't like or will it end up in the recycle bin? I have a hard time sending cards that I don't like and I'm curious what you do. :)

  10. I love the brown one, too. I like its spikiness mixed with all that pretty bling!

    When SU released the Pocket Silhouettes set I loved the images but thought they were just too small for effective card-making, but every time you use it I kick myself for not getting it.

  11. Brown is my favorite color so it is my favorite! The clean and simple style works on both cards although the contrast between the pink and gray adds some extra oomph! Great job (as always)!


Thank you so much for taking time to comment!