Saturday, November 26, 2016

IC573...And Now for Something Completely Different

Y'all know I love the Inspiration Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers, and I love its host, Audrie (A.K.A. girlgeek101). She's awesome! Inspiration challenges can and should push you outside your comfort zone, get you playing around with new and different ideas, techniques, styles. It's this play--and the attendant freedom to make mistakes--that helps us grow as creative beings.

This week's challenge definitely called me out of my comfort zone, but it was so much fun! It's called Journal Art, and the challenge is to be inspired by Audrie's Pinterest board The Art of Journaling. I wanted to share the two cards I made today (even though this means two posts in one day!) because they each taught me something about design that I can't wait to share.

First up, I tried a variation on this pin, focusing on the coffee theme and spots of brown on the page.

What works: the three splatters of brown draw the eye in a nice visual triangle and connect the card base and popped panel. Also, I was able to fit my words to the space pretty well. That's sometimes harder than you think it will be (see next card!).

What doesn't work so well: the hand-lettering of the Let's. Ugh. I tried to make it bold and different (as per the inspiration photo) but it ended up too bold and too angular, although I really like how the t seems to waver a bit like the steam over the coffee cup. It really looked bad before I stamped the splatter over it, which reduced the stark black-and-white contrast.

It's been a long time since I did hand-lettering, and that lack of practice shows. More practice, and it'll look better, but the point here is that the friend for whom I made this card will totally love it. So YAY!

The second card is much more pleasing to my eye, despite one little problem (or maybe two). Check out the inspiration pin here.

Clearly the person who journaled the inspiration photo knew what she was doing...artistically, it's simply gorgeous. My version is good but could stand improvement in one area. Well, two areas.

What works: The thick-and-thin hand-drawn border around the panel fabulously echoes the thick-and-thin outline of the shell (a Hero Arts stamp from years ago). I also love how the quotation around the edge stops in the right place, saving me from writing upside down.

What doesn't work so well: Obviously my coloring and shading leaves a bit to be desired. Big surprise, given how often I color with Copics, and truly, that doesn't bother me. For my eye, the worst infraction is the way the right edge of the handwriting lines up too well. It needs to be more ragged, organic, natural. That would pull the eye toward the border quote better, but instead there's a grand canyon divide that bosses the eye around like a bully. "Thou shall not move easily from here to there," it seems to say. Note how the writing in the inspiration photo serves that unifying purpose? Yeah, that. I didn't do that.

Still, despite their flaws, these two cards represent stretching and experimenting...just what we should do with inspiration challenges. In the end, the flaws don't matter; it's the attempt that matters, and that's why I'm so excited to share these two cards.

Many people fear inspiration challenges and avoid them for fear of failure. Hopefully, by sharing my awkward attempts, you'll feel encouraged to give it a go. Loosen up and have fun.

After all, it's only paper!

Mercy, grace, peace, and love to you,

Supplies Coffee card
stamps: Tim Holtz Fresh Brewed, My Favorite Things Large Abstract Art
ink: Hero Arts intense black, sand
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: craft foam, glue, black Micron pens 

Supplies Shell Card
stamps: Hero Arts
ink: Memento black
paper: Gina K deluxe white
accessories: Copics, craft foam, black Micron pens, glue


  1. Oh Susan! I love both of them, but the second one won an inspiration genius award. I love its' clean design that carries journaling from the theme into the focal point of the card! Both are SPECTACULAR takes on your inspirations! XXOO

    1. P.S. Thank you for your sweet comments about the challenge, and for encouraging us all to stretch ourselves from time to time!

  2. Oh, Susan, I love both of these cards and really find it so interesting to read (from your standpoint) what is right and wrong about each card. That's so neat, and I imagine it's a great way to learn when you actually write it on your blog post (your card journal, so to speak). I leaped here from the second card on SCS and especially love the shell with the border and the lovely shading. And your coloring is perfect for this journaled card. Beautifully done, and it's nice to see you on SCS. And, yes, Audrie is amazing, and I only wish I could participate more in her challenges. Hugs!

    1. I write to know what I think. Organizing my thoughts so others can follow along is incredibly helpful for me.

      Thanks, Cheryl!

  3. Love them both! I have cute kind of quirky handwriting... right up until I decide to write on a card, label or something that counts.... of course, aren't we our own worst critics?

    1. Yes, we are our own worst critics. I've had several people tell me lately that my handwriting was beautiful, and my jaw dropped. Seriously? But it's mine, so I own it, LOL!

  4. Love reading your posts, Susan--thanks for sharing so openly! I always learn something from you. The first card with the splats is actually more appealing to me than the inspiration which goes to show it's all a matter of opinion. The coffee splats & the bold word look wonderful!

  5. I think both cards are unique and much better than you think


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