Thursday, September 29, 2011

Digital watercolors

I have been inspired by beautiful digital watercolors by digital scrapbooker Agnes Granouillac. I don't have the brush skills or patience for such beautiful work so I went off searching for some tutorials that might help me achieve something a bit similar.
I found these: 15 artistic watercolor effects and tried the Easy Watercolor Painting Effect
With a little experimentation I produced this layout:
(full credits here)
I started with this photo of my daughter because of her mona-lisa smile and the plain background. It also is not very sharp so it's not much good on its own:

So I followed through the tutorial.
Here is the image after adding the 'cutout filter' layer with luminosity blend mode (step 6):

After adding the 'dry brush filter' layer with screen blend mode (step 8):
After adding the 'median filter' layer with soft light mode (step 8):

But I wasn't happy with it quite. I wanted some pencil/ink edges. So I added an 'accented edges filter' layer in pin light blend mode as follows:

to get this:

the difference is not clear at this resolution, but the eyes and eyebrows in particular look like they have been inked in.
In retrospect I could have added a sketch layer over the top a bit like this: portrait to sketch
I used these Designer Digitals products to make it look like it was painted on a canvas:
I clipped the photo to one of Katie's Watery Photo Masks which were blended to the linen texture paper in multiply mode so the texture showed through.

I added the watery splashes around and painted them with color (click the "lock transparency pixels" icon on the top left of the layers palette and then paint) inspired by this tutorial: brilliant matte dispersion effects in photoshop
(Of course, I'd be mortified if I was that messy with paint in real life!!)
And after adding the frame and background paper it was done :)

I want to try a few more of those 15 artistic watercolor effects tutorials, they look like so much fun!!

And here are a couple of other fun tutorials I'd love to to try:
abstract watercolor wallpaper

Do you have any other tutorials that you've enjoyed? I'd love to know!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


A significant photo of my daughter taken in New York City 20 years ago. Much has changed since then!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Good design and inspiration

When I first started scrapping, I could a photo or two I wanted to scrap and some pretty paper to match but then I was paralysed! So I approached it like a research project and spent countless hours
  • reading tutorials on balance (rule of thirds, white space, visual triangles), contrast, emphasis and repetition, leading the eye, focal points
  • analysing two page design techniques
  • collecting every page map by Becky Fleck
  • storing every page I saw online that was inspiring
But after all of that I found that the most motivating and practical way to learn was to join online challenges. In early 2007 I discovered an Ad Inspiration challenge at twopeasinabucket organised by Paula Gilarde. Paula has a gift for choosing Ads that are great examples of good design. Almost every week for the following 3 years I created a page based on one of the Ads she chose... then Paula took a well deserved break...
Now Paula has resumed her Ad Inspiration Challenge from her blog and last week she tempted me with this double page Ad:
Here is my take:
Credits here.
As usual, Paula's choice of Ad had just the right balance of contrast and repetition.
Some of my all-time favorite pages are from Paula's inspirational choices.
I hope you'll join me in one of Paula's Ad Inspiration Challenges!
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