A while back, my group of work friends decided that we should bring back magnets as souvenirs whenever one of us went on a cool vacation. Just something to bring a little fun decoration to the ubiquitous metal filing cabinet. Since I had a baby over the summer, vacations aren’t really on my horizon for a little while. So I’ve had in mind making my own cool artsy magnets for my friends.
At first the question was format. The tag dies that I have are pretty small, so I decided an Artist Trading Card (ATC) would be a good size. I picked up some watercolor paper recently, thinking that might be a preferable medium for using Distress inks.
I started by doing some drawings, first in pencil, then in Micron. I don’t think of myself as much of a line art illustrator, my preferred drawing style is more about realistic shading, but sometimes I surprise myself with some decent cartooning. Maybe I’m getting better as I get older, or maybe I’m just starting to accept that my style is somehow cutesier than I intend! Whichever it is, I think these came out really great! I colored them with distress inks (using a paintbrush on the stamp pad) and distress markers.
After that, I started inking up the background in zones of color, and sprinkling with water.
I used the outside of a previously cut ATC as kind of a viewfinder to decide just where to die cut my four cards. After I cut apart the four sections, but before I die cut, I used Perfect Pearls mist to add a bit of glimmer (I don’t think you can tell from the photos).
I fussy cut my three drawings (the fourth friend’s card was based on a stamped sentiment rather than a “favorite thing” drawing). Then I inked along the cut edges with the side of the brush end of a black distress marker to take care of any imperfect cutting. Do other people do that? I know some people leave a stylish white border, but I felt like that wasn’t really me. I can’t be the only person to black ink the edges, but I haven’t seen other people mention it.
The rest was a matter of stamping and gluing. I put magnetic strips on the back when all else was finished. And there we have it, four ATC magnets!
Ingredients: Watercolor paper, Distress ink pads, Distress markers, Archival ink, Micron pen (liner), white acrylic paint, Harlequin Tim Holtz layering stamp, Perfect Pearls mist, tiny key from 7 gypsies, fastener/brad from Tim Holtz
Stamps from: Tim Holtz Visual Artistry City Central (creativity sentiment, cityscape, stars), Scrappy Cat (travel/adventure sentiments) , Flourishes (flowers, distressed flourish pattern and “be happy” sentiment), Bo Bunny (French background text)
Learning: After doing such a vast quantity of holiday cards in such a short time, it was really refreshing to tackle something with more creative freedom. I really enjoyed trying to capture my friends’ interests in a tiny art card. I feel that using the watercolor paper was a big breakthrough since I have been gravitating towards wet techniques. I love a good Clean & Simple card, but for non-card applications I am really enjoying the texture that can be achieved by layering inks, water, mists, dry-brushed paints, stamps, and so forth. I feel like I am still finding my paper-crafting voice, but I think that this project has taken me a long way towards refining my style.
Loving: I really feel like this project made a lot of things “click” for me! I can’t wait to do more artsy ATCs, they are such a fun size! Also, I feel like for the first time, I got some of these cool Tim Holtz techniques to really work for me. I really enjoyed the watercoloring with the Distress inks and markers. I just loved watching the colors come together!
Challenge: Because of how well the beautiful blues turned out in my tropical vacation ATC, I feel compelled to enter this one in the “Blues” Challenge at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge blog. I loved looking at all the design team inspiration, because blue is my favorite color!! This one is for a coworker who plans great vacations like a skilled travel agent. I feel like I really nailed that tropical turquoise blue. I hope it inspires her to dream of the next great destination!