Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Octopode Factory + My Digital Studio

This is my first all digital project! I digitally colored and paper-pieced the Octopode Factory's Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Photoshop prior to bringing them into My Digital Studio software, where I assembled this scene. It was so much easier to do all the paper piecing digitally; what a lot of fussy-cutting that would have been if I had done it the standard way.

My Digital Studio (MDS) is the digital stamping and scrapbooking program by Stampin' Up!, and it is very intuitive as it was designed by stampers for stampers. You can use any brand of digital products with the software, and I had a really good time assembling this art journal page. I even colored the trees (SU) in MDS, created my own pennant punch and added all the drop shadows. The software is only $19.95 and comes with loads of free content; please contact me if you need a demonstrator. My sister is a hobby demo who joined so we could get a discount, and we share a discount with those who help us meet our quota.

Some lucky person is about to win a $30 gift certificate from the Octopode Factory, the sponsor of the CHAPTER 25 Mad as a March Hare challenge at The Altered Alice. Go check it out and see all the fabulous entries!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nature's Blessing: Dreaming of Wonderland

Our theme for November  at The Altered Alice was GRATITUDEThe theme ties in nicely with this month's sponsor, Nature's Blessings, who have offered a $30 shopping spree to the randomly chosen winner! Nature's Blessings stamps were the beginning of my love affair with Alice in Wonderland stamping, as they have beautiful rubber versions of the original Tenniel illustrations of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland AND Through the Looking Glass. Without Nature's Blessings, The Altered Alice might not exist! In their words:
As avid readers and bibliophiles, we fell in love with the beautiful line drawings in the books in our family library. Our antiquarian stamps are a collection of our favorite images. If your tastes range from the classically elegant to the quirky and fun, then we make stamps for you! We also offer a variety of original art: be sure to visit John Wagner's page of Calligraphy and Art Lettering, and Laura Ann's pages of stamps for holidays and special occasions.
NOTE: Due to technical difficulties, my gratitude project will be shown in December. However, I wanted to share the project that started my love affair with Nature's Blessings stamps!

Dreaming of Wonderland:


You can click the photo above to make it bigger. I had a wood plaque in my stash that had the word "Dream" on it. The natural, unpainted wood surface was already sanded and coated with a soft clear gloss, all ready for altering!

I started by stamping various Nature's Blessings Alice stamps around the big word, coloring in each image with Prismacolor pencils. Nature's Blessing stamps used include White RabbitI'm Late, I'm LateHatterHeraldLittle Golden Key and Mad Tea Party.


I masked each image with cut-out post-it notes, and filled in the background with a harlequin diamond pattern stamped with red chalk ink. I thought the diamonds were very "suitable", get it? One of the card suits? The background looked too "flat" so once the ink was completely dry, I colored in the open diamonds with white Prismacolor pencil and then used a gray pencil to add a little shadow to the side of the red diamonds. This gave the background a lot of dimension!


Then I added some doodles with a super-fine tipped black Sharpie! I put "Alice" inside the "D" of Dream. I sketched in a row of card suit symbols under the word Dream, filling them in with red and black Sharpies, and then printed "Wonderland" beneath that. I scribbled "I'm late! I'm late!" near the white rabbit holding a watch in the upper right corner.


By this time the word "Dream" had diamonds all over it and was looking the worse for wear! With a silver paint pen, I added a "drop shadow" to the right side of each letter. Then I carefully filled in the letters with a Versamarker and heat embossed it with ultra-thick black embossing powder. I repeated this a couple more times until it was quite thick.


You can see the dimension of the embossing in the glare, and in the photo below. It really adds a lot! Then I added copper foil tape around the edges. The adhesive on copper foil tape is pressure sensitive, so I burnished it on firmly with a bone folder. You can click the photo below to make it bigger.


It still looked unfinished! I wanted it to be taller, not so horizontal. What to do, what to do? I was rummaging through drawers of stash and stabbed myself on a red push pin. Hmmmm. Yes, I was able to push in a row of pins across the bottom! Time for some tags! Gotta love the tags!


I started a bunch of manila shipping tags. I stamped the rabbit first and filled him in with Prismacolor pencils, then stamped the edge with the harlequin diamond stamp and filled it in with white and a gray drop shadow as before. I masked then stippled the background with several colors using Color Duster brushes. Then I made a tag that matches the one tucked into the Mad Hatter's hatband: "In this Style 10/6" which, for us ingnorant Yankees means ten schillings and sixpence, or half a guineau back in Alice's day! I started with the diamonds then mimicked the writing on Tenniel's original illustration. I liked the text so much I added "Down the Rabbit hole" to the first tag.

I stepped back and took a look. If I added anymore images like the rabbit, it was going to take away from the wood plaque. So text only - I thought of some short text snippets I could put on my other tags and the first one that came to mind was the Caterpillar asking Alice "Who are you?" and then of course the other size changing scenes with "Drink Me" and "Eat Me" finished it off.

I have temporarily added black and white ribbons to hang it, but I think I may look for some Tim Holtz type of chain or similar to hang it with in the future. A couple coats of clear and I was done for now.

One more view of the completed piece! Click the image to enlarge.


I hope you enjoyed my little journey through Wonderland and the sharing of a bit of the my creative process! I know it is not good manners to say it about your own work but I LOVE this thing!! And I love Nature's Blessings stamps!

FYI, this project won an Audrey Award too!

Please leave a comment before you go!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Alternative Wonderland in Smeared Ink

The October challenge at The Altered Alice is to create something that twinkles like a bat or shines like a tea tray! The challenge derives from this quote: was at the great concert given by the Queen of Hearts, and I had to sing "Twinkle, twinkle, little bat! How I wonder what you're at!"You know the song, perhaps?' `I've heard something like it,' said Alice. `It goes on, you know,' the Hatter continued, `in this way:-- "Up above the world you fly,Like a tea-tray in the sky.Twinkle, twinkle--"'-- Chapter 7, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Our sponsor this month is Smeared Ink, home of edgy, wild and fun designs in rubber and digital forms has released a Wonderland Collection; images are available individually or as a set. The randomly-chosen winner of this month's challenge will receive a $15 shopping spree in their online store.

Smeared and Smudged is an online community of rubber stampers and crafters who enjoy using alternative, gothic, edgy, and unique stamps in their designs. They thrive on different and unusual. They welcome the macabre and devious side of things, and most of all, embrace ALL types and styles of art. Whether or not you “come to the dark side”, your creations should be a reflection of you. At Smeared and Smudged, the most important thing is being yourself. There are lots of ways to interact with the community!
Ning Community | Challenge Blog | Facebook Group ]

I created a two-page spread in my Alice art journal. I loved the way the Alice image on the right is also seen through the looking glass in the scene with the Queen of Hearts on the left, such a clever touch. Although the images are FAR from my usual style, I do love to color and these incredible detailed images provided hours of coloring fun! These images are racy and a bit on the wild side; an alternative "Smeared and Smudged" Wonderland.
Click to enlarge and see details
Here we see Alice in distress with watching eyes, tortured tree and carnivorous plants. The small box contains the "Eat Me" cake and the "Drink Me" bottle is a bright green, but the layer of clear sparkling Gelly Roll Stardust reflects the light and obsures the detail. I also added sparkle to the teeth of the carnivorous plants and to Alice's tears. I adored coloring this with my Copic markers. You can see the 3D black glittered bat, a nod to the challenge and to Halloween!

Click to enlarge and see details
 Aside from the obvious, this image has so many great details. I colored her gown in a warm scarlet red to contrast with the cool violet red of the large rose beneath her. Playing cards are scattered around her and a skull keeps her company as she monitors Alice's progress through her looking glass. I added sparkle to the gold frame of the mirror, it really gleams! A lot of people colored the roses red on this image, but I decided these were the white roses in the process of being changed to red with dripping paint.

Click to enlarge and see details
I hope you enjoyed this month's walk on the wild side of Wonderland with The Altered Alice! Please leave a comment before you go!
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