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Polychromatic || AECP

Hello, I'm back today, sharing a few cards I made as homework for Nina-Marie Trapani's Altenew Academy class called Polychromatic. 

To be honest, I didn't quite know what to expect from this class. First of all, I've never heard the word polychromatic. I understand the roots: poly, meaning many; chrom, meaning color; and the suffix -ic, which creates an adjective. But doesn't that pretty much mean rainbow, as in use all the colors? Well, yes, but... The purpose behind this class is to help you use all the colors with confidence. In some cases, I met the target, but in others, I fell short. Stay tuned for those failures...

Lesson 1: White with Pops of Color

I was pretty excited about this lesson because the title alone suggests cards that will be unpretentiously clean and simple, and that's just my style. 
For this card, I chose the Altenew Beach Towel Stripes stencil, which is one of my favorite stencils. The randomly-sized stripes create such interest on a background! My plan was to mask the stripes to ink up each in a different color, beginning at the top with warm colors (red, yellow, orange) and ending at the bottom with cool colors (green, blue, purple). This gradation of color was exactly as Nina had suggested in class. 
The stencil has 18 striped openings, so I chose 18 different ink colors, arranged them in order, and started blending. This was rather time consuming though not difficult. The difficult part came later. 

The measuring. 

Have I mentioned I teach English?

Not math.

My plan was to use the happy birthday dies from the Altenew Versatile Greetings 2 die set to write happy happy happy birthday down the card front, centered from left to right, and centered from top to bottom. 

So. Much. Measuring. 
I started with a template because I couldn't risk messing up my striped background! I first drew horizontal and vertical lines on the template to mark center. To center the dies left to right, I simply measured the overall die length and divided by two. I drew a pencil line on each die to mark its center line. Then, I could line up the pencil line on the die with the vertical line on the template, and each of the dies would be in the right place. 

The vertical spacing was much more complex. I'll spare you the crazy. 

TIP: When spacing die cuts vertically, be sure to consider ascenders (on letters like h and d) and descenders (on letters like p and y).  e.g., My words are 1/4" apart, so the tail on the p in happy is 1/4" above the h in the next happy
After die cutting my sample template, I used that template to determine the placement on my striped panel. I followed these steps:
  • Use a paper trimmer to cut through the word birthday on the template. This makes it easier to remove the template once the die is in position. 
  • Stack the template on top of the card panel and nestle the die into the cut out in the template.
  • Tape the die in place and then carefully pull out the template. 
  • Die cut the card panel. Be sure not to lose any of the die cut pieces, especially the counters for the letters. (Counters are the holes in letters.) 
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. For each word, I cut through the corresponding word on the template and then used the template to position the die, just like in the steps above. 

To build the card, I cut happy & birthday from white craft foam and glued the striped die cuts on top of the corresponding foam pieces. Then, I inlaid the die cuts back into the negative space on the card front. 
TIP: Leave the die cut in its negative piece of craft foam while you glue the card stock on top. This will avoid distorting the foam. When the die cut has dried, you can remove it from the craft foam. Thanks to Therese Calvird for that tip! 
For embellishments, I colored the flat side of Gina K Dewdrops with Copic markers that closely matched the stripe each would overlap. 

Such a happy card! 

Lesson 3: Faux Hand-Watercolored Effect

This technique was not new to me, but it was certainly fun to revisit it! For this technique, a solid stamp is necessary, and I chose one of the larger images from the Altenew Leaf Clusters set. 
To achieve the watercolor look, I colored the leaf stamp with a Light Violet Zig Clean Color Real Brush marker, spritzed the stamp a couple times, and then stamped it down onto watercolor paper. I repositioned the stamp and repeated the process. When that dried, I repeated with those steps with a Violet Zig marker to achieve some shading. 

TIP: As Nina suggested in class, it's important to color with the side edge of the Zig marker, so as not to damage the brush tip. 

Each of the images also has a shadow effect that was created in two different ways. On the sending prayers card, I slightly offset the stamp and stamped again with Simon Says Stamp Fog ink. On the hello card, I added a very light wash of Tumbled Glass Distress ink in a halo around the purple leaves. You can see the blue in person, but it's super light! 

In lieu of splattering, which can be rather unpredictable, I opted for controlled water spots. I scribbled the Light Violet Zig marker on my glass mat and spritzed it with water. Then, I laid a scrap of acetate into the puddle and dabbed it here and there, so the water would bead up on the acetate. Finally, I touched the acetate onto the watercolor paper, choosing where the purple water spots would land. This, my friends, is splattering for the anxious. 
For the hello card, I heat embossed the Altenew Mini Hello stamp in an antique copper color. Then, I die cut the center out of the panel, using the Heffy Doodle Sttiched Rectangle dies. (Heffy Doodle has, sadly, closed, but I'm holding onto this die!) I popped up this center with craft foam and inlaid the panel back in place. 
For the sending prayers card, I die cut the words from Gina K Wild Lilac card stock and layered it onto its shadow, which is cut from watercolor paper, so the shadow perfectly matches the background. I embellished this card with a sprinkling of Pretty Pink Posh Wisteria Blossoms Confetti Mix

Though these cards are basically the same, the two examples show how more or less water spritzing really makes a difference. 

And the fails...

If you're on the lookout for a confidence boost, look no further because my fails are about to make you feel really good about whatever it is you struggle with! 

You're welcome.
I simply do not not have no-line coloring skills, even of the faux variety, even with two attempts. You probably couldn't even tell that was the target skill. Yeah, me either. And the third? While I did achieve a nice gradient of color on the rainbow background, Nina's paintbrush dabbing technique did not result in the incredible texture I'd hoped for. I'll save that background for another day.

And there you have it: Polychromatic

Many colors. And a bit of irony, too. One card has an 18-color rainbow, and the others are purple. Just purple. 

I hope this inspires you to play with color. All the colors. Or just one. 

Thanks for stopping by!


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