Tuesday, August 26, 2014

{Spotlight Project} Nonni Makes a Poppies Tag...and Shares a Philosophy for Quick Coloring!

Hello, STAMPlorations friends! It's Nonni here with a Spotlight Project made with the new Bloom Sketches set.

My project is inspired by Marion Vagg's tag at Tag You're It Challenge. As you can see, Marion's cool tag is done completely with die cuts:

I don't own a die cutting machine so I decided to challenge myself to create a similar look with stamps only. Let's see how I made it!

First, I stamped the poppies from Bloom Sketches. I used Copic markers for coloring in so my poppies are stamped with Memento on a blending cardstock. I also stamped the poppies to a piece of thin scrap paper for masking purposes.

Next, I trimmed the card to the size I want and cut the upper corners with scissors to make the tag shape. After trimming off the first upper corner, I used the cut out triangle as my guide for the second corner: I placed it on top of the second corner and cut along the edge of the cut out. This way, I got two corners that are exactly the same without needing a die cutting machine or any measuring.

Then it's time to place the masks. I used a post-it note for masking the square and washi tape for masking the edges. Because my washi was patterned, it was easy to tape the card edges evenly without any measuring -the pattern on the tape was my guide! I also masked the flowers outside the post-it note using my stamped scrap paper. This is how the tag looked like with the masks in place:

Then it's time for sponging. I used a sponge tool and Distress Ink for sponging all over the tag. Everything that was masked remained white. This is how the tag looked after sponging and removing the masks:

Then to the fun part: let's color in those poppies, shall we? My color combo for the flowers is YR31-R81-R83-R85 for those of you using Copics and wanting to try this two-toned look.

Here's my philosophy for quick coloring. Many tutorials speak about light sources, uphills and downhills of the image, where the shadow is cast, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. This can all seem a bit intimidating. My tip for quick coloring is to forget all that and just look at the image and consider these 4 questions:

  1. Would the image look best with all the outlines shaded?
  2. Would the image look best with the top and bottom areas shaded?
  3. Would the image look best with the left and right areas shaded?
  4. Would the image look best darkest in the middle, lightening towards the outlines?

If you look at the not-yet-colored poppies in the beginning of this tutorial, you can see it's really a matter of taste:

  1. Having all the outlines shaded would have made the flowers look a bit "closed" and not light enough for my taste.
  2. Yep, this might please my eye.
  3. This would please my eye even more!
  4. No, this would not work.

So, I chose option 3 and did all the left and right areas of the poppies dark:

You can use this philosophy with images with many small areas too - like a person with several pieces of clothing, for example. The person's face and skirt (looks like it's a girl!) can be colored following coloring principle #3 (left and right areas shaded) but the hair can follow coloring principle #2 (top and bottom areas shaded), and maybe a hat can follow coloring principle #1 (all outlines shaded). You could also decide to play with these poppies coloring some flowers following coloring principle #2 and some applying coloring principle #3...Just let your image speak to you! :)

Okay, now I've gone on long enough about coloring principles, I bet you are all confused now and I should have shushed about the different numbers several lines ago...I got carried away! :) But as you see, the tag is almost finished and this post is coming to its end. The last thing I did was heat emboss the sentiment with white powder. I think I got quite close to Marion's look using only stamps. What do you think? Happy stamping and coloring!


  1. This is a fabulous tutorial and extremely useful. I found the masking picture very helpful x

  2. I just read that Nonni has also no Die cut Machine like me ooh I am so happy that not only me who has NO DIE CUT MACHINE...I similar like Nonni I use maximum my stamp I bought and not buy DIE for more spend Money (LOL)

    Nonni I love your tutorial and the TAG is really fabulous I love the colors and how you coloring the flowers..looks like a real flowers...Great post for today Nonni...hugs, Monika

  3. WOW, Nonni, your incredibly beautiful tag looks like you DID use a die-cut machine, and discovering this was the result of masks and stamping...I'm in awe! Thank you for the 'how to' details and especially the colouring advice! Gorgeous tag...and I'm calling 'winner winner' on it!

  4. Just beautiful! I love how you used the masks to create this look! Beautiful coloring too!

  5. great tutorial... and a wonderfull Change in stamps.
    CU hellerlittle


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