Friday, March 14, 2014

Koi Thank You Card

Every month, Our Daily Bread Designs sponsors a themed challenge at Operation Write Home's website. The prize is one of two gift certificates to the ODBD store, chosen randomly from the entries. Also, Our Daily Bread Designs sponsors shipping for a box of cards sent by OWH to our troops overseas for each 25 entries, up to 2 boxes total. The theme for March is thank you cards. This is my entry for that challenge.

I started going through my vast stamp collection, looking for a focal image. I came across this koi fish stamp. I have had it for so long, I don't even remember when or where I got it (or even exactly why, except that it's a pretty image), or who made it. And I've never used it before! But I decided now was the time to ink it up. Next, I looked through my binder of Operation Write Home sketches to find one that would work for the size of the image. I found Sketch #36:

I also have a round "thank you" stamp, that I felt would be perfect for the circle element. I actually had to make the circle smaller and the panel larger to make the sketch work with my stamps, particularly the koi. I chose 2 blue patterned papers from my scrap stash for the background layers, which I felt went with the "water" theme in the stamp.

I stamped the koi on watercolor paper with Ranger Archival Jet Black ink, a waterproof ink, since I knew I would be using Inktense & watercolor pencils with water to color the image. After the ink dried thoroughly (I've discovered this takes a few minutes), I started coloring the koi and lily pads. I used mostly Inktense pencils, but also some regular watercolor pencils for colors I didn't have in my Inktense set. When I finished that and it had dried, I smeared some Broken China Distress Ink onto an acrylic block, then used my water brush to pick up the color. I painted around the fish, purposely keeping my brushwork loose to give the look of water. When I had covered the surrounding paper with color, I felt dissatisfied with it. The fish didn't look integrated with the surrounding water. So, with some trepidation, since I knew I risked ruining my image, I took my water brush, loaded my brush with some more Broken China ink, and swiped some ink over the fish a few times. As it turned out, I actually liked the effect; I need not have feared doing this!

I stamped the "thank you" on white cardstock with Versamark ink, heat-embossed it with blue embossing powder, and die cut it with a Spellbinders circle die. To tie it in with the koi, I took the same orange Inktense pencil I used on them, and my water brush, and applied color to the cardstock.

I thought the blue koi panel blended in to the background papers too much, so I added a thin white mat around that panel. I adhered everything to the card base, and declared it done!

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