Friday, May 30, 2014

Two Graduation Cards

Recently, a friend of mine contacted me, wanting to know if she could commission me to make a couple of graduation cards, to give to her daughter and a friend's daughter, for their high school graduation. She gave me a few ideas, and I set about designing and making the cards.

Her friend's daughter comes from a very musical family, and plays at least both fiddle and guitar. So I decided to make her a guitar-shaped card. My initial idea was to make the guitar vertical, so the curves would be on the fold. Unfortunately, that just wouldn't work. So I rotated my design 90 degrees and placed the fold at the base of the guitar, making it a side-folding card. I downloaded a photo of an acoustic guitar from the Internet and used that as my pattern for the card front & base.

After cutting the front out of watercolor paper, I roughly painted the body with Wild Honey, Vintage Photo, and a little Walnut Stain Distress inks and LOTS of water to give it a woodgrain look. I die cut a circle from black paper for the center hole, and used Pitch Black Distress paint for the neck. I went over the end of the neck with Brushed Pewter Distress stain, and drew the strings in with a silver gel pen. For the greeting, I scanned the card front into Photoshop, and created the curved text there, which I then printed onto the guitar. I used a mortarboard template I'd also downloaded, tracing it onto the card and going over it with a black pen. Finally, I adhered the front to a card base, and trimmed around the shape of the guitar.

The woman who commissioned these cards is blind, and has a black lab guide dog, who is also VERY attached to her daughter! So her idea for her daughter's card was to have paw prints increasing in size across the card front, symbolizing her daughter's growth through school; and a picture of a black lab with a mortarboard or diploma on the inside. I used one of the custom shapes in Photoshop to create paw prints in increasing size, and positioned them curving along the front. I created the greeting in Photoshop as well, and printed everything onto a piece of white Bristol paper. I cut the Bristol along the curve created by the paw prints, and mounted it on a piece of black paper for the card front.

For the inside, I downloaded a photo of a black lab from the Internet, and traced the major outlines onto a piece of Bristol paper. I colored him with watercolor pencils and my water brush. The more I colored, the worse the dog seemed to look. Just as I was about to give up, I decided to paint in the eyes, as a last-ditch effort at saving my painting. It worked! The brown eyes made all the difference in the world! I added a little black gel pen for the pupils, and white gel pen for the catch lights in his eyes. Finally, I die cut around the image with a Spellbinders Classic Circle die, and traced around the outside of the same die on black paper, cutting along that line to make a slightly larger mat. I adhered the matted panel to the inside of the card, cutting off the excess that hung over the card edges. I made a mortarboard from watercolor paper, using the same template I'd traced for the guitar card. I colored it with watercolor pencils and added a tassel made from embroidery floss. Thankfully, my friend loved both cards, and was very pleased with my work!


  1. Andrea, your work on these cards was beautiful! Thank you so much for helping me be able to give my daughter and her friend original unique pieces of art to commemorate their graduation. You're the best!

  2. Love the guitar! That's awesome! Hey, I thought you’d like to know I gave you & your blog a “Shout Out” on my Feature Friday post today. Thanks for being a follower of all things beautiful. Take care. Amy A.


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