Cardmaking 101: Card Sketches & Sketchbooks

First, an apology from Sandy—I had a vision in my head for this blog that I haven't communicated very clearly, and I want you all to know what's coming up here on Stars and Stamps!
Regular features on this blog are hopefully going to be:
Sunday Sketch Challenges
, Mister Linky open til the following Saturday night.
Midweek Challenges
, Mister Linky open til the following Weds.
ightning Challenges, Random!
Official OWH Challenges with prizes:
card drives for specific themes
: We're hoping for a tutorial a week...either existing ones we find online, or tutorials provided by our stampers! Tutorials will be classified in three levels:Cardmaking 101: Beginner level tutorials. The very very basics, including information about supplies, and tips to just get started if you've made few or no cards at all. Cardmaking 201: Intermediate level tutorials. Stepping out of the basics of stamping and into a few fancier techniques. Includes MisterLinkies to link your project.Cardmaking 301: Advanced level tutorials! We want all levels of stampers to be able to learn something new. Includes MisterLinkies to link your project.
Featured Cardmakers,
meeting one of our creative talents!
    So what you can eventually do is click on the tagged category at the right and find all the sketches, or see all the CM201 tutorials in a row. If you'd like to host one of these tutorials or challenges, email! We're working on a special blog badge for those who help out creating content for this blog :)

      Cardmaking 101: Using card sketches

      Since we've begun our sketch challenges, it may be of some help to talk a little about sketches, how they're used, how to adapt them, and storing them for future use. Some of our newbies have asked what the sketches are about, so let's chat about sketches!

      Sketches are layouts. They're a suggested design for a card, providing general elements and their placement on a card. There are general shapes provided, and on this blog, measurements to start you off on the right foot.

      Card sizes: A2. Sketches on the S&S blog will all be for A2 size cards (5.5 x 4.25, half a sheet of cardstock) unless specified otherwise. This is the standard size requested for Operation Write Home cards, since it's the optimum size to get the most cards into the boxes for deployed heroes!

      Adapt a sketch to suit your supplies. While the measurements are provided, if your stamped image is larger or smaller, or your ribbon is thinner or thicker, feel free to change it up! Change a round element to a square, or vice versa; change the number or style of suggested embellishments.

      Make it your own. Change things up a bit by turning the sketch 90 degrees; this is easy to do if you print the sketch and turn it physically, so you can see where the elements land. You can also flip it horizontally or vertically as well—whatever suits your needs! Add layers of cardstock, extra ribbons and embellishments, or anything else you desire!

      Credit the sketcher. If you use someone's sketch, it's always a great courtesy to link to them if you post your card online!

      Measurements. Some sketches provide measurements for the pieces in the sketch, some do not. On a sketch of either type, feel free to change the dimensions of any piece to match your own supplies or design; those measurements are given simply to help those who like that sort of thing!

      Create your own sketchbook. Many cardmakers like to keep a sketchbook on hand; here are a number of ideas to consider:
      • Print out pages from sketch sites and put them in a 3ring binder. 
      • Re-draw sketches into your own notebook. 
      • Choose a size notebook that suits you best, depending on the room you have available in your craft room.
      • Decorate your notebook to help you stay inspired!
      • Try a grid paper notebook to help you draw somewhat straight lines.
      • Write down the website for each sketch, so you can go leave a link for the sketch creator later.
      • Create a master "window" (see below) to quickly draw a proportional outline.
      • Make your own sketches from cards you see — figure out the important elements and start drawing rectangles and circles to note locations of each piece.
      • Take your sketchbook with you when you go to craft shows, stamp stores, or anywhere you might get ideas — constantly add new inspiration!
      • Keep a "digital sketchbook" — a folder on your computer where you download the sketches for later use. Name the files or folders with urls so you can find the original sketch creator!
      Where to find card sketches: To see this blog's sketches, scroll down to find "LABELS" on the right column. Click on "Sketches" and all of our provided sketch posts will show up for you, along with a slideshow of the previous week's cards made for that one! There are also many sites on the web who host sketches, including many of our own bloggers in the list at the right who do so from time to time on their own blogs. Here's a partial list of sketch sites...there are many more, perhaps our cardmakers will leave links in the comments on this post:
      1. Pagemaps (scroll to Card Maps)
      2. Mojo Monday 
      3. CPS (Card Positioning Systems) 
      4. Card Sketch Forum on Splitcoast 
      5. Inspirational Card Sketches 
      6. Card Patterns
      7. Card Sketch a Day
      8. My Sketch World
      A word about card challenges: Many of the abovementioned sites host "challenges"; sometimes challenges have prizes for random or juried winners; random means that all entries have an equal chance to win. Juried winners are selected by the host site, so it's more of a quality competition. Why would you want to participate in challenges? inspire creativity! Having a deadline and a specific criteria to meet gets some people going when their mojo (inspiration!) gets stuck.
      ...get feedback! Post your creation for a challenge online, and hosts of the challenges almost always leave comments for all the participants. Others who've joined the challenge often visit their fellow players too. community! As you join in challenges regularly, you'll start to recognize names of people whose style you like, see more of what they do and what inspires them. You can add their blogs and galleries to your list of places to visit regularly, and make new friends online!

      Example: This photo series shows the thought process that went into this card; instead of beginning with the sketch, it started with the stamped image for the inspiration and then worked backwards and found a sketch. You can also start with an embellishment for your inspiration.
      Choose a stamped image. Color as desired.  Find a sketch in your sketch book or online that would suit the proportion and orientation of your inspiration piece. In this example, the hedgehog image is about the right proportion for the sketch circled here in the sketchbook.

      Cut your patterned papers and other elements. Here the patterned paper is cut to 2.25 x 5,  the strip is 1/4inch wide, and the flower has been layered using a brad. The stamped hedgehog has been layered on blue paper, since it will overlap the white cardstock base—if it wasn't layered, the white paper it's stamped on would blend into the white card base.

      Test the layout first following the sketch....note that the sentiment is stamped on paper; even if you want to stamp directly on the card base, sometimes it's helpful to have the sentiment on a piece of scrap paper so you can check how it fits your card layout.

      Trying it here turned with the elements flipped left to right...

      And now the sketch is turned 90 degrees, and the papers are cut down to 4 inches tall. This is looking much more proportional.

      And here's how it looks flipped left to right again...the last version looks about the best, since the hedgie is looking off to the right it seems to make more sense to have the sentiment on the right side of the card.

      Here's the finished card, with the sentiment stamped directly onto the cardstock! Add extra layers or embellishments as desired....there's another version of this card posted here if you want to see how to add even more elements. Don't let youself be boxed in by the sketch itself; once you've gotten started, make it your own!

        Beginner cardmakers: What questions do you have about sketches?
        Experienced cardmakers: Do you keep a digital or physical sketchbook? Take a picture of it and post it on your blog, and leave a link here for us to see! 

        Rhonda Miller  – (February 9, 2010 at 7:41 AM)  

        Thank you. This was very infomative and I have been looking for some sketch sites. TFS.

        Caryl P  – (February 9, 2010 at 6:37 PM)  

        A fabulous way to spell out the sketches. Wish this was around a year ago when I started this adventure!!!

        Unscripted Sketches:

        Some of the designers to scrapbooks but many do cards. Sketches are created so that you can stretch them to fit what you need!

        Lauri  – (February 12, 2010 at 9:29 AM)  

        I am a huge case-r! You have a great list here!

        Wandy  – (May 19, 2012 at 6:29 AM)  

        Thank you this is awesome info!!!
        Hugs, Wandy

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