It’s been a little while but I have another card for you. I had so much fun making this one! I even did a little bit of drawing on it. Initially I only had one challenge in mind for this card – Less is More‘s challenge to make a one layer card on the theme of books or literature. My card is inspired by the Curious George book. After finishing the card and looking over my challenge list I noticed it also fits the theme over at The Sisterhood of Crafters which is up, up and away, so I’m entering it for that too.
From the start my idea was to have a little monkey holding onto some balloons and floating away. I recently got the Go Bananas stamp set from The Cat’s Pajamas and thought it would be a great chance to make use of that. When I noticed that the monkeys in the set are both holding a banana I thought I’d have to come up with a new plan, but then husband pointed out the monkey could be holding the balloons with his tail! Clever husband. So that’s what I decided to do.
I don’t have any balloon stamps. (Well, I have a couple of hot air balloon stamps but they’re not really suitable for this.) I was determined not to let that stop me though and figured I could just have a go at drawing them myself. Given that I would be drawing the balloons and don’t have a black pen to outline them, I didn’t want to use black ink for stamping the monkey. I decided I would go for a no-line look with my stamping instead.
I started by stamping my monkey directly on to the card base using one of my palest inks. It’s actually not a pale colour exactly, it just doesn’t stamp very well at all… So I stamped that twice to get lines that were visible for colouring but still pale enough to disappear once I’d done the colouring. I then took a pencil and drew in my balloon strings and the balloons themselves.
Next I got started on colouring. I used watercolour pencils for this card. I wasn’t too fussed about light source so long as it was relatively consistent. I used three different shades of brown for the monkey’s fur, and a peachy skin tone for his face, hands and feet. I then added a little black dot to his eye. For the banana I used a very pale yellow, with a darker orange-yellow for the skin plus a little orange for shading.
With the monkey done I moved on to my balloons. I wanted to be quite simple with the colours. I knew I wanted to have at least one red balloon so I started with one of those. Each balloon was done in about the same way – I used several different shades, using the main colour (a mid-tone) to outline the balloon as well as outlining the highlight. My aim with the shading was to try and give the balloon a rounded appearance. After the red balloons I did the blue ones and then yellow for the furthest back balloon. As it turns out, it was a good decision to have the yellow balloon at the back, as that’s the one I had most trouble with shading.
At that point all my colouring was done. I decided to use my clear Wink of Stella as the “water” for washing over the balloons, which added a nice touch of sparkle to them. I then used a small paintbrush and plain water to blend out the colour on the monkey and the banana. I also wanted to add a hint of background so I gave a wash of very pale blue as a suggestion of sky in the background. Once that was all dry I went back over my balloon strings with the grey watercolour pencil, though I didn’t use any water on them, just leaving it as is.
By the time that was done my card base was very warped. I’d been careful to use as little water as possible because the card base is not watercolour paper. I ended up running the card through my Big Shot just to flatten it back a bit to make it easier to stamp the sentiment.
The sentiment comes from the same stamp set as the monkey image. Again I didn’t want to use black ink as I thought it would be too harsh alongside the rest of the card. I actually ended up deciding to use the same ink as I had used to stamp the monkey, which is a soft bronze colour. I had to stamp it multiple times, with the aid of my MISTI to get the colour to an appropriate level. And then the card was done!
I’m pretty happy with how this card turned out. It’s not perfect by any means. I made a couple of mistakes – there’s a bit of a smudgey looking mess of blue around the right-most balloon, and I didn’t notice that my card base had shifted in the MISTI between one of the restampings of the sentiment. Thankfully the ink I used is so pale on the first stamping that it really isn’t obvious. I really like the story book look of the image, and I’m pretty pleased with how the monkey turned out. He’s quite sweet! I think I could have made more of the background though, but I’m not sure exactly what else I should have done… I’m also annoyed that the light was so terrible so the pictures haven’t come out very well – makes it difficult to see the blue of the sky, and the shimmer in the balloons!