I don’t often freehand elements on my cards because I’m rarely happy with how they turn out. But I decided to have a go at it today and freehanded this Christmas tree. It ended up being rather different from what I’d had in mind, but then I suppose that often happens with my cards!
I started with a piece of watercolour paper onto which I very lightly drew the outline of my tree. I was originally going to go with a more natural tree shape but couldn’t get it to look the way I wanted, so changed plans and went for this pyramid shape instead. Once I had the outline drawn I rubbed out the lines to make them even fainter.
With the basic shape drawn out I got started on the painting. I started with a light wash of green across either side of the pyramid. I added more yellow to the left hand side, and a darker green to the right to try and differentiate between them. I aimed to keep the colour fairly light on both sides though as I new I was going to be painting over them. I used my heat gun to speed up drying the green layer, then started adding in my detail.
First I mixed up a turquoise blue colours to paint the details for the left hand side of the tree. I ended up adding more and more blue to the colour as the green undercoat was making it too green. I painted in a random pattern of stripes and dots across starting at the bottom and working up to the top.
Next I mixed up a reddish-purple colour and added detail to the other side. I changed the angle that my lines were going, and tried to make sure I didn’t copy the pattern at any point. This time I started at the top and worked down, but I think I should have again worked from the bottom up.
The last part I needed to add to the tree was the trunk. I mixed a tiny bit of the purple with some brown paint and added the trunk. It was a bit too loose and looked disconnected, so I went back in a couple of times adding more brown to increase the shading.
I had created the tree on a piece of watercolour paper big enough to use as a card front but decided at this point that I’d rather cut the tree out and adhere it to a card front. As the edges of the tree were very straight I used my paper trimmer to cut them, then fussy cut around the rest of the tree. I considered adding it centrally on a portrait card but after some fiddling around with layout settled on the idea of offsetting it onto a landscape card.
I chose a plain white card base and added some score lines around the edge for some extra interest. After working out where I wanted to place the tree I stamped on my sentiment, which comes from Lawn Fawn’s Merry Messages, using MFT Black Licorice Hybrid ink. I then added more score lines to create a box around the sentiment. Finally I used foam tape to adhere the tree to the card base, giving it some dimension.
I’m relatively pleased with this card. I still am not keen on freehanding things because all I can see is the mistakes in it… I realised part way through the painting that if I had masked off each segment of the tree I would have been able to get cleaner edges on them, but that would not have corrected the wobbliness and unevenness of the lines. I guess that’s just what comes of freehanding! I’m happy with the layout and colours though, and am glad it didn’t end up as disastrous as I expected!
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