Hey, Cupid, Stop Picking on Me!

Stupid Cupid Song Title ValentineCupid Love!

Stupid Cupid, Stop Picking on Me spins round in my head when I think Valentine. And that song inspired this Valentine art, along with another Valentine great, Brach’s candy hearts. I wax poetic with Brach’s candy hearts on Valentine’s  Day.

Bored with love?

Pink heart with the word snooze on it
Bored with Love?

This Valentine is for those bored with love or have love on hold.

Just kidding. Happy Valentine’s Day !

Funny Candy Hearts
Sweet Heart Love

Love is the essence of all happiness.  I found my true love at sweet 16! 

Valentines from the Family Vault

Valentine at the Olympics

I was drawing Valentines on my iPad while watching the Olympics 2014. It was sweet to see snowboarder Jenny Jones in Slope-style at Sochi taking Bronze for Great Britain [Feb. 9].

Olympics XXII
Snowboarder Jenny Jones in Slope-style at Sochi takes Bronze for Great Britain

NOTE:  Stupid Cupid, Stop Picking on Me is a classic song by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, charting out at #14 on the Top 100 in days gone by.

Happy New Year!

Happy New YearKiss 2013 goodbye!  Friends were posting mini flipagram videos on Instagram to commemorate the new year, so I decided to dive into my photo files and make one as well.
I was an hour into the process and was about to jump ship and not finish, but I forged on and completed the video out of pure stubbornness. I limited myself to 84 photos for the video, which was like watching 2013 flash before my eyes.
After spending two hours on a self-absorbed video, I nearly felt guilty for wasting time, but in the process I saw all of the wonderful moments I’ve shared with friends and family
during the year and I was renewed seeing how much I have to be thankful for, so that I got excited about my first little flipagram and uploaded it to YouTubeFollow me on Instagram at patriciawiskur, as no snazzy nickname came to mind when I registered.
How To TutorialMy How To (top image):
There are three images layered for the end image. I scanned a vintage, beaded purse and layered it with a tie-dye decorated cake top in Photoshop. I set the top tie-dye layer to “color.”
I placed the carnival doll photo (after I deleted the background) on the top layer and gave it a gold outline with a gold color sampled from the background gold beads.
I made two additional copies of that doll and overlapped the three images in graduating sizes. For the text, I made a wavy line with the pen tool that curved in the opposite direction as the top hats and typed the text on the curving path in the Sybil Green font.

Happy New Year Tutorial ImagesI love the googly eyes on this vintage celluloid doll, dressed in a top hat and cane, ready  to welcome in the New Year with glitz.

Here’s to 2014!

Merry Christmas to All, and to All, a Good Night!

Merry Christmas‘Tis the joyous Christmas season

A favorite Christmas quote from A Christmas Carol, says …

It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.
-Charles Dickens

The key to happiness is to hold on to that child-like wonder at Christmas.

Bah Humbug! cross stitch needlework
Bah Humbug!

Alas, the holiday season can bring a mix of good and bad memories. Once, during my  Bah Humbug! period, I cross-stitched another Dickens quote, Bah Humbug! And beautified it with a gilded frame.

Foremost this Christmas, cherish the simple things of the heart.

Happiness is a gift and the trick is not to expect it, but to delight in it when it comes. -Charles Dickens

Merry  Christmas to all, and to all, a good life!

How To TutorialMy digital how-to artwork for story illustration:

In Adobe Illustrator, I penned a blue gradient for my snow bank.
rolling_snow300x
I created layers of art in Photoshop. On top of the snow, I layered my Santa art, created in Illustrator.
Then, I duplicated Santa and skewed him, dialing back the transparency for a red shadow on the snow. I imagined Santa’s suit would reflect a jolly red on the snow rather than gray.
Santa and his Shadow
To complete the illustration, I added a lens flair above the snow for a heavenly light.

Christmas Greetings illustration of the nativity
“It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its Mighty founder was a child Himself.” -Dickens

And cropped line work of the Nativity by hubby Darrell Wiskur  from a Merry Christmas letter he designed years ago, commissioned by a dentist for his office Christmas letter. 

Read Luke 21:1-40, a Biblical record of the incarnation of Christ … Emmanuel, God is with us.

 

Christmas Stockings Hung With Care

 Dear Santa ... Christmas stockings‘Tis the season to be merry!

Christmas stockings are a tradition in our family, and Santa, with the assistance of Mrs. Santa, fills the stockings on the Eve of Christmas while our children are fast asleep. It’s a lovely tradition.

Of course, we like our stockings brimming with good cheer. In my childhood, we were delighted with a stocking filled with an apple, an orange, a popcorn ball, and a candy cane.

As the acting Mrs. Santa one year when I was on a health kick, I baked cookies with a sugar substitute and attempted to bring back the apple, orange, popcorn ball, and candy cane idea from childhood.

While the children were all snug in their beds, with visions of sugar plums dancing in their heads, I, unfortunately, filled their stockings with fruit and trinkets.

Imagine the children’s dismay Christmas morning waking up to fruit.  No chocolate Santa wrapped in foil, no sweet and sour gummy worms, no M&Ms, no Reese’s PBCups — none of the children’s favorite candies.

And this naive act of mine took place at a time when stores were closed on Christmas morning. Nothing was open. There was no way to reprieve myself.  Mr. Santa couldn’t sneak out the back door and run to the candy store.

Santa had cautioned me about no candy, but I thought an old fashioned Christmas stocking would be as endearing to my children as it was to me as a child. Looking in the rear view mirror, I was clueless.

This is a cautionary tale: Never underestimate the power of  a well-filled stocking!
decorative flourishMy How-To Method for this graphic includes one paper and one frame from my Zany Design Kit on Etsy. There are 21 elements in my Zany Design Kit and two of those are gold, cut-out frames. The frames are easily modified in Elements or  Photoshop so that they can be any color you need to suit your graphic.

In Photoshop, I added a blue Adjustment Layer to a frame. Next, I threw on a Santa vector image I completed a few years back and three photos of Christmas stockings my daughter had painted for an open house.
The final touch was the text, Dear Santa … stuff it!

Cake Pop Art

Do Not Eat the Cake Before the Frosting
Cake and squiggles art

Eat Cake! And Frosting!

To each his own cake fetish. Some scrape frosting off the cake and eat it sans frosting. Others heap on frosting and ask for the slice of cake with the most frosting or the slice with the most roses.
It’s always fun judging a cake’s success after a party, which I do whenever I’ve made the cake. I look at the leftover dessert plates to see what the ratio of leftover cake to frosting is. If the plate is scraped clean, I know the cake was perfect.

But if there are globs of frosting on the plate, it’s back to the cookbook for the next cake.


Cake inspired my art montage

I took a photo of a tie-dyed, ice cream cake that I had sprayed with my favorite wild colors. Next, I masked out the background of the cake stand, leaving just the cake top.

I brought the simplified cake image into Illustrator and did a live-trace. Then, I brought the image into Photoshop and added squiggly lines made from paths in Illustrator.

Truthfully, the graphic is all over the place and the colors are bizarre; however, the making of the cake art was fun and a great exercise of thought when staring at a digital art board void of pixels.

As a final touch, I added a thought balloon because I question the philosophy of eating the frosting before the cake. I believe they should be eaten in unison.
The basic elements I used for this design were: a photo of a cake, tie-dyed with my favorite tie-dye colors, squiggles, a cartoon thought balloon, and a comic book font.
Illustrator and Photoshop Files

Here’s a fun video from my granddaughter’s Starbucks birthday party at the lake. She wrapped her cake in fondant under the tutelage of her Aunt Wendy and decorated it, Starbucks style.
When Gwen served the cake to guests, one wanted a piece of cake without the frosting and one wanted only frosting, so they shared a piece of cake: one ate the frosting and one ate the cake. Perfect social solution for teenagers.

Zany Cousins, Once Upon a Time, a Tutorial

Zany Frame and grandchildren riding in a jeep having zany fun
Grandkids in a gilded frame from my Zany Design Kit

Cousins at Play

Flashback: Grandchildren, Cousins Drew, Stephanie and Emma, zooming around the yard. This photo makes me smile every time I see it. The occasion was a reception for my granddaughter Julie’s high school graduation. It was May in the Ozarks. Spring fever had struck, and everyone was happy to celebrate a milestone event.

On the computer …

Play time: In Photoshop, I grabbed the photo, two backgrounds, a frame, and Peter Rabbit. The composition soon turned cartoonish, which I thought suited the photo. I chose a Comic font and a word balloon for Kapow. I’ve always wanted to say Kapow, and I’ve always adored the word balloons found in comic strips.
Method: I clipped a photo to a frame with a layer mask. Next, I layered two papers and added a Blending Mode for a rich, dimensional background. Finally, I added the Word Balloon Kapow and Peter Rabbit.

ZanyBroochFramePW200px
Gilded Zany Frame
ZanyBroochFrameMaskPW200
Zany mask

It’s all rather Zany

The frame is a vintage gold brooch. The frame and the frame-mask are part of my Zany Design Collection on Etsy. I clipped the black oval frame mask to the photo to confine the photo within the frame.
I layered two teal blue backgrounds and added a Difference Blending Mode to create a dimensional, red background.

It’s fun exploring Blending Modes in Photoshop. It was a happy accident when I clicked Difference and two blues made a red. I had an entirely different look in mind when I began my Photoshop work, but when the red popped up, I fell in love and went to finish.

Teal Zig Zag Pattern
Background layer one

 

Teal Clouds Pattern
Background layer two

It was spring in the Ozarks, and the grass was green. A perfect home for Peter Rabbit.

Peter Rabbit Tin Toy by Mattel
Peter Rabbit tin toy by Mattel

Lip-Smack Brush Tutorial

No matter how hard I strive for sophistication in design, my projects take a right turn towards the wild side as did my first journal kit, aptly named Zany.

I had fun creating Zany papers, buttons, brushes, and elements.
My favorite brush is the Lip-Smack Brush, and my favorite element is the pool ball button.
Here’s a preview of my kit, which includes 16 Papers, 20 Elements, and 2 Brushes.

Creating brushes in Adobe Photoshop is a cinch!

  • Slick your lips with a bright lipstick and kiss a piece of paper.
  • Scan the Lip-smack into your computer as a jpeg.
  • Create a black and white copy of the lip-smack. (Optional: I cleaned up the image and removed the white background from the scan so that I had a transparent background for a .png file.)
  • Select the Elliptical or Rectangular Marquee Tool and drag to create a selection around the Lip-smack.
  • With the Lip-smack selected, go to Edit>Define Brush Preset>Name your brush>Click OK.
  • Look for a visual image of the Lip-smack brush at the bottom of your brushes palette. Deselect your Lip-smack image.
  • Now the brush is in your brushes palette whenever you want to seal something with a kiss!

Before you close your image, save the lip-smack as a .png file so you have a brush and a handy image of the lip-smack, ready to put a personal stamp on your projects.