How To Be A Production Artist - Part 1

Original Art - "I Am Here"

I am often asked about my techniques for being a production artist so I thought I'd share some of my strategies here with you.

As an artist who has a full time job too (and a life, occasionally), it's really hard to carve out much time for my art, let alone make that scarce time really efficient and get the most out of it.  Fortunately, many many years ago now, I figured out how I could make the art that I did have time to create (and sell) go further, thus giving me much more satisfaction in what I was able to achieve.  I already resent that I can't spend all day making art, so I am very grateful for discovering this process.  I am sure there are many other production artists out there who have different ways of making their art go further, these are just a couple of examples of what I do.

First, here's a photo of an original piece of art called "I Am Here."  It is 3" X 5" on canvas.

Original Art "I Am Here"

I scan each and every piece of finished art, assuming it will fit on my scanner bed.  Since I usually make pretty small art, it is not a problem.  Scanning gives me excellent quality images, far better than any camera I have ever used.

This piece was scanned three times, each at 300 DPI.  I scan at 100%, then 50%, then 25% and end up with three JPG files.  I then copy the 25% JPG file to create a fourth file onto which I put my copyright watermark.  It is this fourth image that appears in sale listings or here on my blog or on my Facebook pages.  I never put any art online without a copyright/watermark on it because I have had so many of my art images stolen over the years.  At least with a watermark on it, if someone steals it they are going to have to do a bit of work to clean the image up before they can make pirated copies.

Now that the image has been scanned, I can play with it however I like.  I often work in Microsoft Publisher for this step.  It is a super easy program to use and gives me great results.  I use it mostly for final layout and printing.  The other program I use is PhotoShop, but I am not very proficient at it.  I just play around in it once in a while to see what effects I can create.  

In this first example below, I have taken the "I Am Here" image and used some of the tools in PhotoShop to blur the background a bit and move the colors around and play with the brightness.  If you take a close look you can see how it's a bit different from the original.  I saved this JPG as yet another version of the original, so I now have five copies of the image.  Then I imported copy number five JPG into MS Publisher and sized it to print two copies (each 5" X 7") on an 8.5" X 11" piece of paper and printed it on a color copier.

Image Manipulated With Various PhotoShop Tools

After cutting out the two images, I did some journaling around the heart in black permanent marker.  I also did some stacked journaling in white gel pen around the edge of the heart.  The black marker was also used to enhance the sentiment on the image.

Print Of PhotoShopped Image With Journaling And Doodling Added

I'm sure you are beginning to see the possibilities you have with these techniques.  You can continue to take your images as far as you like, while always keeping the integrity of the original image for future use.  This particular piece will probably end up glued into one of my art journals and have some more collaged elements added to it.  Who knows??

I'll post some more examples of this and other production techniques in the coming weeks and months.  I hope this post has given you some food for thought about how you can make your valuable art time go a lot further.

As always, if you have any questions about my processes, I am always happy to help out.

All the best, my friends.


Featured Artist - Ginny Markley "Playing With Paint"

Handmade Art Journal By Ginny Markley

Artist Trading Cards By Ginny Markley

The absolute BEST thing about joining online art communities is the wonderful friendships you make with other artists from all over the world.  I can't even begin to express how important these people are to me and how much I value having them in my life.

Case in point, my dear friend Ginny Markley.  We have never met in person.  She lives in Florida and I live in Western Canada.  While it is my heartfelt wish that we do meet one day, even if we don't she has a special place in my heart.  A talented, generous soul, Ginny has a terrific blog you may want to check out.  She offers tutorials of how she creates her wonderful work.  Here is the link:

Ginny Markley's Blog

Ginny recently surprised me with one of her wonderful handmade art journals, along with some of her fabulous ATCs (see photos above).  If you are interested in how she created the journal, here is the link to that tutorial:

Paper Lunch Bag Art Journal Tutorial

And here is a link to her ATC work too:

Ginny's ATC Tutorial

It will be my absolute pleasure and honor to use this beautiful gift in which to create my art and I will think of my dear friend, Ginny, whenever I use it.


Miniature Art With Vintage Slide Mounts

Recycled vintage slide mount art magnet

I am often asked about my miniature mixed media and collage art so I thought you might like to see some images of a recent magazine submission I sent in.

These are vintage slide mounts (each is 2" X 2") that I have covered with a variety of salvaged papers, or  ink, paints, stamped images, etc.  Each one is one-of-a-kind and features vintage images and assorted recycled doodads.  

Some of these slide mounts have been turned into magnets, while others will become focal pieces for future cards or small art.

Featuring Kay Strum - Greeting Card Artist Extraordinaire!

Some time ago I posted a couple of entries on this blog with links to my mixed media backgrounds, predominantly made with my beloved Gelli Arts gel printing plate.  I was so pleased with how they turned out I wanted to share them with all of you for you to use in your own art, as you wished.

Here's the link to those backgrounds if you missed them:

Blog Post With Free Backgrounds

Facebook Page With Free Backgrounds To Download

My friend, Kay Strum, is an artist at making the most beautiful greeting cards.  When I saw the results of what she had done using my backgrounds as a backdrop for her cards, I had to put a post up here for all of you to see her awesome work.

Thank you, Kay, for sharing your wonderful art for us all to enjoy!


Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Add caption

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

Original greeting card by Kay Strum

FREE Vintage Halloween Images On My Facebook Art Page

If you're looking to make some fun Halloween themed art, you might want to check out my Facebook art page, where I have posted a bunch of vintage images that are so fun to use.

Here's the link:

Free Vintage Halloween Images

As always, if you use these images in something you sell, I would appreciate it if you cite your source (these come from my own collection).  And I love, love, love to see your work.

Take care, my friends.


More Easy Greeting Cards With Gelli Prints

Just a quick note to show you four more greeting cards I made with prints of my original Gelli plate pages.

Here's the original piece of Gelli art I did many months ago.  It's finished size was 3" X 5."  I scanned it so I could  print it in different sizes and make other things with the image.  

The images used for these greeting cards, were sized at about 3.75" square so that I could print four to a page (see image below).

Image scanned and sized to print four on a piece of 8.5 X 11 copy paper

Each image was mounted on a different color of card stock and then adhered to the greeting card blank, which had been embellished with a strip of colorful paper, recycled from my pile of bits and pieces.  The greeting cards are 5.5" squares.

Easy peasy and just like that I have a set of four one-of-a-kind cards.  I'm thinking they'd make a nice gift pack for someone.

Quick & Easy Gelli Print Greeting Cards

Hello everyone!  Hope you've had a great summer.  I've been taking a break from the blogging to enjoy the fabulous weather and recharge the batteries.  As I ease back into doing blog posts I thought you'd like to see my process for creating some simple greeting cards with my Gelli plate prints.

While wading through my huge supply of art supplies, it dawned on me that (1) I have way too many greeting card blanks; and (2) I have always loved making handmade greeting cards so why the heck hadn't I made any with the bazillions of Gelli prints I have?  
So, here's what I did.  The package of card blanks had four different vivid colors that I thought would go well with my Gelli prints.  The cards come flat so a few seconds with the bone folder and I have some great 4" X 5.5" blank cards to work with.

Blank Greeting Cards

 Then I took some photocopies of my Gelli plate prints that I had been playing with in MS Publisher, and cut rectangles about 3.5" X 5" and with a glue stick adhered them to the cards.  This size gave me a nice border of the card showing around the Gelli print of about a quarter inch.  With black permanent marker and my favourite white Signo Uniball pen, I did some doodling to add interest.

Photocopies Of Gelli Plate Prints

Greeting Card With Gelli Plate Print (Enhanced With Doodling)

Greeting Card With Gelli Plate Print (Enhanced With Doodling)

Greeting Card With Gelli Plate Print (Enhanced With Doodling)

I decided to keep these cards simple because I liked the backgrounds so much and didn't want to take a way from them too much by adding a lot of elements on top of them.  In some cases, I only added a simple sentiment.  In others, I added some more Gelli plate prints or stamped images.

Finished Greeting Cards

Finished Greeting Cards

Finished Greeting Cards

I love how they turned out and how the bright cardstock complements the Gelli prints.  And what a quick and easy project!

I think I will have to make more of these!