Sunday, January 1, 2012

I've Got Sunshine - Submission to CARDS Magazine - Experiment 7

Happy New Year!! As I mentioned in my last post, one of my Mondo Beyondo dreams is to get a papercraft published in a magazine.  My top choice is CARDS Magazine by Northridge Publishing, because it is so darn pretty. 

I spent some time wishing I could do this, without taking any concrete action. Not surprisingly, it's very difficult to get published without actually *making* and *submitting* an item first.  So during this long weekend, I finally printed out the submission guidelines, and found out (eek!) that the submission deadline for the June 2012 issue is TODAY.

They listed several different categories, including Father's Day, Friendship, and Mini Cards.  Each month they also have a "style challenge" which gives you a few colors to use and a theme.  They also have a "sketch challenge" which has a schematic drawing of a card layout that you use as a starting point.

Since I only had 2 days to work on these, and my whole regular life to attend to in the meantime, I set a reasonable expectation of making 2 cards for this Call for Submissions.  (Sounds like a scientific conference, right?)

The Style Challenge looked like fun - the theme was "clouds" and the colors light blue, navy and yellow.  I figured the obvious choice would be to do some kind of cloudy sky scene with a big yellow sunshine so I tried to find a different approach.  I had some of the lyrics to "My Girl" running through my head - "I've got sunshine, on a cloudy day..."

I took that as inspiration and thought about what else could be yellow, and came up with a couple of things:  a big happy balloon, a bird?  And then it came to me - an airplane!  It had a more techie vibe and I thought it might stand out a little better, since a lot of the cards they publish are very feminine in theme.

First, I cut out the clouds and airplane on my wonderful Silhouette SD diecutting machine.  I wanted the airplane to look "metallic" so I found some bright yellow glossy cardstock which worked well.  I also used vellum to give the clouds some additional translucence and dimension.

I struggled a bit with the actual layout.  I had all the pieces I wanted to incorporate but got a little "stuck" on where to put them. So I turned to my talented Design Consultant, aka TJ, and he made some suggestions that were excellent.  In fact, it was HIS idea to stack up the cloud pieces so they looked more "fluffy" - his exact word.  Dang, he's good.  (Am I ruining his street cred now?)

Nearly all the cards in the magazine are matted - they have an extra piece of paper on top of the card base to "frame" it, which makes it look more professional.  But I didn't want to cover up most of the lovely silver cardstock.

I had a brainwave to make a HUGE cloud out of the navy polka dot paper, which contrasts really well with the super-bright airplane.  And the new metallic tissue paper I bought from Target's post-holiday clearance section made a perfect set of "windows" for the plane.

This was a really fun project - I loved having some contraints to work with.  It let me jump right into problem-solving and idea generation, rather than being paralyzed by the sheer volume of what I *could* do. Yes, I'm a total nerd.

Tips and Tricks:
  • I've said it before, but it's worth repeating A LOT - do not glue ANYTHING down with permanent adhesive until you are absolutely sure of your design.  A pencil can help mark placement, or you can use high quality removable adhesive for a temporary layout.

  • Remember you're working with paper, and it shows wear very easily.  Try to handle each element as little as possible and don't move them around a ton, esp if you're using removable adhesive to test layouts.

  • Buy special invisible tape for vellum.  I thought I had some, but turns out I didn't and needed to make a small design change to use silver brads instead of just taping down the "HELLO!" sentiment.

  • Pigment ink stays wet for a long time (the metallic stuff seems even worse) - hit your stamped image with a heat gun tool to get it to dry faster.  Do not handle it more than you need to.

  • If you're going to ink/trace/chalk paper edges, do it before you glue it onto something.  So much easier and cleaner that way.

  • Spend some time thinking or sketching the look you're trying to achieve BEFORE dipping into your awesome supplies.  Craft supplies are great (I should know) but also very distracting.  If you're not careful to stick to your vision, you can get sidetracked and end up with an incoherent design that looks like your embellishment collection vomited.  (Not that this has ever happened to me...)

  • Projects always take twice or 10x as long as you think so if you're under a tight deadline, start early and scale back your expectations of how much you'll get done. 

I may depart from my usual "Materials and Methods" section in my posts, because I realized it was making me *not* want to write about my projects.   It was starting to seem like a chore.  I like writing about the inspiration for the card, who it's going to, and of course, what I learned from doing it.  If you have questions about how I did something or what supplies I used, please let me know in the comments and I'll be happy to answer!

I'm proud of this card, even though it likely won't get picked for publication with the hundreds of submissions (from far more experienced papercrafters than me!).   It enabled me to get started with the process, to practice using the Silhouette a little more, and use someone else's defined parameters to make something uniquely mine.

But, maybe, just maybe, there's a teeny tiny chance.  And if you believe that, then please keep your fingers crossed for me ;)


  1. (sorry about the deleted comment - I wanted to say more and felt dumb for commenting twice in 10 minutes and now it looks weird)

    Totally cute card! And good for you for making something quick - I probably would have skipped it and looked for the next deadline... :)

    I love the layered clouds - definitely keep TJ around. I keep wondering if the blue cloud could have worked in the shape of an airplane window - like you're flying in an airplane and looking out the window at one. But then your yellow plane might not have fit properly. Just something that popped into my head.

    Actually, one of the things I like about this card is that it's flexible - if you wanted to make it in a different aspect ratio, or even just grab those clouds for another project, it would totally work.

  2. @Stephanie - no worries about the comment. I love the airplane window idea - so creative!!!

    Yep, I've got the clouds saved on my machine - they're easy to resize as well.


Thanks for joining the conversation!