Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Recolouring Word Art with Gradient Maps

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3wGloE0

We’ve talked about recolouring embellishments, word art and brushes before and I’ve shown you a variety of ways to accomplish that goal. One that we haven’t ever looked at is using Gradient Maps. Today we’re only going to talk about recolouring word art, but they’re pretty powerful tools for photo effects too.

But first… what the heck is a Gradient Map? Here’s a direct quote from Essential Photoshop (it also applies to Elements): “Gradient Map is a tool in Adobe Photoshop that allows you to apply a gradient effect over an image. It works by mapping different shades of gray tones in your image to colors defined by a gradient bar. This creates an effect where the highlights and shadows are transformed into specific colors without affecting other details in the image.” Let’s see how it worksI’m going to use this title word art from Word Art World. I’ve made several copies of the word art and isolated the big words, afternoon and park, onto their own layers by Erasing everything else on that layer. I have one untouched original layer just in case I mess it up; it’s not visible. This will let me selectively recolour the words.

This is only a sample so my colour choices are arbitrary; if I was going to use this word art title on a layout, I could choose colours from my photos or from the kit I’d be using to create a cohesive look. When I think about “park”, I see grass, trees, water and light in my mind’s eye. So I think I should colour the word park green. As you can see, I’ve used the Paint Bucket Color Picker to set the foreground colour to a spring green.

Next, I toggled the Color Picker (click the X key to toggle between foreground and background) and chose a more yellow-y green. These two colours will form my Gradient.

Next I clicked on the icon that looks like a circle half blue and half gray, at the top of the Layers Panel, which is the Add Fill/Adjustment Layer button. From the drop down menu I chose Gradient Map…

See the new addition to the work space? That’s the Gradient Map adjustment panel. The colour bar shows the two shades of green I chose, gradually shifting from one value to the other. At this point the Gradient Map layer is affecting all the layers, but that’s easily fixed, so we can ignore it for now.

One easy way to adjust the Gradient Map is to simply Reverse it. Now the colour bar has the light and darker colours swapped. It’s easy to see the difference between the two screenshots. Remember that Elements has created a grayscale copy of the word and has applied the colour based on a mathematical algorithm. If you don’t love it Reversed, untick the box.

Another option is to change the Blend Mode. This will take a little experimentation to find the look I want, so I ran the list. I like the grungy look I get with Vivid Light, so that’s where I stopped.

I also tested adjusting the Opacity and decided I liked 100% best. Now I can Clip my Gradient Map to the PARK layer. Right-click on the Gradient layer then choose Create Clipping Mask. Or use the keyboard shortcut CTRL/CMD>G for PSE14 and earlier versions, CTRL/CMD>ALT/OPT>G for PSE15 and more  recent.

Now I’ll do the AFTERNOON layer. Notice that the Adjustment panel is empty. It’ll populate again once I click on the Add Adjustment Layer button.

This tool is so much fun to play with! What do you think the Gradient Map will look like for this colour combo?

Well, it’s pretty orange. Clicking on the colour bar itself opens up this adjustment panel. The sliders start out at the ends of the adjustment bar, and as you move them, you can watch the effect they have on the image. I’ve got the Reverse box ticked, but I’d still like a bit more magenta to show.

It’s very hard to see the bits of magenta that show in this screenshot, but if you’re viewing in PDF, you can Zoom in and check it out.

Now I’ve got all the layers recoloured and the Gradient Maps are all Clipped to the appropriate layers. All that’s left is to Merge the layers and add the title to a layout!

As I mentioned above, this tool is FABULOUS for adding colour to Brushes. I have some grungy alpha brushes that I played with first and other than having to put each letter on a separate layer, I loved the effect. I can’t wait to try it with alphas and other embellishments. What do you think? Would you like to see how Gradient Maps work with photos, or is that not something you’d ever do?

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Stuffing a Vellum Envelope

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3QR1LQl

Once again, Karen Hampton has brought me a great idea for a tutorial. She saw this layout by LidiaG in a Gallery and was charmed by the vellum look of the envelope. I was too! So today I’m going to show you how easy it is to stuff a vellum envelope. But first, let’s talk about vellum for a minute. As a paper crafter, I used to HATE vellum because sticking it to anything invisibly was nigh-on impossible. Because it’s semi-transparent, adhesive always shows through. But what, exactly, IS vellum? When I tell you about its origins, you’ll be glad you’re living now, and not a millenium ago… Vellum is an early form of paper, similar to parchment, but of higher quality. Originally it was made from very thinly tanned calfskin by a long a tedious process of scraping, wetting, drying and starting at the beginning again. The highest-quality, most desirable vellum was made from the skins of stillborn calves. <insert puke emoji here…> Its best quality is its translucence. It’s still desired for use in the creation of government documents, religious documents (the Torah being one) and certificates. Its archival qualities and stability are still highly prized. Fast forward to modern day and vellum is now made from plasticized cotton rag, much like ordinary papers, but maintaining the translucent look for which it was so highly prized. It’s perfect for the creation of blueprints, and so is in demand by architects and draftsmen.

So let’s look at LidiaG‘s layout. Take note of the way the items inside the envelope are visible through it. To duplicate this effect, you’ll need a plain paper envelope with an intact flap. For my example, I’m using one from Aimee Harrison’s Sweet Talk  minikit. All the rest of the ephemera I’m using – except for the postcard, it’s a scan of an actual family document – is from Cindy Ritter’s Seafoam.

Let’s get started, shall we?

I’m going to remove all of the envelope but the front panel for the vellum step, but will need to keep the flap too. So I Duplicated the envelope. The two most common methods are as shown on the screenshot. Right-click on the layer then choose Duplicate Layer. OR click CTRL/CMD>J.

If you use the keyboard shortcut, the Copy Layer will be plopped right on top of the original – where we want it. If you chose the first method, you’ll need to tell Elements where you want it. In this case, just click OK and you’ll have the two envelopes stacked in the Layers Panel.

Now let’s Cut off the flap from the top envelope layer. First, turn visibility off for the original layer by “closing the eye” on it. Then, with the Rectangle Marquee Tool, drag out a big rectangle of marching ants over the flap area of the top layer. My envelope is a little off square so the rectangle with either cover too much, or not enough. But that’s fixable.

Some time back I showed you a Quick Trick for Transforming Selections. Let’s review. You’re not stuck with the first version of your rectangle! Right-click inside the marching-ants bounding box and this menu opens. Almost all the way down the list, choose Transform Selection.

Down in the lower left corner of the Tool Options, there are several options: Rotate, Scale and Skew, moving the anchor point, resizing and an angle meter. I just needed to make my rectangle a little bigger then Rotate it a tiny bit to the left so the lower edge of the rectangle sits on the fold of the envelope and still includes the point of the flap.

Next, click Edit>Cut. OR CTRL/CMD>X and the flap with disappear.

It’s hard to see on this screenshot (unless you’re working from the magical PDF!) but I’m using the Eraser Tool to remove that middle part of the envelope too. To start, I set the Eraser Tool to Brush, Size 45 pixels, 100% Opacity. Then I clicked my cursor just past the left top edge of the flapless envelope, held down the SHIFT key, clicked in the first corner, clicked in the second corner then clicked just past the right top edge of the flapless envelope. Only then did I let the SHIFT key back up. That gave me nice, straight lines with the Eraser. Then I could make the Size a lot bigger and dispatch the rest of the envelope that I don’t need to keep.

Nice and tidy!

Next, I want to move the two envelope layers onto my layout. In this situation, the keyboard shortcut won’t do what I need it to do, so I’ll use the first method I showed you above: activate both layers, then right-click and choose Duplicate Layers.

But instead of just clicking OK – which would put the Copy Layers on top of the existing layers – I want to tell Elements to put the two envelope layers on the paper I’ve got open in the Photo Bin. See all the options the drop down menu offers? The paper is right at the top of the list. I clicked on that then OK.

There they are! I turned visibility off for the top envelope layer while I stuffed it with my ephemera. It’s important to ensure that everything you’ve put in there stays inside the edges. I’ve layered a few paper items in there, resizing and repositioning until I’m happy with how it looks.

So, here’s my stuffed envelope before I perform my magic on it. I really want to be able to read the message on the postcard, which is very old.

To get the vellum effect, all I did was decrease the Opacity of the envelope’s top layer until I was happy. Here it’s 47%. I may still tweak that a bit, but for now, that’s where I stopped.

The realism comes from the shadows! I used a set of shadow Styles, but feel free to do what you usually do. Shadow everything inside the envelope. Then use the recipe below for the top layer of the envelope: Size 29 pixels, Distance 0 pixels and Opacity 15%. It preserves the translucency but adds shadows to the edges.

I’m hoping to get the rest of the layout done later today. I had a COVID booster yesterday and feel pretty flu-y today so we’ll see how it goes. Past experience says I’ll be absolutely fine again tomorrow. See you all next week!



Designer Spotlight May 2024

Introducing Adrienne Skelton Designs

Adrienne Skelton is one of GingerScraps‘ newer designers, but that doesn’t mean she’s new to designing, as you’ll see when I let you in on our conversation. I wonder if she’s nervous… it being (inter)National Scrapbook Day on Saturday. What pressure! Let’s get to know her better.

J: Adrienne, thank you for chatting with me today, and congratulations on your very first Designer Spotlight! Let’s get the bread-and-butter stuff out of the way first. How long have you been designing?

A: I started to design back in the early 2000’s . In 2010 I had to take a health break due to illness. I have been back since 2021 and love every minute of being back!

J: I’m glad to hear whatever your health issues, you’re not letting them hold you back any more. Distraction can be as good as medicine sometimes. What brought you to designing in the first place?

A: I used to do paper scrapbooking, but at the time I had young kids and being able to afford buying scrapbook kits was expensive, so I decided to put my art skills to use and design something digital using paint shop pro and from that point on I was hooked!

J: Oh, if I had a buck for every time a designer (or digiscrapper) told me the same story… My kids were already grown when I started paper scrapping, and I went right down the rabbit hole. I have a whole room full of paper, stamps, ink, punches, dies, embossing folders and cutting tools. Then I found digiscrapping – no mess, reusable everything, very cool techniques that elevate my layouts… and derailed my own train. But don’t feel bad for my paper supplies – I’m making greeting cards with all of it. What tools do you use for your work?

A: I use Photoshop and Procreate on my iPad, sometimes I will hand craft items and scan and use them.

J: I almost threw my printer/scanner/copier off the mountain the other day. But we don’t need to talk about that. Here’s one of those impossible questions. Which of your current kits in your GingerScraps shop is your favourite, and why?

A: That IS a very hard question! If I had to pick one it would be She’s a Wildflower. I just love how this kit came together. I designed all my drawings and doodles using Procreate ( I love to draw even if it’s digitally) and put it all together with Photoshop. I think because this kit reminds me of nature so much! Being out among the wildflowers.

J: Beautiful! One of my favourite songs from my teenage years is Wildflower by Skylark. “She’s a free and gentle flower, growing wild.” Same mood! And what a segué to my next nosy question… can you play a musical instrument?

A: I am a self taught pianist although I am not very good, I still enjoy plunking on the keys every now and then.

J: I took piano lessons for awhile as a child. I sometimes noodle around on my son’s electronic keyboard, but only when I’m alone. <winkwink> So not into self-humiliation. My friends and family call me a Type A. What one word would your friends and family use to describe you?

A: LOYAL, very faithful and sincere to a fault. I can sense others emotions and am very supportive.

J: Ah. You’re an empath! What would you do if you won the lottery?

A: First I would make sure my family was taken care of. Secondly I would buy a house where I had a lot of land, a lake and plenty of nature.

J: That’s sort of what we did with my husband’s inheritance, but without the land. We lease it, and have a beautiful view, surrounded by wildlife, flowers, birds and bugs. I fall asleep at night being serenaded by crickets and bullfrogs, punctuated occasionally by a coyote choir. So, does your desire to be rural influence your perfect vacation?

A: My perfect vacation would be laying on the beach somewhere listening to the ocean waves, feeling the cool breeze on my face, Or that could also be somewhere/anywhere in nature where I can be at peace with my thoughts.

J: Sounds a lot like my sister’s place! What would your super power be if you had one?

A: I’d LOVE to be able to see the future.

J: Not me! I can dream up the most catastrophic of events without a crystal ball. Nope! If you came with a warning label, what would it say?

A: Be careful and stay away when she is angry!

J: The more angry I am, the quieter I get. My kids were always more afraid of me when I didn’t say anything than they were when I was shouting. On that fine note, I’ll let you get back to your day. Thanks again!

Now, the rest of you, don’t go anywhere! In addition to her Spotlight, remember that Adrienne is providing this month’s Daily Download – the sneak peeks aren’t doing it justice, I swear! I hope you’re picking up each day’s bits; the download links are good for 5 days, so if you’ve missed one, don’t worry!

Adrienne is also hosting the Designer Spotlight Challenge in addition to her regular All About Me Challenge. I’ve linked them so you can check them out. And……

Have a great Spotlight Month, Adrienne!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Quick Trick: Level Your Horizons

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3y3EaWg

Have you ever had some stunning photos of a lake or the ocean except that something just looked wrong? It could be that your water is flowing out of the photo…  There’s one hard-and-fast rule about landscape photography where you have both a body of water and a visible horizon: the horizon and the surface of the water must be absolutely level (unless you’re composing your photo at an obvious angle for artistic purposes, of course). But often we’re not really seeing the slight off-kilter angle we’ve snapped, caught up in the magic of the scene in front of us. Today I’m going to show you a Quick Trick for straightening those photos, well, really, any photo that needs straightening. And there’s a keyboard shortcut for that! There are several ways to straighten photos, but this is about the easiest I’ve tried.

My sister took this shot last summer. It’s hard to see where the edge of the river is in the screenshot, so instead look at the reflections. Another object in the photo that can guide straightening this photo is the spruce tree.

With the turquoise Guide in place, the tilt is a bit more obvious. To create a Guide, click on the top or left edge of the workspace then drag your cursor to where you want the Guide to be.

Click on the P key to activate that bubble level. Then click and drag a line using something in the photo as a reference – I used that spruce tree – to tell Elements which direction to rotate the photo. You probably won’t need to go too far off perpendicular to get where you want to go. If it’s still not quite right, click and drag another line.

This is what happens on your workspace. Notice how my click-and-drag line is perfectly perpendicular to the Guide and the reflections on the river are level. I think the developers chose the letter P for “plumb”, and that’s how I’ll remember the shortcut going forward.

I’ve Zoomed in so you can see more easily how the reflections on the river have leveled out.

The only thing left to do is to Crop the photo inside the red border and Save it for later.

Thank you for giving me grace for taking last week off. Stuff just piled on me all at once. We bought a new car, my husband had a biopsy done, I had some medical testing done, we had company and a birthday to celebrate, AND I had to get some government paperwork squared away. It was exhausting! The good news is hubby’s biopsy was negative, all my tests are good, the wait at Service Canada for my documentation was about a quarter as long as I expected and we’re getting used to all the high-tech gear in the car. Back to normal!


Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

Challenge Spotlight: Daily Download

Today I have a selection of layouts pulled from the Daily Download Challenge Gallery. There’s a bit of a discrepancy between the Gallery and the Challenge thread in the Forum, so not all of the layouts posted to the Forum are here. Sorry! For those of you who are seeing a Challenge Spotlight for the first time, let me fill you in. On the third Tuesday of each month, I choose a Challenge from the long list of options we have here at GingerScraps and put the Challenge participants’ layouts in the Spotlight. Over time, each of us develops our own particular style, sometimes to the point that viewers know without looking whose layout is on their screen. My comments about each of the layouts I’m sharing will point out something specific that reflects the Scrapper’s Individual Style. What makes a Challenge well-suited for this type of Spotlight is that all participants are working from the same starting point: a kit, template, brush, mask, font, word art or image. Where there are too many variables, a Spotlight is a bit more difficult, but not necessarily impossible. Each of the layouts to come will be linked to the Gallery so you can take a closer look and leave a comment, if you’re so inclined. Just click on the Scrapper‘s user name and you’ll be whisked right to the layout in the Gallery. I chose the Daily Download today; this Challenge requires the participant to use the previous month’s Daily Download kit to create a layout, topic of their choice. Last month’s DD was supplied by Connie Prince and it looks like this:

Now, let’s look at how this kit inspired our GingerScrappers. Up first is makeyesup. She has created a minimalist desktop calendar, with what I think is one of the papers clipped to a grid brush. She has also clipped a coordinating paper to a font to create the month header. It has a bright, springy look.

This is the work of domino44. She’s added a solid white paper (included in the kit but not visible in the thumbnail) to her paper stack to provide her neutral background and changed the wording of the title tag. (I feel like that title needs some context. 😉 ) She’s shadowed the paper doily to perfection!

How eye-catching is that embossed brown cardstock lulumoon has used for her background? Her command of white space is stellar; her single photo is very much the focal point. I like that she clipped the same striped paper she framed her background with to the perforated heart; it pulls the layout together into a complete whole. If you look reaaaallly closely, she’s also threaded the ribbon through one of the heart-shaped punch-outs in the heart.

For her layout, katt chose to keep it simple… the maps, location pin, photo and title all tell the story suggested by her journaling.

Here, photocrazy has chosen patterned papers that read more like solids – I usually do that too! That choice lets all the spring elements draw the eye to her photo of hyacinths in bloom. I need Smellovision©!

I LOVE what austin_kellie has done with her layout! The kit coordinates with her photos so beautifully, and her use of the peeling painted wood paper background is brilliant. Her clusters compliment her photos without taking away from them, leading the eye around the page.

CathyS had me puzzling for a second, then I realized she’d used one of Connie‘s papers clipped to a mask for that cheery background – which I think is a blend of two solids, toning down the brightness of the yellow. Keeping the add-ons to a minimum makes that technique even more effective! I even thought she’d created an out-of-bounds look with the sunflower in the upper left… very skillful use and placement of the elements!

DianeInOz has created a beautiful travelogue with her layout. I think this type of layout is perfect for using bold patterned paper in the background. It holds its own with multiple photos but doesn’t distract. I have to give her family props for travelling at a time when COVID was still a major concern (not that it’s gone, it’s just laying low right now); I’ve only done short day trips by car. I’m too chicken!

Now THIS is genius! Look at how chigirl has turned patterned papers into ribbons, then wove them into a frame for the heart of her layout. Her clusters echo the brightness of her photos, making them pop off the page.

The simplicity of willow‘s layout is its strength. By decreasing the saturation of the green curly ribbon, she’s given it a supporting role. The mask she’s used is absolutely perfect with her almond blossom photo.

Clean-and-simple is how I describe alexandergirl68‘s style here. Her photos are driving the bus! The bright pops of yellow really bring the layout to life.

Pocket-scrapping is great for travel photos, or really, any layout with multiple photos. Kristi Martin‘s sparing use of embellishments keeps the layout crisp while the pops of yellow add warmth. The addition of white borders on all her paper blocks is intriguing. I may have to borrow that…..

To round out our baker’s dozen, this layout from trinanne puts a huge smile on my face. I’ve mentioned before that one way to achieve cohesion when your photos don’t quite work with your chosen kit is to convert them to black and white. I might have tried to keep the bunny ears in full colour, though.

There won’t be a Tutorial Tuesday post next week. I have some stuff going on that will need my attention. Details to follow…

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

A Little Crisp Around the Edges

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3JeXrGz

Today’s tutorial is, once again, pulled from the GingerScraps Challenges. When I started thinking about how I’d meet the criteria for the Inspiration Challenge, which is to create a junk journal page, I started imagining how I could use the lyrics from one of my current favourite Lainey Wilson songs. They resonate with me on a lot of levels – although I don’t really think I’m a redneck. The chorus goes like this:

If I look a little drunk, it’s ’cause I drank some;

If my neck’s a little red, it’s ’cause I am one.

Heaven’s where I’m gonna go, the Bible says so on my shelf,

But if I smell like smoke, it’s only ’cause I’ve been through hell.  

So then I was thinking about how to really sell it. And I came up with the idea of altering an element to look like it’s been singed. I ran with it! Let me show you how I “burnt” some paper. I used this stack from Aimee Harrison’s The Work in Between – which is part of a mega-collab kit created by Aimee, Cheré Kaye, Cindy Ritter and Connie Prince. (Click their names to see their kits.) The collab is an ideal choice for junk journal pages; there’s a goldmine of ephemera in there. As you can see in the screenshot, I’ve dropped a blank layer with a transparent background underneath it. You’ll see why in a bit.

First step is to “tear” the area of the paper that will have the scorch marks on it. I Zoomed in on the upper left corner of the papers and chose the Eraser Tool. Set with a hard, round brush from Elements’ Basic Brushes, about 30 pixels in diameter and full strength Opacity.

I just nibbled away at the corner of the paper, with some sharper and some rounder bits. It’s not going to be perfect.

Now you can see why I put that layer under the paper. As much as I’d like to think I got it all when I was removing the corner, with very little contrast between the paper and the background, it’s hard to be sure. And leaving the odd little bits there would show up later, and not in a good way. So I dumped some black into the bottom layer with the Paint Bucket.

That made it really easy to clean it up.

I decided the opposite corner would be another good place to scorch my paper. Fire will spread to the bottom sheet in this arrangement, so I “burnt” both.

It doesn’t look quite right to me.

Easy enough to fix!

Time to play with fire! If you think about how paper burns, it changes colour first, as heat spreads through the fibers in the paper, taking on a brown tinge. So I chose this as my first scorching colour. The hex key is #883102, if you’d like to just type it in.

After I turned the black background layer off, I chose the Brush Tool, set to a SOFT, round Basic Brush at 300 pixels and 35% Opacity. It’s a good place to start, and allows for adjustment later. The Basic Brush set is one of the Brush collections that is included in Elements when you install it. To see what Brushes you have, click on the thumbnail – the squiggle with the little triangle to its right – and the list will open up. To locate the one I’m using, click on Basic Brushes, then scroll down past all the hard-edged ones until you get to the soft ones. The thumbnail will look like it fades from the centre. That’s what you want.

Say it with me… ALWAYS PUT BRUSHES ON THEIR OWN LAYERS!!! If you were to just run a Brush over the edge of the paper ON the paper layer, there’s nothing you can do to adjust that Brush that won’t also affect the rest of the things on the layer. So **BRUSHES ALWAYS GO ON THEIR OWN LAYERS**. Now, I simply ran the Brush over the edge of the paper as shown. It’s fine that there’s a mess in the background. It’s temporary.

With the same Brush active, I dropped the Opacity to 17% and dragged the Brush over the edges again, this time not overlapping the background too much. This step deepens the scorch closer to the actual burnt area.

To further deepen the singe look, I changed my foreground colour to the darkest brown in the same family of orange-brown. The hex key is #010000.

This time I made no changes to the last Brush settings and brushed over the edges again – this time with MORE of the brush OFF the paper.

See how the colour blends and fades? That’s exactly what I was trying to achieve.

Smoke show time! I used the same process as before, the same Brush but with different settings: 150 pixel diameter and Opacity at 57%. **…** The black Brush goes on its own layer.

Now to clean up the background. Select the edges of the paper stack. You can click the Select tab and then Select All, or you can CTRL/CMD>click on the paper layer’s thumbnail. That’ll turn on the marching ants.

To make the areas NOT inside the paper the active bit, Select>Inverse or CTRL/CMD>ALT/OPT>I. Don’t forget this step!!

With both the brown and black Brush layers active, to remove the brushed area that spilled over the edge of the page, Edit>Cut or CTRL/CMD>X.

And like magic, all that spillover is gone.

So I adjusted the Brush layers. The brown one drops to 47%.

The black Brush layer dropped to 45%. It looks pretty darned good!

As my faithful readers know, I can never just *be done* so I went ahead and used a tiny, soft, round black Brush to add a little more dimension to the spot where the two sheets of paper overlap. It’s a subtle thing, and totally unnecessary, but I did it anyway. I changed the Blend Mode to Multiply so the paper underneath shows through better, and lightened it to 29%. Now I’m happy!

Lyrics credit: Derek George, Lainey Wilson, Lynn Hutton and Monty Criswell.

Now, I have a question for you… As you can see, I’ve changed the Elements background to blue. Is it easier to read the text on the blue, or do you prefer any of the various shades of gray that are options?

Tutorial Tuesday (Dingbats)

Inspiration for the April Scraplift Challenge

I’m very literal (I know, I say that ALL the time) when it comes to the Scraplift Challenge. If I like a layout enough to emulate it, I’m gonna EMULATE it. So I was looking at the April 2024 Scraplift Challenge last night and what resonated with me was the abstract drawing Alexis used for her no-photo sample layout.

Then I started thinking about what I could use to emulate it. Do I have any doodle drawings in my stash? Will they work? What else could I use? And just about the time I fell asleep, it occurred to me that maybe using a dingbat could be an option. So I pored over the dingbat section at dafont.com and I found a few you might like. All the sets I’m showing you are 100% free for personal use; the bold name of the dingbat (font) is a direct link to the download. Let’s take a look.

First and most closely related to the image above is this collection called Woman Faces. Don’t be fooled… there are a LOT of options with this set that wouldn’t fit into the screenshot. 236 different glyphs, to be exact! Many of them are line-drawings, so very suitable.

If you like a less formal effect Cartoonabha might work for you. This one comes with 66 different options. some of them are very expressive!

This set contains the 12 constellations that make up the Zodiac. If you’re into that kind of thing, Constellations Ostia could provide your non-photo focal point. Or you could use the glyphs as background stamps.

The Goddess gives off a bit more of an esoteric vibe. There are 30 options in this one; the letter X is a fairy!

Art Nouveau Flowers offer a lot of possibilities. They can be filled with the Paint Bucket, Styled to look like wrought iron or lead, have papers clipped to them, or just be left as is.

For a more whimsical take, Country Cuties is your friend. Mostly line-drawn, there are some sweet kittens, cutie bears, a frog, and that hilarious pig.

For the Disney fans, there’s Disney family 1, with all the usual suspects represented.

If you’re more of an old-school Star Wars gal, check out Lucas characters. No Grogu… so if you’re looking for him, skip this one.

These Vintage Mixed vol1 dingbats remind me of print ads from the 60s. There’s even an image of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers for elegance. The pointing finger could work for quite a few topics, don’t you think?

I just love the gossipy image! Vintage Mixed vol2 has even more retro images; I think my fave is the cartoon bride and groom on the run.

If you’re in the Path of Totality for this month’s solar eclipse, this set called Galaxia might have something you could put into a photo-less layout. Or you could use the drawings for a border.

These just made me laugh. Smile 2 Me has a huge assortment of expressions; I love the one flashing a peace sign.

From the ridiculous to the sublime… Caligrafia Divina strikes a more elegant chord. The dragon is fabulous.

And last, since we do Takeout Tuesday at my house, there’s a food set called LMS Junk Food Junky. (Of course!) I could see myself creating a layout and calling it In Praise of Pizza.

I had one more for you but for some reason WordPress isn’t allowing me to attach an image of it. I’ve tried several different tricks and failed……… It has a selection of fairy tale images in it and is called Once Upon a Time2.

If you’re not sure you see anything you like, check out the other dingbats at dafont.com. There’s something for everyone there. These are just my picks for what would work as line drawings. (I won’t tell you how many I downloaded today. 😉 )

Before I let you go, I should explain how to use these dingbats as line drawings, shouldn’t I? Install your dingbat set; they take a little longer to install than say a script font, because of the added details. Then open Elements. Dingbats are essentially fonts, so the Text Tool will let you see what’s in the set. I usually run through the alphabet, looking at which image is attached to each letter. For this purpose, I’d use a huge size, like 200 pts. Then I’d Simplify the text (image) so it can be manipulated. Now it’s resize-able to whatever will work best. And then I’d work my layout into the canvas.

For sets that have additional glyphs you can’t access via the alpha keys, check out this tutorial Unlocking the Secret Extras in Your Font Files.

This might be fun!

Tutorial Tuesday (GingerScraps Forum)

Quick Trick: Cleaning Out the Cookie Jar

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3PzYww0

I’ve noticed when I’m adding my Cookie Jar entry for the month that a lot of GingerScrappers fill their Cookie Jars with lots of unnecessary text, and I think that has to make life for Missi much more difficult than it needs to be. She checks every Cookie Jar every month to make sure Challenge Rewards are distributed to all who qualify. Sifting through the chaff to find the wheat takes time. Right? So I thought I’d show you all a way to ONLY have Cookies in your Jars.

I think we all understand the basics of Copy-and-Paste when it comes to putting the Gallery links into our Jars, so I won’t spend a lot of time on that. But I will tell you how I do things so that I’m Working Smart, Not Hard. My method is probably not what IT security folks would call safe, but it’s worked for me for 14 years, so I’m not gonna change it now. I always have three GingerScraps tabs open. One has my Cookie Jar (so I don’t have to remember what page it’s on, since I usually end up somewhere around page 90) all ready to edit. One has the Gallery open so I can quickly upload my new layouts. And one has the Forum open, so I can move between Challenges quickly, both for making sure I’m meeting the requirements of the Challenge and adding my finished layouts to the Threads. [editor’s note: If you do this, you’ll need to Refresh the tabs before you can do any editing of posts. Ask Jan how she knows.]

Let’s start by going to my Cookie Jar tab. (I reallyreallyreally wish I could make these screenshots bigger so you can see things better. Sorry…) In this image, I’ve clicked on the Edit button to get into the actual post so I can add my new layout.

The first thing I do after that is change the number of Challenges Completed. So I don’t forget to do it! When I set up my Cookie Jar post, I only Copy-and-Paste the first bolded line from Missi’s Cookie Jar post. I leave the bold format in, because I like it. 😀 I don’t bother with all the possible Challenges, because I know I’m not going to do them all. Or even most of them… Doing this gives me a place holder in the Thread.

Then I type in the name of the Challenge I’ve completed, followed by a colon and the name I’ve given my layout. As a modified Type A, I insist the Challenges are in alphabetical order. You can see how I’ve done that in the screenshot, if you squint.

Next, I Highlight just the name I’ve given my layout by click-dragging my cursor over it. Then I click on the button in the Control Panel that has a globe-with-links-of-chain on it, the one to the right of the emoji icon.

If I’ve remembered to Refresh the tab, this dialog box will open up. The outlined bar is where the layout’s URL from the Gallery goes. It’s been copied and pasted into the box. Then I click OK.

All that’s left is to click Save, so the name of my layout becomes a clickable link to the Gallery, making it super-easy for Missi to check if she needs to. And the bonus is that my post takes up very little space in the Thread while being simple, tidy and straight-forward. It can be scrolled past in a matter of one second…

Do you think you might switch to this method? You might find you like it!

Tutorial Tuesday (Individual Style)

Challenge Spotlight: Word Art

Whew! I wasn’t sure I’d get this tut out to you today. We started the day with an unplanned trip to the dentist – Adam lost a filling that had only been in there a short time and it was RIGHT IN FRONT!! He needs IV sedation for dental work and that adds a ton of time to everything. But in the end, he was awake enough to get him into the car before noon so here I am! I’ve chosen the Word Art Challenge this month; the Challenge is to use the provided word art as inspiration and have it on the page somewhere. The host for this Challenge is Cheré Kaye and this is the word art she created for us. There are so many ways this can be used!

March is a brutal month for choosing a Spotlight ChallengeScrap-a-Thon being in full swing. The Gallery is overflowing!! So, in a bit of a departure, rather than showing you every layout that has been submitted for March I decided to go with every OTHER layout. Otherwise we’d be here all week. 😉 The layouts are in the order they were uploaded, the GingerScrapper‘s user name is the direct link the the layout in the Gallery so you can get a closer look and leave a comment or two (I hope you’ll also look at the others, they’re awesome!) and I’ll be making my own comments as we go.

First up is Karen Diamond. She preserved the gradient colour of the word art, using it as her title, and took colour palette cues from it. It’s a little ironic that she chose the humble dandelion as her focus – they seem to “awaken” earlier than a lot of other plants.

This layout from jojores is a true original. The word art title looks a bit muted, but in the original gradient colours. I like the detail she’s added to the upper corners and how she included food-related elements to riff on the book covers in her photos.

For her layout demma_b13 also used the word art as is, and drew her palette from it. I can almost hear birds singing when I look at her layout, and don’t know how the woman in the photo can sleep through it!

Look at all the white space tillykaye has given us. The simplicity of her layout lets her photo shine. As the others have, she pulled colours from the word art for her palette.

Dhariana has given us more white space with her layout. She’s scaled everything down to draw the eye to the butterfly in her photo. I like the washi tape holding the photo in place. Against the buttery-yellow background the colours in the word art seem a bit brighter.

It’s interesting how the background colour can change the way our eyes see something, as biche57 shows us here. The gradient colours of the word art look more purple. It’s a perfect accent.

Let’s look at photocrazy‘s entry. See?! By putting the word art against a bright yellow background, the colours in the word art pop yellow too! She’s the first one (of this baker’s dozen) to use the wings that Cheré included with the word. The blue provides beautiful contrast.

AHA! AlyciaIN recoloured the word art!! Such a rebel. 😉 In the same way nature changes all the brown to green, she’s given the word art a lovely, shimmery look.

Jill went in a different direction with the “awaken” theme, and it works really well. Her shadows really give the brushes and paintbox realism and dimension. The word art colours appear in the paint splatters to tie it all together.

I like how greenfiend27 created contrast with the teal and blue elements to coordinate with her photo. Using a gradient paper in one of the shades in the word art is next-level thoughtful.

CathyS opted to recolour the word art to pick up the sandy, beachy look of her photos. Good choice!

Windswept has gone Easter-candy with her colour palette. The beautiful pink of her photo demands some drama. Clever girl, she used the same font to build her own addition to the word art, and she eliminated the white border around the words. Pretty!

Lucky 13 belongs to Zanthia. And her layout is stunning! She used the word art as created, pulled colour from it and reinforced the theme with her photos.

We’ve had four days of record-breaking warm days in a row here, and there are already two wildfires in the area. What will it take to awaken people to the climate crisis? I don’t know, but I’m really not looking forward to fire season. Please send rain!

Tutorial Tuesday (Photoshop Elements)

Tucked Photo Frames Made Easy

PDF Version : https://bit.ly/3VmV2R8

Anyone who has spent any time touring the GingerScraps Gallery knows that we have some inordinately talented and creative scrappers in our midst. And some equally superlative Designers. If you’re ever needing a healthy dose of inspiration, you won’t have to look far. Karen found a layout using one of these fabulous tucked frames in the Gallery and had to try it for herself. Turns out Sheri (Jumpstart Designs) has already done ALL the work and all we have to do is customize. Here’s a link to the product in her Shop.

So how easy is it to use these gems? I’ll show you! While I’m at it I’m going to add my tucked photo to a template from this month’s Spotlight Designer, Connie Prince. (Alas, it’s discontinued, but this will work regardless.) As you can see in the screenshot below, I’m using a layered file, in this case a PSD.

The only difference with using PNG files for this is that you’ll have to add them to the template’s photo spot manually, one at a time, aligning them as needed. I dropped this photo of my grandson Aaron onto the Photo Mat layer of the PSD.

When I Resized my photo, I found it still wasn’t a great fit; there were important details I didn’t want to crop out.

But… I CAN Resize the rest of the layers to fit to the photo. I Activated all those layers EXCEPT the photo and made my adjustments. The nice thing about the Photo Mat layer being black is that it’s easy to see if the Resized frame still isn’t right.

Did you notice the tab is partially covered by the photo – which isn’t the look I want? To solve that problem I just Clipped the photo to the Photo Mat layer. There are always multiple ways of doing these types of things in Elements, and I usually will show you two of them. Right-click>Create Clipping Mat is one way. The keyboard shortcut for Elements 14 and earlier versions is CTRL/CMD>G. For Elements 15 and more recent it’s CTRL/CMD>ALT/OPT>G.

Simply by Clipping the photo to the Mat, the tab now looks like it’s part of the paper the photo/frame combo is tucked into!

Now to move it all to the template. I just moved the whole stack as one object onto the photo spot on my template. Will it still work like a PSD though? One way to find out!

Brilliant! All I did was turn visibility for the template’s photo spot off and the tab looks like it’s the same paper that’s under the photo.

As you can see on the finished layout, Clipping a paper to the template did exactly what I wanted it to do, and my photo is neatly tucked under some brown cardstock.

Now I can’t wait to try the others in the package!!

Next Tuesday, it’s YOUR turns to shine! Which Challenge will be in the Spotlight?