Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Painty Custom Paper Technique

Some layouts just cry out for a messy, art journal type of look.  When I get the itch to create a page in this style, I want my background paper to look smeary, distressed, and a little painty.  When I can't find one background paper with exactly the right look, I will often take three separate papers and "fuse" them into one.  It gives the impression that the papers have been painted one right over the other, or that someone has dropped water onto the papers and the edges have smeared together.  

Here's what I did to create my background (single click on any of the thumbnails below to enlarge them):

First, I took three papers from the Meadow Papers kit --- two solids and one hexagon patterned sheet.  I opened a new document in PSE and layered the hexagon print first, then the aqua solid, and the green.  I shifted the papers either up or down until they were in the position I wanted, and I could see all three.  I rotated the solids until I saw the distressed/painted part of them that I wanted to be visible.  I then merged all layers to create a new patterned paper, and saved the file. 

Here's the fun part:  in the tool bar, select on the smudge tool (which looks like a gloved hand with one finger pointing down).  Or, if you see the blur tool (which looks like a tear drop), right click on it and choose the smudge tool.  Down in the options bar, choose the brush you will use to "smudge" with.  I used #27 from the Assorted Brushes (see below), and stared blurring the boundary between each of the papers.   Resize the brush if needed, then simply click down on the mouse and smudge away until you have the look you want.  
You can try using different brushes to achieve the look you're after.   I went back in and chose a round, soft brush from the Basic Brushes set to smooth out some of the edges that looked too hard. 

Here's what my custom paper looked like when it was finished:

 While I love the look of this paper, I thought it need a bit more grunge, so I added one of the Watercolor Overlays and one of the painty elements from the Watercolor Splatters Kit.  

Here's another peek at the finished layout.  These lovely Weathered Frames, lettering from the Pistachio kit, a border from In Bloom Elements, as well as journaling lines and heart embellishments from the Honey Cake Elements kit rounded out the look I created here.

Remember that the next cool patterned paper you use could be one you create out of your existing stash.  I hope you will give it a try!

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