Feb 4, 2019

Learning Through Inspiration: Laura Bassen (Day One)

This is part of a series on improving my card making by studying other designers' cards. If you're unfamiliar with this series, you can learn more about it here.

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Today I'm introducing some lessons learned by studying Laura Bassen a/k/a Laurafadora. Thank you, Laura, for permitting me to post your gorgeous cards on my blog and for making such a great contribution to the stamping community.

Laura's work is instantly recognizable -- she's the queen of rainbow coloring, ink blending, precise geometrics, and cute critters. She designs for Simon Says Stamp, Pinkfresh Studio, Mama Elephant, and others. If I owned a stamp company, I'd hire her to design all the stamps and all the samples and then I'd sit back and count my money!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura for this blog. You can read that interview here. (It's been 3 years? Wow.) One of the things that impressed me when I was talking with Laura is her dedication to the craft. Laura is relaxed and funny in her videos, but card making is her job and she's not messing around. 


  • Color! Laura's colors are bright and beautiful. 
  • White on black sentiment. Laura uses this often, and helps those bright colors pop even more.
  • Laura's cards are perfectly constructed and spaced -- everything is in the right place and her embellishments do what they are supposed to -- add to the beauty and not distract.
  • Chose these particular cards to begin with because they did not involve tricky placement of geometric images (that's coming!).

  • Laura's cards look easy to make. They are not, and this isn't fawning. Seriously, this was the 5th card I made! I don't have a lot of colored cardstock, so I couldn't make a rainbow with cardstock and my watercolored attempt(s) didn't work out. 
  • Ink blending is hard to do well, but a cover plate hides the mess underneath.
  • Rainbow + white on black sentiment + sparkle is a winner. 
  • Details matter. I have one cover plate and it is exactly an A2 size. I die cut one layer and then die cut a second with fun foam. It was hard to line them up as the foam is flexible. I should have trimmed the edges of the die cut foam slightly before adhering the top layer. I ended up having to do it by hand and it's not perfect.
  • Using a T-Square ruler helps ensure that the sentiment is straight.  
  • However, using a ruler does not prevent stupid mistakes. I adhered the cover plate upside down (I wanted the red/orange/yellow on the top.) Slow down.
  • I want more cover plates! I want more colored cardstock! I want every thing Laura uses. However, there's a hard limit on what I will buy now, and it's fun to make do without -- sometimes.
My supplies:

Essentials by Ellen Bed of Roses Cover Plate; Distress Oxide Inks; Altenew Layered Cupcake (sentiment); White Linen cardstock from Ellen Hutson; black cardstock; Wow Bright White Superfine Embossing Powder; foam; foam tape; clear sequins. 

MOOD WHEN DONE:  I'm delighted with this card. It is fun to look at and was fun to make and give to a friend. 

I'll be back with more lessons from studying Laura, hopefully later this week. I have 4 medical appointments coming up this week, almost all related to the clinical trial in which I am participating. I am so grateful that I have this opportunity to try and find a drug to help people avoid the heart surgery I had, but going back and forth for these appointments is time consuming and messing with my crafting!


Jackie said...

Laura does make it look easy, doesn't she? Her beautiful creations make me want to buy all the things! I think you absolutely nailed it, your card is gorgeous!

Unknown said...

WooHoo!!! I LOVEEE what you've done, Joan! Can't believe it's been three years since our chat. We need to catch up, eh? Hey, talk about perfectly placed sequins...gorgeous! Your ink blending is truly sublime, but can I just take a moment to relish in the gorgeous photography set up? Thank you, my dear, talented and witty friend♥

~amy~ said...

Well, I love how you were inspired. Your card is gorgeous Joan!

Cacia said...

What a great tribute to Laura's style! To my admittedly inexperienced eye, the ink blending looks fantastic. I really like the dimension you gave the flowers, too, and how the shadows add extra interest to the card. I'm excited to see what you come up with next!

From what I've seen, Laura tends to use scripts or rounded letters with florals and curved shapes, and sans serifs or more pointy letters with geometric backgrounds and angular shapes. Here, the sentiment is angular and geometric, while the flowers are round and organic. This creates contrast, and maybe that's what you were going for, but would another type of font—say, one with curvy letters or rounded serifs—make the sentiment more cohesive with the rest of your card?

Jan said...

So lovely Joan. Your card looks like a "Laura" card. I am thrilled that you chose to study her card making style. I always want to buy what she uses. Please, I want to know the tricks of her geometric style.
Four medical appointments can eat up your crafting time. Good for you for participating in this clinical trail.
Would love to read another interview with Laura. 😉

Kathy D said...

Oh, Joan, your version of Laura's style turned out beautiful! I think I only have one cover plate as well (such an investment). Thank you for this inspiration series - I am loving it. And good luck with your appointments this week.

Cheryl said...

I love this! And I also wish you and Laura were my next-door neighbors...Anyway, I wanted to tell you a trick that Laurie Willison taught me about fun foam. Keep it in the die/cover plate while you adhere the card stock. It prevents the foam from growing and shifting too much. Brilliant!

Janet said...

Thank you for your lesson. I am forever correcting mistakes that I make by not slowing down. I need to invest in a t-square ruler since I am not good at lining up with my eyeballs. lol :D

Andrew and Bertha Pilgrim said...

I saw this card on Instagram today and I love it. I can see Laura's rainbow influence and even in the close-up photos of your card it is hard to see any ink-blending flaws! Great job I think.

Good luck with the all of the appointments this week. My mum had heart failure last year and they are trying to manage it with medicine but that does not appear to be working well. I hope your trial proves successful!

Cat Craig said...

You took to heart Laura's best and your card is fabulous. Check with crafty friends about the coverplates they have and ask them to cut you a few...you get to play with some new stuff but don't have to store it or pay for it.

Vicki Dutcher said...

Well done! Laura is amazing, and the fact that she commented on this post, impresses me even more! 😊

Leslie Miller said...

I remember your interview with Laura and it was the first time I'd seen her work, which I immediately fell in love with. You do have a way of finding the most inspiring stampers to follow. I agree that ink blending is not as easy as it looks, but if yours has flaws I don't see them. I see beautiful color and a lovely cover plate. Full size cover plates, grrrr. Expensive, may or may not cut perfectly every time, and I'm sure to have a hand twitch at the moment of adhesion. I do really like the idea of white on black sentiment panel. Requires embossing or a negative type stamp. All these cards today, including yours, put me in a swoon. I love color with lots of white to set it off. Good post, Joan!

Patt H. said...

I Love your card, Joan, & am learning from YOUR posts! I adore Laurafadora too & her cards are pretty special. I like that you took the time to study them & now you are passing all the tips along to us. Thank you!!

Donna Cala said...

I LOVE your card! I love roses and coverplates and rainbow blending and Laura. Your card is a perfect ten.

Cheryl Robertson said...

I like Laura Bassen also. She seems like a wonderful person to know and her card styles are always unique. Your card is really nice Joan. You did a great job!

Daria said...

I am laughing. I also have discovered that cover plates hide a host of errors! Your card turned out beautifully.