Feb 13, 2019

Learning Through Inspiration: Laura Bassen (Day 3)

This post is part of a series on improving my cardmaking by studying other designers' cards. You can read more about it here.

Today I'm back learning more from Laura Bassen a/k/a The Rainbow Queen.


  • I focused on the card on the left (although that critter is pretty cute.) My favorite thing about this card is the combination of a rainbow color scheme with a lot of white.
  • There aren't any difficult techniques.
  • Every element is perfectly laid out -- it's crisp, clean, and perfectly straight.
  • Laura's rainbow starts and ends with the purple strips, but the other colors aren't repeated. And, it looks like the darkest purples are a bit smaller than the other colors. There's a lesson there on helping the eye focus on the tree by having the purples as bookends. At least I think so!

  • One of the best ways to learn through inspiration is to take the time to identify the underlying elements in a card that I like, and then take those elements and make a card with them. The elements I identified in this card were the rainbow and white combination. I could have chosen stripes and trees, rainbows and trees, color peeking out from a detail die, etc., but I wanted to focus on the rainbow colors with a lot of white.
  • Rather than try and copy the card, this time I decided to just let my thoughts go. 
  • I had been thinking about a gorgeous new gerbera daisy stamp by Julie Ebersole. What if I bought it and painted it rainbow style? That would have taken time and, like most stampers, I was in a hurry! What else did I have? I had Julie's beautiful Mondo Hydrangea stamp. 
  • Trying to be creative or original has been a huge waste of my time and supplies, as it actually ended up quashing my creativity. I'm not sure whether it was the fear of being accused of copying someone else's ideas or the feeling that it would be boring to get my ideas from another cardmaker. In any event, I'm done with those thoughts. 
  • Colored the image using a technique I learned from Yana Smakula and mentioned earlier -- stamp with a light ink that is alcohol friendly (I used a pale pink Memento), leave the stamp in your MISTI or other stamp positioner, color with alcohol markers, and then restamp with Versamark and emboss. 
  • If I had to do it over again, I'd choose a skinnier sentiment as this one covers up the central red flower more than I like. 
My supplies:  Essentials by Ellen Mondo Hydrangea stamp and die designed by Julie Ebersole; Altenew alcohol and Copic markers (two each for red, yellow, orange, green, and purple); Wow Bright White Superfine embossing powder; Essentials by Ellen white linen cardstock; foam tape; black cardstock; Simply White Crystal Glossy White Nuvo drops; Versamark. 

MOOD WHEN DONE: This was the most valuable of the lessons since I started this series. The process of how to use another card (or any design) as inspiration without copying it too much was a lightbulb moment for me. Whether you like this card or not, if you are looking to take your cards up a notch, try out this process. Would love to know if it is helpful for you.

I'll be back (next week) with cards inspired by another card maker who I found on Instagram. She's wonderful! 

And in completely unrelated news, I was rejected for the clinical trial of a drug to treat my heart condition. You have to meet certain criteria and my numbers on one test were off by a bit. So frustrating that I cried.

However, I have a good lead on a volunteer opportunity and hope that works out. I mean I just can't stamp all day, can I?


Susan Raihala said...

Joan, your process of focusing on parts of a design and taking it winging off from their (sometimes wildly) is exactly what I do. I dislike copying enormously because being creative is my reason to stamp. But I also don't feel very original or unique, and when I try to be original, everything comes out looking boring. Your results here are STUNNING! Beautiful inspiration card, and beautiful inspired card!

I'm sorry you didn't get picked up for the trial.

Susan Raihala said...

darn that first sentence. "winging off from their CHOICES..."

merryf said...

I’m so sorry to hear that you aren’t able to participate in the clinical trial. I’m sure volunteering will be it’s own kind of adventure! And the card-making lessons are fabulous!

Betty said...

your rainbow hydrangea is brilliant!! love it!! and so sorry to hear about the clinical trial - you'll have to let us know about the volunteer activity. have a good rest of the week.

LaurieJ said...

You have blown me away with this card. Absolutely lovely! I am learning so much from your learning process. How disappointing for you to have been rejected for the trial drug - I'm sorry to hear that.

Unknown said...

Love this Joan & I can totally relate to being inspired and maybe even start to copy a project but in the end it looks totally different by evolution which is awesome & wonderful & you should continue this journey of exploration, emulation & evolution!! Look at me sounding all smarty pants when I’m totally winging it most of the tim!

ddc designs said...

Absolutely stunning!

Cat Craig said...

Gorgeous, who would have thought a rainbow hued hydrangea would look so fabulous. Love this.

Leslie Miller said...

Stop the presses! I'll never look at a hydrangea the same again. Honestly, this is then most beautiful, fun, original hydrangea I've ever seen. Inspired, but certainly not copied. You've hit on something, Joan. LOVE it! I'm sorry you were so disappointed about the clinical trial. They're pretty strict about those. Sometimes I think I'd like to stamp all day and I love it when I have the chance, but I have to get out and about, too. I hope your volunteer opportunity works out.

Glorie said...

Such a pretty card, Joan. If it was me, I would have copied directly :). Of course, you can stamp all day!

Suzanne Russell said...

Well, I LOVE this card! Your imagination and execution were perfectly in sync. Perhaps the most helpful thing I've learned from your process (and obviously mine as well) is that I am not the designer. I need other inspiration to enjoy my craft. While my cards are often a more direct interpretation of the inspiration card, I am ready to take a new approach to card-making that receives the inspiration for what it really is and use my own creativity to bring it new life in paper and glue. You are an excellent mentor for me. thank you!

I Card Everyone said...

J.B. I HAD to stop over to get up close and personal with this fan-TAB-ulous Hydrangea!! I'm tellin' ya, I'm gob-smacked by it! I may have done a rainbow daisy once, but never did I ever think to use this set - but I will now! Thank you for sharing your inspired journey - hey, even Norman Rockwell painted from a photograph! so why can't we all try on a few of our favorite designer's styles for size, right? I may try a little J.B. today, if you don't mind!

JanetB said...

Thank you, Thank you! I love your rainbow Hydrangea, I never would have thought to color it any other way than what I think is "real". What an inspiration you are to all of us. I'm sorry about the clinical trial. My days seem to disappear when I'm in my craft room, so yes, you can stamp all day:)

Cheryl Robertson said...

Beautiful card Joan! Love the rainbow colors and restamping/embossing technique.

LauraJane:) said...

Joan, this series of studying/learning and sharing is spot on! While I've always loved your original painted cards best, the 'inspired by' cards are remarkable and your writing always makes me grin 😄 So sorry about missing out on the trial, your efforts to get in were great. Hugs, and here's to lessons learned and stamping all day!

Bev said...

this is beautiful!

Karen @ Misplaced Mojo said...

I am learning so much through your series and experiments!!! I have saved enough inspiration photos for a lifetime of own "studies". I am rethinking my "inspiration" process to recognize what I like about the examples, and plan to group them that way so its not 3,000 individual sources but more like a dozen themes like rainbow colors or backgrounds from small stamps. I also need to act on that inspiration, instead of spending all day online collecting it by seeing what others are making rather than making some myself ;-) That is a topic for another day though!

Daria said...

Your card is gorgeous! I love it. This is the one I'll use for inspiration. Thank you.