Feb 15, 2019

Learning Through Inspiration: Natasha Valkovskaya (Day 1)

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

Today I'm beginning a few days focusing on the marvelously talented Natasha Valkovskaya. I found Natasha on Instagram, where she goes by the name of Craft Away With Me. That is also the name of her blog.

I selected Natasha because her cards have a fair amount of white space and I love how she adds painted backgrounds. I'm a huge fan of everything she makes. She does design work for Pinkfresh Studio, which is one of my favorite companies.


  • This is my favorite type of card -- paper, ink, and a stamp.
  • The watercoloring is gorgeous -- lots of variation and pairs perfectly with the script style font of the sentiment. Natasha explained in this post that she used an acrylic block to stamp the ink on the side of the card. Came out fantastic!
  • The gold speckles integrate the gold sentiment with the border of color.
  • LOVE the font and size of the sentiment. You can find that Pinkfresh Studio set here.
  • The simplicity of this card is very appealing. Painting a border, adding some speckles, and embossing a sentiment? No embellishments?  This is my kind of card; I can do this.

  • I cannot "do this."
  • Natasha's card is deceptively "simple." I tried Distress Oxide inks, Distress inks; watercolors; and 2 kinds of watercolor markers (there were other efforts that didn't make it into the picture.) I tried direct to paper, watercolor brushes, and an acrylic block. A lot of watercolor paper died in this effort.
  • The biggest lesson here is to know my strengths and weaknesses. As much as I would love to be able to make Natasha's card, it's not a skill I have, at least not today. Before I buy that sentiment set I better have another use in mind. 
  • I'm never going to make light and airy cards like Julie Ebersole, color or draw like Sandy Allnock, or create little beauties the same way Lisa Spangler does. Since hope is eternal, I've had to relearn this lesson several times. 
  • The best way to cope with my weaknesses is to work on them if is important to me, and/or focus on my strengths.  
  • I don't need to be able to make this particular card to enjoy stamping. There's plenty of other techniques and styles that I can do.
MOOD WHEN DONE:  The past few weeks of studying other people's cards has been a lot of fun. As frustrating as it was not to be able to recreate Natasha's card, it was a very good learning experience.


Quillish said...

Oh Joan.. what a way to learn! I am a fan of her work too. Haha.. I loved how you called it deceptively simple :P you have no clue how your work has always impressed me, your florals and the colours you choose are out of the world.. am your fan because of them. I hope the other inspirations do work for you, even if they don't.. with this post I learn to accept failures and write them about too. Thank you for this valuable lesson.

4Ucards said...

I am really enjoying this trip you are taking. I liked the card choice and I am looking forward to trying this too. Thank you.

Janet said...

I love this series your doing. I tend to stick with just a few techniques because they are comfortable for me and I can do them. I need to stretch myself and try some other things. You let me know it's okay if new techniques don't work out. The point is to try! I really want to try this acrylic block stamping and now I will. I won't worry if it doesn't work out, but at least I will have tried. :D

Susie said...

Now before you say, “I can’t” look again at the middle background piece in your photo. I LOVE that! It may not have as much white as you were trying for, but, it would make a gorgeous background for your sentiment. I hope you didn’t toss it. Give it some gold splatter love and let’s see it when you finish! Love your wonderful posts!

tonilea said...

Ain't it da truff! I can't tell you how many "simple" cards I have attempted and failed at. I think the ones that look the simplest are the hardest to CASE or re-create. But it is definitely worth the effort to try. Yu can learn so much about yourself and your own particular style. I love this series you are doing.

Julie Ebersole said...

Whatever you're doing, as long as the process brings you joy, it's all good! 👌🏼☺️❤️

Leslie Miller said...

Interesting today, Joan. The thing is, you tried something and it didn't turn out exactly like your inspiration piece, but all three that you're showing are the beginnings of pretty darn nice cards. I hope you don't throw them out. You're trying different things and learning what you can and can't do, or maybe after a breather you'll try again and figure it out. I'm certainly enjoying this series.

luvhymns said...

thank you for the intro to Natasha. I checked out her cards and her use of simple with white. stunning, but so are yours.... and mine will never look like yours but we'll both continue to bless people with them!

Daria said...

Been there. Done that. It looks so easy. Why doesn't it just turn out the way we see it in our heads? Once in a while, by accident, it happens. That's all I can say. Fortunately, there are lots of ways to make backgrounds. I think my problem is that I try too hard so it doesn't have that spontaneous look to it. Thanks for sharing.