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Learning Through Inspiration with Joan Bardee

March 19, 2019

I’m thrilled to be on the Penny Black blog today! I’m here to share more of my Learning Through Inspiration series. That series, which you can find on my blog, is all about improving my cardmaking through studying other designers’ cards.

The series came about when I felt stuck. Everything I made looked the same and felt a little flat (as in boring). Incorporating a few ideas from other stampers didn’t help me learn much, and I didn’t feel creative. So I decided to try and figure out why I loved some stampers’ cards and if I could learn from them.

I start by looking at a large number of one designer’s cards. (You can find many cards by the same designer on their blogs, Instagram feeds, Pinterest collections, or on Facebook.) By looking at a number of cards quickly, I can spot some common elements (spacing in layouts, color combinations, shading, etc.) that appeal to me, and then I try to incorporate those elements into my cards.

Today I’m starting my study of Jill Foster. Jill is well known for creating jaw dropping cards. She is an artist who uses cards as her canvas, and takes stamps and inks and makes them sing.

Since I don’t have her art skills, what could I learn from Jill?



* Get out!!!!

* Delightful coloring and shading. Notice the different shades of blue, and the darker colors on the leaves where you would expect a shadow? Notice the range of colors on that large red flower, including black? Stunning.

* Despite fully coloring each flower and leaf, the details of each petal are not obscured. See how that tiny strip of white at the top of the orange poppies sets off the black centers?

* Stamps + ink + paper = my favorite kind of card. No embellishments. One layer.

* Bright colors. The shades of blue and orange complement one another, and help the flowers pop.

* The flowers frame the sentiment perfectly.

* The sentiment is in different colors. Who does that? (Not me!) * The image Jill used – Bouquet Ballet – is gorgeous and perfect for this layout. No masking or hoping to get it right. The stamp designer has done all the work.



* I rarely use part of an image. Repeatedly stamping part of a large image to frame a sentiment is great layout, and one that I’ll use again.

* The next time I use this layout, I’ll stamp the sentiment first. Mine ended up way too high on the card and left too much white space below the image. In order to save the card, I trimmed the bottom and left sides of the card and created a layer. There was still too much white space below the sentiment, so I added the heart embellishment.

* I didn’t like the way the layer looked popped up on a plain white card, so I used another of Jill’s tricks and blended some ink around the layer.

* I don’t have Jill’s eye or her hands. They work magic. I practice, but the reality is that I’m never going to be Jill. When I try to shade an image I end up with too much color and not enough variation. I’m still working on that.

* Comparing myself to Jill is useful — if I use it to learn and improve, but harmful if it just makes me feel like a loser. And I am not about to let this fantastic hobby make me feel like a loser!

MOOD WHEN DONE: Happy! Very grateful to Jill and to Penny Black for giving me this opportunity to share. I’ll be back here later in the month.

Hi, Joan! It’s Penny Black here and we just had to share our mood after peeking at your stamped artwork and reading your writing… HONORED, INSPIRED, and HAPPY, too! Thanks for sharing here on our blog. See you soon!

for the products featured on the cards above

40-674 Bouquet Ballet
30-541 Good Wishes
30-541 Grateful Sentiments

Other supplies: Versafine Onyx ink; Tombow Markers; waterbrush; Nuvo Crystal Drops Gloss Simply White; Arches Hot Press Watercolor Paper; heart embellishment.

And before you go, don’t miss this…

Click HERE to visit our clean and simple stamping site for the full reveal, supplies, and instructions.

Disclaimer: From time-to-time we have guest bloggers post on our site. The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and do not represent those of Penny Black Inc. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.
17 Comments leave one →
  1. Jan Pignanelli permalink
    March 19, 2019 2:45 am

    Thanks, Joan! This series is a great way to take a deeper look at what makes a card great. I’m going over to your blog now. (Love this BP stamp. Admire the clean and simple example, too. )

  2. jillianfoster82 permalink*
    March 19, 2019 4:12 am

    Joan! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful cardmaking and your design process. It’s such a pleasure to read your writing and view your creativity. And thank you so much for your kind words. I’m honored! BIG hugs!

  3. Nan permalink
    March 19, 2019 4:35 am

    So interesting! Jill is absolutely one of my all time favorites. I watch all her videos & have learned so much. She’s a great teacher. Thanks so much.

  4. Diane T permalink
    March 19, 2019 5:39 am

    Thank you for this post. As you point out, good card design is not easy. It takes thought and practice. Always a challenge for me. Thanks for your insight.

  5. donna mikasa permalink
    March 19, 2019 7:46 am

    Your card definitely has some “Jill-ness” to it–I felt it when I saw the light ink distressing on the edges and the warmth of the colors you chose. Beautifully done, and now I’m inspired by YOU 😉

  6. Maura permalink
    March 19, 2019 7:53 am

    Love the way you look at others’ work, Joan – that is the same thing that I have been trying to do and I too, have learned so much! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, LOVE the card!!!

  7. March 19, 2019 8:06 am

    Fabulous card Joan, and congratulations on the series. This is such a useful series and a great mojo maker. Looking forward to more posts.

  8. judka permalink
    March 19, 2019 8:18 am

    So happy to see your series posted here! Good for you for choosing Jill’s work as your inspiration today. Her use of color is amazing. And your card is an awesome interpretation.

  9. barbara lassiter permalink
    March 19, 2019 10:02 am

    This is an excellent post. Thanks, Joan and I will check out your blog. Wish we could all be like Jill (Craft Heroes), bur some have to sit on the side and clap when the heroes pass by! (To paraphrase Will Rogers) 🙂

  10. ginger na permalink
    March 19, 2019 12:35 pm

    Happy to see you on Penny Black .I’m enjoying your series.

  11. March 19, 2019 3:32 pm

    Joan, love your Learning through Inspiration series!

  12. March 19, 2019 6:38 pm

    Awesome series!!! Love your Jill inspired card and really appreciate the introspective afterwards! Looking forward to your next installment!!!

  13. Jill Groom permalink
    March 19, 2019 10:41 pm

    Thank you Joan for showing how to look at others’ works – to see beyond the first impression. Funny how we are so critical of our own work – I love the effect you have achieved with your colouring! I also like your placement of the wording – it fits with the ‘rule of thirds’ – and love the way you have added the heart.

  14. March 20, 2019 8:38 am

    SPAM ^

  15. March 20, 2019 8:40 am

    Jill’s work is stunning, as always, and Joan, your creation is a beautiful interpretation!

  16. Judy permalink
    March 20, 2019 10:32 pm

    I love the artistry of Jill’s creations. This series by Joan is very inspiring and helpful and I love seeing how she applies what she learns to her own lovely cards!

  17. Daria permalink
    April 10, 2019 10:47 am

    Thanks again, Joan, for your your series of Learning Through Inspiration. I am enjoying every single post.

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