Altenew: Beautiful Details

Simple ingredients can be used to make elegant dishes with just a little extra attention to detail – Marcus Samuelsson

While the introductory quote is definitely referring to cooking, the same is true about art and crafting – it’s all about the details. Sometimes those details are quiet, other times bold but always practiced with intention. The host of Altenew’s class ‘Beautiful Details’, Marika Rihtu, exquisitely demonstrated both delicate and dynamic approaches to adding details to stamped images with stunning results.

Practice Pieces

Marika counseled patience and practice following whatever process works best for you, the individual. With that encouragement I tried several of her techniques but my efforts were just not quite ‘ready for prime time’ as they say! I share them here as practice/study pieces only – fully intending to continue working with these techniques and improving. The techniques (l. to r.) using Zig Clean Brush to add more details to sketchy images, using doodles to focus eye, and finally no-line coloring on vellum.

When doing practice pieces I try to use the same or similar images as the teacher. This helps me to focus on the technique and provides a good visual reference for desired outcome. Once comfortable with the new technique I can then move on to my own spin. These samples go into my ‘technique journal’  along with notes for future reference and practice.

Three’s Company

My next effort was far more successful. This technique leverages layering stamps to lay down a color foundation and then come in with colored pencils to refine/define the shape. I made three samples expecting  maybe one to be successful but I was wrong – all turned out great. I can’t decide which I like best so I present all three here today. Let’s take a closer look at each card.

Pink Awesome

Gray Awesome

Blue Awesome

Altenew’s ‘Floral Art’ images were stamped using masks as needed to provide the sense of foreground and background dimensionality. This stamp set provides 2 color layers (petal shadows, center) for the main flower and 1 color layer for the medium (center only) and small flowers (body) as well as the leaves (body) – so really very limited color addition via layered stamping. I added additional shading and sculpting of the images with colored pencils in complimentary shades. I then decided to smooth out and blend the added pencil using Gamsol. A trick I learned from Jennifer McGuire is to use Ranger Alcohol Blending Pen filled with Gamsol to apply this blending agent. The double ended pen has nibs for blending large and small areas and worked perfectly to achieve the smooth look I was going for without altering the dye ink used as the color foundation. You can really see the difference in the before and after pictures of the Blue Detail.

All three panels were finished with clear Wink of Stella on flower centers, Nuvo Drops in coordinating colors, and the same sentiment stamped in black and heat embossed in clear. I made a matching mat by applying ink directly to paper – same ink colors as used when stamping images. After matting, all panel were added to A2 card bases. My work was done!

Stamps: Altenew: Floral Art, Life is Awesome
Paper: Neenah Crest: Solar White 80lb.
Colored Pencils: Faber-Castell Polychromos: Blue Version: 120, 140, 151, 247, 168, 173; Pink Version: 131,194, 168; Gray Version: 271, 274, 136, 249
Ink: Altenew: Blue Version: Iceberg, Ultramarine, Frayed Leaf; Pink Version: Cotton Candy, Magenta, Firefly; Gray Version: Evening Gray, Lava Rock, Wisteria; Gina K Almagam: Black;  Versafine: Onyx Black
Other: Clear Embossing Powder; Gamsol; Ranger: Alcohol Ink Blending Pen; inkadinkado Masking Paper; Wink of Stella: Clear; Nuvo Drops: Clear, Black/Ebony, Dragon Scales, Autumn Red

  1. Virginia Lu

    Like you, I can’t decide which one I love the most! All I can say is awesome! I like what you share about using the same image as the lesson plan. Your placement of images and detailed coloring really make this set of cards a stand-out! Totally enjoy seeing your beautiful post, Deb! Thanks so much for entering your beautiful work in Altenew AECP assignment Gallery. I love your write-up and descriptions! Please keep up with your excellent work!

    • Deb Hurtig

      As good as these might look in pics I think they really shine in person ? Thanks for your encouragement!

  2. Erum Tasneem

    Deb! Thank you for blessing my eyes with your gorgeous projects! I love all of them. I often add pencil/marker details to my layered stamps and I think it completely changes the look of the stamp without a lot of effort! You have done a tremendous job!
    Thank you for entering your gorgeous work to the AECP assignment gallery. Brilliantly done!

    • Deb Hurtig

      I’m often designing cards for class settings so I almost never add the pencil details – it’s just too much to ask. For this stamp set in particular those details made all the difference between really okay and stunning. Will definitely start doing more often as the process wasn’t as difficult as I imagined. ? Thank You!


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