Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tutorial: How to Tackle a Sketch

Hello there. Our lovely Katie Brooks from KB Stamps is back. She was one of our wonderful contributors to our Birthday Bash. Today she is going to show you how to tackle a sketch and I hop it gives those who don't like to play along with sketch challenges a few starting points.

Happy Monday!!!  I am so exciting to be a Guest on the Little Tangles blog I can barely contain my excitement!  Ren-Yi asked me to come and share how I go about tackling a sketch and I thought about it for a long time…exactly 1/2 a second...before I said “heck yes!”  So here I am to do just that with you today.  I sure hope you find it helpful so that Ren-Yi will have me back one day in the future.

First, check out this sketch by Ms. June Houck….fabulous right?!   Yep, I thought so too.  There are lots of ways to tackle a sketch and I will say that I don’t always use the same method.  This was my thought process when I saw the sketch.

Step 1: I size up the sketch and study it a bit.  Does it have a lot of layers?  Specific elements (like those little circles)?  Is there a theme or anything that grabs my attention?  The key thing I want to know when I first look at the sketch is that if there is one element that jumps out at me and says START HERE!

When I looked at this sketch, I first noticed it is pretty fabulously CAS.  The next thing I noticed was the little circles that could be bubbles, enamel dots, sequins….so many things.  Then I noticed the two different patterned elements going down the sides and my first thought- WASHI TAPE!  And we are off and running.  (Other options for this would include DP, stamping your own image, ribbon, etc.)

Step 2:  Next I get out my N&T stamps and check them out. I compare the themes with the various washi tapes I own and make a match. 

In this case, I have two brand new N&T sets that are begging to be inked up, Simple Christmas and Just for You, so I grabbed those.  I have options for washi for either theme but since the holiday season is coming up I decided to lean towards Christmas.

Step 3:  Having decided my theme, I’ve selected my tapes and stamps and now I want to look at my cardstock and choose a base that might accompany this.    

I love to see Kraft on holiday cards, so that’s an easy decision.

Step 4: At this point, most of my elements are chosen.   If I have any hesitation about my sentiment variations or colors, I’ll practice on scrap paper to find the right match before committing to my card stock.  When I have that down I go for it on the actual paper.

I’ve added the sentiment from “our home to yours” in black and decided to use the little evergreen boughs and berries instead of circles.

Step 5:  Add the remaining elements.

All I really have at this point to add is my washi.  BTW- (the beautiful thing about washi is the ability to reposition when you
screw up since I do all the time.  Looking at the card I decide it looks a little flat, so I decided to add some twine for a little dimension and round one of the corners, just for fun.

There you have it folks, all done.  What do you think of the final look?

Other ways to tackle a sketch that I sometimes use:
  • Start with your image (if using a stamp) and build around it
  • Start with the part that poses the biggest challenge for you and once you’ve figured out what you want there, build around it.  
  • Pick the patterned paper you like, and build around it.
There are probably lots of other ways to tackle sketches as well.  For me, you may be picking up on a theme that I like is to find a starting point and build around it… ;)  There is no wrong way to go about a sketch…and guess what, if you don’t like it, do it over!  I do that plenty. The key is to have fun.

While I am here, I thought I’d show you one other take I had on this sketch.

Thanks for letting me play with you fabulous folks at Little Tangles!  It is always super fun!


  1. Two very fun cards for a great sketch! Great post too Katie.

  2. Katie!!! So fun to see you here, my friend and to see BOTH of your sweet cards. They both are wonderful; I am lovin' the twine, washi, kraft, and enamel dots on the first one and the circle on the second. Fabulous :)

  3. Katie, what a fabulous tutorial (washi tape - can you believe I don't have any! I know, I know...time to get out from under the rock!!) and your cards here are ever so pretty! Great post, great ideas, great cards - Wednesday is off to a great start!!

  4. yahooooooooooo for Katie!!!! Awesome cards...love your take on June's fabulous sketch!!!!

  5. Thanks for having me Ren-yi, so much fun! Thanks all for your sweet comments! :)

  6. awesome..thanks for sharing.. cute cards..

  7. Wow wow wow! LOVE your thinking process and your creative takes on the sketch, Katie! You did an amazing job as the guest designer! So glad to see your feature here! Congrats!

  8. So awesome Katie. I've taken note of your tips and your cards are beautiful!!!


  9. What a great post, Katie ... so great to find out how your gorgeous card evolved from the sketch! Anita (in France) :)

  10. What a fun tutorial! It inspired me to grab those stamps and get busy! I love those cards too. That's one of the reasons that I love using sketches. You can get so many different looks from one sketch. Very cool! Oh, and by the way....I pinned this! :)

  11. Thank You for sharing your ideas on how to tackle a card sketch. Such an inspiration and help. I have trouble picking papers. Both of your cards are so different and beautiful. I like card 2 the best...so clever to do a circle, with balloons (more circles) and sequins (yet more circles). I love how the circle looks with the scallops and thin stripes. Super job!
    quilt 4 fun 2 at hot mail dot com

  12. I never thought about how I view a sketch before - very cool and I love the cards.