PEP tangles - my Zentangle Inspired Art blog

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Principles of Design & CAS

I have been thinking about "design principles" for some time but somehow there has always been a block to my understanding how to apply them in card making, so much so that over the last couple of years making a card has become a source of frustration for me - a card taking me a week or so to construct & much of it ending in the recycling. I've kept going, knowing deep down it was something to do with understanding design that was the block, for I could not let go of my NEED to create, but I'd approach making a card for someone with a sense of dread. A couple of years ago I took a design course specifically for card makers but somehow I wasn't ready to understand although I believe it laid a foundation so that concepts such as the Rule of Thirds weren't completely new to me. Learning is very much a cumulative process & we cannot predict how or from where the brain will absorb information. Sometimes it needs to be given the same information but presented in a slightly different format for understanding to be gained.

"Clean And Simple" or CAS has been totally outside my comfort zone, mainly I think, because I didn't understand what it entailed & I couldn't see what lay behind all that uncluttered space. However, when I saw that My Creative Classroom (MCC) was offering a Clean and Simple Card Workshop with the focus being on how to apply design principles it seemed an opportunity, not only to further my understanding of design, but also of CAS. I was explaining CAS to my husband when he remarked how sensible it would be to see design principles utilised in a clear uncluttered format & how that might facilitate learning.

The following are what I created for the 'homework' challenges set during the course.

Focal Point
Stamps: Chocolate Baroque Big Flowers & Celebration Words
Inks: Distress Inks, & Markers (Walnut Stain & Barn Door)
Die: Spellbinders Shapeabilities Framed Tags 3  Other: Lace & Gem

Single Line
Stamps: Penny Black Paisley Outline & Words Express
Inks: Emboss Tinted Stamp Pad with Steward Gill Ultrafine Clear Embossing Powder; VersaFine Majestic Blue
Die: Spellbinders Shapeabilities Framed Tags 3  Other: Floral Ribbon

Stamp: Penny Black Words Express  Inks: Distress Inks (Walnut Stain & Dried Marigold)
  Dies: Spellbinders Nestabilites  Standard Circles Small &  Splendid Circles
Other: Joanna Sheen Paper, Sizzix Embossing Folder, Woodware Butterfly Punch & Stickles Glitter Glue

Stamps: Penny Black Air Mail  Inks: VersaFine Onyx Black
Die: Sizzix Tim Holtz Alterations Tiny Tabs & Tags
Other: Winsor & Newton Pan Watercolours, Salt, Derwent Coloursoft Pencils & Ribbon
Inspiration: Diana Nguyen - Yours Truly

Ink: Pine Needles Distress Ink
Dies: Sizzix Tim Holtz Alterations Tattered Florals, Spellbinders Nestabilities Splendid Circles
Other: Woodware Flower Punch, Stickles Glitter glue, Ribbon & Gem
Inspiration: Jane - Purplejet Loves Crafts

Stamp: Chocolate Baroque Clear Fancy Flourishes
Inks: Emboss Tinted Stamp Pad with Stewart Gill Ultrafine Embossing Powder
Die: Spellbinders Shapeabilities Ironwork Motifs
Other: Woodware Butterflies, Inverse Corner & Corner Rounder Punches; Gems

I thought I would write of my own difficulties with design in case it might help someone else. I'm not saying that I have arrived at a magic formula for making a card: I still need to consolidate the principles I've been learning through working with them practically. However, I now feel that I am able to move forwards & approach making a card without it being the burden it had become for I have something concrete with which to work instead of reinventing the wheel every time.  I'm really surprised by how I can appreciate CAS cards now & I know that the principles that underpin their success are also at work in product/technique based cards which catch my attention.


Aquarius said...

CAS are three letters which worry me most when making cards but this in the main is because, should I make a smudge or other unwanted mark, it is often not possible to cover it up with the addition of sundry butterflies, layers of paper etc and still produce the CAS look. I'm sure you really do have an understanding of design principles in relation cards, particularly in view of your analytical and constructive comments (always appreciated in my case) on the work of other people. I can see from these cards that you are enjoying the course and producing excellent 'homework'.

Sandra said...

Beautiful examples of CAS cards Paula, looks an interesting course. Sandra x

jackiescrafts said...

I love your C&S cards Paula, I'm sure you have a good understanding of design principals and doing this course has consolidated your understanding.
Jackie x

Miranda said...

Hi Paula, I was intrigued by your post and had to read it several times( that has also to do with my translating into Dutch) It is interesting to see your ' homework' translated into cards which are lovely. Although I have some knowledge about the things you are writing about, I must say most of the time I create without ' understanding/thinking' but more from ' feeling' to do things a certain way....does that make sense? I love CAS cards and can really admire people who create eyecatching CAS cards. Thanks for your interesting post! Always appreciate your comments, warm greetz,Miranda

Paper Creations by Shirley said...

Hi Paula, all of your CAS designs are very beautiful, I think you have the concept very well! I especially like the vibrant colours on the 'colour' design, but honestly they are all fantastic. I hope you are doing well, take care, Shirleyx

GinaA said...

You have really worked hard with this class Paula, your cards are extremely good examples, and done with your incredible eye for detail to a very professional level. I am torn between the asymmetry card and the focal point card as a favorite, and although green is often my colour of choice I find your focal point is just perfect. Design, colour and texture all work so well together. Thank you so much for sharing.

Alice said...

Very Interesting. CAS is interesting just by itself. I like clean lines, beautiful color, and simplicity. Your cards are wonderful, Paula, sounds like this was a great class with useful information :)

Jean Straw said...

Hi Paula, I love your beautiful CAS cards. I like the sound of the course you did and you have obviously enjoyed and benefited from it.
I greatly admire your design talents anyway and really appreciate the comments you make on my work. I have no real design knowledge, just what I pick up from looking at work that I like.
Thank you for sharing with us in this post, and look forward to seeing more of your talented work.
Jean x

Elaine said...

I think your reflections are really interesting and it is also true for me that sometimes I try to learn theory and it just doesn;t stick and then something else will present the idea in a more digestible way or at just the right moment and things all fall into place in my mind. I think the CAS style is actually incredibly tough to crack, and your examples show how you have absorbed the theory and applied with your usual meticulous style. I especially like the tone on tone elements of these samples and the great use of precise embossed lines too. I have to echo Val's comments, about your comments, you always take time to really look at what has been posted and see detail, colour blends and design elements that really show what an amazing eye for detail you have. If your course can help you approach future card making deadlines with less trepidation that will be brilliant for you. Elaine xxx

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

Ever since we became acquainted through our love of art, I've known that you are very analytical and knowledgeable in the principles of art and design. Your work is consistently amazing. However, I wasn't aware that your precision could stifle your creativity at times, because everything I've seen you produce is so beautiful. I tend to be a perfectionist by nature too. LOL! Anyway, I have found that just "doing it" is usually the best way to deal with it. It's not always easy, especially if I'm feeling tired and overwhelmed. However, music, incense and a soothing drink (glass of wine or tea often do the trick) often help me loosen up when I'm getting ready to create. I also like to use "mistakes" as opportunities to improve my work by adding, deleting, or modifying my original plan. Anyway, I mainly want you to know that your work is always delightful and intriguing. Blessings to your and your husband, my friend!

veronica said...

Don't know why you worry so much Paula - your cards are beautiful! You obviously enjoyed the course, but don't worry too much about design principles, they are only a guide and not concrete rules - just enjoy yourself, and try to relax, sometimes the mistakes are better than the perfect versions

Sally H said...

Stunning cards, Paula, and if this is outside your comfort zone it certainly doesn't show! I love doing CAS as you know, and don't really have any design principles. I think of balance. If you can squint at your card and see roughly more than half is blank card space, then to me it is CAS!

alexandra s.m. said...

Dear Paula,
I love them all and truly appreciate your post and the way you constructed it. As far as I can tell, you have mastered the C&S card making process.
Thank YOu!

Asha said...

Wonderful musings about CAS. It's a style that I struggle to understand. My CAS creations are usually accidental triumphs. Reading through your "homework" makes me feel like I'm cheating on a test ... but I sure am learning a lot. Thanks for sharing!
xxx Asha

maria's knutselplezier said...

Wwo you made a lot of great CAS cards , I love them a lot !!!Thanks for visiting the CB blog and giving some nice remarks about my work!!!

Have a lot of fun making more stamping beauties!!

Have a great weekend!!