Sunday, July 24, 2011

My new "The Village Greetings" facebook page.

Here's a link to my new facebook page for my greeting card store, The Village Greetings. Please check it out and if you like, you can LIKE it!

My new facebook page for The Village Greetings

Thanks, John

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Guest Blog from Artist: Michele B. Naquaiya of Naquaiya's Cards

As part of Greeting Card Universe Community Blog, some artists participate in the blog challenges coordinated by Corrie Kuipers of GCU. We are joining in the game and Michele and I are appearing on each other's blogs. It's a great chance for us to get the word out on what we do and how we do it. I asked Michele if she would share how she works with the traditional method of scratchboard.

You can read my contribution on her blog:

Take it away Michele!

A little about How I draw in

Thank you John for inviting me to talk about scratchboard on your
blog. When you say scratchboard, or as they do in the UK,
scraperboard, a lot of people go back in time to their school days. I
know that you also mentioned this as the first thing that came to your
mind. Back then if kids were lucky enough, they got to draw pictures
through black coated paper with colorful foil underneath peeping
through where they scratched. What fun! Well, times have changed.
Although the fun is the same, there's more of it now and with a lot of
variety and tools for the modern designer. Now there is professional
scratchboard made on masonite, which is what I use.
The masonite panel comes in a lot of sizes, is coated with kaolin clay
and then sprayed with black ink. When I start to draw, it’s on a
completely black surface. Drawing is done by scratching or etching or
engraving away (whatever you like to call it) with sharp tools. One of
the simplest of tools is my favorite, and that is a craft blade like a
common Exacto craft blade.

Here’s a popular card of mine done in
several languages, this one is a German Birthday Card.

Scratchboard was originally used mostly for advertising and
illustration beginning in the 1930's because tonal values could be
achieved without color. That is to say, the artist could create high
drama with just black and white and by including many shades of
grey, he could give an optical illusion of depth of field. Scraping
through the black, if he made the lines farther apart, it was a darker
grey; closer together meant a lighter grey, which revealed more
white. So with only two values--black and white, tonal values were
achieved by creating a lot of variation in between. It became an instant
success with magazine and book publishers.

This is a rough little sketch. If I wanted to color it, I would use
acrylics to fill in the white spaces with color.
You can achieve many textures as by observing and duplicating
animal fur, reptile skins, tree barks, or other natural forms. it is really fun to draw this way.
A card for the Garlic Lover.

beautiful thoughts on Mother's Day, window view of river Greeting Card

This card shows how adding color changes everything and the many
layers of scratching involved.

If you think it is just a pen and ink drawing in reverse, it is not.
Simply inverting a pen and ink art will not give you a scratchboard
feel or look. Since this is a labor-intensive way of producing a
drawing, it’s not a practical way to produce greeting cards in volume.
But I have found that by playing around with small 5”x7” panels, I
can make drawings quickly.

You can successfully color with digital tools and I use Photoshop CS5.
In this program, you can also make scratchboard drawings by
starting with a black layer and on another layer, either use an eraser
brush or white paintbrush. So there are a lot of possibilities.
For the large originals, I color them with acrylics and various
glazing techniques. Coloring scratchboards is a long and tedious
process because by adding color, you instantly create a new tonal
value. Often it means re-scratching to build up the depth that you lost
by adding color. Usually, that requires the addition of more color. It
can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to finish a piece.
But obviously, that is another animal. I have a lot of scratchboard
cards on GCU and sometimes I think people don't know what they are
looking at. They are not sure what it is. Hopefully this article will help people
enjoy it more.

Thanks for the invitation to talk about what I love to do.

You can learn more by following these links on EBSQ.
View comprehensive demonstrations I've done live on EBSQ:

Scratchboard How-To Methods

How to color scratchboards

Thank you Michele for all the great information on scratchboard!
You really have some beautiful images and great card designs!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Can't sleep, up doodling!

Some late night doodles...

Monday, July 4, 2011

I was always a dog person... That is, until I got to know Kitty a little better!

Cat's were an acquired taste for me. I can't say I hated them growing up but, we just never had one in our family. We always had dogs in our house. When my wife and I got together, we took her family cat into our family and our first apartment together. I was skeptical about the idea but, okay I thought, this will work out fine. Soon, I found out that this cat HATED me! The first night it sat in the hallway and every time I got up to use the restroom it would growl this ungodly sound as it's hair stood straight up on it's back. I couldn't get past the glowing green eyes of this devil cat and I had to pee! I would have to call down the hall to my wife: "can you come and get YOUR cat PLEASE!". This went on for over a week, but in time I started to win over the cat and it won over me. After a year or so, my wife's cat had become our cat and in time she became MY cat also. I really think Kitty ended up liking me more than she liked my wife! She slept by my head and set in my lap for hours at a time. I have to say I loved that cat. She died of cancer after being in our family for many years and I was very sad to lose her.

Our next cat was Nikki. I picked her out and even named her. Not long after that, my wife got Fozzie. They were our two cats thru my college years. We lost our Fozzie to a blood clot at a very young age, it was a VERY sad time for us! Our Nikki was with us for over 14 years and was a great cat. She developed kidney problems and one day just stopped eating. Another very SAD day for us.

We currently have three cats: Jake, Maisey, and Lucy. All were strays that we rescued. All are black cats, and all are great cats! I think three cats are more than we need but, I couldn't give up any of them now that I know them. I have become a cat person over all these years, and even though I found out recently that I'm allergic to cats (along with nearly every other substance known to man!) I will probably always have cats. Don't get me wrong, I still love dogs but, I actually prefer cats over dogs now!

Here are a few of my cards from GCU that have cat themes or characters on the front image. I hope you all enjoy them! (click on the images of the cat cards below for a link to my card shop)