Anatomy of a Card: My Mixed Media Process

This week, I finished my card-making commission!  I could show you all 21 cards, but instead,  I took progress pictures of one, thinking it might be fun to see the process.  Possibly I’m wrong, and it won’t be fun.  Possibly these pictures will make your eyes fall out and roll around on the table like gymnasts gone wild.  I CANNOT PREDICT THESE THINGS.  Okay, not legally, at least.  My degree in prognostication expired last month.

I’ve added comments to the pics, because I don’t know about your process, but my process involves stops and starts and ideas that seem really good at first, like having sex on the kitchen floor, but then they go bad, like when you’re having sex on the kitchen floor and you accidentally turn your head and see all the horrifying crap that’s under the oven.  IT’S ALIVE!  Or at the very least, it’s watching you have sex on the kitchen floor.

Okay anyway, this is kind of what it sounds like in my head while I work, except there is at least 49 per cent more swearing and no one has sex.


4064 Starting Workspace

Starting concept:  Little bird.  As in, “a little bird told us.”  Everyone likes birds, right?  Admittedly, I haven’t met all the people on earth, but I have never heard anyone say, “I fucking hate birds.”  I have heard people say they hate ice cream.  But  they were mostly Communists.

4065 Paper Down

Hey, I wonder if now’s the time to use that card with the blue polka-dotted paper in the corner that I rejected for my last card?  This paper looks good with blue!

4067 Arrow paper

My focal point is going to be small – because that’s how little birds roll – so maybe I’ll do an arrow element to direct the eye to the focal point.


4068 Arrow on

Like that, yo.

Arrow too big for focal point

Ruh-roh!  Now the little bird is too little!  Good thing I have two other bird stamps.

4068-5 Bad Tree Stamp

Oh boy.  I wanted the brown so I could have a warm color playing off of the cool color palette, but this just looks drab and awful.   (Five minutes of stubborn attempts to make the brown work.  Okay,, 10.)  FINE.  I have been defeated by a decorative paper.  Brown is out.

4069 Better bird stamp on green paper

Oooooh!  This new green makes an excellent backdrop for my other OTHER bird stamp!  Except now the new green is fighting with old green.  Dammit!  Stop this bellicosity!

4070 Better match for green paper

Hey, this has enough yellow in it to play nicely with the new green!  PLAY DATE!

4071 Green bird on new background paper

So lovely.  What next?

4072 Scalloped border

A hint of a border, perhaps? Asymmetrical? And with a scalloped edge to repeat the circles of the background paper? Yes, please!

4073 Grey Elements

Speaking of circles, let’s have more!  Like these!   They need to be better integrated into the color scheme, though.  And they could probably be used to marry the warms and the cools.

4074 Color Gray Elements

Marker magic.

4075 With Gray elements

Now for text?

4076 Final

And . . . card!



  1. Daryn

    First of all, you haven't met my mother. If she'd use the word, she'd say "I fucking hate birds". Second, you are awesome! Thanks for the insight into your process. I truly enjoy you and your work!

  2. Connie

    Dear Ann,
    This is a love note. You are amazing and smart and so very creative. Reading your posts on Facebook and your Wonderstrange musings (even on mostly wordless Wednesday) is oft times the highlight of my day. You are one of my best friends that I've never met. And….I fucking love birds….and have always wanted to come back in the next life as a bird except not a robin because then I would have to eat worms and ewwwww.

    • Connie, I don't care if I have said this 300 times: I totally adore you! I really, truly don't ever want you to have to eat worms. Please be a bird who eats something better, like fish, or maybe a nice vegetable sandwich with zippy cheese. Thanks for saying such very lovely things. You are a fabulous human being – and I am so excited that you're going to join in for the Halloween-a-thon! Like seriously. SO EXCITED!

  3. I almost had to back out of this thread for lack of oxygen due to all the virtual smooching in here! Holy cow. But that would be silly. I can hold my breath long enough to comment. You were right, it IS SUPER FUN to see all the progress pics! I'm not going to do any smooching (to everyone's relief) but I must agree you are hilarious and darn cool. Also, that green marker looks suspiciously like my YG93 but I don't think it is that, so do you recall which it is? I'm just too damn curious.

    • LOL. After being up all night on Thursday with a big day ahead of me, I posted on FB asking for some love notes on my blog to keep me going. That's why there's so much smooching. 🙂

      I think that was YG95 (?). And I'm glad you had fun with the progress pics!

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