Thursday, March 14, 2013

Guestbook Attempt Numero Dos (Success)

 Last week I showed you how my first attempt at a cute "guestbook" was not my last:

It wasn't a total fail, but 'eh'... I just wasn't feeling it.

I did manage to salvage my little paper cut-out bride and groom, to use on this attempt:

I hope we are as cute in real life as we are in cartoon form!

Here is what my final attempt looks like:


I'm insanely happy with how this one turned out. It's simple and cute and colorful... exactly what I had pictured in my head.

I plan on hanging it in the nursery of my future child.  It's the only way my fiance and I can actually see ourselves hanging our "guestbook" anywhere. We're really not the "lets hang up a huge picture of ourselves over the mantel" type of people.

This way little cartoon versions of us can stare at our future child... all night.... every night..... EV-RY NIGHT!!!! 


Okay, onto how I actually made this thing.

What You'll Need:


A Frame: I used a 14 x 17 in frame


Vellum Paper: I used 14 x 17  again. Just make sure it fits whatever frame you are using or cut it down to size.



Colored Pencils: I use Prismacolors. They are a bit pricey but they are softer and have more pigment than many others so they give a richer brighter finish.


A Regular Drawing Pencil


Permanent Double-sided Tape

Scrap Paper: Use for any pre-doodles and to protect your work from your hand smudging if necessary. (I'll talk about this in more detail later)


Spray Matte Fixative




Important Note: I made little paper cut-out versions of my bride and groom, and I cut out my balloons to tape them onto another piece of paper. This sounds like a lot of work, but I like the textured look of the layered paper. You DO NOT have to do this. You can very easily just draw everything out onto the same sheet of paper. 

If you aren't great at drawing people or don't really want to you can search for free clip-art of couples and just use that!  


The first thing I did was on one of my scratch pieces of paper, I sketched out how I wanted the whole thing to look.

Then I put my little paper cut-out couple on the large piece of vellum to get the sizing right, and sketched a faint circle where the balloons would go.  Then I started drawing the balloons in. Try not to sketch the balloons in TOO dark. You'll find out why in a minute.

Once the balloons are sketched in, you'll want to erase them. Ha! Yeah, I know... bear with me. You won't erase them completely, but you'll want to erase them until you can only see faint lines.

Side Note: This is a good overall "colored pencil tip". If you are wanting to color a pencil sketch with colored pencil, before you actually start coloring, you should erase the lines until they are very faint (but still visible). This way your pencil lines won't show through the colored pencil. /sidenote

This is how faint my lines were after I erased them.

Now we can move onto actually coloring them.  I was going for a gradient effect from purple to light blue. This required me to layer the colored pencil as I go. The trick with colored pencils (that works for me) is to shade lightly (don't push down very hard) and to layer the colors on top of each other.

There is a term called "wax bloom" and it is when you have layered so much colored pencil that it won't take anymore color and your drawing will have a white waxy haze to it.

The key to avoiding wax bloom is to not press down too hard in the beginning. There are a lot of other techniques for avoiding/getting rid of wax bloom but I won't touch on those today.

You can see here that I lightly shaded in some purple and then lightly layered some fuchsia over it to create the gradient effect.

I continued shading upwards.  This is where you would use the other scrap paper to protect your coloring. You would put the paper between the vellum and your hand/arm so you won't smear or smudge what you have already colored. You can also work from the top down to help avoid smudging.

Aaaaaand they're shaded!! Woohoo!!  This is where, if you didn't want to cut out the balloons, you could just draw in a few strings from her hand to the closest balloons and a horizon line and then tape the couple down and you are done! All you'd have to do is spray it with some matte fixative and pop in a glass-less frame and it's ready to be signed by your guests with sharpies!

However, I wanted to cut out my balloons and tape them in the exact same design on a different piece of paper.  Yes, it looks the exact same... only my balloons are raised. Yeah, I'm aware that sounds really pointless, but what can I say? I'm a glutton for punishment! :)

If you are cutting the balloons out you will want to spray it with some matte fixative and let it dry before you start cutting. This way you won't smudge anything as you are cutting them out.

I cut each balloon out and then used the initial vellum as a guide on exactly where to put them. I simply put a small piece of double-sided tape on and stuck them down.  Continue until all the balloons are taped down:

Here it is all finished! You can see I sketched in a few strings from my hand to the few base balloons and I drew in a horizon line. 

Now just pop it in a glass-less frame and you are ready to sign that bad boy. 

I hope you found this helpful!

What are your favorite guestbook ideas?

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