I Just Love You – a Second Look

This past week I shared a sweet-and-simple card that I was very proud to share. The card was designed for the sketch over at the CAS(E) This Sketch challenge. The card I shared, though, was a “second draft” of the original card. Today I’m going to share my first draft and talk you through some of the design decisions I made while making this card and some of the changes I made to the original card.

Let’s start with the sketch this week (you’ve already seen in here because you read my blog every day, which I totally appreciate). Here’s the sketch for this week’s challenge that inspired my card:

CTS257I love Michele’s sketch and knew that I wanted to fill the space above the sentiment with an explosion of happy hearts (thanks, Heart Happiness). I also knew I’d use the “I Just Love You” sentiment and die from the Petal Passion bundle. Yay! I love aqua and red together, so I knew I’d focus on those colors on my card.

Over the weekend, I finished my card and uploaded it to the CAS(E) This Sketch design team blog – I was done. Yay! Here’s the card I uploaded:

Petal Palette, Heart Happiness, Stampin' Up!, Brian King, Valentine's Day cardNot terrible. I was half-happy with it but couldn’t pinpoint what needed to change. Again, though, I was done so I let it go. Overnight, though, I tossed and turned, trying to figure out how I needed to change this card. Perhaps I needed to change the base of the card to Crumb Cake – would that tone down the clash of the Real Red and Bermuda Bay? Maybe, but there was still something missing.

Here’s what I didn’t like about my card:

  • There was an emptiness in the space above the sentiment – just a bunch of hearts. Perhaps I could add more hearts in different colors? Perhaps I could add a branch of leaves or a flower in the splash of hearts?
  • I felt like there was too much red. Perhaps I could add a third color to tone down the red? Perhaps I could change the base of the card to tone down the red.

In the end I filled the emptiness with another big heart. Oddly, the heart added MORE red, but it seemed to work. I snipped the sentiment off (just slid my scissors under the panel and snipped the Stampin’ Dimensionals in half) and added a new one stamped in black. The addition of black made all the difference in the world. Here’s a look at the finished card:

Petal Palette, Heart Happiness, Stampin' Up!, Brian King, Valentine's Day cardThose two changes made all the difference in the world, don’t you think? I went from “content” with my card to “happy” with my card. 🙂 Here’s a graphic to show these cards side-by-side, along with the simple changes I made to upgrade the card:

Two Small Changes Make a Big Difference, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingWhat do you think? Do you think these small changes made a difference between the first draft of the card and the second draft of the card? It’s the exact same card without these two changes – and I love the difference.

Bundle: Sure Do Love You Bundle, Petal Palette Bundle Stamp Sets: Sure Do Love You, Heart Happiness, Petal Palette Papers: Real Red, Bermuda Bay, Whisper White, Thick Whisper White Inks: Real Red, Archival Basic Black Accessories: Shimmer Ribbon Pack (Sale-a-Bration), Lots to Love Box Framelits Dies, Petals & More Thinlits Dies, Stampin’ Dimensionals

I hope it’s helpful to see my design process. I hope you’ll pop over to the CAS(E) This Sketch site to see the cards by the design team members and to play along with this week’s challenge.

Thanks for stopping by today!


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  1. You nailed it. I thought I loved the first card also, but truly, the changes you made shown on the second card are perfect. Go figure.

  2. The heart really zeroed in as a focal point and was the perfect complement to the heart background.

  3. Wow! Those two simple changes made a huge difference. It’s beautiful!!

  4. The added heart and change of color for the sentiment made all the difference. You now have an element our eyes focus on, and the smaller red hearts blend into the background. Thanks for your notes on your thought process.

    • I’m so happy to share, Stella! It’s rare that I get photos of the “before” of a card – glad I had these to show the difference. Glad you like it! Thanks for your comment.

  5. What a difference between the two. Yes, the second one is more appealing to the eye with the larger heart as a focal point. The black sentiment is perfect to bring attention to it and the small hearts become a background. I love how you shared this. Makes me think about design which is so critical in a successful project.

  6. Love seeing the ‘before’ and ‘after’! Gives us a peek into your thought process – not even. scary!

    • If you were to get a FULL peek inside my brain, it would be scary, Dianne. I only let you see this little part – not scary. 🙂 Thanks for all of your wonderful comments! <3

  7. I really appreciate these mini-redesign tutorials from you. They help me think more clearly about the decisions that I make while creating. When I’m not happy with how a card is turning out, I often feel like I’m just flying by the seat of my pants and hoping something works out. This was great. Thank you, Mr. King ; )

    • Thanks so much, LaVae! I receive wonderful feedback when I share projects like this and hope to do it more – I just have to stop getting it all right the first time. 🙂 (that was a joke!) 🙂 I’m so glad you like it! <3

  8. WhenI look at a card, I think of “warm” and “cold”.

    Your card on the left is cold to me,but the card on the right is warm. The one on the left doesn’t “talk” to me, but the one on the right does.
    Does that make sense?

    • It totally makes sense, Kathy! I think that’s what (literally) kept me up at night. It didn’t have warmth or heart (despite being filled with hearts). Thanks for your comments!

  9. Thanks for sharing both cards. I appreciate seeing how a couple of small elements make such a difference. I like how the black ink seemed to ground the design. It is a sweet card.

    • Thanks, Robyn! I learned the “just add a touch of black” tip from Lydia Fiedler. I come back to it all the time – when the colors don’t work, black can be a grounding force. Thanks for your comments!

  10. I guess I’m just not artistic enough because I love them both equally.

  11. Glad I’m not the only that adds to a design after sleeping on it or walks away from it for awhile!!! Absolutely love the two changes you made, Brian, as it’s more “finished”… the addition of the big heart is like it’s pounding with the little hearts coming from it… and the black sentiment definitely grounded it. No wonder you were so proud to post it! ?

  12. The recipient of either card would love it, but with them side-by-side, the do-over card really pops! Another thing I like about your blog is your honesty in how your creative mind works. When I’m making a card, it makes me think about what changes could I add, if any, to really make it pop. Then I say to myself, “that’s what Brian does”! LOL!! Have a great weekend.

    • Yay! We are twins, HJ! It’s not often I get to showcase the “first draft” because it gets changed or scrapped before I get to the “final version.” Glad I had this one and could share all of my thoughts (because everyone wants to listen to all of my thoughts..). <3

  13. I know lots have said it above, but I, too, truly enjoyed seeing both cards and seeing what a difference the two little changes made. The second one looks so much more “finished”to me! Great post!

  14. Brian, how would you describe the phrase “ the Black sentiment grounds it”? Just curious.

    • Black and white, along with many neutrals, help to soften the impact of color. The introduction of the black ink adds an element that pulls in all the color on the rest of the card, grounding the vibrancy of the card. That’s just how I see it.

  15. Really love your second card. As I kept looking at it, I realized, in my head anyway, that the different sizes of the items is what makes it work. Small hearts then one big one. This should help me when I try to design a card. Thank you for sharing both creations to help us learn, Brian.

  16. Hi, Brian. There was nothing wrong with the first one but I like the second one much better. With the first one, I was wishing for just one or three tiny hearts below the sentiment, to have something in the white space. The bottom of the heart, in version 2, is the perfect addition – just a bit extending below the sentiment is sufficient to break up that section of white. I would have no problem sending either but the second is my favorite. I received the DSP samples today. Thanks so very much. You seem a master at showing me that things I never considered really are worth a second look. Yes, I know. I need to step out of my comfort box. I have also learned that I am going to have go buy to packs of every DSP I like so I have enough of both sides. As wonderful as all the papers are, Fresh Florals remain my very favorite of all and I wish it came in every SU color. Have a great weekend. It’s kind of crazy here with Eagles fever. I heard today that someone put a Tom Brady jersey on our much beloved Rocky statue. Shameful! My friend in St. Paul cannot wait for “Philly” to go home!

    • Thanks for your comments, Nancy! I agree about breaking the space below the sentiment, too. The large heart helped me so much. You must be so happy this morning – good day for your Eagles. 🙂

  17. Brian that was fun, seeing how your mind works. The added large heart I could see in my mind, but I’m surprised at how different the black ink made it stand out more. Great job

  18. Brian, it was like you had a card Groundhog Day, with a better outcome! Bill Murray would be proud! Love the changes, TFS?

  19. Brian, your second try definitely adds to your design. It gave it the little dimension that was missing.

  20. Both cards are great Brian but when I do look at them side-by-side I see exactly what you mean. I love the fact that the larger heart breaks up all those tiny ones, and changing the sentiment from red to black really makes the hearts pop. I do not think that I would have noticed that but you always do a great job at tweaking things to make them look absolutely perfect

  21. Pingback: I Just Love You – STAMP WITH BRIAN

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