Journals & Collaborative Projects

Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous collaborative projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Paper_Traders/

Tutorials & Techniques

Below are some of our favorite tricks for adding depth and dimension to your art.  We hope you have fun giving these a try!

Current Group Swaps & Projects

Below is a list of current swaps and projects available to group members. If you are interested in joining our group and participating in these projects, please visit us at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Paper_Traders/.  

For existing group members, you can sign up to participate  in these projects here: Swaps & Current Projects.  

We look forward to swapping with you.  Happy Arting!

Member Gallery for Group Swaps
 
Below you will find a sampling our members' work from previous group swaps and projects.  Click on images to view them larger. We hope this will inspire you to come and play with us! If you are interested in joining our group, please visit us at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Paper_Traders/.
 
Come play with us... Join today!

Paper Traders is a friendly online community of artists from around the world. We nurture and value creativity, embrace new ideas, products, and techniques yet also value tried and true methods of artistic expression. Our projects consist primarily of paper arts, mixed media collage, artist trading cards, altered art, assemblages, collaborative journals, mail art, and more.

We are interested in creative individuals of varied skill levels who wish to challenge themselves artistically and help build a supportive community. We are at our best when we can share our creative efforts as well as techniques, resources, feedback, and insights. We encourage conversation about art, the art process, and what it means to be an artist.

Paper Traders is hosted on Yahoo Groups at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Paper_Traders/.
We hope you will consider joining us on an artistic journey!

In order to prevent spammers and to insure that all applicants are actual persons interested in creating art, a questionnaire will be sent to all potential members. When applying, please submit digital examples of your work or direct us to a website where we can view your art. The intent of the questionnaire is not to judge the merits of your art but to safeguard the integrity of our community.

Free Images for Download

Below you will find images that are owned by our group members and offered for your personal use as well as images found in the public domain. Images may be freely used in your personal artwork but may not be used for commercial purposes of any kind without written permission of the owner. No images may be used to create collage sheets or image collections for resale.

To download, follow the link provided. In some cases, you may be able to just click on the image to enlarge it, then right-click and select "save image as". Content changes frequently and many images are available for a limited time.  Please check back often for newly posted images to use in your art journey.

Open Art Challenges !

We're changing things up here at Paper Traders. Instead of the monthly challenges of the past, we'll now be hosting special challenges that might feature a specific technique or product and will be rewarded with actual prizes sponsored by our group members.

Our new challenge for 2013 is a year long word prompt journaling project/challenge. Each specific challenge will be open for one month and all art bloggers can participate, whether you are a Paper Traders member or not. Each artist will comment with a link to their blog post that features the artwork for that particular challenge. For each challenge, a winner will be selected whose art best exemplifies the challenge. The winning artist will be featured here and get a "Trader Treasure" blog button to display on their own blog. They also will receive one chance for each entry for the end of the year prize drawing. Watch this page for more details and challenge announcements.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Color Theory Part II


Creating Color Choices
By Debra Claxton

Even though we have many paper resources, often we do not have the exact color we want or need. What determines this need? Well, it often depends on the images we choose for a project. For instance, I was given the interesting lady in red below. To use this image I know I will start with an interesting background - which is probably where we all begin. I try some plain papers…first in complementary colors (green is opposite red on the color wheel). Then I try analogous colors; related colors around the color wheel (red, pink & purple).




I have decided on a green background. Now my issue is: I do not want just a plain background. I know I can paint something myself and add texture. But I can also alter the color of craft paper, and this is what I choose - because I want an interesting vintage pattern to match the lady’s vintage style. I have assembled my paper choices, and now I need to work with choosing the right tone of green.





I don’t have room to store every bottle of green paint from the craft store! So I stock a few, knowing I may need like to change them a little. There are two easy ways to do this. The first is to make the color less brilliant (or less saturated than the original manufacturer’s hue). And the easiest way to do this is to add little bits of the color’s complement to your paint. You can see below how adding drops of green changes red - and what drops of red do to alter green. In equal amount they make a neutral tone.




A second way to alter your paint color is to change the darkness or lightness - its value. This is done using black and white.




Before you begin: tape the paper down so it does not curl, then mix your colors (I use a paper plate or palette paper), and always use a flat soft brush. You may also need to thin the paint with water to be sure the pattern of the craft paper is visible.

Below are my experiments. For samples on the left of the lady in red: I put about a tablespoon of green paint on my plate, then I mixed a tiny bit (think a cookie crumb size) of red into my green - which should make the green change(if it does not - add a tiny bit more red). Then paint a section of your craft paper. Next, add a bit more red to the same green. Mix, & paint more paper. Then do it a third time - resulting in one pile of very dark green paint. For samples on the right of the lady in red: I put 3 separate teaspoons of green on my plate. To one I added white, to another I added a speck of black, and one was left untouched. I used these values to paint three sections of craft paper. I now have a variety of paper pieces to choose from, which gives me more creative choices.




Each hue on the color wheel can be changed in the ways discussed above. Color complements can be used to tone each other down in brilliance (saturation) and black & white change the lightness / darkness (value). You don’t have to spend a lot of money on craft paint in order to have fun with color and use it to your advantage!

Friday, March 13, 2015

New Swap: Tickled Pink Color Challenge ATCs

This project is for Paper Traders members only but we would love to have you join us. Please click on the purple Yahoo button in the sidebar for more information on how to join.


Tickled Pink
(color challenge)

3-for-3 ATCs
Skills Level: 2 - Budding
Sign up by March 31st
Due by April 15th
Hosted by Nikki Smith

Love the color pink?  Come play in the Tickled Pink ATC swap!  The color PINK is fabulous.  This is a color challenge.  Most of each of your cards should be in some shade/tone of pink.  Anything from hot pink, pale pink too bubble gum pink.  Other colors may make an appearance, but should not dominate.  Black & White are always welcomed.  Also - each card should have three layers. This includes the base and extra embellishments. The theme is YOUR CHOICE.  Whatever moves and inspires you!

Please include an address label and $1 for return postage. Bulky cards with 3-D embellishments, please send $2. International participants may send ephemera in lieu of postage. Please mail out by April 15th.

Skill Level 2 - BUDDING: Participants will be open to trying new ideas and materials, without necessarily being competent yet with their applications. Swap Hosts are encouraged to add the requirement of a technique or process such as creating texture, using crackle paint, doing photo transfers, painting with watercolor, etc.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

New Swap: The Little Cinder Girl ATC Swap

This project is for Paper Traders members only but we would love to have you join us. Please click on the purple Yahoo button in the sidebar for more information on how to join.


The Little Cinder Girl
3 for 3 ATCs
Skill Level 3 - Blossoming
Sign up by April 8th
Cards due IN HAND by April 28th
Hosted by Debra Claxton

Let’s celebrate this romantic & timeless tale! The latest film version is opening on March 13th.  This beautiful story of hope and love is found in several written works and myths. You can find a synopsis of two Cinderella tales at this site:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinderella

Your Cinderella-themed ATCs should express your own excitement about one of the story’s many versions. Take this opportunity to be creative and interpretive. But do not use Disney images, or other copyrighted material, please. Instead, try some interesting “magical” paper techniques or share a part of the story that really interests you!  Mice who sew, doves who drop dresses from the trees, fairy godmothers, pumpkin carriages, wicked stepsisters, a prince with one glass slipper, or a clock that chimes at midnight - so much to think about!  For further reference watch the film, “Ever After” starring Drew Barrymore.

Here are a few more visuals to get you started:
https://www.pinterest.com/debclaxton/the-little-cinder-girl/

Please include an address label and $1 for return postage. Bulky cards with 3-D embellishments, please send $2. International participants may send ephemera in lieu of postage, an international stamp, or use PayPal.

Skill Level 3 - BLOSSOMING: Geared toward the artist who is comfortable with most techniques, willing to try new methods and take risks, and include a varied range of techniques and materials, as well as fielding Q&A from group members about their artistic process.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

By The Numbers Art Journaling Challenge "TWO"

This project is for Paper Traders members only but we would love to have you join us. Please click on the purple Yahoo button in the sidebar for more information on how to join.


The second challenge for our monthly art journaling project is to practice your hand-lettering in several fun and interesting ways.

Use hand-lettering methods to write down your thoughts using an idiom for the number "two" as inspiration for your page. You can find a list of idioms here: http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/two. Just pick one that inspires your thought process and journal about it.

Here are 7 Tips for Art Journaling Handwriting by Joanne Sharpe (courtesy of Cloth-Paper-Scissors):
  1. Play around with your own handwriting, creating words and entire alphabets with all the pens or markers on your desk. 
  2. Write several pages of words and alphabets in many styles of letters; all capital, upper- and lowercase, large, small, tall, wide, skinny, and fat. Don't judge, just write pages and pages, sampling your letter flow and creativity. 
  3. Doodle letters with colored markers. Add colorful patterns, swirls, stripes, lines, and dots to embellish the letters.
  4. Look through old magazines and other printed materials to find words and phrases in assorted typefaces and sizes that you find interesting. 
  5. Using assorted markers, color in layers and add words on top of each layer.
  6. Collect brochures or magazine clippings with interesting letter placement and unusual compositions and layouts of text to inspire new ideas and direction for your lettering projects.
  7. Do an Internet search for topics relative to lettering, such as lettering, fonts, typeface, handwriting, letters, alphabets, calligraphy, etc. Use your colorful pens and markers to jot down notes and inspirations in your journal as you come across ideas that "speak" to you.
Here are some places for inspiration and instruction on hand-lettering methods...
https://www.pinterest.com/artbeckons/art-journaling/
http://tmatthewsfineart.blogspot.com/2015/02/first-friday-art-class-for-february.html
http://tmatthewsfineart.blogspot.com/2012/02/first-friday-art-class-february.html

I think the number theme of this project can add a fun element to your pages... you might want to use the respective number prominently in decorating your pages. Don't stop with a simple saying - that's just a prompt to get you started. Let the creativity continue to flow as you journal and decorate your pages.

You have the entire month to complete your pages for this challenge. We won’t be swapping or mailing pages – you will keep the journal you create for your own.

Skill Level 2 - BUDDING - Participants will be open to trying new ideas and materials, without necessarily being competent yet with their applications. Swap Hosts are encouraged to add the requirement of a technique or process such as creating texture, using crackle paint, doing photo transfers, painting with watercolor, etc.

Here are some idioms for "TWO" to get you going...
a two-way street
be in two minds
be like a dog with two tails
be like two peas in a pod
be two of a kind
be two sides of the same coin
cut both ways
for two cents
game that two can play
goody two-shoes
have two left feet
have two pennies to rub together
in two shakes of a lamb's tail
It cuts both ways
It takes two to make a bargain
It takes two to make a quarrel
it takes two to tango
know a trick or two
learn a thing or two
lesser of two evils
No man can serve two masters
no two ways about it
of two minds
rip in half
stand on own two feet
That makes two of us
There are two sides to every question
two can play at that game
Two heads are better than one
two of a kind
Two wrongs do not make a right
two-bit
two-bits
double-edged sword
two-faced
two-time loser
two-timer
two-way street

Don't forget... As a little incentive for this project, the moderators are offering the opportunity to win a prize for participating.

For each challenge in which you participate (there will be a total of 10), you will earn one entry into the random drawing to be held when the project is complete. The more entries you earn, the bigger the potential prize:

1-3 entries = prize value of $5
4-6 entries = prize value of $10
7-9 entries = prize value of $15
10 entries = prize value of $20

One lucky person will win a gift card to their favorite local craft store up to the value for which they qualified.  More participation >> More chances to win >> Bigger potential prize!  Plus... it will be lots of fun, too.

New Swap: Hybrid ATCs - Birds with Human Heads

This project is for Paper Traders members only but we would love to have you join us. Please click on the purple Yahoo button in the sidebar for more information on how to join.


Speed Swap #13
This month's theme: 
Hybrid ATCs – Birds with Human Heads

Sign-up dates: March 1st - March 15th
Partner Mailing list announced March 16th
Skill Level: 1 - Sprouting

For this speed swap, your two ATCs must include the image of a bird with a human head NOT a human body with a bird head.

Inspiration here – Pinterest board
https://www.pinterest.com/asurceelife/hybrid-atcs-bird-people/

Some more good examples here from one of Marion Bockelmann's boards:
https://www.pinterest.com/bockel24/bird-people-swap/

Each month, on the 1st, we will announce a theme or technique for your ATCs. Anyone interested will have until the 15th to sign up. The list will be randomized, announced on the 16th, and you will mail one ATC directly to each of the next two people on the list. A total of two ATCs each month for the speed swaps. You don't have to sign up every month, just when you feel like it or like the theme or have the time.

We'll have brand new creative excitement each month and this will keep postage for each of us to a minimum as long as you don't make bulky ATCs. But of course that will be your choice. It's approximately $1.20 to mail internationally for one ATC in a note card envelope. You must be able to mail internationally to participate in this swap.

New themes will be announced on the 1st of each month.

Skill Level 1 - SPROUTING: Geared toward the artist who has recently begun their journey into mixed media, these swaps are open to all group members, regardless of experience. Participation is the key - caring and sharing in the spirit of friendship and fun. Every artist needs to understand that contributors to these projects can be of any level of artistic experience.

March Freebie: Spring Holidays

It's time for another freebie courtesy of your Paper Traders Moderators. A great big THANK YOU to Connie Holso for preparing this terrific offering for your personal use. Please use the link BELOW the photo to download the high resolution file. Enjoy!
Download Hi-Res Version HERE

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Comfortable with Color

By Debra Claxton
Paper Traders Moderator

Sometimes when I am happily (and mindlessly crafting) I lose awareness of color  as an element of art. I forget that there are “formal” color schemes  that can be applied to my work with awesome results. But I also know that within the “big wide world of color” there is a hitch: color schemes are the result of forced limitation. Using them requires me to eliminate some colors in favor of others. And even though I find it hard to restrict myself - I probably should embrace the color wheel and the theory behind it. Because, when formal color schemes are used effectively, I know they could make my work more exciting and interesting.

So, what are color “schemes”? Basically, they are “tried and true” combinations of colors that work together in a visually pleasing way. You might ask, “Well, isn’t that a little subjective?” The answer is Yes and No. There is a science to our perception of color and there are design courses devoted to visual color theory. But as a crafter, I need to simplify. So, here are a few formal “color schemes” to consider. They are based on the traditional color wheel and are often applied with great success! The subjective part of using color schemes emerges with your personal choice of light/dark and bright/dull; plus the addition of neutrals (gray, tan, brown, black).

Complementary Colors: To begin, look at a 12 part color wheel. Choose a color, (say blue) and travel directly across the wheel/chart (as if dividing it in half). You will see that orange is the opposite color - which is the “complementary” color. Complementary colors make each other look fabulous when they are next to each other in art (For example, if you have a purple image try placing it on a yellow-toned background.) Any two colors across from each other on the wheel are a winning combination (in various tones & shades of the two).
Van Gogh’s painting, Siesta, 1889 shows the use of color complements.

Split Complementary Colors: Choose a first color (say red-violet), and then add the two colors on either side of your first color’s complement. The complement of red-violet is yellow-green. So (along with red-violet) you would use green and yellow, because they are on either side of yellow-green.
Split complementary colors in nature.

Triad Colors: Three colors spaced an equal distance around the color wheel. So, on a wheel of 12 colors each chosen triad has three other colors in-between. Example: Blue-Violet; Yellow-Green; and Red-Orange are triads - a winning combination! All triads are visually effective. 
Basic red, yellow & blue are triads, which have been used in this ATC.

Analogous Colors: This color scheme uses three to four colors that sit next to each other around the outside of the color wheel - like friends sitting around a table. They share a visual likeness and a commonality. Many of the “Blues” cards from our recent ATC swap were analogous because the range of colors on any one card may have included blue-violet, regular blue and blue-green tones.
This postage stamp ATC uses violet, blue-violet, regular blue, and a light blue-green;
so it could be considered an analogous color scheme.

Monochromatic Color: An artwork composed of one color done in various light and dark tones.
sample of a monochromatic scale

So, does every project have to have a color scheme? Must we always think about color in this way? Well, no one can say that you must apply this information to your work, but it is good to know that most professional artists do. The use of color schemes can give your work visual harmony; which leads to visual appeal. So remind yourself as often as possible to make conscious color choices. The following acronym may be a helpful reference when you begin a new project:

C - Choose a color scheme to get started (stray later if needed)

O - Organize your color elements (collect images/papers/trims in your color scheme)

L - Let others inspire you (research images of art in your color scheme & theme)

O - Only add neutrals (gray, tan, brown, black) as extra “colors” in your project

R - Review with a critical eye (before gluing!)

There are many websites that expand on this basic information which can further enhance your experimentation with color. Just don’t forget to remember how important it is to keep COLOR in the forefront of your crafting activities. You can’t break the rules unless you know what they are! But once you do, feel free to break them with purpose and individuality.

Note: Watch for a follow-up to this article that will discuss the value and intensity of color, and how to manipulate paint colors for use in paper crafting.