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:

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:  

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:
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
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, 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.

1 comment:

Jo Murray said...

We DO forget the basics quite often.. Great post!