Layout Breakdown :: To The Edge

I've got a fantastic surprise for you today!!  My Creative Team member Anja aka Tinkelbel agreed to do a tutorial or "layout breakdown" of one of her recent layouts she did.  This was a layout she had started but abandoned for various reasons.  Ever have one of those layouts?  It just wouldn't come together?  I don't often have the patience to save them and come back to them, but Anja did with this one.  I love how it turned out.  I'll let her tell it in her words...

How I Made ‘To the Edge’ by Anja De Dobbelaere

To the edge

So let me tell you how this layout is made! I used the following kits from Jen: Urban 1, Urban 2 and Urban 3, Worth, Vintage, and Bricolage.

I started with an overlay from Jen's Urban 3 kit. Originally it was black and white, but I wanted it to be softer, so I recoloured it.



I went to the Layer Style menu (just double click on the layer, that’s the easiest way) and checked the ‘Color Overlay’ box. I happened to have some sort of brownish colour in my swatches and thought that would do. I didn’t just put a new colour on it, but I changed the blend mode of that color overlay as well, I set it to ‘Linear Dodge (Add)’, as you can see. Why I did that, I have no answer to that, I thought it looked nice. Just play and experiment!



Next layer is a paper from Jen's Urban 3 kit. I set the blend mode to ‘Difference’ and see how that changes the entire design already!



Just a note: my page is 8,5 x 11 inches, so when I place the papers from Jen they will automatically adjust to the width of 8,5 inches and scale down to 70%, but I scaled them up to 100% anyway. The overlay I used in layer 1 is even larger, I scaled it up to 118,03 %.



Next I placed another paper from Jen's Urban 3 and set the blend mode to ‘Soft Light’. This paper was resized to 93,33%




Another paper, this one is from Urban 4. I set the blend mode of this one to ‘Linear Burn’. This is starting to look like my page, doesn’t it? But we’re not there yet!



I’m done with my papers, now I’ll add brushes and details to give depth to the page! But let’s add some light, because the page is quite dark now.

I picked a light from Jen's Urban 2 {Light}. But because I didn’t want it to be too bright, I changed the order of the layers and put the light layer underneath the blue paper as you can see in my layer menu. I set the blend mode to ‘Linear Dodge (Add)’. The light is now showing, but not too harsh.




I wanted more light…this time I added a light from Jen's kit Worth {Light}. I placed that light on top of the blue paper and set the blend mode to ‘Overlay’. This is how it looks:




Now let’s add some brushes for details. I started with this cluster from Jen's Urban 3 kit and set the blend mode to ‘Hard Light’.




And another cluster from the same kit, with the blend mode set to ‘Hard Light’. But I flipped it 90° clockwise.



You might ask yourself why the page is still quite dark, well that will all become clear soon!

More brushes! A brush from Jen's Urban 3 kit.


With the blend mode to ‘Normal’ it looks like this:


But that is too hard for me, so I put it to ‘Overlay’. Now it’s a subtle texture.



Next brush is from Urban 3 as well! I put the blend mode to ‘Hard light’ and flipped it 90° clockwise.



So we are not there yet of course. The page is still quite dark and it needs just a few more touches. What I did was go back to the first layer and lower the opacity to 64%.



That is already much better don’t you think? But still too dark I think. So let’s add some more light. This light is from Jen's new kit Bricolage 101. I placed it on top of all the other layers and set the blend mode to ‘Soft light’.




We are getting there! I added more light from Jen's Urban 1 kit on top of the light from Bricolage 101. I set the blend mode to ‘Linear Dodge (Add)’ and moved it to the right edge.




Just a few more touches now! The dark rays from the paper on layer 1 were too present, so I thought I’d mask out a part of it. I added a layer mask to layer 1 and I used a large brush to erase a part. When erasing, lower the opacity of the brush as well, to do it gradually. I often set the opacity of the brush to 50% Now that looks MUCH better! You could of course also use the eraser tool, but I never do that, simply because you would no longer be able to edit your changes. By using a layer mask, I work non-destructively, leaving me full options to either undo the change or paint back things I didn’t want to erase.



Now just a few more details! I added a brush from Jen's Urban 2 kit.



But I didn’t want to just slap it on the page, I wanted to add some perspective. So I used the Perspective tool in combination with the Distort tool and the Scale tool (Edit > Transform > Perspective, Distort or Scale) to make it look like this:


Now it seems to go towards the middle! I made a copy of the layer and flipped it horizontally (Edit > Transform > Flip Horizontally) and moved it towards the middle to make it look as if it was one brush with the other layer. Just a detail, but sometimes details make the difference!!!


I placed those two layers right on top of the first layer because they would look more subtle! I can do that because the papers I used for the basis are all transparent in some way (because I lowered the opacity or because I used a blend mode).

To emphasize the feeling of perspective I added one Jens overlays from Urban 3.




I transformed it like I did with the other brush, using a combination of the Perspective, Distort and Scale tool (Edit > Transform >).


It now looks like this:


Notice how I placed this brush on top of the light from Jen's ‘Worth’ kit. I set the blend mode to ‘Linear Dodge (Add)’.

One last detail: a light from Jen's Vintage kit to enhance the feel of perspective even more. I transformed it like I did with the other brushes: a combination from Perspective, Distort and Scale! And there you have it!



Oh, just one more thing! I added a quote too. So this is the final result:


Should you feel overwhelmed by this tutorial, don’t! Know that in the end it’s all a game of trial and error and I don’t know always know where I’m going. But that is what I like about these types of layouts… the surprising end I always achieve. Also, I don’t always know what layer I’m going to put above another… I constantly move layers while I’m working on a layout… Or I play with the opacities and blend modes… Just remember: don’t be afraid to experiment and have fun!


2 Responses

  1. Fun tutorial. It is great to watch art unfold. This is a style that I admire and have not used often, so thank you for the chance to be a fly on the wall.
  2. Ann
    I love that layout (and all of Jen's artwork, as well). It was terrific to be able to read your tutorial and follow along. Thanks!