playing with bits one byte at a time

Just Art Challenge

Have you ever tried out theStudio’s Just Art Challenge hosted each month by Robyn? If not, you definitely need to give it a go. The great thing about this challenge is there aren’t any real rules; however, it’s meant to introduce you to Art Journaling or at least challenge you to do something beyond traditional scrapbooking. You are typically given a theme or a prompt along with some “tools” to work with. As it turns out, Robyn is on holiday so I’m hosting the challenge for January.

The prompt I gave this month was a quote …

“Art is when you hear a knocking from your soul and you answer.” Star Richés

… and I asked them to show me what it means to them. Then I provided 2 of my CU products for them to work with. For the individuals that had participated at least once since September 1st, I sent a coupon for them to get the products for free. To accommodate others, I have put the products on sale for 50% off for the month of January … but anybody is welcome to purchase them. The products are samplers of my Brushes and Journal Papers.folder


I then did a layout to show as an example. I used several brushes and 2 of the papers from the products above along with one of my favorite photos by Lisa Runnels.


I also promised a quick tutorial on how I made it in the hopes of giving folks some ideas or even to help others to make the leap into non-traditional scrapping.

I started of by using paper 6 from the Paper Sampler.


I then used brush 1 and 2 from the Brushes Sampler to create a mask (or blender).


I then added my photo and clipped it to the mask.


Using a soft edge eraser, I erased around the edges of the photo to soften them.


Not liking the harshness of the black that was showing (from the mask), I added a paper (paper 5 from the sampler) between my photo and my mask making sure all 3 were still clipped to the mask. I moved it around until I got the colors I liked, then adjusted the opacity of the photo (64%).


To blend things even further, I used brush 9 from the sampler and made 2 stamps using colors from the background (top one is blue and bottom one is green). I’m showing them in red so you can actually see where they are.


I then decided I wanted her to be looking at something, so I added a butterfly. It’s from he{art} journaling’s Fly Away Butterfly Butterflies pack. I then adjusted the opacity down to 46%.


I wanted to give this layout a sense of magic, so I added some sparkles from he{art} journaling’s Winter Dreams Fairy Dust (dust1a and dust5a) and placed them beneath the mask. Once again, I’m showing them in red so you can see where they are.


I had put the fairy dust on layers beneath for photo because they were meant to be subtle, but I didn’t like how the bottom one got cut off by the mask. To take care of that, I duplicated the layer and sandwiched it between the photo and paper in my layer mask stack, then erased what I didn’t want (things are still red so you can see where they are).


I decided the white of the bottom fairy dust was too harsh, so I colored it a very light blue pulled from the background and adjusted it’s opacity to 83%.


All that was left was adding my quote using the font American Typewriter.


Below is what my layer stack looks like. For the layers where I adjusted the opacity, I have listed what it is.


Guess this wasn’t so short after all, but hopefully it gives you some incentive to try something like it on your own. Please feel free to leave any questions or comments in the comment box below or just email me using my contact form.




  1. Wow, that is quite a process! Thanks for showing all the steps so I can better understand how and why you made the adjustments that you did. Cool!

    • You make a really good point, Steph. Knowing the why is often more valuable than the how. I will definitely try to keep this in mind for future tutorials!!!

  2. Outstanding deconstruction of your uplifting artsy journaling layout page. Love those gorgeous papers with that exquisite brush work and color mix. Thank you for the discount.

    • I have been quite remiss in doing these kinds of tutorials and have made a resolution to be better in the coming year. I do hope you try the challenge so I can see what you’ve been able to do with these “tools” …


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