Hi all!

Today I’m starting a new Friday Focus miniseries on inspiration. I’m calling it Inspiration Everywhere. :)

Where do you find inspiration?

One of the questions I receive the most is, “Where do you find inspiration for all the cards you make?” That’s a good question! And it’s also sort of hard to answer because I really find inspiration everywhere. Being a very visual person means that I’m constantly looking at things around me with an artistic eye. So each week I’ll be sharing with you one of the places I find inspiration for cardmaking.

Week One: Papercrafting Products

When I first started out scrapbooking and making cards, I just loved playing with the paper and the other products. I was most inspired by the actual product. Anything from the colors of some patterned paper influencing the color palette on my scrapbook page, to the shape of a stamp inspiring the shape of a card. It all stemmed from products I was seeing and using everyday.

It also helps that I’ve been working full time in the papercrafting industry since 2005–I’m surrounded by fun products! :)

Using Stampin’ Up! Ink on clear stamps

One thing that I show in the video below that I wanted to note here is that I used Stampin’ Up! Classic Ink on a clear stamp. I ended up lightly sanding the surface of the stamp to get the stamp a bit more “grab” so it would hold the ink better. You can also rub a pencil eraser over the clear stamp. That seems to help, too. :)

And now, I’m going to step up on my soap box for a moment… Please bear with me. :)

Using other cards as inspiration

This is a sticky topic and can be misunderstood easily. For this reason, I have edited the original part of this post. I hope this is more clear…

It’s worth noting here as we head into inspiration sources, that looking at cards on the internet can be a great wealth of inspiration. There are so many awesome cards out there! And like you, I am constantly amazed at what people are creating. :)

Personal use vs. for-profit

Generally speaking, using another person’s art or card as inspiration in your personal crafting is A-OK. If it’s for your personal use, you can do most anything you want. :) For example, you might duplicate someone’s card in order to learn a new technique. That’s a great example of personal use. :)

Where it gets a bit sticky is when you want to sell that card or submit it for publication. When you sell something you’ve made, it is best to make sure that your work is very different from your source of inspiration. If making a card puts money in your pocket (or supplies on your craft table as a form of payment), it’s better if it’s entirely of your own creation or vastly different from the original source. That’s just a general rule of thumb.

What we need to answer for ourselves (and perhaps start a dialogue about) is this: When it is “inspired by”, and when is it is a copy? Sometimes it’s hard to tell.

For me, I answer this question by imagining placing my card next to the original inspiration. If another person who was familiar with the original inspiration saw my card and thought, “Hmm… that looks a lot like _____,” then it’s too close. If they wouldn’t think that, then I’m okay.

In the video below I go over some tips to make sure your cards look different from your inspiration. So be sure to watch it for more info.

Good internet etiquette when it comes to cards as inspiration

When we use another person’s work as inspiration for our cards, and share it online, it is best to note where the inspiration came from. This can be as simple as, “I saw this awesome card by ____, and was inspired to create this card. Be sure to check out her card!” We cardmakers are a happy bunch and we love to share our ideas. Pay it forward by sending your online friends to online sources where you get inspired! :)

What about my cards?

Every once in a while, I’ll receive an email asking if someone can use my cards as inspiration. Absolutely! If you’re finding inspiration in my cards, thank you! You are more than welcome to use them as inspiration for your personal crafting. I just ask that if you plan to sell your cards, etc, that you make sure your card is different and your own creation. Thanks! :)

And on to the card!

Watch video below | Watch at YouTube

NOTE: If you want to skip all the talking at the beginning, skip to around the 6:00 minute mark. :)