Art Series - Post #11 - Alternative Wedding Guestbook

Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Hi, Guys! I haven’t done an Art Series post in what seems like forever! It’s been way too long, that’s for sure, and that makes me a little sad. I always feel like I’m struggling to find time to do my art, and that’s not good because it really is one of the loves of my life!

In this Art Series post I’m sharing with you something a little different. When my friend, Carrie, began planning her wedding, she asked me if I would come up with something as an alternative guestbook for her, and, of course, I said of course! So if you go ahead and scroll/read through this post you’ll be able to see my process from beginning to end in getting their guestbook done.

 As with any of my art projects I start by brainstorming ideas. Carrie gave me a few ideas of guestbooks that she liked, and I took those into account as well, along with the fact that their theme was boho chic – they are both lovers of nature so that theme was just very them! We started with an idea of having a young boy and girl blowing bubbles toward each other, which then floated into the space surrounding them, and those would be the spaces for people to sign in. Along the way the idea of the cutesy boy and girl was pushed to the side, and this idea came to me of a man and woman standing in nature, with the wind swirling around them as they embrace, and they are just there with each other and that’s all that matters in that moment – so mushy, right? So I began to get some sketches together for that.


The other part of my idea was that the woman (bride) would be lazily holding a bouquet of flowers and the wind would be blowing the bouquet apart and into the air, the flowers swirling behind them. I knew that her holding balloons would also work, and I couldn’t decide which would be better, but given the theme of the wedding, and the personalities of the Bride and Groom, the flowers appealed to me and kept sticking in my head. So in order the test both options, I drew and optional bouquet that I could just place over top pf my layered components to test them. I drew all of my pieces on tracing paper so that I was easily able to re-draw and replace certain pieces easily without having to re-draw the entire thing over and over, and then I could also wait to draw the final design on my good paper once I’ve made some decisions – this is something I do often when working on projects that are large! It can save a lot of time, frustration, and good paper!


Once I had gotten a fairly decent idea of how I wanted the man and woman to look, I needed to figure out how many flowers (or balloons) I could fit on my paper. I already had a couple of fairly large, fine quality sheets of watercolor paper that I thought would work, so I cut out several circles from tissue paper in the varying sizes (big enough for signatures and/or very short messages); when you have so many of the same or similar shape, variation will be a key factor for a more appealing design, and I used those circles as a way to gauge how many places I had space for… I definitely needed a bigger piece of paper!!


Once I had a big enough sheet of paper to work with, I came up with a few different flower shapes that would still be recognizable as flowers if they were only outlines. I cut a large sheet of tracing paper the size of my paper, and re-drew the couple where I imaged they’d look best in my head, and then began drawing out all my flowers. It was a lot of work to be drawing on the tracing paper and not the final paper, but, again, I wanted to have everything planned out before doing any of the final drawing. At this point, the way the flowers looked, I really wasn’t satisfied with what I had come up with at all. I liked the couple, but the flowers were lacking a lot of appeal.


I actually had decided I was going to go with balloons at that point and started drawing everything out on my paper, but I still kept getting the nagging feeling that the flowers were the way to go – they fit better with the theme, it felt more like Carrie and her husband, and if I could just make them work it was a wonderful idea of blowing wind and floating flowers and I loved what it COULD turn out to be. So I decided to show my ideas to Carrie and she loved the idea of the flowers, too! So back to the flowers I went and started brainstorming how to make them better; more boho. I came up with the idea of blending flowers with more detail amongst the outlined flowers (where people would sign in), and also added some boho illustration style – it was finally coming together! It was becoming the beautiful piece of art that imagined. I wanted this to be special – not only their guestbook, but something they would feel proud to hang in their home and that fit their style.

Once I got the flowers sorted out things started flowing more smoothly and I felt a lot happier with what I was creating for them! Then I worked on the design of the banner that would have the bride and groom's names and wedding date. I worked out 3 or 4 different versions but you can see what I ended up going with in the next photos.

I had an idea to have a bleeding watercolor background, which turned out just as I’d hoped and imagined in my head. I had to cover everything except the background with masking fluid. If you aren’t sure what that is or what it’s used for, it is a liquid latex type fluid that is used to mask off areas you want to keep white. It needs to be applied on your paper (usually with a damp paint brush), allowed to dry (I recommend 30 to 60 minutes), do your painting and let it dry, and immediately removed the dried masking fluid once your art is dry. If you leave it on for an extended amount of time, it will tear your paper when you do remove it. 


Once I removed all the masking fluid to reveal the beautiful bleeding background, I was ready to finish painting all the flowers, the couple, and the banner for finish it up!  I was very nervous to reveal it to the bride the morning we were all getting ready – I am always nervous to share my work, but this was something so different for me in the style and function…and it was for their WEDDING!! That’s a BIG deal! But she seemed very happy with it and she has said that her and her husband have been getting a lot of compliments on it.

(You can click to enlarge the image)

I’m a little upset that someone decided to go against the grain and write outside of the flowers…even after they already wrote within the flowers…but it doesn’t belong to me anymore. It’s just so tough as an artist when you work so hard on a composition to get it to work just right – most people won’t realize how they are affecting the flow of the viewers’ eye by doing something like that. We tried to make sure this didn’t happen - it was a concern. And we went pretty much the entire night with all the guests realizing what to do and not to do, but someone snuck in there at the very end. When I feel frustrated by it though, I just think to myself about all the awesome things that happened that day – the outdoor ceremony was perfect for them, not to mention beautiful, with lots of tributes to precious loved ones lost (human and fury), and the party continued into the night with everyone having fun just like they hoped for. They even had that good luck wedding day rain, which held off until all the outdoor activities were finished! It was a perfect day!

Sam ♡


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