Saturday, May 21, 2011

Alexa Noble: Creating Perspective

Today I want to show you how to create a background with perspective using a brayer. As our theme for this month is the Wild West, I thought I would create a Shanty Town with mountains in the background. My inspiration was an old photo of a town called Barkerville taken in 1868.

I use Adirondack Dye inks and a 4" Speedball brayer.

Getting a smooth finish with a brayer can be tricky so here are my top tips to get you started. Firstly, choose high quality paper and preferably one with a finish. Glossy or silk finishes make the job much easier as the ink flows across the paper rather than being absorbed into it. Paper with a matte finish is also great (but is hard to get hold of in the UK). Secondly, put a pad of newspaper under your craft mat to provide cushioning and lastly and very importantly, ensure your craft mat is completely clean of any bumps of old glue/paint as they will show through your background!

Start by tearing 'mountain ranges' from some scrap paper.

Place the mountains onto your paper and start to build up the sunset sky. I wanted to deepest colour directly above the mountains, as if the sun had just gone down behind them, so I started brayering from there and blending up to the top of the paper.

I wanted to increase the depth of colour so I loaded about 1" of the brayer with butterscotch and then terra cotta and applied this. Each time, I blended the ink upwards towards the top of the paper.

Once I was happy with the result, I removed the mountain mask.

Next I masked the sky with the opposite torn piece from my mountain range. I used Latte as my first colour and
applied several coats to get a good level of colour.

I then moved the mask down and used Latte again to create another set of mountains. To deepen the colour further, I applied a couple of layers of Expresso.
The final mountains were created with my the flatter mountain mask and brayered with Expresso.

To create my town, I used the new Tim Holtz Wild West CMS109 stampset. I stamped the Saloon bar and then masked it with a post-it note to enable me to position the stamp again and create another building adjacent to it. I removed the word Saloon with a babywipe so that I could re-name it by hand.

I coloured my buildings with pastel pencils which blend really beautifully together.

To set the foreground, I stamped in a couple of trees and added their foliage.

I fixed my buildings to the background thin 3D foam tape for the foreground buildings. I wrapped the frame mount with Tim Holtz tissue tape and sat my two small boys onto the frame using thick 3D foam tape.

I hope you like the end result and feel inspired to give your backgrounds some dimension! Brayered backgrounds create a mood and depth and you can simply stamp the foreground elements onto it rather than continue to layer elements as I have done in this piece.

Why not try this technique out? I'd love to see what you create ...


  1. Wow! I love the tutorial and the end result. That little cowboy and his friend are too cute :) Amazing! Thank you.

  2. I have to second that "Wow!"! Fabulous tutorial, so very creative, and the scene is wonderful!

  3. This really is a great tutorial, Alexa!


  4. Loved the tutorial, thanks. Your piece is gorgeous too!

  5. OMG...your tutorial is fabulous. I learned so much and you made it so easy. Thanks for sharing. Beautiful project too!

  6. Wow! What a fabulous tutorial and your piece of artwork is fantastic.
    Thanks so much Alexa.
    Fliss x

  7. Thanks for this wonderful tutorial!


Thanks for your wonderful words!

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