Category Archives: Tutorial

Workflow: The “Plain And Simple Lenormand” card deck

This time round, for my 5th deck of Lenormand cards, I wanted to really simplify matters. I wanted archetypal images that were readily recognisable, with as little background distraction as possible. This deck, I figured, would be ideal for people just beginning to learn the Lenormand divination system.

I also wanted to experiment with creating a template to put my images within. Before this, I had created my images without using a framework, the only boundary being the dimensions of the page itself. This time, I wanted there to be a distinct background, then a frame within which my images would go.

I created a simple yellowy beige background using the App iMagic Pro. Then, using the App PicsArt, I chose a simple blue-grey tectured background from within the App, then put in an oval shape and inverted it so the yellowy beige stayed in the framed part, while keeping the background design. I adjusted the shape of the oval so it wasn’t so elongated.

image

image

image

Now for the images. I used Clker and Clipartlord for royalty-free and public domain images. I wasn’t sure if they would save to my Sansung Galaxy S4 smartphone, as I’d had problems downloading PNG format images before. But luckily, 70% of the images I downloaded showed up correctly on my S4. I don’t know why some did and others didn’t.

I also decided it was high time to get organised, if I was going to continue creating Lenormand decks. So I filed my downloaded images, and other photos I’d taken especially for my Lenormand projects, into individual folders on my S4. That would make finding the archetypal images significantly easier.

And now for the fun part. This was easier than I expected, after having done the groundwork to prepare the background template. I simply had to put in the numbers, keyword and playing card pips, then select a corresponding image from the correct numbered folder, and put it onto the template.

Et voila! I present to you The “Plain And Simple Lenormand”.

I have yet to self-publish this online, as I’m waiting for the actual physical cards to arrive from the printers first. So for now enjoy these examples from the deck:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

A different workflow : The “Geometrical Lenormand”

In the past, I created my Lenormand decks card by card, with no fixed theme. However, I was inspired by the App “Pixlr Express” (available on both iOS and Android platforms) to alter my usual modus operandi and create an entire deck of 36 cards in a different manner.

The way I approached my “Geometrical Lenormand” may be likened to a conveyor belt at a factory. The developers of “Pixlr Express” like to tempt and taunt their users with promotional filters and effects, which stay for a short period in a special folder within the App, before vanishing into thin air. And so, when I noticed that it had just pulled its previous promo filters and introduced its newest – the “Cosmic Geometry”, I knew I had to act promptly.

To say I was inspired is an understatement. My previous Lenormand decks had all taken me around 2 weeks of constant editing, processing and tweaking, from start to finish. My “Geometrical Lenormand” took all of 5 days. I started on a Friday evening, and the project was completed, bar printing, by Wednesday evening.

This time, I kept things very simple. The parameters I set myself were:

1) I would use the simplest images where possible for this project.

2) the images would be from clipart, or come from within the Apps I use, from public domain images, or otherwise cut out from photos I’d taken.

3) I’d use a plain, coloured background for all the cards, instead of creating collaged backgrounds like in my previous Lenormand decks. For this project I generated 12 different coloured backgrounds using the App “iMagic Pro” (available on both iOS and Android platforms).
image

4) on the first pass, I’d simply put a geometrical design on a coloured background. This design would be from “Pixlr Express”. The 3 promotional folders within the App are called “Wavelength”, “Bezel” and “Supernova”. Each contains a variety of geometrical designs that can be enlarged, flipped, rotated etc. The Screenshot below shows a collage of the 3 folders.

image

Here’s a background with a geometrical design I’ve put on it.

image

5) on the second pass, I would stick on a Lenormand archetypal image over the coloured background with the geometrical design already added. I’d do this systematically over the course of all 36 cards, starting from 1 through to 36 in that order. No fancy filters or other special effects. Let’s use the Bear card. This is a public domain image that I’ve cut out digitally using the Android App “AThumb Cut”. I simply pasted it onto my prepared background image, using another universal App, “PicsArt”.

image

6) on the third pass, I’d add a simple, subtle background design to each of the 36 cards, using the special filters in “Pixlr Express”. Again, here is the Bear card.
image

7) on the fourth pass, I’d add the number and title corresponding to each image. So, again, here is my Bear card.

image

8) I then thought hard about whether to put the traditional playing card pips on the cards or not. I wanted this to be a modern Lenormand card deck with ultra clean lines, and debated with myself whether adding the pips would clutter things up. In the end, I compromised by not adding actual card inserts, but a simple number plus ♤♡♢♧ symbols.

So here is the completed Bear card from my “Geometrical Lenormand”.

image

I like the simplicity of this Lenormand deck. Not having to create a complex collaged background saves a lot of time, and a simple background makes the archetypal Lenormand images easier to see at a quick glance. Also, adding the effects layer by layer throughout all 36 cards, instead of completing one card at a time, gives a more consistent and uniform look to the deck.

Note: the “Cosmic Geometry” filter effects are part of the App developers’ marketing strategy to get people to sign up to their desktop App. These filters will be removed from the mobile Pixlr Express App, but will remain a permanent feature on the desktop version. Check out their link:

https://pixlr.com/desktop?utm_source=pex&utm_medium=direct&utm_term=ExampleKeyword&utm_content=&utm_campaign=cosmicgeometry?utm_source=pex&utm_medium=direct&utm_term=ExampleKeyword&utm_content=&utm_campaign=cosmicgeometry

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

The Making of the “Moonshadow Lenormand”: Part III

In Part I of this mini-series, I talked about how I created my Palimpsest templates. In Part II, I explained about the archetypal images used in the Lenormand cartomancy system and how I sourced my images. Now that I had both my Palimpsest templates and my photos/images ready, I was ready to start working on my Lenormand cards.

These are the Apps I used:
image

PicsArt – my main go-to App, has loads of clipart
Photo Editor – for filters and resizing
Litho – has a wealth of texture filters and lovely antiquarian clipart
Pixlr Express – lots of filters, including nifty inky borders
Photo Studio Pro – great clipart
Smoothie – great filters and effects
Snapseed – good for textures and grunge
Repix – I like this for the special effects
iMagic Pro Image – has useful clipart and filters
Photo Editor – has lots of full colour clipart, however resolution is low
AThumbCut – great for cutting out images to make your own clipart
Touch Retouch – indispensible for cleaning up unwanted areas of images

Here then is the secret of how I created my images:

THERE IS NO SECRET FORMULA

You just have to experiment with effects and filters, bounce from one App to another, try this and that, until you arrive at a result you’re happy with. It really is that simple. Mobile photography art isn’t something that can be taught. Anyone can show you Apps, but it’s up to you to learn how each one works, and decide which ones you want to keep in your stable of Go To Apps. Everyone has their own style, and therefore their own favourite filters and effects. These just happen to be my personal palette.

Enjoy! Here are just a few of my favourite images from my Project:

image

image

image

image

image

image

In the next 2 posts, I will show you the full deck, with explanations. So, watch out for Part IV and Part V, coming up next!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Introducing the “Moonshadow Lenormand”

I have finally completed my debut Lenormand card deck. And decided to self-publish it through Printer Studio. It was a choice between Printer Studio and Game Crafter, and as I couldn’t get my head around former’s templates but found the latter’s very user friendly, I went with Printer Studio. The company is based in Hong Kong, so I expect turnaround to Australia to be 14-21 days. That’s when I’ll get my hands on the “real” cards, and can assess the card stock and printing quality. I have a couple of decks by other artists, from the same printer, and their cards were nice and smooth and excellent quality.

Here are the links for both Printer Studio and Game Crafter.
Printer Studio
The Game Crafter

So here is a teaser page showing the fronts and backs of some of the cards in my deck.
Moonshadow Lenormand
If you are interested in purchasing this deck, you can find my eBay listing here:

http://m.ebay.com/itm/261630354440

Introducing the brand new Moonshadow Lenormand by AlyZen Moonshadow. The Lenormand divination system is named after Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand (1772-1843), the great fortuneteller who read for the likes of Napoleon and Josephine. Although Mlle Lenormand never designed or created the system that carries her namesake, the Lenormand divination system is faithful to the imagery of the Sibylla of the Salon, who read in the cosy parlours of the gentry, giving practical advice with regards love, romance, finance and even war. It is a very different system from the Tarot.

This is my very first Lenormand divination card deck, created using only my Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone and Apps, and using either my own photographic images and clipart or images from the public domain.

The accompanying images show the front and backs of all the cards in the deck. There are the usual 36 Lenormand cards, plus an extra Man and Woman card for same-sex readings. Included in the deck also are 2 cards showing some card meanings, and also a card of recommended further reading. 42 cards in total. Your order will come directly from the printers, fresh off the press, in a clear acrylic case. Please allow 14-21 days for delivery, as this is beyond my immediate control.

Postage is Free to wherever you are. Please contact me directly if the item is meant to be sent to someone else, so I can change the delivery details. Thanks for looking!

And here is the listing on Etsy:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/207677660/the-moonshadow-lenormand-card-deck-by

Workflow : INITIATE

Here is another card from my Oracle Cards project. The card is called “INITIATE”. I was inspired by a graphic I saw on Pinterest, which utilised curlicues, shape templates and borders.

For the background, I chose a photo of a piece of scrapbooking paper (oh, I have hundreds of those!).

image

Which I then processed on my Samsung Galaxy S4 with the app PicsArt. I added a frame, some curlicues and a shaped template, from the Clipart section of PicsArt. Then I added the text “INITIATE”.

image

My initial idea was to create an image that looked vintage and mysterious. I quite liked the above image already as it was, but I felt it was missing something.

So I loaded the image to Pixlr Express and toyed with a few filters and effects. Then I noticed a new set of effects that the developers post up for a limited time every now and then, like a teaser.

Of all the effects I tried on my image, this geometric one spoke to me the most.

image

And there you go. :)

INITIATE : If you have a project or a plan but you have been procrastinating about starting it, now is the perfect time to put things into motion. Initiate action now, and things will fall into place. Don’t overthink it, trust your instincts and your heart will tell you if you’re going the right way.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Workflow : CLARITY

I was just fooling around with some new filters the developers of Pixlr Express had put on the App. I had no set plans or ideas to create another Oracle Card image, but this one literally created itself. Divine inspiration? 😇

For the background, I chose a colourfield image I had created previously using the Android-only app “Impressionist Fingerpaint”.

image

I simply ran this through the App Pixlr Express, and liked the effect that created this crystalline entity.

image

Then, still in Pixlr Express, I added some lights to add depth to the image.

image

image

Finally, I loaded the image to PicsArt, tweaked the brightness, contrast and saturation, then added the text CLARITY.

image

CLARITY : By stilling the voices in your head that constantly clamour for your attention, and by deliberately calming your mind, you will be able to see clearly all your options and opportunities. Clarity will come to you like a crystalline vision bathed in a bright light. Let your intuition lead you.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Workflow : ONENESS

Today I’ll be sharing my workflow or process of how I created one of my Oracle Cards, “Oneness”. This is an ongoing Project.

I used the Live Wallpaper App “Elements of Design” to randomly generate a dynamic wallpaper, which I took several screenshots of, as the app did its job. And then I chose at random one of the screenshots and loaded it into PicsArt.

image

In PicsArt, I then cropped the top and bottom of the screenshot. I also flipped and rotated the image.

image

I layered another image over this in PicsArt, that of a colourfield background. Then I played around with various blending modes and opacities until I found a result that I liked. I really like the smoky, smudged effect here.
image

Now the image needs some motif or object. I searched through the vast catalogue of clipart that PicsArt has, trying out one thing after another (it’s obvious that I don’t have a Master Plan!) Until I found one that just clicked. This was a red bird from the Geometric clipart range in PicsArt.

image

Three birds later…here I’ve altered the angles, direction and sizes of the bird clipart so they wouldn’t all look identical. I love how they seem to pick up the vibrant reds and orange colours of the background, and yet somehow retain their own presence.

I wanted the overall image to be more cohesive. I added some sprigs to the beaks of the birds. I wanted the viewer to be able to look at the image and intuitively guess what the meanings could be. Here’s a possible explanation:


This Card signifies the idea of Working together harmoniously towards a common goal and for the greater good. The Three Birds belong to the same Family and are united in their mission. In their beak each Bird carries a sprig of Holly Leaves with Holly Berries. These are sacred symbols and the Birds are bringing them to some far off destination to be used as building blocks for the future. The Birds are in commune with their surroundings, their colours blend in with Mother Nature’s glorious sunset. The number 3 signifies the Holy Trinity, a concept prevalent in humanity’s many religions. The Birds symbolise Oneness, they work together as One. Note there is only one set of concentric rings in the picture, at the bottom right corner. This reinforces the idea of Oneness.

image

Next, I brought the image into the App Repix. And added a sprinkling of stars. I also tweaked the colours of the background, to create a little more depth to the overall image. I decided to tone down the vibrance a little, to make the image look more painterly and old, like a vintage Christmas card, perhaps.

image

Then it was back to PicsArt to put in the text for “Oneness”.
image

And finally, for my own reference, I added my digital signature. Very subtly, of course ;). And so here I present “ONENESS” by AlyZen Moonshadow:

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Elements of Design

Have you got 5 minutes free time and don’t know what to do? Why not be creative and make yourself a pictorial quote? I’m not sure what the real term is for these things, but you know the ones I mean…those cute and quirky quotes that go along with equally cute and quirky backgrounds. Memes?? It’s very popular on Facebook at the moment. Instead of commenting in boring old plain text, why not find some quotable quotes online and share them instead? Okay I may have started that trend, shame on me LOL.

Anyway, today I’d like to share a quick and fun tutorial with you. See, with just 2 simple Apps you can create your own pictorial quotes and amaze your friends. Don’t worry if you, like me, can’t draw, it’s all done for you.

Yes, just 2 Apps:
InstaQuote for iOS
InstaQuote for Android

Elements of Design for Android

Note: Elements of Design is a Live Wallpaper. When you load it, it doesn’t show up as an App on your smartphone, but rather in a folder called “Live Wallpaper”. The beauty of this App is that you can set numerous parameters and tweak various elements and then to save, simply take screenshots of the action. (Sorry, iOS Apple users, I don’t think the Live Wallpaper option is available on your device, neither will you find Elements of Design on iTunes. But I’m sure you can find tonnes of other similar Apps on the iTunes store for this purpose).

Here’s the blurb on Elements of Design, taken from the Google Playstore:

Turn your background into a beautiful abstract work of art with this fully customizable, animated live wallpaper! Combine some of the most popular elements of contemporary graphic design into animated eye candy with the touch of a finger! Overwhelmed by the number of options? Choose from one of 16 preset themes!

Watch flowering vines weave across the screen, add an animated honeycomb background, or make elements appear with a single touch. This full version has plenty of beautiful options to keep your phone fresh and your eyes entertained!

Right, so today I came up with a funny quote that I wanted to share with my friends. And, being lazy, I wanted to create something original but which I could do in less than 5 minutes.

To do this, I opened up InstaQuote on my trusty Samsung Galaxy S4. I left the background blank (or defaulting to whatever) while I worked my quote into the text field.

Then, I simply set up Elements of Design, played with the parameters, then took some screen snapshots. I then loaded the screenshot I liked that I thought would work best, and placed it into the background. I didn’t even have to crop my background image, InstaQuote did that for me.

image

image

Et voila! An Instant Quote (well, more or less).

image

😄😇😆

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Carpe Diem

Well, actually, no. Take away the last letters of each word in the title above, and you’ll have a fair idea of what I’m talking about.

We have about 17 Japanese Koi (or carp) and goldfish in a large, square pond out the back of our house. I say 17 because they never stay still long enough for me to do a proper headcount.

Make that 16.

I found one this morning, not swimming like its friends, but just floating and occasionally zipping out of the water all aflutter, before sinking back into the water. Most strange. I dosed the water with green multi-ailment liquid, added tap water conditioner, algicide, aquarium salt, cleaned out the sponge filter, topped up the pond with fresh water. I even held the poor fish in my hands and willed it to get better.

All to no avail. The poor thing carried on for half an hour more, with its friends gathering round and nudging it, either to encourage it to rally round, or to say good bye. It was quite touching watching them. I left it in the pond for 15 minutes more, in case it was just playing dead.

When I was truly convinced it was dead, I went into the house to get a sheet of butcher paper to wrap it in (it was a big fish, about 15 inches long). It was then I got the idea of preserving the memory of the fish on paper. It was, after all, the largest fish in our pond, and one of my favourites. :'(

Now, my cousin HM loves to fish, and he’s had some very good results with the art of Gyotaku, or fish rubbing. In fact, I wrote about him not too long ago, here.

So I decided I’d follow my cousin’s example and do my own Gyotaku with my carp before burying it. It would be a way of remembering it, and honouring it in a manner of speaking. One last dance together.

And here is how we did it.

image

image

image

I quickly learnt that it’s better and easier to rub the paper over the fish, instead of placing the fish on the paper. My cousin HM used Japanese handmade rice paper, but all I had was butcher paper. My hands got stained with the food dye because I was handling the fish rather than the paper at first.
image

image
(Anyone want to read my palms? Go ahead! 😄)

My studio is awash with fish! Some came out good, others too watery to capture much detail. Below are some of the clearer imprints. Not as good as my cousin’s, but they will serve as memorials to my fish.

image

image

image

image

image

Carpe Diem!

P/S: Due to one reader’s rather insensitive remarks to me, about the fish ending up all covered in “blicky food colouring” and “smashed up in butcher paper” to become “fish fertiliser for roses”, I think I should explain what happened to my fish friend afterwards. I washed all the food dye off, then wrapped it in a fresh sheet of butcher paper. Then I dug a hole in the plant trough by our swimming pool and buried it there. I put an old log and a pot of hen & chicks over the grave, to prevent any cats from getting at it. It’s right next to Valiant, my baby Japanese quail with splayed legs that I tried to help but that drowned in its water bowl back in November last year.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Printfinity by MOO.COM

MOO is an English company specialising in primarily printing business cards, though they also make postcards, “mini” business cards, flyers, stickers, labels etc. The main website is MOO, however there are regional, geographical differences, in terms of currency displays, depending on which country you are in. For example, if you choose Europe, the site will show you MOO’s prices in Euros.

image

MOO’s blurb:


MOO makes life a little less virtual.
We help our customers print things like Business Cards, Postcards and MiniCards, making it easy for them to share information about themselves or their business in the real world.

Print is simple and wonderful. We love it.

We’re a new kind of online printing business
MOO was born out of a love of beautiful, high-quality print.

Printing has been around for centuries, and we’re certainly not the first printer on the web. But, whilst many other printers have chosen to use new technologies to simply reduce the costs of printing (and often the quality), we strive to make print not only cost-effective but better than ever before.

We want to set a new standard for print, with remarkable new products that bring great design and uncompromising, high standards to the web. We’re only young, but when we grow up we want to be the best printer on the internet.

We believe in the power of great design
Design is key to everything MOO does.

Design helps us stand out: from the clothes we wear, to the homes we live in, to the business cards we use. Design tells a story about us and what we stand for.

But professional-quality design has traditionally been expensive or out of reach for most people; we want to change this. We’re passionate about helping people of all abilities design the best looking and highest quality print products: products that will help them or their business look great.

Our company vision is simple but ambitious: “great design for everyone”.

More about MOO…
MOO is an award-winning online print business.

Founded in 2006, MOO aims to disrupt the $100 billion global print industry by combining professional design with the accessibility and reach of the web.

MOO prints millions of cards a month and has hundreds of thousands of customers in over 180 countries. MOO has also become a much-loved brand, with a 75% NetPromoter rating.

The company has won 3 Webby awards (the web’s Oscars), has been profiled in the Financial Times, and was ranked in the top 10 UK start-up companies by the Guardian Newspaper. MOO has offices in London, UK as well as Providence and Boston, USA.

MOO has also raised over $5m in venture capital from the Accelerator Group, Index Ventures and Atlas Venture, the investors behind Skype, Betfair, Lovefilm, Last.fm and MySQL.

My post today is about Printfinity. Printfinity is MOO’s word for a very unique service, one I haven’t come across with other printers.

http://eu.moo.com/about/printfinity.html


What is Printfinity?
It’s the word we invented for a technology that’s completely unique to MOO. With Printfinity you can print a different photo or design on every Business Card, Sticker or Postcard in a pack. It’s a real conversation starter that means you can carry your portfolio in your pocket, show off your favourite products and help people remember your business.

As an artist, I just love the whole idea of Printfinity. For example, instead of printing 10 designs of 100 cards each, and then separating and sorting them into 100 packs of 10 designs, MOO’s Printfinity technology lets me upload my 10 designs onto their template, and then I simply have to specify whether I want 50 or 100 cards. If 50 cards, I will receive 5 of each of the 10 designs. If 100, I will receive 10 of each of the 10 designs. So I end up with just 1 pack of 100 cards, rather than 10 packs of 100 cards. Do the maths.

I have used MOO’s services a few times, primarily to get business cards made up using Printfinity. I recently ran another batch of 100 cards, using 25 different designs. I got an email from MOO offering me 50% off my next purchase, so I decided to use the same designs and have 100 “mini” cards made up as well. “Mini” cards are, half the size of business cards – 2 of them, placed side by side, make up the size of a normal business card.

Printfinity is a great way of seeing how my art looks on a product, plus I have something to show or give away to customers or potential customers too, like a pocket portfolio. I might get some flyers made up next…

MOO offers a range of different papers and finishes for their products, from a basic, everyday range to a high-end “luxe” range. This suits every budget.

The templates provided by MOO are really easy to use. For text, you get a good choice of fonts and font sizes. Simply write your text, then flip the template over to upload your images.

Delivery costs depend on the country you live in. I ordered mine and received them within 10 days, pretty good for UK to Australia these days. Each set of cards comes in its own robust cardboard box, a nice classy touch, great for presentations.

So, if you’re looking for something different, with a good range of paper options and pricing, ease of use, user-friendly templates, easy repeat ordering, a great customer service and delivery, innovative packaging, then MOO’s the one for you.

Below are examples from Google images of what others have used MOO for:

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow