What Is A Card Sketch?

I’ve been making cards for quite a few years, and sometimes I forget what it was like when I first started.

As with any hobby or activity, cardmakers have certain words and phrases that we use – cardmaking lingo, if you will – that those new to the craft may not understand.

I was having a conversation with someone very new to cardmaking recently. I mentioned card sketches during the course of our conversation and just kept right on talking. She cut me off, saying, “Whoa, whoa, what are you talking about? It’s like you’re speaking another language! What in the world is a card sketch?”

I went on to explain to her what I meant by the term “card sketch,” but her question reminded me of the first time I saw the phrase “card sketch” – it was a sketch challenge on another website. And I had NO IDEA what they meant by that! I thought I was supposed to draw (sketch) a card, instead of using stamps!

Her question also got me thinking that she’s probably not the only one wondering “What in the world is a card sketch?”

A card sketch, basically, is just a plan for a card layout. What shapes to use, which pieces go where, etc. You could call it a blueprint of sorts.

I find that when I’m planning a card, the layout is the part that I struggle with the most. I usually have an idea of which stamps and color combination I want to use. But deciding whether to place the image vertically or horizontally on the card, what layers and shapes to use, where to put an embellishment – those are the things that stop me in my tracks!

So I often use sketches to jumpstart my creativity.

But here’s the thing – my finished cards often look nothing like the original sketch! I don’t follow the sketch like a blueprint, worrying about exact measurements & placement. I start with a sketch, then make this piece bigger, or rotate that piece, or add an extra element there… You get the idea.

The image below, for example, is one of my original sketches:

sketch 2

One large panel, with small stamped images in a diagonal spray pattern, twine across the front and tied in a bow, and a word or phrase stamped right onto the background just above the twine.

Take a look at my first example using this sketch:

workofartperpetualbirthdayc - Copy

Pretty close, right? Except I stamped the sentiment on a separate, punched out oval and placed it below the twine.

And see the changes I made on the next one? The sequins suggest the diagonal line this time.


And finally, here’s one that’s loosely based on the sketch:


Instead of stamped images, we have a die-cut butterfly place on the diagonal. But do you see how it’s still the same basic feel of the original sketch? This is how I like to use card sketches.

And that’s what a card sketch is. Use them as a starting point. Copy exactly, if that’s what you want to do. As you gain confidence in your cardmaking, change things up, rearrange, make it your own!

When you request my email newsletter, I’ll also send you MY FAVORITE card sketch, along with examples of several cards showing how I changed it up. Just enter your name and email address below to request my newsletter and favorite card sketch:

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