10 Ideas for incorporating black and white photos with coloured photos on your layouts

You know how much I love to incorporate both black and white photos and coloured photos on my layouts. Sometimes it's because I don't have very well-taken shots - turning them into black and white tends to eliminate lighting problems - other times, it's because I have similar consecutive shots and want to differentiate them.  Or sometimes I just use the contrast as a design element to create interest on my layouts. Here are some ideas for incorporating black and white photos with coloured photos on your layouts.

The one about carrying Zoe (and not making her cry)
1. Use the contrast in photos to depict two separate time frames.

On this layout, the coloured photo features me with my niece Z while the black and white photo depicts my sister E with my niece Z. The photos were taken a day apart with the coloured white taken at night (note light reflections on hair) while the black and white photo was taken the next day in natural daylight.

Since it was difficult (time-consuming) to adjust the photos to "match", I just printed them in different colour formats and used embellishments to create a somewhat cohesive layout.

Someone had 2 mains for dinner (not me!)

2.  Do a "before" and "after".

This layout features my sister E looking very "sad" in the black and white photo because her main arrived much smaller than expected while the coloured photo features her looking much happier with the considerably bigger second main she ordered.

The heat wave adventure
3. "Save" a decent photo from lighting issues.

I love the photo of my sister and I except for the glaring light in the background which got considerably toned down once the photo was converted to black and white. Not perfect but our faces still looked decent [that's my story and I'm sticking to it! *LOL*]

The one about the vidal saasoon hair
4. Make one in a series of photos the focal point with the contrast.

Here I wanted to feature several consecutive shots of my nephew E before we got to "the ONE".  :)

We went to Universal Studios Singapore!
5. Use black and white photos to tone down a colourful layout.

Sometimes when you try to fit a few large photos (4x6) on a single page, along with a whole lot of other colourful elements, the eye can get a bit it along by toning down the layout with some black and white photos.

Chocolate spells love in any language
6. Create a "dreamy" feel with your not-so-perfect photos.

Here we had some lighting issues with the photos we took at nephew #1's birthday party which I discovered only after we ate the cake (hahaha!). Thanks to Photoshop, I did salvage some photos to scrapbook. I lowered the contrast levels for a "dreamy" feel to the photos and then used bold colours on the rest of the layout. Could you tell???

The one about the lemon curd tarts
7. Downplay a "not-so-great" shot.

Here on this layout, I had a shot of the folks eating the lemon curd tarts that wasn't that great but since it helped to tell the story a little better, I had to incorporate it. I just toned it down by converting the shot to black and white and reducing the contrast levels.

The Tupperware Party
8. Salvage an outtake.

Well you know my struggles with taking photos of the Gangster Gang (aka niece + 3 nephews) so I usually have more outtakes than decent shots. Here, nephew #1 was still smiling happily at the camera so I "salvaged" the photo by framing his face...and you can still see the rest of the background action with nephew #2 and the niece.*winks*

Afternoon tea
9. A black and white photo can really "pop" on a neutral background.

When the rest of your elements are fairly neutral, incorporating a high contrast black and white photo can really make the photo stand out.

My new "skill" ,....and a challenge winner!
10. Play with the photo sizes to help draw the eye to the focal point.

Print your focal point in larger size to really help the eye zoom in on your main photo. Here I printed the outtakes of nephew #3 and the niece in black and white in a smaller size so as to not detract from that cute main photo. But the outtakes do help to tell the story on my layout  (plus they were so cute!) so I incorporated them. :)

There you have it. 10 ideas for incorporating black and white photos with coloured photos on your layouts. Which one is your fave?


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The one about the beetroot grin


We've always had beetroot either juiced or in a soup at the other day, I decided to try roasting some beetroot for dinner. Of course, everyone started laughing when we saw the "beetroot grins" on each other's faces. *LOL*

And of course, it was nephew #1's first taste of beetroot (yeah, what have his parents been feeding him? Haha!) I had to take some pictures (and nobody else wanted their beetroot grins featured on a layout...*winks*).

I kept the layout fairly simple (trying to use up the remaining bits of a DCWV paper stack) and used triangle shapes to add interest to the piece. Dressed it up with washi tape and stickers in similar hues and finished with buttons for dimension and texture.

Playing along with Let's Get Sketchy.


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The reworked upcycled tea tin

See original post: Upcycled gold tin

Yes friends, I've been ruthlessly going through my old projects to see if I can 
1. Put them to use as is or find them a new loving home.
2. Update them so that they can actually be used/reflect my current aesthetic.
3. Salvage usable parts and say adios to the rest of the items.

Like this upcycled tea tin that I did way back in 2010 (so glad I kept meticulous records on my blog...*winks*). It was found in a drawer as a storage unit for some random found objects. The gold trim was falling off the tin and a little tarnished while the paper bloom was torn in several places.

But the overall design still appealed to me so I decided the salvage as much as I could and rework it a little.

So I went in with some ribbon, added new gold trim (see the difference in lustre in the photo...the old trim is in the background) and a gold button.

The changes are very minimal and subtle but now it's the perfect home for a new plant in my creative space!

Happy week ahead friends! :)


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My fave white art media

As you probably already know, I love using white art media in my artwork. And I'm always on the lookout for more to add to my art supply stash because every medium has its pros and cons and this way, I'll always have my bases covered. *winks*

1. Liquitex super heavy gesso

I use gesso to prep the surface of my substrate when I embark on a mixed media project. I also use it as an alternative to white acrylic paint on my artwork because it is less opaque.

I have tried many brands of gesso and I think that Liquitex offers great artist quality gesso for a reasonable price. I love the super heavy gesso version because it can be thinned down with water for a lighter consistency and used as is for a thicker coverage.

2. Faber Castell gelato

This watersoluble crayon is great for adding finishing highlights on a face. I also use this white over a (dried) dark paint colour to lighten it. 

3. Stabilo All pencil

This incredible pencil writes on almost all surfaces including glass, plastic,paper, porcelain and metal. When I've gone too dark, I use this as the last step to draw out the highlights. It is watersoluble and makes a great drawing tool on dark surfaces.

My local art supply store doesn't always stock them so I have 3 backups in my stash. *LOL*

4. Conte Blanc

This is an interesting pencil made from a blend of natural pigments, kaolin clay and graphite. It is smudge-proof and I use it to colour in the white in my eye drawings.

5. Prismacolor pencil

This wax-based pencil is soft and extremely blendable. I use it to lighten dark shades and to highlight aspects of my artwork.

6. Faber Castell pitt pen

This India ink brush pen goes on very bright and vibrant and I love using it to draw out larger highlights.

7. Sakura gelly roll

I love using this gel ink pen for journaling on a dark surface or photos. The fine tip also makes it great for drawing in the finer details in my paintings/drawings.

It is important to clean your pen nib periodically to ensure smooth flow of ink.

8. Uniball Signo

I use this like the Sakura gelly roll - for journaling and highlighting. This one writes better on glossy surfaces (like photos) but the broad nib is not suitable for small areas.

9. Posca paint marker

This is acrylic paint in a marker form so I use it for anything you might possibly use white paint for. I've used it to colour in chipboard, journaling, cover up "mistakes". 

10. Art Spectrum pigmented artists ink & Daler Rowney FW acrylic artists ink

These are very pigmented white ink with slight variations in consistency (AS is much more fluid) and I use them to create dynamic splatters on my artwork.

There you have fave white art media. Do you utilize any on your projects?


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The one about the $2 dessert


Last month my sister and I had lunch at Bangkok Jam, a local Thai restaurant. 

They were having a promotion for their desserts. If you posted a photo of any of their desserts on social media, you could enjoy that said dessert for just $2!

My sister didn't like any of the photos I took of her with the dessert...check out the photos of her taking selfies with the dessert instead! *LOL*

Playing along with Stick It Down.


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Another reworked mixed media girl on canvas


Hello friends! Today I share another reworked mixed media girl on canvas. The original piece was done in October 2015. (I didn't alter the background at all...colour differences due to different cameras used.) 

It was fun and challenging to paint a new face over a textured surface while keeping the background intact. :)

I used Jo Sonja's flesh tone acrylic paint for the base of the face, drew the details in with Liquitex inks and Posca paint markers and finished off with Faber Castell gelatos (highlights and cheek colour on the face).

Happy week ahead friends!


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A quick decorated bag


I am currently on a mission to decorate a bunch of paper bags that I recently uncovered in my stash while decluttering. Perfect...since I also wanted to use up some of the paper packs I own. 

Like this DCVW paper stack that I've been trying forever to use up. (In case you were wondering...I bought a couple of Fresh facial masks earlier this year because your girl here is starting her anti-aging routine! *winks*)

As always, I cut my patterned papers to size, ran it through my trusty Xyron Creative Station and adhered the patterned papers to the base bag.I also fussy-cut some elements from the same paper stack to coordinate with the background papers.

Once I was happy with the overall composition of the piece, I went in to add some texture. Like the two ribbon bows, buttons and bling. I kept everything relatively flat for easy storage in my drawer until the decorated paper bag is ready to be used.

What about you? Do you decorate a whole bunch of paper bags to use for last-minute gifts?


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My creative workspace (October 2018)

So the creative workspace is always a work-in-progress because I try to get as many art supplies in my line of sight so that I will actually use them. *winks*

And of course, my cute stuff needs to be displayed too. :)

Here's my fave little nook...

I had a really old whiteboard/corkboard combo bulletin system that I spruced up by adding a framed wire display to the corkboard portion...and I think it looks way better. :)

And yes, this grown woman has a lot of stuffed toys. All gifts though.

I do have a lot of vertical space so things are building up! *LOL*

I've also started adding real plants to my creative workspace to absorb all the chemicals in the air....

Yes, I've a weakness for pens and markers. This is not my entire collection. Maybe 75%???

And my desk area is always full of stuff...including snacks.

Hope you've enjoyed this tour of my creative workspace. :)


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New additions - September 2018 edition

So last month, I had a huge toiletries haul when I was in Bangkok. Not only were the Soap & Glory products at a fraction of the cost in Singapore, they were also on sale - 1 for 1! Needless to say, I went overboard in my usual fashion. I so wanted to buy more but they were so heavy! *LOL*

Of course, I had to buy some cute stuff too, right? Check out my new furry pens! :)

I also got two new books from Book Depository. Guess you will be seeing some fashion illustration and botanical drawings coming up from me soon. Hopefully. *winks*

Last but not least, I picked up some new art supplies from the art supply store.

What about you? Have you added to your stash lately?


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