Mixed Media Christmas Card | How To

For this year’s Christmas card I wanted to do something a little different. Something a little unexpected. Something other than our traditional fall family photo surrounded by golden leaves.

I wanted to feature a mountain backdrop of some kind. I drove all over looking for the perfect scene that I had in my head. Reality never quite lived up to my imagination. I was struggling.

Per a suggestion of our photographer, we finally settled on the majestic Flatirons of Boulder, Colorado. Other than not having a sunset sky I had imagined (which I fixed below), the park turned out to be a beautiful setting.

After I received the photos from our photographer, I began  planning my mixed media design.

I chose to mix watercolor and photography to create a unique Christmas card. First, here is the finished base without the text overlay.

mixed media, watercolor christmas card, custom

I started by running out the photo I had chosen to use on my inkjet printer, then laid that on top of my watercolor paper.  I sketched out the background of the photo and started to paint in the details of the Flatirons and the sky. I painted the sunset that was missing in the photograph.

mixed media, watercolor christmas card, custom

Once I was happy with the watercolor, I scanned the image and opened the photo and watercolor in Photoshop. I made the watercolor the Background layer, the photo the top layer (Layer 1). Here you can see I made the Opacity of the photo 48% so that I could resize and line it up with the watercolor painting seamlessly.

mixed media, watercolor christmas card, custom

Once I had it lined up, I made the Opacity 100% and using my eraser brush I started to take away the hard edges of the photo so that it blended into the background watercolor.

mixed media, watercolor christmas card, custom

Once I was happy with the way it looked, I flattened the image. I then placed that image in InDesign and added the text. (You could use Photoshop to add your text layers if you don’t have InDesign.)

The finished piece is a 5×7 panel card, printed on Curious Metallic Ice Gold, printed 2 sided.

mixed media, watercolor christmas card, custom

Sources: Font: Thankful Sans Thin; “Christmas” text graphic found at Vecteezy.com.

Thanks to the very talented Jen at ReasonYou Portraits who took the photos.

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