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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tag Book: Poe

Okay...so...I like Tags. They are an office supply...love all office supplies, too. The Tags I use are #5, I think. They are not huge or big; they are your normal size shipping tag. They are a bit bigger than an ATC. (I measured one...they are 4 3/4 by 2 3/8".) I have a bunch of them as I bought in bulk and figured I could use them to practice on. I love to create backgrounds on them, fancy them up with stamps or collage, then use them as a focal point on cards.

But this project was strictly about the tags and using the hole in the top to bind them on a ring. What better subject than Edgar Allan Poe?!

Here's a look at the finished tags then I'll show you the "book" with the binder ring. All the tags have a quote and the name of the short story they represent on the back of them. All the tags were colored with Distress Ink or Dylusions spray for the background.



Original Concept:  As you can see I planned for 12 tags including the "cover" with a portrait of Poe. I sketched out and made notes in a journal about how I wanted each tag to look and what short stories I wanted to include. I decided to use the concept of advancing through the color spectrum as my background inspiration. This idea is based on Poe's story, "The Masque of the Red Death" where Prospero chases Death through all his many rooms, each room meticulously detailed to reflect a color in the spectrum until at last he ends up in the black room with the horrible grandfather clock. Once I determined this, I arranged the stories I picked to suit each color along the spectrum.

Take a look at them up close and I'll give you a few details as we go along.


Cover and The Oval Portrait:  The cover is straightforward and simple. I just did a distressed background and added a portrait of Poe. The first tag represents a story that I thought could best represent the lightest color. This frame was embossed with Lindy's Stamp Gang powder in Desert Moon Green Gold. I stamped in Timber Brown StazOn on the acetate and that stamp is of a Gibson Girl that I hand-carved. Lace and button finish it off with a Victorian feel.


When arranging the progression of stories, I had two that would represent my red color. The idea of using acetate on the first tag and allowing the second tag to show through got me excited. Even more so when I realize I could put my Masque right at the same spot as my Gibson Girl to get a very interesting effect when the tags are right on top of each other.

The Masque of the Red Death and The Tell-Tale Heart:  These two stories were the best candidates to represent Red. The Masque is positioned precisely and I didn't want much else to show through the acetate of the first tag. I went with the ticking of the clock over the background. (The image is another hand-carved stamp I made. This is from original artwork in Ray Bradbury's, The Halloween Tree. Chapter 1.) I like to have interaction when I make these kinds of things, so Tag 3 has a hinged "trap door". The red "blood" is acrylic paint spattered and dripped.


The door is fastened with a button from which I couldn't remove the shank. So I just poked a hole through to the back and it fits snugly so the door lies flush on the top. The heart on the inside is another stamp I carved and it is embossed with red embossing powder to make it look wet. The eyes are a stamp from Lost Coast Designs.


The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Sphinx:  The Murders tag I had pretty much in the bag. The Orangutan was from another hand-carved stamp but the image was originally drawn (in a much better piece of artwork) by Josh Pincus. (I thought I originally found the work on deviantart.com but can't find it on there now.) I remembered a brick background in the original piece and stayed true to that. I added the touch of graffiti with a black sharpie.
The Sphinx had me stumped but I decided to draw the scene right out of the story. I stenciled the background to look like old ugly wallpaper then added my window of watercolor paper. Overall, not too shabby. (I recreated my blue beetle here!)


Morella and The Premature Burial:  This is where I began to get stuck on ideas. (Probably because I didn't have any more stamps that readily matched my themes.) But upon re-reading "Morella", I thought it should be a witch type tag. Again I was fascinated with eyes and added some shine to these eyes with Glossy Accents. I just drew the details in then painted over it with acrylic paint. As I worked, I couldn't get the song, "Witchy Woman" by the Eagles out of my head so I added the quote to the cauldron.
The idea for the Premature Burial was simple but my sticking point was I would have to do more free hand drawing. The tombstone is a stamp I carved but I had to improvise the rest. I'm working on being more positive about the things I draw and not let it stop my idea from moving forward. This turned out better than I expected. (Even though the hands seem a bit small in comparison, it doesn't bother me much. It's the concept that I wanted to relay.) I added the words in the background with a silver Uniball Signo pen as the background just needed something.



The Fall of the House of Usher and The Spectacles:  Now into the indigo and purple tags. The House of Usher tag was inspired by the movie I had seen of it years ago. The only real part I remember was towards the end when the door opens into a dark hallway and the woman is standing right there! So I recreated it. Again, no stamp images to help me out, so I freehanded it. The door is on a paper hinge and opens.
The Spectacles is an actual tracing of my own eyeglasses. The background has a bit of shimmer to it as I added some Perfect Pearls spray in there for interest. I debated about putting acetate over this, too, but decided it didn't need it. It's kind of a tag that you can put up to your face like at a masquerade ball.


This is the inside of the Usher tag. The background was very dark so I cut her out and glued her on. I added a "halo" of white gelato around her hair.



The last two tags are my grey and black. Can you guess the stories?



The Pit and The Pendulum:  I repeated the time aspect here and added the gears to reflect the relentless and unstoppable force of the pendulum. The Pendulum does move as it is attached with a brad at the top. I used acetate to make the blade and colored it with silver alcohol ink from Ranger. I used two pieces so that each side is smooth and razor-like. I considered spattering red ink on it as well but decided to stay true to the story.


The Black Cat:  At first I thought to depict the gigantic shadow of a cat but the tag size threw me off. The tag is more vertical and my idea seemed more horizontal. In my sketchbook, (the one where I worked out all these tags ahead of time) I practiced drawing a cat's head and body. I thought I would actually draw the cat in the story but it's particular white markings didn't look right. So I decided to add in the noose as a foreground element and it could frame out the cat's head with it's one evil eye. It was a challenge to draw in black sharpie on a black background. Even though the Distress ink background wasn't totally dark, the images just didn't pop the way I wanted. So I colored in the noose and outlined it again with a Sakura Glaze pen. (the one I used was just clear) I also used this on the cat's eyes but I didn't want the body to stand out like the noose. I opted, instead, to outline the cat with white gelato to give it a ghostly glow. I added more black in around the edges to brighten the center and draw the eye to the Black Cat.

So here's the tag book with it's binder ring and some great ribbons and beads. All finished! (Now onto the tag book of Poe's Poems! Nevermore.)




Hope you found some inspiration here. Thanks for looking!
-Wy
"Madman! I tell you she stands without the door!" --E.A. Poe, "The Fall of the House of Usher"

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