Design Team Series – Tracy’s Creative Process

Happy Monday crafty friends, it’s Tracy here, and I am taking over the YNS blog today to share a little bit about my design process.

Someone recently asked me how long it takes to make a card. I really found that question difficult to answer. Being a busy mom of two young girls and working full time, it’s rare that I can work on a card from start to finish all at once. My crafting is usually done in pieces and I squeeze in creative time whenever (and wherever) I can get it. That means I may sketch out a card during my breaks at work, colour my images during my daughter’s dance lesson and jot down ideas for cards – well that may happen at any time so I always carry a note book with me.

Here is a little bit about my creative process:

Selecting my Image:


This is always my starting point. When I am deciding on a stamp, I like to flip through the images I have and pull out two or three stamps/dies that I could use for my project. I try not to waste too much time and will generally go with the stamp that excites my creativity the most. I find that my entire project comes together a lot easier when I am excited about the image/die that I am using.

I do keep my stamps together by manufacture, however I also have a “create with” basket on my desk. This basket holds those images that I want to work into future projects. There is a mixture of new and older images in this basket and they are ones that I will use when I am not working on a DT project.

Selecting my Paper:


Once I have my image, I will then select the paper I want to use. I work with 6×6 paper pads, so at this stage in the process, I am just selecting the collection that I think will work best for the image and project I want to create. The 6×6 collections are great because I know that everything coordinates together. While I am selecting my pattern paper, I will also be thinking about the colour of card stock I will use to mat my images and pattern paper.

Similar to my selection process for the stamp, depending on my project theme I like to pick the paper that inspires me the most.

Colouring My Image:


I stamp out my image (Copic Xpress It paper) using Memento Tuxedo black ink. When I am stamping out my image I like to have an idea of how I plan to display the image on my project (i.e. fussy cut, die cut, special background). This will help me decide if I need to leave space around my image. If I am not sure, I will always leave enough space to decide later.

When I start to colour my image I like to have a few essentials around me:

  • Copic markers (that’s obvious)
  • Copic colouring chart
  • Pattern paper and
  • Scrap paper (for testing out blending, colour combos or just practice something before I colour)

Sketch It:


This is not always a step I do. However, I find it really helps reduce the time spent starting at my supplies, wishing everything to magically place itself on my card. Most times I will draw my own card sketch, but I do have a collection of sketches from various resources if I am in a creative slump. While I am sketching, I like to make notes on dies, embellishments or techniques I may want to use.

Getting Crafty:


Here is my little crafty corner which is located in the basement of the house. It’s in desperate need of organization, which when I have “time” will get done. Once I am ready to start creating, I will pull together all of my tools and supplies for my project including:

  • Coloured image
  • Sketch/notes
  • Card base: most of my cards are 5 x 6.25 however I do work occasional with 5.5 square or for smaller cards 4.25 x 5.5. The size of card will depend on my image and my plan for layers and embellishments.
  • Paper: now is when I will pull out the pattern paper from the collection I would have selected earlier. I will also select my coordinating card stock. Based on my typical sketch, I will use 3 or 4 pattern papers on my cards. I try to select the patterns that go best together, often a simple design for the background then 2 or more complementing patterns that work well together (i.e. dots, stripes, floral)
  • Other: embellishments, dies, gumdrops, brads, flowers, punches………etc.


When I start to cut and layout my paper, I will put everything in place before sticking it all down. This gives me a chance to move and adjust or add layers (which I love to do).

Here is my card using Waddles from Waddles Snow Fun and the Winter Fun Tag die set.


As a final part of my creative process I like to finish the inside of my card. My inside decorations usually include an image stamped in a coordinating colour, sentiment and pattern paper. The decorated inside is a nice additional creative surprise for the card recipient.


Thanks for joining me today. I hope that you found something helpful and inspiring in my creative process. Come back again next Monday because Deborah will be sharing with you her creative process.

Happy crafting friends!




  1. 1
    Mary-Anne V. says:

    Thanks for sharing your creative process…so good to see!

  2. 2
    Danielle Vincent says:

    Thanks for this Tracy. You gave me a couple good ideas. Your craft space is wayyyyy neater than mine.

  3. 3
    YourNextStamp says:

    Your creative process is very similar to mine but your work space it much neater! lol Currently mine looks like a craft bomb went off in my office…must get that cleaned up :o) Love the layout of your card, super cute way to use the Winter Fun Tag Die!

  4. 4
    Kim K says:

    Yikes, that’s what you call “in desperate need of organization”?!! Please tell me you’re being modest!! 😉 I think my space would give you a nervous breakdown. In fact, my craft room is so cluttered that I’m currently using the dining room table, much to hubby’s dismay! 😀 Thank you for sharing your creative process, this was a great post!

  5. 5
    Kim A. says:

    This is sooo adorable!!! I really want all the Waddles products!! Thanks for the tutorial. I am a scrapbooker who is expanding into cards…so this helps a lot! Thank you!!

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