Fear not, I have three great ways to help you use those gesso pages, and they are all fun and easy! Trust me!
The pages I am mainly referring to are shown below. Some are already masked for you to use, but I wanted to start at the basics and give you three great techniques so you can branch out on your own.
1. Gesso as a Border/Frame
The first technique is the easiest. We are going to use the gesso as a border or frame for our photos. Let’s start by looking at the first two templates shown above. These have the perfect locations already mapped out.
I am going to simplify things a little more and use a Rule of Thirds template I created using the ruler functions to show the places where the eye rests, so photo placement is easier.
There are two ways I like to do this, depending on how it looks after I do each step. The first is to use the Vellum shadow from ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Shadow Me 6301. This is how it looks when I apply the vellum shadow to the gesso on this page:
It is very subtle and perhaps the other option would be better. Let’s try a bevel.
I tend to use the Simple inner bevel the most as I am not good at bevelling and it appears subtler to me. I even tweak the amount, too; this time taking it down to just 6 pixels. Can you see the subtle lift it gives? To access the option to tweak the level of the bevel, just double-click the italic fx on the gesso line in the Layers panel.
Next, I’ll do a little mix-and-match. I want to add some word art and also frame my pics of the little guy. I’ll use Syndee’s Breathings template and just take what I need.
After adding the frames and the word art, I turned off the Rule of Thirds template.
I used ScrapSimple Tools – Styles: Gold 8501 on the hearts and quote, just to add a little visual interest without distracting from the black and white. Simplifying the layers and using the Darken Blending mode allowed them to appear more a part of the texture than just sitting on top of the gesso.
So this is layout 1 where we used the gesso as a frame:
2. Coloring the Gesso
With technique 2, I am going to show you my favorite way to color the gesso itself. If you were going to use real gesso on a real paper page, you might use a pigment, so I am going to do a similar effect here. Again, I am using Brandy’s Gold Style as I love the ombre it gives, but you could try using a gradient for a similar effect.
I tried adding the style directly to my PNG, but it didn’t give me the option to use the Blending modes I wanted. So instead, I added a blank layer and went to Edit along the top of my screen. From there, I selected Fill Layer and went with 50% gray. I added my style to this page (a blank page has no pigment so a style cannot work on it; you need the 50% gray) and simplified it. Then I played with all the Blending modes until I found I liked Pin Light best. Next, I simplified it all. Now I have this lovely trio of colors to play with!
3. Imprint Your Photo on Gesso
Finally, let’s look at a way to use the gesso as a place to imprint your photo. The image I used took many variations of Overlay and Darken Blending modes at varying opacities to get the look I was after. Every photo will be different, so I will save you an explanation of all the intricate steps I took for my photo. Just jump in and start experimenting!
What I do want to point out here was the use of both the JPG file and the Overlay file. To get the layered effect, I placed the Overlay file directly over the JPG file and used it for extra depth. After getting my photos right, I simply added a colored layer over the entire JPG file. My overlays hid where the color went underneath them. This technique works best for artsy-style images, especially travel prints where you are going for a feel rather than detail. Gesso really needs the Blending modes to show its texture, and this style is best for photos where your use of photos isn’t dependent on showing a lot of detail.
I hope this tutorial has answered a few of your questions about how to use these gesso textures in your next layout!