The first thing I do when I'm making a card is to pick my image this can be either a stamped image I'm going to color with copics or an image I'm going to cut with my cricut. Once I have decided on my image, I choose a sketch. I visit several different sketch blogs and print out the sketches I like the most, sometimes I draw them when I can't print them. A Smash Book would be perfect for this. You can redraw the sketches yourself directly in the book or you can print them and smash them in whatever works for you. Keep your image in mind and think it will work with a circle or if it needs to be a rectangle or a square. For this project I knew I wanted to make a birthday card so I chose this adorable little house mouse image. From the size and shape of the stamp I knew it would work best with a square mat so I chose this sketch from my sketch notebook.
Looking at this sketch, I knew I needed 2 different patterns of paper. I love to use the 6x6 paper pads to make cards because I know they are full of coordinating papers. The Echo Park pads Cutter's Creek sells are perfect for this. After I decide on my patterns, I pull out my copic markers and start trying to find colors that are closest to the colors in the papers and then I color my image. On this one I switched it up a little by adding some embellishments and a sentiment that weren't in the original sketch.
This also works on cards you make with your cricut. I love the egg and bacon happy face image on Kate's Kitchen and I was dying to use it on a card. Since the plate is round, I looked for a sketch that featured a circle as the main element.
Here is a sketch I pulled off one of my favorite blog sites a few years ago. Once I find the sketch that I think will work best with my image, I look and see how many different paper patterns I think I will need for the sketch. For this card I used 3 different patterns of paper from the Kate's Kitchen Imagine cartridge. I added the papers to my card base as they were in the sketch and then added my image. I changed this one up a bit by putting the sentiment on the bottom instead of up higher as it was in the sketch.
I know some people feel sketches limit them, but for me they are just the jolt I need to get my creativity flowing. Next time you find yourself stuck in a creative rut, try changing up your usual process and see if that helps any.