The Dreaded Photoshop Pen Tool

I have totally and utterly ignored the Photoshop and Illustrator pen tools. There was no need to make my life miserable trying to attempt using them! That all changed once I started to design. I would then look at the pen tool and admire people who could use it. No tutorial I ever took helped me understand it and I would just get more and more frustrated with it and give up.


This has now ALL changed, thanks to a tutorial I stumbled upon quite by accident. This has REVOLUTIONIZED my use of Photoshop and I thought I would share it with everyone, just in case there was anyone else out there like me! The tutorial is called, “Photoshop’s Pen Tool: The Comprehensive Guide” and it’s title is SO accurate! By the time you finish this quick tutorial you will be able to use the Pen Tool – you’ll still need lots of practice, but it will MAKE SENSE!!!


OK, so here is a screen shot of the tutorial. It’s basically a Photoshop file (so you’ll need Photoshop to run it) and when you open it you’ll need to zoom in closer so you can see the first letter clearly.

Photoshop Tutorial

It should look something like this. As you can see, it takes you step by step through how to create the letter P using the pen tool. You follow the directions and you’ll be able to do it super fast! It took me around 30 minutes. Once you do all the letters a few times, try clicking the instruction off and try doing it with just the coloured dot markers to help you. Then, try to do it without any markers! You’ll be amazed how fast you pick it up!

Tutorial Close-up

If you’re interested, head over to the tutorial site HERE and download it. You won’t be sorry! You will need Photoshop to use it. I should also mention that after you have tried out the Photoshop Exercise File, head back to the website as the author has included a LOT more information regarding the pen tool after the download – this will be most useful for you when you done the tutorial exercise file first!

Illustrator Tutorial

There is also a similar tutorial for Illustrator HERE by the same author and is very similar to this tutorial, except designed for Illustrator. The way the pen tool works in Photoshop and Illustrator is apparently slightly different. This is lost on me as I’m still learning how to use them!

Illustrator Tutorial Close-up

If you found the above tutorials useful, you may also find the “Illustrator Pen Tool Exercises” from Veerle’s Blog interesting. Very similar type exercises designed for Illustrator.

Illustrator Pen Tool Exercises

Well, that’s it from me today. Hope it was helpful!

Have a great weekend everyone!


Layout Friday

OK, so I don’t do layouts every Friday, but I figured I needed a better title than “More Layouts”! *lol*. Things have been SUPER busy and I sometimes wonder how I stay awake. Panic sets in that I haven’t even started things that have deadlines looming and I’m not finding the time I need to do my scrapbooking and designing. But then I figure 1 less hour of sleep never killed anyone – so why not!


I guess I should get onto my latest layouts! Here they are – all using Captivated Visions stuff, which is available over at Scrap Orchard. It’s lush stuff!

The Pollet

Bosco Memories


Thanks for stopping by!


Congratulations to the five winners of my Blog Train RAK! You have won my full kit, ‘Scrap n Stuff’ shown below. This full kit coordinates with the freebie that was posted on my blog train, so if you haven’t picked it up yet, you’ll want to do that by clicking HERE!

Scrap n Stuff Full Kit Preview

If you are one of the 5 winners and haven’t downloaded it yet, drop me an email and I’ll send you the links.


But don’t worry if you’re not a winner… I have a challenge!


If you would like to win the kit, all you have to do it grab my mini kit, make a layout with it, post it at DST and drop me an email with the link. You’ll get the full kit for free! The deadline for this is the 30th November ’10. Enjoy!

You can grab the mini kit HERE or by clicking on the mini kit preview below.

Scrap n Stuff Mini Kit Preview

Thanks again for playing! I hope you enjoy using the kit =)


Doodled Borders – Set 3 *freebie* {CU}

Now the blog train is over, things seem to have settled down and I’m back into my routine. While creating my full kit, I made these doodled borders. As there were too many of them, I decided to package up the left overs and create a freebie with them. So here they are… 3 hand doodled borders that have been created at 300dpi , approx. 12×12 inches and they are all .png files.

Doodled Page Borders Freebie - Set 3


I hope you enjoy using them!


Blog RAK Winners!

I thoroughly enjoyed my very first blog train. Lots of fun! Thank you everyone for all your support! And a big thank you to Kelly over at Simply Kelly Designs for organizing it. Loved it!

Scrap n Stuff Full Kit Preview

Anyway, it’s now time to announce the winners of my Blog RAK. The winners have been selected randomly from my list of comments using good ol’ I promised one kit for every 20 comments I received. So, by my count that’s 2 winners, and I figured why not make it 5 winners just to make it more fun!

Each winner will receive my ‘Scrap n Stuff’ full kit shown in the preview above!

So, here are the five winners of my very first full kit ever! ….drumroll… =)

1. Giggly Girls

2. ava-j

3. Demetria

4. Rene’

5. Meredith in GA

CONGRATULATIONS! I will be emailling you a link to the full kit very soon!

Thanks again everyone for a fabulous blog train. I loved every minute of it.


The Blog Train Has Arrived!

Welcome to the Scrap Scrap Scrap Blog Train! All the participating designers have recently been certified as Certified Digital Designers. We are celebrating our new status by giving away mini-kits on a subject we all love – scrapbooking! Here’s what you need to know:
  • All mini-kits will be available for download through October 18, 2010.
  • You can also enter to win a full kit from each designer on their blog. Each blog has different rules on how to enter so make sure you follow the directions!
  • We will randomly select one designer’s blog and one random comment on that blog. If that person has commented on all 10 blogs he/she will win all 10 kits!
  • Be sure to include your e-mail in each comment so we know how to contact you when you win!


So, now you’re up to speed on all the nitty gritty, let’s have some fun =)
I LOVED Jessica’s class and couldn’t recommend it more. Before the class I dabbled in design, but I couldn’t see my way through to actually completing a kit. Now, I don’t know why I ever had any problems finishing a kit – I have so many ideas I have to restrain myself =) So, here is my very first mini-kit, “Scrap n Stuff” using one of my all-time favourite colours schemes!
In this kit are 5 papers and 7 unique elements – NO CU PRODUCTS USED! I LOVE doodles and so, as you can see, most of my elements have a doodley style to them – hope you like them!
You can download it here for FREE through October 18, 2010. After that, who knows! I may keep it free, but I may have other plans for it =)

You can also enter to win the full size kit version of Scrap n Stuff!


I thought it might be fun to give you a sneak peek now, and release the actual preview closer to the end of the blog train! So much fun! So…. here’s the sneak peek preview =) The full kit will have 15 papers and 20 elements 20 papers and 30 unique elements in it (I couldn’t stop!) and, like the mini-kit, will be made using no CU items to ensure everything is super duper unique. This is a sneak peek of just a little bit of the kit! I don’t want to give too much away just yet!

Scrap n Stuff Full Kit Preview

I will give away one kit for every 20 comments on this post. To enter, you can leave a separate comment on this post for each one of the following:

  • Leave a GENERAL COMMENT telling me something you would like to see me create!
  • FOLLOW ME on Twitter HERE (@dodiesw) and leave a comment to let me know.
  • RETWEET this blog post! The easiest way is by hitting the tweet button at the top, and leave a comment to let me know!

You can do just one, two or three of the things above, but leave a separate comment for each. Please include your e-mail in each comment so you can be contacted when you win. Winner(s) will be chosen using



As I am a new designer, I don’t have a creative team. So, would you like to get the full kit for free? All you have to do is create a layout using this mini kit, post it in a public gallery such as DST or DSA linking my blog in your credits, email me (dodiesa [at] gmail {dot} com) the link to your layout in the gallery and you will get the FULL KIT for FREE! It would be lovely to see some layouts using my kit =) Anything to inspire me to keep designing! The deadline for this will be October 30th, 2010. I’m excited to see what you all create!



Kelly Hedgespeth

Erica Made Designs
Latz Designs
Lisa Breuer
Ka Boks
Siri Fjortoft
By the Shore Designs by Pammie~k
Pam Meeks
Butterflies and Bluebells
Catherine Wood
A Little Giggle Designs
Dodie Sarchet-Waller
September Blue
Kelly Sill
Scrappy Guy Designs
Gary Fryns
Rill Studio
Jackie Hatton


OK, that’s if from me for now. I hope you’re enjoying the blog train so far! Before you go, I would just like to say a huge THANK YOU to Kelly over at Simply Kelly Designs for organising this Blog Train. You rawk!!!

Thanks for visiting,


I’m a Certified Digital Designer!

I did it! I took Jessica Sprague’s “Art of Digital Design” class, submitted my design portfolio, took the exam, held my breath for a few months and checked my email today and found this certificate waiting for me! Woot! I am now a “Certified Digital Designer”! (check back later, there’ll be a blog train with my first mini kit available for free!).

AoD Certificate

I want to say a huge thank you to both Jessica Sprague who taught the class and Carina Gardner who reviewed my portfolio (and taught one week of class). It was a fabulous class and I’m so pleased I was one of the first students to take it. Fabulous experience and I’m sorry it had to end. It was so well presented, so practical and so thorough! They covered everything in depth. And I am so relieved I passed!

Well, that’s it from me! Check back soon – my blog train mini kit will be up soon!



Sneak Peek!

Well folks, the Jessica Sprague Certified Digital Designer Blog Train, Scrap, Scrap, Scrap!, is almost ready to begin! Yay! So, what better way to whet your appetites than to give you a Sneak Peek of my mini kit =) So… here it is!

Sneek Peek!

It’s a mini kit with 5 papers and 7 unique elements! I LOVE the colours used and can’t wait to scrap with it myself!

So… did I get you curious? If I did, come back on Thursday when the Blog Train begins!



Photoshop Layered Template 5 *freebie* {CU}

Hi everyone!

This time I am really, really, really hoping that my download is OK! Since moving my blog from my old server to my new server I have had huge headaches with getting my downloads to work. Today, I am almost positive (almost!) that they are all working. I have finally figured out the main problem and fixed it, but needed to then go through all my freebies and reset the download link for each one individually. It’s taken ages, but I think it means we’re in business! WOOT!

So hear we go, a clean and simple page template. If you have a minute, please let me know in the comments if the download worked AND if you were able to successfully extract/unzip the files. Thank you!!!!

And onto the freebie – it’s a layered Photoshop template and will work in any editing program that recognizes Photoshop files e.g. Elements, GIMP. It’s 12×12, 300dpi etc. and should make everyone’s life easier when it comes to starting a new page!

Hope you like it!

Page Template 5 Freebie




I Have a Design Name!

I have finally finished my Jessica Sprague Certified Digital Designer course – exam done and portfolio submitted and returned with great feedback! Woot!

During the course I had to decide if I was going to stick with my boring design name, “Dodie’s Designs” or pick something more fun. It took me a few months and I just couldn’t come up with a name I liked. Finally I gave up and figured I’d leave it as is.

But it kept nagging at me, especially as I was about to switch servers and wanted to pick a domain name that fit my design name. After a little more thought, and numerous pages of potential design names written in lists upon lists, one name kept coming back to me. And then one day I thought, “I like that design name!”. May seem simple, but trust me, when you’re waiting for something to click, it’s a nice thought!

So, I submitted it with my portfolio to Carina Gardner and thought I’d wait to hear back from her before making anything permanent. I heard back from her last week with my portfolio and in her words, she thought my design name was, “Stickin’ Cute!”. Whew! Infact, it was a huge ‘Whew’ because I had already paid for a new domain name, – yup – that’s my new design name, “A Little Giggle Designs”.

I think it reflects what I am and what I strive to be as a designer. I’m only beginning and may never make it as I am simply too busy… but I have a goal and will work towards it slowly – a design name I like is the first step.

Anyway, here’s my new logo, which I’m not 100% sure on – but it’ll do for now…

A Little Giggle Designs

Hope you like it! And wish me luck in the world of designing!