Thursday, December 6, 2012

Diagnosis Design #1 Jennifer Rzasa

First an intro...

In medicine, we document using SOAP notes. It is an abbreviation to help keep consistent format when logging information. 

S=Subjective. What does the patient report. Subjective Data. This also includes the Chief Complaint (CC) which tells what the patients main problem is and History of Present Illness (HPI) a history of what happened to bring them in.

O=Objective. What exam findings do you gather. Objective Data.

A=Assessment. What is your Diagnosis, what differentials could there be (alternative diagnoses)

P=Plan/Education. What is the plan for the patient. What do you want them to learn?

This is the format I will use also.

Now, let's begin. This is Jen Rzasa...yup, she skateboards.

CC: Bein' Cheap ;)  

I don't set an amount per month or anything like that, but I can tell you that I'm pretty cheap.  I am lucky enough to receive products I love for being on design teams, and I occasionally win contests that give me more supplies.   The things I purchase regularly are cardstock and adhesive.  Otherwise, if I see something I really like, I'll get it!  (But only after I stare at it for a while and decide if I will use it often enough to make it worth it- again, I'm cheap.)

HPI: Jennifer is a 20 something married music teacher who blogs about cards, sewing, and painting. Here are some examples of her art.

She has been blogging since January 2010. HERE is her first post. Her love of fashion even inspired her to start her own challenge blog based on runway designs. Click HERE to check it out,

 When was your design aesthetic clear to you?
Looking back, I think my design aesthetic became more clearly defined about a year/year and a half ago.  I didn't even know it then!  I was experimenting with different ideas, and gaining inspiration from other bloggers.   

How would you describe your design?
In a broad sense: clean and simple.  I love white space, minimal layers, and (dare I say it) I'm a bit scared of patterned paper!  I have lots of it going unused in my craft room, so I've been challenging myself to use it on my cards and projects.  

Who do you feel has a strong design aesthetic and why?  
Aga!  I could spot her work from a mile away.  She has something going on that is all her own, and I love it.  It's fun and bold, with beauty mixed in.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Paper crafting blogs!  I spend way too much time looking at other people's work everyday, but it's hard to restrain myself!  Seeing crafty projects online gets me revved up and excited to make things of my own.  I also get inspiration from fashion- I think paper crafting has a lot more in common with clothing design than one might initially think. They both rely on the designers' ability to convey an idea through color, pattern, texture, etc.

If you were on a stranded island with only 5 craft supplies, what would they be?
Paper trimmer, cardstock, adhesive, stamps, ink.  Wow- that's already 5.  This is actually a tough question- can you get back to me? :)

What is most important in creating a flawless card? the photo? the colors? the creativity? composition etc
I don't think the photo has anything to do with it.  You can have an awful picture of a brilliantly amazing card.  When I hear "flawless," I think of the execution.  You don't want any stray ink smudges, or crooked stamping.  The crease in the card needs to be good too- I hate crackly creases!  

 What is your favorite card you ever made?
My favorite is the hot air balloon card I made 2 summers ago (2011) as a Paper Craft Gallery Idol submission.  It was white with rainbow colors- a winning combination!

If you could interview a crafter, who would it be and what question would you most want to ask? 
I would want to interview Julie Ebersole- hers was the first card blog that I discovered.  I didn't know they existed until her!  I actually thought she was the only person with a card blog, lol.  I soon found out that I was wrong :)  I would want to know about the blogs she follows, and where else she finds inspiration.

The best way you can see a persons style is through a body of work. Let me show you what Jennifer can do. These are some of my most favorites...

Rainbow Quilling

Neon Chevron

Neutral Natural

Do you notice the consistency of photography?
Do you notice the BOLD color palate matched with a BOLD sentiment?
Do you notice the exquisite execution?

There isn't a lot of fuss in Jennifer's work. The way she photographs leaves little room for error because you would be able to see it in all the light! Her designs are beyond ordinary "good" cards. There are a lot of "good" cardmakers who can replicate the trend or design a variation of what already exists. Jennifer is in a league and design aesthetic all her own. There is NO one out there who designs like this. It is as if it comes from another era, another time. Which is why I had to come up with an entire new genre for her style.

Her creative space:

it is modern, edgy, clean, balanced. The colors are vibrant. Her choice of patterned paper, when she does use it, supports the rest of the design. This is the future of card making joke. 

In asking the community what makes Jennifer stand out amongst the rest and what they like about her work...

SUSAN OPEL (Creative Editor for Paper Crafts Magazine): Her cards are clever, chic, and impeccably balanced. 
VIRGINIA LU (Long time blogger, on Runway Inspired Challenge DT with Jennifer, who is owner of the challenge, Casual Fridays Challenge DT): She has top design sense. Her composition is peerless; they draw you in. Her work shows perfect balance and design. Below are 2 cards that Virginia liked showcasing the balance of design Jennifer is able to do so well.

CRISTINA KOWALCZYK (blogger, Paper Crafts Gallery Idol Winner 2011, on Runway Inspired Challenge Blog DT with Jennifer ): I like how edgy her cards are. There’s a certain attitude that comes along with a Jen Rzasa card and that attitude is “cool.” I think they’re an extension of her personality, which (even though we’ve never met in person), seems hip and edgy. I also love how bold she is with color, in particular her willingness to incorporate black, which is an underutilized color on cards, I think. 

Think you want to join this genre? 
  • Be on trend
    What is your favorite color and stamp of 2012?  Favorite color: white or grey (boring, sorry!  It's just that white and grey look so good with any other colors!).  I don't really have a favorite stamp, but my favorite dies are the "Lowercase" dies from CSS.  I use them SO often on my projects!  I really want to get more alphabet dies in other you know of any good ones?
  • take well lit photos 
    How do you take pictures? I have a not-very-fancy fancy camera.  In other words, an entry level DSLR.  But I totally love it!  I use the Nikon D3100.  It does everything I could ever want it to do for cards, and it takes great pictures when I'm out and about too!  I use a light tent and some clamp lights with daylight bulbs.  I keep it all set up under my table, so it is ready whenever I need it!  I have an Eye-Fi SD card- it's really cool because the photos I take automatically upload to my computer over our wi-fi, so that I don't have to worry about transferring them.  It's so easy!  Lastly, I use Photoshop to crop, rotate, and edit my pictures.  I don't do a lot of editing - I mostly correct the white balance and vibrance.  The unedited photos sometimes make the colors in my project a little duller than in real life (likely because I don't take them in natural light), so bumping up the vibrance a bit usually helps that!
  • make sure your work is perfect, if it's not, stamp again, cut again, and use a ruler. 
  • Don't follow the typical path. That is, if you usually went for red and green, reach for try gray instead of green. Jennifer likes the rainbow, it's what makes her work bright.
  • Listen to the music Jen does: Beck, Metallica, A Perfect Circle, Tool, Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, Debussy, Stravinsky, Any song from Disney's Beauty and the Beast :)
If I had to pick a song that represented Jennifer to ME, it would be this one:
You design for CSS which is a perfect fit, but what other manufacturers do you love?
I love Hero Arts because of the wide range of styles, images, and sentiments.   I love WPlus9 because I think they are so wonderfully and cleverly designed stamps.  I also love Studio Calico.  They seem to be a company that is more geared towards scrapbookers, but I adore the modern look their products have.  
If someone wanted to design in FUTURISTIC CAS, what tips or supplies would they need?  
They would need the "basics"- white and black cardstock, black ink, and some bold and graphic stamps.  Beyond that, any colorful embellishments that make them smile!  Oh yea- and embroidery floss!  As much as I love ribbon, I use embroidery floss more frequently.  It's cheap and comes in a million colors.  I love it!
Thank you Jennifer for taking the time to answer the questions and giving me full access to your blog "Our Change of Art"
Next Diagnosis coming December 20th!


  1. Futuristic clean and simple. OK. Sounds good to me. Give me lotsa white space and rainbow colors and I'm happy :) Great job letting us get up close and personal with Jennifer although I must admit the eyebrows were raised with the SOAP bit at the start ;)

  2. Oh my goodness, Wida! This is amazing. I feel so honored to have been featured as your first diagnosis design. I love the little surprises....especially the fact that you talked to others about my work! You sure do know how to bring a girl to happy tears. :) I am thankful every day for the fact that I am a part of such a thoughtful and supportive community through paper crafting. Your Diagnosis Design idea is original and unique, and you executed the post flawlessly. I'm so excited for the next installment. You're awesome!!

  3. Love Jennifer's work and love your write up of her! Fun and comprehensive too. Great idea and I'll look forward to more episodes :)

  4. That was pretty amazing! I can see you did a lot of work on this :) It is a very organized and well written post. Thanks for sharing! I am looking forward to the next one.

  5. How AWESOME is this! It's such a TREAT to dig into the creative mind of Jennifer and your fabulous SOAP analysis!! You did an amazing job with this diagnosis, Wida! Love this feature! And thanks for including me :)

  6. This is such a FUN post! Well written and full of insight on Jennifer's work - which is AH-MAZING. I LOVE this new feature on your blog!!!

  7. "Thank you for the shower music! I love it!" says my hubby... lol Wida, this post is so well planned and written! I enjoyed reading every word of it! Look forward to more of your diagnosis. You ROCK, girl!

  8. What a fun interview! Love reading this and I do love Jennifer's sense of style. :)

  9. I've been waiting for this post for a long long long time! So fun to learn about Jen... and our RIC owner!

  10. What a super fun feature:) I love reading about about fellow bloggers and how they think.....awesome work and woot for Jennifer!

  11. You are a fantastic interviewer! I enjoyed your post immensely while getting to know Jen. Bravo. Can't wait for the next one.

  12. Such an awesome interview! Looking forward to more!

  13. Wow, wow, wow! Wida, you did an awesome job with your Diagnosis Design! You totally captured how I see Jen, and described in words what I could never express about the magic of her work. Well done! I can't wait to see the next one. :-)

  14. wow! LOVE this post! Jen's work is amazing, and you wrote it up so well!

  15. What an incredible and clever feature, Wida! I've taken a whole lesson in "Futuristic CAS" and it's been wonderful to get to know a bit more about an amazing designer like Jennifer. Thank you! Like Tasnim above, I can't wait to see who's next :)

  16. Wow, Wida!! Fabulous in-depth post. Can't wait for the next instalment. I'm off to rummage round Jen's blog.

  17. FANTASTIC, FUN post! This new feature is going to be one of my FAVORITE reads.

  18. Jen is a total card making Rock Star in my book! You did her very well. I think this little Diagnosis Design will take on a bigger life than you ever expected, Wida. It's what everyone wants to know. Great job!

  19. Wida, oh my, where to start?! Better just get to typing ... 1) would I sound dorky if I told you I've been wondering over the last couple weeks if it was time for your diagnosis article yet? 2) love how you've organized your article, very methodical. 3) you did interviews with others! that makes it so official-like. 4) love that you picked Jen. I didn't know much about her, but see she's done some fantastic work. lots of inspiration here! 5) this must have taken you a TON of time. thanks. 6) I pinned the quilled "hello" card when I first started blogging and it's stuck in my head, so was surprised to see it here and learn who it came from. 7) i hope you continue with this series. 8) (unrelated to this post) love that you're up at crazy hours too!

  20. What an interesting post, I lost track of time!
    lovely new feature on your blog , can't wait for the next!

  21. Wida, this interview, article, accompanying research as well... all must have taken so much time and effort - and it shows! A fantastic read and I really loved reading every bit of it. Can't wait for the next in the series!!

  22. Waaah!!!!!!!! Love this, Wida. Thanks for letting me be a part of it. Will eagerly await each new installment.


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