Masculine layouts are probably tougher and less intuitive even for seasonal crafters. The majority of scrapbook/craft design elements lend themselves to be more "feminine" in nature like flowers and bright colours. While we await the progression of men's taste to be more eclectic and to constantly remind them that masculinity has nothing to do with a socially constructed aesthetic and more to do with a man's character, we can still create pieces that the everyday man finds appealing and accessible.
Luckily for everyone, (both men and the women who make stuff for us men) many crafting brands have created unique products that works really well for masculine projects like Tim Holtz, Prima Marketing, Bo Bunny and Kaisercraft.
Taking a leaf from the industrial man-cave of modern bachelor pads, I was inspired to create this steampunk mixed media masculine canvas, choosing to go for a cleaner modernist look. I still managed to introduce some texture and depth through the mediums I used on the elements.
These tips below will apply well to other masculine based projects as well.
1) Choose your neutrals and one major focus color group
Sometimes, men like to say they like something something "simple" but perhaps, what is not being articulated is the problem of multiple complex color palettes. Color accessibility is often being referred to in this case and not necessarily articulated. Also, neutrals will work in your favor in grounding the work and achieving the industrial look. In general, the deeper the tones (i.e shades) the less likely are the colors going to experience excessive contrast to one another. Do still choose one single focus color to add interest to the project.
Neutrals = Copper, black, biege, and brown
Color selected = Blue/green-blue
Papers = Kaisercraft, Bo Bunny, Carta Bella
2) Select simple elements and create gradient rather than rely on busy patterns
One strategy early in the planning phase for a project like that is to avoid patterns which are too busy (too many elements going on) or too granular (excessive repeating complex designs). This creates a lot of space for the eye to rest encouraging visual accessibility similar to industrial minimalism.
3) Straight rather than slanted
One characteristic of the industrial look is that while there are elements to break the harsh horizontal and vertical lines, the main direction of the elements often lead the eye left to right and up and down at the 180 degrees and 90 degrees respectively. Round/free-shapes are brought into focus precisely how they contrast against the angular shapes. Similarly, in this piece, my large pieces and design elements emphasizes on this aspect.
Main background element: Graph Pattern
Ephemera focus: Rectangles and squares
Die cut elements: Sizzix Tim Holtz Crosshatch Frameworks
4) Distress the harsh edges with a dark color to create layering
Two challenges arise in doing a piece of this nature, especially for the seasoned scrapbookers where using leaves and flowers to break shapes and create layers is very second nature.One, the elements tend to look 'flat' against the background and two, the focal point will look too stark against the almost completely neutral background.
One simple solution to solve this problem in general is to distress the edges of the Ephemera and ink it with a dark color and thus create an illusion of multiple layers. Distressed gears help to break the horizonal shapes.
Distress Ink: Walnut stain (direct to distress edge)
Die Cut: Sizzix Tim Holtz Bigz Gears 1 and 2
5) Create illusion of depth with color and texture
The flip-side of avoiding the heavy patterns is things tend to look flat. Just an aside to a common misconception, illusion of depth is overcome with slapping on lots of texture paste and layer things on top one another as much as the piece can hold it. In reality, visual depth can be very flat to the touch. Think of all the traditional paintings and high school art classes: depth is created by strategically placed shadows and color variances.
So while I did employ some pop-dots and chipboards to add "body" to the piece, the magic is really done with the color variances, shadows and composition. I varied the chipboard pieces with the below distress crayons with related color shades. Picket Fence is applied to both the frameworks and stamp chipboard piece as well as to the gears to create depth be creating tints (lighter version) of the original color they were applied to.
Distress Crayons: Peacock Feathers, Chipped Sapphire, and Picket Fence
Texture paste: Art Anthology LAVA (very fine black sand)
*All Supplies can be found at Made With Love*