Out-of-Bounds in Art Journaling and Photoshop

What does out-of-bounds” have to do with art journaling or Photoshop? Read on.

Definition of Out-of-Bounds

Merriam Webster defines out-of-bounds as something “outside the prescribed or conventional boundaries or limits.”  For example, in sports being beyond or passing the limits or boundaries of a field or a course, is out-of bounds. Anything behavior that is beyond established boundaries or prescribed limits is said to be out-of bounds.

Digital scrapbooking was once considered out-of-bounds. The paper scrapping community argued that it wasn’t really scrapbooking because it was done on a computer. Gradually, though, digi scrapbooking became widespread. When art journaling appeared on the digital scene, it too, was considered out-of-bounds. Ironically, most of the same digi community that struggled for acceptance in the scrapping world had trouble accepting this kind of art. It was out-of-bounds (in their thinking) both in terms of memory keeping and it’s “no rules” philosophy. Throw the “mixed media” aspect into the mix and chaos ensued. So much chaos, in fact, that digi artists felt compelled to open sites that took a more welcoming approach to “out-of-bounds” art. Remember Deviant Scraps (now Mischief Circus)? As you know, eventually digi art journaling/mixed media was brought into the “fold” along with photorealistic art and what’s referred to as “digital artistry” or “Photoshop artistry”.

The Out-of-Bounds Dilemma

All this acceptance, though, created a new set of problems – especially for owners of sites that were previously “scrapbooking” sites. They had branding/name recognition issues to consider. Starting all over with a name that didn’t appear to limit the intended audience to scrappers would be nearly impossible and had dire financial consequences. And how to deal with customers that didn’t want to accept the expanded view of what constitutes “art?”  It’s a problem that continues today  – who decides what is “acceptable” as art? The only answer I have for you is my own opinion, which is “you decide”.  Whatever works for you is ok. But, as is true in the rest of life, you can’t – and shouldn’t – try to force others to comply with your own ideas of what is right and what is wrong. Nothing is ever going to work for everyone.  If it’s not for you, that’s ok. Move on.

The Appeal of Art Journaling

Being permitted to go “out-of-bounds” is the very thing that draws many people to art journaling. That’s what got me – being able to do it any way that captured my fancy. I don’t look at the pages of others and say, “hmmm … that’s not art journaling” because the art form is way too personal. You can’t tell by looking at a page what the artist was thinking as they created it. Sometimes, there’ll be clues. But not all journaling has hidden messages, or pictures, or even journaling – and that’s ok. As I said in my Art Journaling 101 post, ask any group of people to define art journaling and you’ll get that many answers.

Does that mean there really are “no rules” in art journaling? From my perspective, there is no one style that defines art journaling. There are overall design principles that, when applied, will help you end up with a piece that satisfies the eye or feels “finished.” But sometimes whatever it is you need to say breaks every single design rule – any maybe even some society norms. That’s what helps me be creative.  That permission to go out-of-bounds. I hope you will learn to feel that permission too and stop worrying about the “right” way to do art journaling. I’ll share with you some of what I’ve learned about the craft and some ways I re-create mixed media effects digitally on a page. I share some of the design principals I’ve learned along the way. But ultimately, it’s your call.

Oout-of-bounds-Vicki Robinson Designs @oscraps.com ut-of-Bounds in Photoshop

So, what got me all philosophical about this topic? Oddly enough, it was the technique my Creative Team member, Gina, used on her wonderful page, “Happiness”. If you look carefully at the photo, the women appear to be stepping over the frame – or out of the boundaries of their one dimensional photo. It occurred to me that being brave enough to step out-of-bounds applies to many areas of our lives and in particular our art.

Looking at Gina’s page, it might seem that an out of bounds technique is difficult to accomplish. It’s surprisingly simple though –  if you knew a few Photoshop techniques. I’ll step you through them in the tutorial below. Once you’ve watched, head over to the Oscraps Forum and check out my challenge – if you enter you could win a $4.00 coupon to my shop!

If you’d like to leave Gina some love on her page. you’ll find it in my designer gallery at Oscraps. She used my Miss Ella kit. And I’d love to know how you feel about “out-of-bounds” – are you ready to step out of the box in your art? What do you perceive as your biggest obstacle to doing so? I really would love to hear from you – either in the comments here, or in my FB Art Journaling Community.

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7 thoughts on “Out-of-Bounds in Art Journaling and Photoshop

  1. When I saw the Out of Bounds tutorial I was very excited to learn it. When I got to the part to deselect the areas outside of the frame nothing happens. I have PSE 8 and maybe that is why it doesn’t work. Would appreciate your thoughts on this. Thank you.

    • Hi Nancy! Thanks for watching the tutorial. Its very hard to trouble shoot something like this without more information. If you can send me an email with some screenshots showing your layers and your workspace and what you were trying to do when you got stuck, I’m happy to take a look. Your version of Photoshop should be able to perform all the steps I showed, although it’s so old it won’t load on my computer, so I don’t know for sure. You can email me at vicki at vicki-robinson.com

      • Hi Vicki. Thanks so much for responding back. Sorry about my tardiness in replying back. Well, the good news is my son purchased the lastest PSE 18 for me. Love that man. Back on point. As soon as I install it, I will try the out of bounds tutorial again.

        Thank you again.

        Nancy

  2. This was a great tutorial! I too have been making hard work of extractions… Ive got to do a better job of making masks do the work for me. That’s why it’s great to have the gift of a video tutorial as reading a step by step is much more taxing!
    I too am hiding out from the So. Cal heat… it’s been a long week of high temps, but like you said a great excuse to relax and play! Thanks again!
    Best regards,
    Sue White

    • Thank you so MUCH, Sue! I’m so happy you enjoyed the tutorial! Try to keep cool – it can’t keep this up forever. Can it? LOL!

  3. ok, I’m going to be perfectly honest and say that I have been avoiding doing out of bounds work on my photos because the way that I was taught is so very tedious and when I saw you do your magic with the mask around the heads I almost fainted lol I had to watch it 3 times because I want to know that, like really know it. I realize that the technique works best on solid backgrounds, but that was amazing. Thank you so much. I’m learning a lot from your videos and tips and maybe some day I will be brave enough to share my work in your group

    • I’m so happy the tutorial helped you Robin! And you’re absolutely right – selection using the Magic Wand tool on a solid background is generally pretty easy. If the background had been more complicated. I would have started with the Quick Selection tool. Then, depending on how complicated the extraction was, I might use the Refine Selection options. And please do share your work – I know it’s hard, but we are a very supportive community! I promise! lol!

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