(Once again blogger is throwing this on its side, sorry)
So what's wrong with this? First of all, it lacks depth. Doesn't it look a bit "empty"? Depth is achieved by layering. If you look at samples of experts' cards you will see that they often use 2 layers on top of the basic card stock to mount the focal image on.
Giovana who created the card above is one of my favorite GinaK designers on http://www.stamptv.com/ . Her style is very much what I'm working towards achieving. Do yourself a favour and visit her website. Your eyes are in for a treat.
By using two layers like this, you immediately give depth and interest to your card. It functions as a way of "setting the scene" so to speak.
If your main paper is quite busy you often just need one 'framing' layer behind it to make it "pop".
Theresa Momber who created the card above is an absolute artist when it comes to shading. Check out her website for fantastic instructions.
What about CAS?
All this layering is of course not always necessary if you are going for a "CAS" look (Clean and Simple).
With CAS your composition of image, sentiment and embellishment is key. The whole point is to leave it clear and uncluttered.
This card of mine is a good example:
For brilliant layout ideas see:
I'm particularly happy with the cards I made for the May http://www.stamptv.com/ challenges. (http://redcardcorner.blogspot.com/2011/05/cards-for-may-challenges.html) They show an improvement even if only in my eyes.
Visit GinaK's http://www.stamptv.com/ website for lots of opportunity to learn.