Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How Do You Make Your Scrapbook Layouts?

I was posed this question today by a fellow scrapper. Well, I do a mix of digital and traditional (paper-based) scrapbooking. I do digital because it saves me time and traditional because I still LOVE to work with my hands.

If I had to define my own style, I would describe it as simplistic with a BIG focus on pictures. I don't have a set way in which I create my layouts (I don't do them the same way every time), but I do follow a few simple rules…

(1) Always keep the focus on the pictures.

To me scrapbooking is not about getting as much "stuff" (embellishments) on a page as possible, but it's about telling a story…preserving your family's history. So when I create a layout, I make every attempt to use as many good pictures as possible. I won't try to put every single picture from an event on a layout, but I will try to put more than one. I will also make room for journaling or, at the very least, a quote, song lyrics, etc. that convey the way I feel about the event, person, etc. in the pictures.

(2) I like lines…

There is a common held notion that using lines helps to move people from one design element to another. Whether it be scrapbook layouts, brochures or any type of graphical design, our eyes will naturally follow a line from one item to another, so whether you use ribbon, embellishments or just strips of paper, a line in your layout will help the "flow."

(3) I also like squares…

Huey Lewis once said that it was hip to be square…and I tend to agree. I usually create 12x12 layouts because it gives me the most space to play with, but I also love the smaller sizes like 8x8 and 6x6 because it forces you to be more efficient. You don't have a lot of extra space on the smaller formats, so you don't necessarily have to worry about filling your page up with a bunch of embellishments. You get a picture or two on there; a title and some journaling and you're done!

(4) I love to play with color…as long as it matches.

I'm a big believer in experimenting with colors, but I'm also a big believer in less is more. To me, when using color, there is a fine line between just right and too much. As such, I will let the "colors do the talking" when I create my scrapbook layouts. I will find two to three colors that will really make the pictures pop and stick with that instead of going hog-wild with five different patterned papers. You'd be amazed at how much patterned paper alone can do for a layout.

(5) I like to "live" with my layout for a few days.

I was working on a layout for a recent article and once I got the basics down (sketch, title and photos)…I walked away. I didn't look at the layout until the next day and then added the patterned paper…and walked away until the next day and then I added the embellishments. I was absolutely thrilled with the finished layout because I took my time.

I do this partly because I don't necessarily have a ton of time (in one uninterrupted block) and I've found that I am SO much happier with the end result when I don't try and rush things. Are there times when I can sit down and, from sketch to finished layout, have one done in 30 minutes?… Sure, but I don't want to finish a scrapbook layout just to "pad my stats" and say I created 200 layouts in a year. I'd rather take quality over quantity. Why? Because what's the point in hurrying to finish a scrapbook layout, if after three days you look at it and say, "Oh, well, I could have done this…" or "I could have done that to make it look more balanced." I just like to take my time. If that means I only do 50 layouts a year – so be it.

I hope this helps to provide a little insight into the scrapbooking side of my brain. If you have any questions, please don't ever hesitate to
send me an e-mail.

Happy Scrapping!

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