Thursday, June 11, 2009

My {Scrap} Process: Layouts

Hi, everyone! Welcome back to Life on the {Scrap}beach ~ I hope you're enjoying yourselves immensely!

I wanted to take a little time to talk about my creative process since I've been getting a few questions about aspects of it: whether I use sketches, how I choose papers, colors, etc. So, I thought I would just go over it and clear it all up. At least, I hope it clears everything up for you ~ it may actually just make everyone more confused! :D In this blog entry, I'll be focusing on layouts. I will do two more blog entries on this subject: one related to my process for creating mini albums, and one related to my process for creating cards.

I always felt that my creative process was a little bit backwards from what most people probably do. My assumption {which may be completely wrong, and probably is} has been that most people start with the pictures they want to showcase and build the page from there. I actually start with the paper I want to use {mostly} or layout design I'd like to try {sometimes} and think about the photos I want to use or the story I want to tell second.

So how does that work for me exactly?

When I do layouts, I scrap from kits I make ahead of time {see this blog post and this video for more info on how I make the kits}, so my process can go one of two ways:

1) making kits, choosing my story/pictures, and then selecting the kit I feel best matches the feel I'm going for with the story {more common}


2) making kits, deciding on the way I want the layout to look, selecting the kit I feel best matches the layout I want to create, and then choosing my story/pictures based on the idea of the layout last {less common}

In both scenarios, I'd already matched patterned paper to cardstock to embellishments when I made the kit, so when I actually sit down to scrap I don't have to worry about that. I also do not try to match my paper to the colors in my photos ~ that way madness lies. Almost all pictures look good with almost all papers ~ you'd really be surprised how little clashing there is ~ so I choose kits/pictures based on mood or emotion. Do I want the layout to be bright and cheerful? Subtle and understated? Serious? Scary? What reaction am I going for with this project? That's what helps me choose the right kit for the right project.

Once I'm ready to create, I just spread the photos out on my desk and start start playing. I grab different colors of cardstock and different patterned papers and just move things around until it look right to me. I am pretty decisive, so I just go with what feels good to me. I don't worry too much about the finished product ~ I just keep adding elements or taking them away until I love what I have left. That's when I know I'm done & it's time to start gluing stuff down ~ when I love it.

Very occasionally I get stuck for an idea. That's when I turn to my "Inspiration Notebook" which I keep in a basket by my desk with my idea books. This is just a cheap composition book here I glue layouts, magazine articles, etc., that catch my eye & I think will work for a layout. But that's a topic for another post, I think!

How do you create? What's your process? I'd love to hear from you!

Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.


  1. Hi Kathryn!

    Having my morning cuppa and thinking: "How can Kathryn be this productive so early in the morning?" LOL!

    Anyhoo, thanks for giving us the chance to share our scrapping tidbits in your blog.

    My process is very similar to yours. I get inspired by photos sometimes and paper or accents other times. There were times when I just picked up some new acrylic paint and like a flash I can "picture" a LO in my mind. Other times, I sit at my scrapping table and stare into space because my idea isn't executing well, in which case I just walk away and go back to it later. Very rarely have I had to abandon an idea.

    I'm also a very relaxed/liberal/go-with-the-flow kind of scrapper. Sometimes I begin with an idea inspired by a photo then as I'm assembling everything together something different surfaces. I just go with it.

  2. LOL, Liz! Productive is not a word to describe my morning routine. Not only was I sleeping when this post went live, but I was still sleeping when you were leaving this comment! :D Blogger allows me to schedule posts in advance, so I typically schedule the ones I type late at night to post first thing in the morning so there's something for you to enjoy with your morning coffee.

    I also just go with the flow/make it up as I go along. I have tried using sketches but I actually find them to be really difficult for some reason. And even when I can manage to make a layout using a sketch it never even remotely resembles the sketch by the end.

    Enjoy your day!

    Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

  3. I've experienced the same thing! I see a layout in a mag with an accompanying sketch. I do it and the end result doesn't appeal to me at all. I end up redoing anyway, which btw, is hard to do when you're using the ATG gun (lol). I did this a couple times when I was just starting to scrapbook and quickly gave it up. I just let the photo or my whim dictate what I produce, and frankly, I've found that method to be most satisfying.

    Have a great day, K, and just reporting that I managed to do 2 page kits last night and I am really liking that idea. Who knows? I may even end up being an organized scrapper one of these days! Thanks again!


  4. Howdy, (from
    I continue to grow and learn with every new post and discussion on your blog - - TFS!
    As you know, I am a "old school" scrapper. Back in the day where pictures were few and far between and came in one size and the end result was based on the film you purchased before a significant event in your life (b&w or color). One of the most difficult things for me has been embrassing this digital world of options. The idea of making a layout or mini-album before the photo selection just feels off...but, I am trying. Because I have soooooo many events to scrap, stories I want to tell, events I want to share with future generations I am still mostly scraping with the "old school" method. I'm still fairly computer knowledge limited and I don't know how to use the scanner/printer as of was new at Christmas, you would think I would get around to learning it, but it is not so much fun.
    I can see were the day will come that I will be able to build a story without having to build it around a specific photo based on size or orientation. (one of these days!)
    The one thing that I did want to share is that as a grandmother perspective has changed and even though I do journal on my layouts I have taken to the habit of story telling on the backs (the side you don't see while glancing thru) of my cardstock. I describe things like where a piece of funiture in the background came from, who it belonged to, or a funny that someone said that day, or just what I see in the eyes of the person on a photo, etc... I always sign the back and date the day of completion, especially since in some cases it's years after an event. Not that I want people pulling my albums apart but hopefully there is enough of me that my layouts will be treasured for generations to come.
    The last thing I want is some future great-granddaughter of mine getting "stuck" holding on to something just because she should, not because she wants to (see thats some of the stuff I write about).
    Anywho, thanks for the continued education, it's nice for someone to confirm that I might be doing something correctly, I also CANNOT for the "love of mud" follow a sketch - my layouts take on a life of their own and do their own Believe me, I have tried!!
    I'm off to complete my kit, I have an all day crop on Saturday. I bought a personalized waterfall book to make for sons graduation - I'm taking just what I need on Saturday, NO MORE!!!

  5. I can not narrow my scrapbooking to any process. Sometimes I am inspired by a picture. It could be the subject or the story behind it. This process I find a bit challanging, since it kind of narrows down my choice of materials. I am mostly inspired by colors. I love papers and when I find one that I like (which is every day) I start pictuaring the layout in my head. What I find more exciting is finding staff to complement my muse. Finding the perfect embellishment is so good! I also like to use sketches. They are like puzzles where one can fit in all the pieces, but I think that most people who use a sketch will turn out a page totally different than the sample. I always do 2 page layouts, this in itself can be time consuming, but I love taking my time when I scrapbook after all it is a hobby. There are no deadlines, no rules, just inspiration ang imagination. I have made kits in the past, but mostly with one layout in mind. I usually will end up with a long list of things to add to my pages. I have also found myself making the layouts, and then taking the pictures to fit in, crazy I know! But for me scrapbooking is more spontaneous than a process, and one thing I find to be true is that people like you inspire me every day making it a lot easier to scrapbook those pictures, or take more pictures to fill out my layouts.

  6. I have loved reading all your answers. It is so amazing & wonderful really that we all scrapbook so differently, but we still love it & make beautiful projects! It's fabulous! I loev all the different styles out there, the ways to create & I have fun learning so much from other scrappers. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.

  7. For Lyouts - Well, right now the only layouts I have made are wedding layouts. so my theme is determined. I then shoose the story, (ex. bachelorette, getting ready, first dances), then I choose my favorite pictures for that story. I then go through my page scetch book and see if any of the sketches catch my eye. Sometimes one hits, sometimes none seem to fit. I just like to start there b/c I am new to scrapbooking and this sometimes inspires me. Next I turn to paper. Given it is wedding I don't pick the fun bright multicolored paper but I try to stretch my choices so the pages aren't too boring. Then I cut down and mat my photos and figure out how I want them laid out and then turn to ribbon and embellishments. I end with journaling.

    I really can't wait to start scrapbooking different topics - scrapping the everyday or holidays and such. I think my process will change completely once the wedding stuff is done! I have so many fun papers that I can't wait to use but I made a promise to myself that I have to get the wedding album done! It is very important to me (as I stated on my blog) that I get this done mainly b/c my mom never had any pictures or memoribilia from her wedding that it seems almost crucial that I get my memories locked in somehow.

    Thank you for sharing your process along with the other commenters it gives me ideas on how I can try new things!

  8. Wow, alot of spelling mistakes in that one huh?


  9. Hey, Amy, no spelling mistakes here! At least none that matter. :D Thanks for commenting and sharing your process. I think you are right in finishing your wedding album first so it is done! It is a nice type of album to have to show people! :D

    Life's a beach. Scrapbook it.