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Study the Skill of Scrapbooking

If you are new to scrapbooking, or new to heritage scrapbooking, then feeling overwhelmed can be completely normal. I know that when I first started, I would look at others’ layouts and think, “Wow. They are so good. I could never do that.” However, there is a secret in the scrapbooking world, and that secret is that it is OK to be a copycat. The term is called scraplifting actually, and many many people do it. Of course, you want to give credit to the original…always. Especially if you are copying exactly.

However, looking at other layouts is a great way to figure out what style you like, and it might just help you come up with ideas of your own that will help you carve a niche in the scrapbooking world.

First, don’t just look at another layout and think, “That’s beautiful” and move on. Really study it. Pick it apart. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself about a layout you love to help you really dissect what it is you like or don’t like about the layout.

What size layout is the artist using? 12×12? Another size?

Is there any empty space on the layout. How much?

Is there a layout inside the layout? In other words, did they block off part of the page and keep all photos and embellishments within that border?

Is everything centered and symmetrical, or are there things off-centered?

Where is the journaling? Is it all in one spot, or broken up? Is it hand written or typed?

Do they crop their photos? How big are they? Are they using colored, or black and white?

Are there embellishments all over, or in clusters? Do they use a lot of embellishments or just a few very simple ones?

What is the color palette like? Does the artist use bright colors, muted tones, or a mixture of both?

Is the title of the layout small or large? Do they break up the title using different fonts?

Upon first glance, what words would you use to describe the layout? Clean, simple, vintage, symmetrical, off-centered, etc. Using adjectives to describe it to yourself will help you define what you like.

When you start to really pick apart a layout, and study what it is you like about it, then you will more easily be able to sit down and create a layout of your own. One thing I learned when I first started scrapbooking is that I love the layouts with bright colors. Whenever I saw a layout that made me oooh and aaah, it almost always was full of bright, happy, fun colors. Eventually, I started only buying supplies that fit into that category because I knew that was what I truly loved.

Scrapbooking is a skill, and it is one that can be mastered with time. With any new skill, you often have to practice, and study in order to perfect it. And, the same thing can be done with scrapbooking. While some of it is about natural ability, and having a “good eye” much of it can be achieved with a little hard work, study, and determination.

Meredith Ethington is the author of this blog. To learn more about Meredith, and her history with Scrapbooking and Genealogy, go here.

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