Recently, after Masterful Scrapbook Design "Office Hours" in the chat and forum we've been creating top ten take aways from the various Masterful Scrapbook Design teachers. Here are a few examples off the top of my head:
Lisa Dickinson Take Aways: 1. Use Grids and layer up the items with in the grid; 2. Use repetition of one shape; 3. Print journaling on the computer and cut it into strips.
Dina Wakely Take Aways: 1. Use a contrasting color - like yellow - or a color that doesn't appear anywhere else on your page for the title; 2. Be artsy - use paint, ink, mist whatever; 3. Use fine art composition principles.
Lynette Pennacho Take Aways: 1. Use the same photo more than once on your page; 2. Scrapbook a page each month on the same topic (ie. current favorites); 3. Stick to one scrapbook product collection for a page.
These scrapbook superstars have something in common - they all have a style that is uniquely their own - a signature style. In other words, you could put pages up from these scrapbookers and, if there was a quiz to identify whose was whose page, we'd all get a 100% every time. In other words, it would be very easy for us to tell if that page was by Lisa Dickinson vs. Dina Wakely, right? Yes, right.
Translating the concept of the take away back to myself - a regular scrapbooker: I often think that I don't have particular identifiable style and I am not aspiring to having one. For example, I don't think you can see one of my pages and say "Oh that's so Katie Scott" like you could with say one of Lisa Dickinson or Dina Wakely's pages; while they mix it up, there are still things that make a pages uniquely theirs right? My pages are more schizophrenic - many personalities. And after a lot of contemplating, I am ok with this. Sometimes the scrapbooking industry makes us all feel like we should have a signature style - there are even magazines with that title right? And classes to help you find your own style! (Maybe I'm just making those up - but I swear I've heard of them). So as scrapbookers who follow online industry stuff, we all kind of feel like we need to have an identifiable signature style. Well. Don't fence me in baby! I don't have a signature style and I'm not aspiring to have one. It is worth repeating because it feels a bit like blasphemy in the creative world where everyone is advising you to develop your own style. I could put up a bunch of my pages and you'd think different people did them - maybe this is just my astrological sign of Gemini showing through - but I don't think every one of my pages needs to look even a teensy bit the same - my pages are different. My style is ever changing and not at all consistent and I think this is a good thing.
So I've sort of thought it would be difficult to make a "Top Ten List of Take Aways" from my own personal scrapbooking. But this morning I woke up with some inspiration on this topic. Here goes:
1. Be Thrifty: Never pay full retail for physical scrapbook products (ie. I cringe at paying $1.00 for one piece of paper, I prefer to spend $.10 at a scrapbook yardsale or I'm also quite happy getting something in the form of a stack with a 40% off coupon). This doesn't mean I don't drop a lot of disposable dollars on this hobby, I do; I just like to get the most possible bang for my buck. Also, don't waste paint - if you are finished painting and your kid has already poured out way too much paint onto the paper plate palette - use it up instead of throwing it away - just start painting chipboard elements or cardstock to use later.
2. Don't let the Age of the Product Limit You: Sure I love the new trendy stuff - I'm especially loving the current trends right now - arrows and chevrons and triangles can stay forever in my world. But I also have seriously old stuff that I use all the time - like 10+ year old vellum and like my old school big red Sizzix which is also older than my kids. Enjoy the trends - but if something "so last year" would work on your page - use it.
3. Scrapbooking is Like Farming: Farmers plant the seed; remove the weeds; monitor growth; and then pick the harvest; have a feast; and then have a rest. Scrapbooking can go in seasons just like farming - like there is a time to collect supplies, a time to jam pack in life and picture taking; a time to reflect and write, a time to be really productive and prolific, a time to share your work with others; and a time to completely rest and take a vacation from it altogether. The key is knowing that the rest part is essential to the process.
4. Get Out of Your Head and Into Your Heart: I think what slows down my creative process is thinking too much. So I try as much as I can to turn off my brain and to just go with my gut / heart when I scrapbook. I make pages that come from my gut. I rarely pre-plan pages. My pages are spontaneous in that I scrapbook about whatever is on my heart - sometimes that means I scrapbook about something fun and silly and other times I scrapbook about something that is gut wrenching and makes me cry. I also scrapbook about whatever is on my mind - recently I made a page about advice to my nephew and someone asked me later how I was able to write a 3-4 page letter to him which I tucked on the backside of the page - and my answer was that I wrote it when I was hot about it; in other words, it just flowed from me that day because it was on my heart - but if someone told me to write a letter to my nephew today - it would be much less passionate probably because other things are on my mind and in my heart today.
5. Scrapbooking is Like Exercise: Best when it is daily - but see Tip #3 - because there is a time to rest and step away altogher - which isn't the best advice for physical exercise - you've got to stay on the daily train there - at least I do or else I get completely off the healthy wagon and go straight to the couch and the bag of chips. I am happiest as a scrapbooker and a human when I am creating at least one scrapbook page a day. Even if my house gets blown away in a hurricane - the process of making the pages is almost more important than the end result of the scrapbook pages. That said, I do photograph most of my layouts and post them online so they are digitally backed up.
6. White Space May Not Be the Enemy; but We Are Only Acquaintances - Not Besties. While I absolutely know that the design principle of "white space" - a place for the eye to rest - makes scrapbook pages and all other kinds of design or art more powerful and appealing. I don't always invite "white space" to every party or scrapbook page. Sometimes - ok most of the time - I like to cram in as much as I possibly can - both on the scrapbook page an in life in general. Time and space are limited - use them up.
7. Keep Learning: Take scrapbook and photography and writing classes. But also, take other types of classes like improvisational comedy or yoga or sailing or business classes, or in my case, belly dancing - which starts tonight for me. Bring what you learn in different areas back to your scrapbooking world.
8. Take Inspiration and Give Credit: Break out of a scrapbooking rut or loss of mojo by taking inspiration or even completely scraplifting - as closely as you possibly can sometimes; make sure to give credit to where-ever you found the inspiration or note the scraplift original source.
9. Don't be Precious With Your Supplies or Digital Photos: My kids and even my husband have full access to all of my scrapbook supplies all the time. (Not paying full retail for the stuff helps - see tip #1). But as one of my law professors once said "Time is short and paper is cheap. Use it up." He (J.J. Brown) was trying to make sure we didn't write on the backside of paper - only to write on one side - he was a bit of a micromanager but I loved him anyway. Same deal with digital prints - if your kids wants to riffle through your prints - let them; you can always print more. Important Note: This does not go for the heritage photos originals in which I keep very precious; but I do. make digital copies and don't keep the digital copies at all precious.
10. Have Fun and Forget Time. By fun, I don't mean throw a party - but if you are so inclined maybe do that; I mean do whatever pleases you. That is going to be different strokes for different folks. My definition of "fun" in the creative world is that you are so zoned into what you are doing that you lose track of time. I love then that happens - that is usually my goal in scrapbooking. Its not about the end result for me in scrapbooking, its all about the mental process - the meditation of scrapbooking - where you get to forget real life for a little while and tap into your creative expressive self and forget time.
Thanks for stopping by and please leave a comment, I would love to know if you have a siganture style or if you want to have one.