Today we have a guest poster, Karen Bellamy. Karen writes the very successful blog about all things scrapbooking. She firmly believes everyone has a creative side ready to be revealed and she has created a web site called which is specifically designed to help beginners to digital scrapbooking get started turning their own special photos into creative art works they can share with friends and family around the World. is packed with information, videos and tutorials to get you started. And if you need some extra personal help or are nervous about dealing with the technology, you can join her mentoring program and get some hand holding coaching to really kick start your digital scrapbooking journey.

Today, Karen writes about using scrapbook sketches to design a layout.  I confess that I seldom use a sketched layout, but I have found that the times I do, my finished page is usually much nicer.  I’m going to start doing this more often.

How do you go about designing your scrapbook layout?

Do you place the photo on the page and then fit all your embellishments around it? Or maybe you have a clear idea in your head of what your layout is going to look like before you start. So you can start cutting and gluing straight away and rarely have an ‘oops’ moment.

Well I can’t truly say that sounds much like me.

I need to have some sort of visual roadmap for where my layout is going or it could end up anywhere. And that’s where scrapbook sketches are my scrapbook sketches are my “get out of jail free” card.

I’ll always draw out a rough outline of the design of my layout before I begin and even if my finished page looks nothing like the original plan, that’s OK. By having the plan I have the infrastructure on which to make my changes. And the plan helps me to crystallize my ideas.

And the great thing is, you do not have to go it alone here. There are heaps of  places that you can get scrapbook sketches from.

The first lady of scrapbook sketches has to be Becky Higgins. Her books and articles in magazines have really raised the awareness of scrappers to this great scrapping aid. And she creates such fabulous sketches, especially ones for incorporating multiple photos.

But the Internet also abounds with scrapbook sketches that you can use for free. A couple of my favorite sites that I would recommend you should try are Page Maps and Scrap Maps. Oh, and Pencil Lines is another goodie.

These sites offer dozens, if not hundreds, of different scrapbook layout designs for you to choose from. And you can adapt and modify them to suit your own needs. In fact you should adapt them so they can morph into your own design. But just having the sketch to start with makes the whole layout design process so much easier.

I got the sketch for this layout below from Page Maps and the credits for the scrapbook elements used go to Erica Hite for her fabulous Bookworm Kit which is one of my all time favorites.

scrapbook layout
page map sketch
These days I mostly do digital or hybrid scrapbooking. I find the ‘undo’ button on my Photoshop Elements software program gives me a feeling of a safety net. Knowing that I can’t ruin any precious supplies by an overzealous snip of the scissors or a misguided swipe of the glue stick encourages me to be a bit more adventurous and creative. But even so, I still like to start with a sketch, just to give me some sort of end vision and structure.

And for digital scrapbookers, digital templates are now becoming popular and an extension of the Scrapbook Sketch concept designed specifically for the Digital Scrapbooker. These templates are multi-layered element blocks you can replace with the digital papers or elements of your choice using your graphics editing software. Effectively the layout structure and design is provided for you and you choose the colors and patterns you want to use, as well as the photos of course.

Whilst these can be quite handy, and are definitely more reflective of your personality than the Quick Pages, where you just stick your photo on and walk away, I don’t find they give me much creative satisfaction. Whereas scrapbook sketches allow you to apply your own style and creativity to a far greater degree.

So next time you’re looking at that blank sheet of card stock, wondering what you’re going to do with it, grab yourself a sketch and get scrapping.

This entry was posted on Monday, July 7th, 2008 at 3:18 pm and is filed under crafts, scrapbooking, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.