December 12, 2014

T.I.P. #1

 Wondering just what a T.I.P. article is? Check out this post for the full explanation!

For my very first T.I.P article, we're going to take a look at some of the design decisions and techniques I used when creating a layout with my recently re-released Sugar Cookie Collection. Let's take a look at the layout:


Using Patterns: When considering which papers to use for this layout, I knew I wanted more pattern than just the edges of the bottom-most layer peeking out, but I didn't want the pattern to overtake the photos. An easy way to incorporate a strong pattern, or (as I did here) several patterns without overpowering the entire layout is to use paper strips behind the photo(s) while keeping the majority of the background solid. Using this technique will draw the eye right to your photos. To make sure things didn't get too visually overstimulating, though, I chose to frame the photos simply and made sure the colors in my patterned papers coordinated nicely with the photo.

Balance: Though I'm completely smitten with this sugar cookie alpha, when using it for a rather long word it creates a lot of weight on the page. To balance the weight of the alpha, I included several embellishments on the other side (in this case, the upper right area) to lend balance to the page so that it didn't feel like it was loaded just on the left. Take care with the balance of your pages. You don't want one side to feel considerably heavier than the other, unless you're using the lopsided weight as a conscious design decision to add to the overall theme of your layout.

Shadowing: While it's perfectly fine to use your favorite shadow "recipe" or style on each of the letters of an alpha, if you'd like to add that extra punch of realism, choose different distances for the lettering where appropriate when using a thick alpha such as this one. If you imagine for a moment that I was really overlapping cookies on top of one another on a piece of paper, there would most certainly be a difference in the shadows cast by the cookies closest to the paper as compared with those farther away. In my shadow styles on this layout, I try to re-create that larger shadow those top cookies would create in order to create more visual depth.

Here is a rundown of the style setting I used for letters:
Bottom letters ("o", "i", "k" and "s") - Distance: 8; Spread: 0; Size: 10
Top letters ("c", "o", and "e") - Distance: 12; Spread: 0; Size: 15

**Note: The angles of all of my shadow layers styles are set to 45, and a Blend Mode of Linear Burn. I adjust the opacity of the shadow layers individually, remembering that the farther away the element is from the page, the lighter the shadow will be (I will use a lower percentage for the opacity for a lighter shadow). I generally never set my opacity to anything higher than 70-75%.**

I hope these Techniques in Practice are helpful for you the next time you sit down to scrap a layout. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

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December 06, 2014

Introducing T.I.P.s!

We've nearly reached the close of another year, and I've been doing a lot of stewing on the new content I want to offer here in 2015. There has been a lot of transition for me in the last half of 2014, and one of my goals for the year to come is to create content that has a lot of value for digital scrappers, both new and veteran.

There are so many digital scrapbooking sites out there that cover so many areas--products, challenges, galleries/inspiration--that it's hard not to just rehash the same concepts that are already out there. But when thinking about what already exists, I started asking myself about where I saw holes. What are the areas that some of these sites overlook or just don't focus on heavily? Let's think about galleries for a moment. There are more digital scrapbook galleries out there than I can count. There's Pinterest. There's Scrap Stacks. There are probably a million more sites that I'm not even thinking about right now! For the person who has no trouble turning inspiration into a layout, browsing the pages of a gallery, or Pinterest or Scrap Stacks results in a goldmine of ideas. But some people find it a little more difficult to translate an idea to a layout in a way that works and leaves them with a page that they love. All of the places I've mentioned are fantastic if you love to create a good scraplift, but sometimes you want to take the essence or the idea of a page and translate it into your own creation, not just remake someone else's idea. In order to do this, you have to understand the "why" behind the choices a scrapper makes. Once you do, you'll be able to take those design principles and apply them to your own ideas.

In the spirit of this, I'd like to introduce what I'm calling T.I.P.s!

What does T.I.P. stand for?
Technique In Practice

What will a T.I.P. article include?
A T.I.P. article will include a layout with design decisions explained and details on how to duplicate these ideas in your own layouts. I may include some software-specific details, but you shouldn't need to use the software I use to create layouts (Photoshop CC, in case you're curious) in order to use the ideas.

How often will a T.I.P. article be posted?
I currently don't have a specific publishing schedule, but I'm aiming for at least once a month--hopefully more often!

When will the first T.I.P. article be posted?
Keep your eyes peeled this coming Friday (December 12, 2014)!

I hope you enjoy this new addition to my blog, and if you have any suggestions on how I can make this article series more useful, please use the Contact link to drop me a line!

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October 02, 2014

Hello Scrap Girls!

Remember my change that I talked about in the last post? I'm excited to say that I've joined the design team over at Scrap Girls!

Guys, it has been a crazy whirlwind getting setup there, and I still have a lot of products to "move in," but I cannot say enough great things about the staff there--from the designers to the Welcome, Forum and Creative teams--these ladies are so nice and so helpful!

I have some brand spanking new products on deck, ready for release that I will be able to talk about very soon. I can't wait for that!

It's also a very exciting time for me to be joining Scrap Girls because October marks the site's 10 year anniversary and we have so many fantastic things coming up! I'll also be posting periodically about those as well. So keep your eyes open for all of the exciting info on the way!

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September 22, 2014

Change is Good!

Change is good. That's how the saying goes. Change is also scary, stressful and more often than not, a little maddening.

But, change is also exciting.

A little over a month ago I was approached by a long standing, very respected digital scrapbooking shop and offered a position. Even though it wasn't at all on my road map, I decided the offer was too good to pass up. And so, after nearly a year of taking it easy with regard to designing and taking time to put other things to the forefront of my days, I've decided it's time to come back.

In the very near future I'll be announcing my shop opening, and as I settle in to my new shop, I'll be doing some digital house cleaning to bring more cohesiveness between my new shop, my Etsy shop (which will remain open), this website, my newsletter and more.

I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things and the changes to come!

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