Monday, April 11, 2011

Getting layout ideas

While writers often struggle with writers' block, scrapbookers struggle with (um...) scrapper's block. It's happened to me many times before. I sit down to scrap my photos, assuming that the layout is going to automatically manifest itself on the screen. Then my mind goes blank and I can't think of how to start. How many pictures should I include? Should I do a collage or just one big photo? What color scheme and fonts should I use?

Ideas can sometimes feel like a limited commodity, but they don't have to be. Ideas are everywhere. No man exists on an island, and this couldn't be more true for us scrapbookers. In fact, the best way to get ideas is look around and seek inspiration from others. I get many ideas from these sources:

When you go to your local thrift store, look for books about scrapbooking. I've built a small library of scrapbooking books that I've picked up for a couple of bucks each. When I'm looking for some fresh ideas, I pick one off the shelf and flip through it.

Surf the Internet
Surfing the Internet is the most obvious solution, as you are already on the computer. Search Google images for scrapbook layouts that people have posted to blogs and websites.
Users like me have uploaded hundreds of thousands of layouts on I scan through them every few days to get ideas. You can return the favor by uploading your own, too! This is also a great way to connect with other scrappers.

The most talented people in graphic design go into advertising. The rest of us make scrapbooks and blog about it. Magazine ads, catalogs, and billboards can give you great ideas about how to arrange your own pictures on a page. They also have catchy word art that you can mimic with your software.

Yes, I believe scrapbooking itself is an art. Yet we can also look at other art for inspiration. I've gotten many ideas from other artists, such as this word mask here.

Play pretend
I have had fun making layouts look like something else. There are many ways you can do this. I have made a newspaper article:

And a comic strip:

I've also seen layouts done to look like a wanted poster, a magazine cover, or an ad for a TV show. Playing pretend is a clever, fun way to depict your story or event.

Nature inspires many artists, and scrapbookers are no exception. Nature has been the inspiration of many of my layouts:

The key to finding ideas is to develop a scrapbooker's eye (yes, I made that term up). If you are always thinking about your next layout, you will constantly be inspired by things around you. You will find that you have more ideas than time to use them.

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