Saturday, April 2, 2011

Scrapping a child's artwork

This was a collaborative effort between myself and my two-year-old. I don't think she knew that she was helping me create a layout, though. I think she was just having fun and making a mess. Still, I like to call this project her first work of art.

Many people include their child's artwork in a scrapbook album. When the kid is older and can paint something that actually resembles a real-life object, the artwork could stand alone on the page. Right now, however, my daughter's style is purely abstract. That's why I added my own touch to make it a little more, ummm, interesting.

How to do it
This is actually one of the easiest layouts I've done. Of course, I should give credit where credit is due, as my daughter did most of the work for me. I started off with these two images:

Open the images in two separate layers. On the image with the face, erase around the background. It doesn't have to be perfect because most of the detail will be eliminated in the end anyway. Duplicate the layer to save a copy.

Then use the threshold function (colors > threshold) for the layer with the face. The threshold function turns the image into two colors – black and white. By adjusting the threshold, you can determine how much of the image is black and how much is white. Play around with it to get the best effect.

Change the layer mode to “darken only.” This will make the white parts invisible so that you can see the painting under her face.

I know that it is controversial to alter someone else's artwork, but I thought that the color in her painting needed a little help. So I adjusted the saturation to the highest level (color > hue/saturation). This really brightened up the painting and helped the black image of her face show up more clearly. I hope she forgives me when she's older and realizes what I've done to her masterpiece.

For the text, I used Seagull Bold. I stretched it out a little to make it fit.

Other ideas
You could also make a layout ABOUT her projects, not just OF the project. Include pictures you took of the process. Here are a few I've done:

All of this is to say that there are many unique ways to incorporate a child's artwork into your layouts. Rather than simply throwing them in an album (which is still better than nothing), have a little fun with it. For me, it makes the mess-making worth it.

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