Thursday, July 28, 2011

Using a quote

“Love is always patient and kind; it is never jealous, love is never boastful or conceited; it is never rude or selfish; it does not take offense, and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people’s sins but delights in the truth; it is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes. Love never fails.” 1 Cor. 13

There are so many beautiful quotes out there. They come from popular literature, the Bible, music lyrics, and many from unknown sources that seem to have caught on. Quotes are great for scrapbook journaling. They solve two problems – it helps us remember our favorite quotes and it gives us something to say with a photo we love.

I took this photo of my husband walking on a trail by a river near our house. He's a bit camera shy, so I had to be sneaky. He though I had stopped to photograph a turtle in the river. Little did he know that I was trying to shoot him walking on the trail.

I wanted to make a layout featuring this photo, but I wasn't sure what to write. The Bible quote from 1 Corinthians 13 came to mind. It is probably the most quoted Bible verse, as it is often included in wedding ceremonies. I thought it worked well with this photo because it portrays love as a continuous walk, not a state of being.

The quote from 1 Corinthians 13 is very poetic. It has a parallel structure made up of phrases starting with the word “love.” I chose to emphasize that word and put the journaling in a list form, emphasizing the last phrase, “love never fails.”

The background image is from that same river. I made it into a mirror image to make in symmetrical.

I like this quote because it helps to remind me what I'm supposed to be doing. But quotes don't always have to be serious. They can also be fun or humorous. Even a cliche can be given new life with the right photo and layout.

Though original journaling is great, there is nothing wrong with borrowing. In fact, I like to call it “collaborating.” Just make sure you cite your sources, as my old teachers would have said.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blending photos with papers

The paper, in it's original form, was created by Katie Pertiet. Of course, the word “paper” is a crossover from traditional scrapbooking that involved actual paper. “Paper” in digital scrapbooking would more accurately be called “digital paper.” It is actually a pattern or texture that comes in the form of a digital image.

I've seen many digital scrapbook artists blend photos with papers. It looked like fun but I hesitated to try it because I think that great photos should not be messed with. Yet I have gotten around this issue, as shown above, by keeping the main photo untouched and designing a background of textured images.

I took these photos a few months ago when I was home alone with my son. If you're wondering how I got those photos by myself, look at my right hand at the bottom of the picture (oops!) I used a flower to try to get him to smile. I know that's not very boyish, but I thought it was cute.

The “how to”

Blending photos with paper is a trial and error process. For this particular layout, I used four different background layers below the photo. The original paper created by Katie Pertiet looked like this:

The texture was not dense enough for this layout, so I had to tweak it a bit. The first layer is a black and white copy of the paper (to tone down the green a bit). The second layer is the original layer with the layer mode set to “overlay.” The third layer is a duplicate of the second, with the layer mode set to “darken only.” The fourth layer is the same as the third with a mirror flip (to make the texture more dense). On top of these background layers are the photos set to “overlay.”

And there it is! Now, I'm always looking for ways to blend images with papers. Through experimentation, I've come up with lots of crazy stuff!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Putting objects in the layout

Journaling reads:
With two children, we can now be considered the all-American family -- a mom, a dad, a son, and a daughter. This is an achievement for us. A family doesn't come ready-made. It is built through a series of events. After our wedding, we were just a couple. When our baby girl came along, we were a couple with a baby. Now that we have a son, we truly can be considered a complete family. My family now mirrors the one I grew up in, with one girl and one boy. And with two offspring, we have reached the replacement rate for human reproduction. In fact, the average American family has 2.2 children. Since a fraction of a child can only exist in the realm of statistical averages, this is as close as we can get. And who knows? We just might surpass it one day (by 0.8 of a child, of course).

I've created over 100 layouts now, and I think this is the first one that doesn't have a face in it. Yet I've noticed that some of the most creative layouts I've seen do not include a picture of a person at all.

I got the idea to take a photo of shoes lined up from a layout I saw on When you walk into a house, seeing lots of shoes lined up by the door says that a family lives there. I loved the idea and I did a version of my own. An added benefit is that it is much easier to take a picture of shoes than it is to get two small children to smile at the camera at the same time.

Using a photo of an object rather than a person helps emphasize the journaling. Humans seem to be programmed to focus on faces. When there is a face in the picture, people's eyes are drawn to that and may overlook the narrative. Using an ordinary object rather than a face helps draw the viewer to the words, instead. I saw a layout that had a stack of pennies next to a story about her grandmother's frugality. It really made me focus on the journaling rather than the visual elements.

Now, when I have a story to tell, I look for objects that symbolize the theme. The possibilities are endless and they are all around me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mosaic style word art

It's been awhile since I've posted. I've been a little distracted with life and haven't been able to summon the energy to write. I've still been doing layouts, I just haven't written about them. Here's a little post about a new style I've discovered. It's new for me, at least.

The GIMP version that I downloaded comes with hundreds of fonts. This makes it hard to find the single best one for each layout title. I usually just experiment with as many fonts as I can before I get impatient and settle with the best I could find. This is how I discovered the font “DecoBlack.”

As soon as I saw it, I recognized that it would be great for word art. It is fun to combine photos with letters. But it's not always easy to make the photos look good and the letters readable. Imagine trying to put a photo inside the letter “Y,” for instance. How would you frame it? Yet the font “DecoBlack” does most of the work for you. The letters are broken down into rectangles and triangles, making it easy to find photos that will fit the shape.

This layout was my first experiment with this style. I think there's a sculpture in New York City with the letters L.O.V.E. arranged in this manner, so I can't say that the arrangement is original. I used a solid red background and white borders around the letters to make them more legible. I converted the photos to black and white so that the colors wouldn't clash.

This is just one more way to have fun with letters and avoid boring titles. Next time I will graduate to longer phrases, which means more pictures!