After reading discussions in several places about scrapbooking processes, I've been thinking a lot about mine. By "scrapbooking process" I mean the steps that I take, in general, to create a layout. It's fascinating to me to learn about different people's processes, especially the ones that are different from mine; occasionally, I'll undertake a different process to see what I can come up with and how it influences the layout I make—but I always go back to my way!
I like to think that I start with a story, although technically that isn't true. I almost always start with a picture (or a group of them) that I want to write about. So really, my first step is processing them in Photoshop and printing my pictures, but in my head that is the step that comes before making a layout (just like shopping for products isn't usually part of my process).
Once I have the photos—or, sometimes, right after I process them but before I pick them up—I write my journaling. Writing is my favorite part of scrapbooking, so doing it first is a little bit like eating chocolate cake before the lasagna. (Both delicious, of course, but...chocolate.) I spend quite a bit of time writing and revising the story, usually, because while I generally have a spark to start with, I don't always know exactly what I'm going to write or the direction I want the story to go. Sometimes I just have a feeling or an idea and I have to figure it out as I write. Sometimes the words pour out without any hesitation at all! (I love that.)
Lots of words, though, is the practical reason I write my journaling first. (It's also why I don't do a lot of handwritten journaling, much as I know it's important.) Once I've written and revised my journaling, I know about how much space I'll need.
As I was thinking about this post, that was as far as I got at first: my process is writing my journaling first. Of course, it has to go further than that or the layout would never get made! But I had to think a little bit about what comes next. I think for people who are better at design than I am, that is the first (or second) step in the process. But for me, before I figure out where I'm going to put anything, I design the title first.
In fact, on my layouts, all of the design is connected to the title. Color, pattern, embellishments, the font for the journaling—it all revolves around the title. This is precisely because I'm not very good at design, but am first and foremost a word person. After I've written my journaling, I have a place where the title grows from. I can't figure out what it will look like, though, until I choose the words themselves. Very often I'll pull words or phrases directly out of my journaling to make the title. Or the journaling has set the mood for the layout, so I can choose a title based on feeling. I like pun and bits of poetry and quotes for titles...I try to not use obvious ones like "Easter 2015." I want the title words to further the emotional tone of the layout. Once I have the title words, they have a "look" in my head, and then I start playing around with products to create that look.
(It doesn't always come out the way I think it will!)
Most of my creative energy goes into designing the title. After that I look for products to embellish, based on colors, but the title (which draws from the journaling) establishes the visual style of nearly all of my layouts.
I don't think I truly put that together for myself until I wrote this post!
Take one of the layouts I made recently:
This was the best thing that happened at Disneyland when we went in February. Kaleb and I were admiring a display of foam souvenir swords. He asked me if I would play swords with him, but just before I reached for one, Peter Pan appeared. There were no other kids around, so Kaleb just fought with swords with Peter Pan. It was awesome!
I didn't take my big camera to Disneyland; I didn't want to be encumbered by it. When this happened, in fact, part of me thought I'm not even going to bother trying to photograph this, because my cell phone won't do it justice. The photos aren't awesome but I'm so glad I didn't listen to that voice! I decided on printing one big photo rather than several smaller ones because none of them were really, really good. I thought one big image would be more powerful.
After I wrote the journaling, I wanted a title that would express how magical those minutes felt, both for Kaleb and for me. I hunted for a while for a quote about the magic of Disneyland...but nothing fit until I started thinking about the Peter Pan story, and then it was easy. I made the title with my Silhouette, and it couldn't be any other color than green, to go along with Peter Pan. I wanted it to be big, to pack a lot of visual impact, so I kept any other embellishments to a minimum.
Sometimes I look at other people's layouts and think how do they do that? Where do the ingenious ideas for design and embellishment come from? Not from a part of the creative brain that I possess. But after so many years of scrapbooking, and so many layouts, I'm comfortable with my approach. I try to mix it up so I can stretch myself and not get too comfortable, but my process is a reflection of who I am. I love my layouts because they capture the bits and pieces of our lives in stories and images, and I am happy I've figured out a process that works for me.
If you scrapbook, have you ever thought about your process? What do you start with?