Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Sketches for Scrapbooking Part 1: PageMaps and Reflections

I will be the first to admit that I can't scrapbook without a sketch. Okay, maybe I *can*, but I'm almost always disappointed in the results when I try. I enjoy putting color combinations together and playing with product, but when it comes to placement of items on a page I can get really, really stuck.

Enter sketches. They've been around for ages in scrapbooking and there are tons of places to find them, some free and some not so free. Lately I've done a lot of scrapping with sketches from four different sources and wanted to talk about each of them- two today and two some time next week. There are many, many, many more sketch sources available besides these four, but I'm only going to discuss the ones I use most often.

First up are PageMaps by Becky Fleck. I love these sketches for their diversity. She includes all sizes of pages and different orientations for 8.5x11 and 6x12 pages. Photo sizes vary greatly, so these are best to use if you know how to crop, resize, and print (or have printed) your own photos.

PageMaps are available free on Becky's site, and she provides a new set monthly. There are archives of the past several years of sketches available, so you're sure to find something useful. Becky also published a book containing even more sketches last year.

This is a 12x12 single page layout I made based on a PageMaps sketch. Remember that trip I took to IKEA a couple of months ago? Well, here is the page about it!

And this is a 12x12 2-page layout about my niece's birthday last month, also based on a PageMaps sketch.

Overall I find that pages I make based on PageMaps sketches have a clean, uncluttered look and are easy to accent (embellish).

The next set of scrapbooking sketches that I find I turn to often is the Reflections program by Close to My Heart. There are currently three books available- Cherish, Imagine, and Reflections- with more planned in the future. Of the three currently available Reflections is probably my favorite. All three books are based on 2-page layouts, but Reflections goes a step further and shows you how to mix and match (and rotate) a series of single page layouts to make two page spreads, giving you more options for including different numbers of photos on your pages.

One of my very favorite features of this sketch series is the inclusion of sizes, cutting, and assembly instructions for both the photo and paper portions of the layout. There's no guessing sizes or placement here! Perfect for when I want to scrap, but at the same time I want to turn off my brain. Also, most of the photos used in these sketches are standard 4x6, 5x7, or 8x10 sizes, or are so close that you can easily crop them to the proper size after printing.

The layout below was based on a pair of sketches from Reflections and contains photos from my brother's wedding in 2005.

You can probably already see the differences between Reflections sketches and PageMaps sketches. Reflections sketches are much more heavily layered and have a more "formal" look to them. This can make them difficult to embellish sometimes since everything is so heavily regimented.

Next week I'll talk about two more sketch sources- GotSketch by Valerie Salmon and my new favorite, the Sketches for Scrapbooking series from Scrapbook Generation.

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