The Art of Scrapbooking

By: Eileen Bergen

If you’d like to start scrapbooking or create scrapbook-style art, but are simply overwhelmed by the vast product choices, let me help you narrow them down and get you going. I view
scrapbooking as a highly specialized form of collage.

With scrapbooking, not only are you creating artistic arrangements
and layers of objects, but you are doing it around an evocative
theme. Scrapbook art almost always includes: 1. photos around
which the theme is developed; and words or “journaling" which
evoke, explain and expand on the theme.

The words form an integral part of the artistic arrangement.
Scrapbookers love to play with and combine fonts to give words
visual expression. Just as we use tone and volume to add expression to the spoken word, scrapbookers use fonts, letter placement and color to express their ideas and form a page that
is pleasing to the eye. Just as words can be spoken melodically
or harshly, softly or loudly, the words on a scrapbook page can
visually shout, whisper, sing or pray.

I suppose a beginner could “go it alone" artistically, but I found
it inspiring and very helpful to view other scrappers’ work in
order to appreciate the range of possibilities before I began. If
you’re fortunate enough to have a friend who scrapbooks, ask if
you can look at her work. Also subscribe to a scrapbooking
magazine. You get to see all the latest and greatest scrapbooking
supplies and tools each month, along with examples of beautiful
pages submitted by readers and experts.

To begin scrapbooking, it is very valuable to see how varied the
art can be. No two scrappers will interpret a theme the same way.
This gave me a sense of artistic license when I started. There is
no one right way!

Four artists, given a theme and even a page layout, will invariably provide vastly different interpretations.

In fact, such contests are held periodically. The results are omething to behold.

If you still feel overwhelmed after seeing the work of experienced
scrappers (or maybe due to seeing their work!), start with one of
the themed kits that are available at craft stores.

For the more adventuresome beginner, it’s time to plan your page
and make a shopping list!

First decide on the size for your page. The most popular size is
12 x 12". One scrapper explained that’s because you get more “real
estate" to decorate. Decide on your theme and select photos for
your page. Scrappers frequently use photos from the same shoot.
This helps, not only as far as sticking with the theme goes, but
also aids color coordination. Look for colors that dominate or
accent the photos to decide on the colors for your background and

Be sure you have the ability to get reprints should you damage one
of your photos. Accidents do happen. Scan your original to a
digital file if you don’t have a negative or digital camera file.
Have any valuable old photos professionally copied. There are two
reasons for this: newer papers and newer inks both add durability.

Plan your journaling: what title and other words can you use to
tie the photos together? Take your time with this step. Let your
concept evolve and take shape. Think about your audience and
especially the person or people in the photos. What will evoke a
smile or wonderful memory for them?

Diagram a few scrapbooking layouts with your photos to settle
on a balanced composition and to give you an idea of how much
other “real estate" you have to play with. Your diagram will
include some or all of the following: background paper; slashes
or splotches of other papers; text box(es); a title box; and
your photos.

Next consider what additional elements and techniques you will
use to decorate: stamping; embossing; buttons; brads; ribbons;
rub-ons; tags in paper or even glass or metal; twill tape;
envelopes; and tiny embellishments.

“Tiny embellishments" is a whole industry that was practically
launched by scrapbook art. If you remember being enthralled by
doll house furniture and accessories as a child, you will be both
enchanted and taken back to one of childhood’s joys by
scrapbooking embellishments.

Your shopping list is almost complete and should look something
like this.

1. Background paper(s): size and color(s). Be sure any paper
that will touch your photos is acid-free (archival quality).
2. Accent paper(s). Album, D-ring binder or frame and perhaps
page protectors or glass. Ditto on “acid-free".
3. Letters: your choice of rub-ons, stamps, metal glue-on letters,
stickers, die-cut letters, old fashioned “typewriter key" letters.
[You can also create some text using computer graphic or word
processing programs.] 4. Ideas for embellishments.

Just brainstorm and jot down some items, but allow yourself to
be inspired by what you find.

Last, but not leastPsychology Articles, don’t forget the basics (some of which you
may already have on hand). 5. Adhesives – from glue sticks and
dots to tape and two-sided tape. Be sure those that will touch
your photos are acid-free. 6. Cutting tool(s):
good quality scissors and perhaps a paper trimmer.
7. Black journaling pen if you plan to write or draw in your
own hand.

The rest is easy. So enjoy!

By: Eileen Bergen
The Artful Crafter


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