Sunday, 22 February 2009
Layered Templates & Grid Sketches

When I'm being a lazy scrapper & just want to get the story down and find an appropriate picture, I find grid sketches work best. Working to a design formula.

Not that I'm a sketch user. I find them too limiting and uninspiring. But I'm all for sapping someone else's creative energy when mine is running low.

My biggest hurdle when sitting down to create a page is not the journalling (just make that up as I go along, as if I'm talking to my great, great, great grandchildren), nor the imperfect photos, nor the obsessive need to get each date spot on. No, it's the damn way I bunch everything onto the page and attempt to make it look cohesive, interesting, and not too daunting for an unsuspecting visitor to peruse.

Sometimes it all comes together smoothly. Sometimes it does not!

Since discovering digital scrapping, this problem has been virtually solved (and yes, I did mean the pun!). In the digi world, they use page sketches or maps, but they call them "Layered Templates". And they are wonderful!

It is basically having someone else cut out all your paper into pieces that fit together on the page nicely, in a pre-designed layout of your choosing. You still get to pick all your (digital) papers and photos. And "pin" them onto their design. (Using the fantastically quick Ctrl-G shortkey command).

So, it's like cheating. But in a legal way. And at first I was not sure I liked using other people's designs. But hell, some of them had done exactly what I'd just spent 5 hours trying to do, and they'd done it better. With drop shadows! So, why waste the time laboriously placing everything on the page yourself, when you can use a Layered Template?

I used to dog-tag the corners of my scrappy magazines when I saw a design I liked. If I was keen enough, I'd then try and use the page as a sketch. But my idea of proportion sucks. So that's why I jumped for joy when I found out Ali Edwards (scrapping Goddess) was selling her page designs as templates - Whoopee! I had tried before to scraplift her page designs, to varying degrees!

Here are some pages from Ali's books "A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking with Patterned Paper" and "A Designer's Eye for Scrapbooking" (which I got for a steal through when the Aussie dollar was good.)

Ali's design:

My digital version:

The digital layered template:

Ali's Design:

My traditional scrapping attempts are still sitting in the WIP pile, unfinished! Here are some digital LOs using the same sketch.

Ali's Design:

One of my traditional paper LO's using the design:

Another, that I can't lay my hands on, but I know it was inspired by one of Ali's LOs. I've done a couple of paper LOs using versions this design.

And the digital template that came much later ...

Ali's Design:

Can't find Ali's origianl version of this next design, and they have not yet made it into a template. This is my version of it. I'm sure they'll release it sooner than later.

The official templates available from

You can also use the templates to do traditional paper scrapping if that's your thing. I find it quickens things up a bit if you don't need to worry too much about the design of the page. Another thing to do, as I started off this blog with, is to use a grid. Simple. It looks neat, it is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and it's timeless (so you won't cringe at the page 5 years down the track!).

Like these:

Sorry about the dodgy scans of my old paper layouts!
So go on, create some of your own pages using the designs I've highlighted here, or some others that replicate your style. Then make sure to post a link so we can all see them! Or email me a low-resolution version (72res) and I'll publish them for you!


Anonymous said...

Love your work Kathy, it is cool to hear your thoughts or motivation as to why you did the different pages the way you did & you can't always tell they started life as a template :-)I'll be hanging out for your next post... angie

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