Can a digital page inspire a paper page? Can paper inspire digital? Are the two in hopelessly separate worlds?
The answer to the first two questions is YES. The answer to the third is HECK NO!
When you've invested too much energy into one or the other, it's hard to see how we are all, at the end of the day, simply scrapbookers. In my little mind, however -- since I so easily transition from one to another -- I see paper and digital as just two different ways to accomplish my goal: making a scrapbook page to add to my ever-growing collection of albums. (Seriously, I need a bigger house so I have room for all my scrapbooks. It's getting bad.)
First, let's think about two obvious ways that paper scrapbooking and digital scrapbooking are the same.
1. We use the same size canvases. Scrapbook pages tend to be one of four sizes: 6x6, 8x8, 12x12, or 8.5x11 (rectangular.) Sometimes someone does a landscape 11x8.5 -- still a rectangle -- but you don't see that very often. And just for the sake of argument, let's lump the 6x6, 8x8, and 12x12 into the same category of square. So most people are either making square or rectangular pages. While inspiration CAN carry over from one to the other, page design tends to be pretty different for the two shapes. In my inspiration folder on my computer, I keep my square and rectangular layouts in two different sub-folders for quick access, depending on what kind of page I'm making. But the pages that are digitally made and traditionally made? They're mixed in together with each other.
Page design is page design. There are only so many ways we can arrange photos, embellishments, and text on a square or rectangular piece of paper.
2. What are we putting on the scrapbook page? Let's forget about product for a minute. What of yourself are you adding? Pictures and text. On the whole, what we're doing is arranging pictures and our thoughts about them on a page, then using product to enhance the picture or mood or theme or message of the page. Both paper and digital scrapbookers start with the same basic materials -- paper girls just print their photos BEFORE they create their page, and digi girls leave their options open, working with their photos from the computer.
For this article, I chose 5 paper pages and used them as inspiration for digital pages. And I chose 5 digital pages and used them as inspiration to create paper pages. For each set shown, the first page was the original, and the second is my scraplifted creation.
Since I've been paper scrapping for a LONG time and digi-scrapping for 18 months, I spent some time looking through my on-line gallery to find pages to lift . . . with a few of my layouts, I had to sit and look for a second before I could remember if they were digi or paper. My style tends to be pretty consistent, regardless of what I'm doing. And unless you look closely (or you are REALLY familiar with the products), you can't always tell the difference.
There ARE differences in the creative process between the paper and digital worlds. But most are easily overcome.
You know, I started on this project determined to prove how easy it is to move between the digital and paper worlds. And I still think that they both have a lot of merit and that value and inspiration can be found from each; in a LOT of cases I had no problems whatsoever. But I DID run into some struggles.
My biggest struggle in creating paper pages with digital inspiration was photo size. I only have so many photos sitting around waiting to be scrapped, and they are NOT the perfect sizes to come together on pages like the digital ones I'm copying. And I think that's really a strength of digital -- you don't have to commit upfront to photo size. How do I know what size I want the photos to be until I'm knee-deep in a layout and have been experimenting with the design?
On the flip side, having the photo size already determined and printed forces me to be creative and use what's in front of me -- I have finished several paper pages that I never would have even started in digi because I wouldn't have been able to make the decision about size and placement.
Another big difference is the materials I had readily available. While digi has a plethora of shapes available -- flowers, stars, hearts, you name it -- it doesn't seem to have many sticker-like elements. (I'm thinking along the lines of Doodlebug cardstock stickers, which I adore.) And I wonder why. (Maybe we need to talk about this amongst ourselves.) That alone kept me from chosing some paper pages to copy, because I got stuck on how to scraplift it digitally.
(the first page, above, is by Shabby Princess.)
Font work is SO much easier for me in digi -- I change my mind so much, I often go back and change a font or spacing after I've thought the page was done. While I DO occasionally use computer fonts in paper pages -- usually printed on vellum and then adhered to the page -- I find myself feeling like if I'm going to use the computer for my page, I might as well make the entire page in Photoshop. I tend to stay away from the computer when making paper pages because I don't FEEL like turning on the computer and figuring out the exact sizing for what I'm trying to do. If I'm playing with paper, I want to play with paper. That's just how my creative process works.
While we're talking about titles, I noticed it was more difficult and time consuming for me to create titles with my paper pages. The hardest part for me is committing to what I put down -- if I place alpha stickers for a title, sometimes I can re-arrange them or change my mind. But if I write on my layout? I'm stuck, unless I want to get REALLY creative to change it. Sometimes this works out, though, and I just make a decision and stick with it -- and hope it turns out okay. I have a much easier time letting go of the pressure when I'm paper scrapping, because it's so hard to step backwards and fix things. I tend to second-guess myself a LOT when I'm digi-scrapping because I know that even when the page seems done I can still very easily make drastic changes.
It's quite obvious, looking at my paper pages, that I have trouble cutting a straight line. With a paper cutter. And a ruler for measurements. It's just who I am, and I've accepted that -- but it's also a part of what I love digi. The Rectangular Marquee Tool never lets me down. Perfect lines, perfect corners, every time. Then again, there's something about the crooked lines in my paper pages that make them seem . . . I don't know. Human. Personal. A physical representation of how little ole me tries my best but still screws up from time to time.
The easy stuff?
Well, in digi it's EXTREMELY easy to "cheat" when scraplifting. If you find a layout online that you want to copy, right-click and "save as" to your desktop. Then in Photoshop, create your new blank canvas (an 8x8 at 300 ppi, for example) and then open the page you want to lift. Drag the page to lift over to your blank canvas -- it will be pretty small, since it was saved for web. With the Move Tool selected, hold down the shift key and use the bounding box handles to enlarge the layout until it's the size of your canvas. Hit enter to save this adjustment, then use this as a template for paper and photo sizes. (Click here for more info on using the Move Tool.) It doesn't matter that it's a little fuzzy -- you're just using it as a guide. Keep this as your bottom layer and delete it when you have everything in place for your own layout. Then be sure to give credit when you upload your layout into a gallery -- if you are duplicating a layout THIS closely, you definitely need to cite your source! Above is an example of where I used that trick, scraplifting a page created by Audrey Neal.
My paper pages came together EXTREMELY quickly when I was lifting the digi pages. Once I had the right-sized photos to work with and the image on my computer screen of the layout to copy, it took me no time at all to create my paper layout. Most of my copied paper layouts took from 15 to 30 minutes to put together. The Jake and Sadie page above only took 10 minutes. (It REALLY helped that I had a big stash of paper to choose from. Scrappers who don't buy more than they need might have trouble pulling together a page when scraplifting like this. It's easy to get stuck needing more supplies when you're paper-scrapping -- I've made special trips to the scrapbook store in the past just to find a certain color of cardstock!)
I'll admit that there are some digital pages that just can't be copied. They don't mirror the look of a traditional scrapbook page at all, the photos have really been altered and cool stuff done with them, there's complicated use of text or filters or blending modes . . . and many of them are beautiful works of art, but might leave you scratching your head. I actually don't make many of these pages, because truthfully? I don't understand all that complicated Photoshop stuff yet. (But shhh, don't tell.) In fact, there are only a few of mine that fit the category of not easily copied in paper scrapping. The only ones I could find are ones that have text on photos or extractions of just the subject from a photo. (see page at right.)
But so you can see some of the really cool pages I'm talking about, here are some from my digi-friends. The first is by "lizzyg_003," the second is by "Lynn (Singers)," and the third is by Hanne Kalleland.
Even when a digi-page is so complicated or artsy or random that there's no way to copy it . . . inspiration isn't just about page design. Inspiration can come from photos, subject matter, journaling, color combinations, a page element . . . we limit ourselves if we think a page is useless to us because we can't copy it exactly. Some of my favorite pages from magazines and galleries are pages I would never attempt to replicate, but I love the design, the artistry, and the thought put into them. The more I'm exposed to different kinds of great page design, the better I get at the pages I make. And I'm learning to appreciate the beauty in all pages, regardless of whether they fit my style.
So long story short, I hope we'll see that digi and paper CAN inspire the other. I hope we'll all be able to find value in all pages. Not just the ones that are exactly our style. Not just the ones that are made in ways approved by ourselves and our friends. Not just the ones that are perfect and trendy. Because we're all scrapbookers here. All of us.
P.S. for details about the product used for each layout, click here.
Reader Comments ...
Great article, thank you for including so many scraplift examples.
Sabatij, you could post them here in the gallery at ACOT! Then maybe start a message board thread with links to them? :) e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you end up doing this, so I can come see!!!!
Hi, I'm in the UK and did this very thing a few months back. How do I send them along. Would love to get someone's opinion on how they compare.
Great article, Thanks!
Right on target, Jen.
This is a fabulous article Jen and look at all of the layouts you got out of it!
What a great read!! Loved your tip on how to do a digital scraplift! Really enjoyed looking at your paper and digital layouts side-by-side, too! Great job!
great article Jen!!
AWESOME article!! Go Hybrids! :D
What a great article, thanks for sharing with us!!
Great article Jen!
Awesome article Jen!!!
Nice article Jen!
I LOVE THIS ARTICLE JEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! PERFECT!!!!!!!!!! :):):):):):)