One of the most important pieces of advice I would give anyone who wants to make a scrapbooking sketch is to work to scale. This will give you a better result visually, help you plan your work and design space more optimally, and you will achieve a more balanced design in the end. When designing a sketch to use for a 12 by 12 layout, use a 12 by 12 page or artboard, or work proportionally with a 6 x 6, or other proportionate sized page. When placing elements on your sketch page, also work to scale. Use a 2 x 3 rectangle to represent a 2 x 3 photo. In this way, again you will be able to balance your design and visualize your workspace.
If you are not fortunate like me to have the Adobe Creative Suite with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop at your disposal to use, learn the drawing tools in the software you have to create your sketches. The tools may seem clumsy at first, but you will catch on to them! If you are using Microsoft Office, I recommend using PowerPoint over Word. The tools are much more user-friendly in PowerPoint, and I am all about user-friendly! If you don’t have any software you can use to create a sketch, use an old fashioned paper and pencil!
Whatever software you use, you will be exporting or saving your sketch to an image format that can be posted on the web if you want to share it with friends and blog readers! File formats you will likely export to will be .jpg, .gif or .png. . Check to be sure your software can “export” or “save as” to these file formats if you want to share with the rest of us! (And please do share!)
If your software is clumsy or too complicated to draw elements other than circles and squares to use as “embellishments” on your scrapbook sketches – use simple shapes to symbolize your desired embellishments. Also, surf the web for flourishes etc. Be very careful to read the copyright rules for each website. DO NOT use designs that are not owned by the website owner and offered freely for this type of use. Sometimes copyright restrictions are such that they are free to use for personal use, but not for any use that would make a profit. And no, it is NOT true that anything on the web is “free” for anyone to use, it is against the law to infringe copyright.
Often graphics available on the web are .jpg images. This can pose a problem in designing a sketch, as there is often a white box that surrounds a .jpg graphic, ie. the background is NOT transparent. This makes it difficult to layer the graphic over another because the white box “cuts” into the design underneath. I use Adobe Photoshop’s magic wand to capture all the white background, then the “select” menu, “select inverse” (so that the design i want kept is now selected), then copy, then paste into a “new” document with a transparent background. I then save the diagram as a .gif, or .png file to retain the transparent properties of the background in the image. Microsoft software will use these file types quite nicely.
OK – so you do not have Adobe Photoshop but want to create a transparent image???? Remember above I recommended PowerPoint over Word for drawing???? Well, another advantage with using PowerPoint is that in the picture tool pallete, there is a “magic wand” there as well. You can select ONE colour in a diagram, and it will be removed wherever it appears in the diagram. This handy feature will make creating transparent backgrounds from a .jpg very easy for the user! Just remember when you “set transparent colour”, there is only one colour that can be transparent at a time. If the background is white, touch on the white, and all instances of white will be removed from the diagram. If you then click on another colour, the white will reappear. So work smart with the transparency tool.
Stumped for design ideas?????? There are oodles of inspiration and mojo starters in our everyday world that surrounds us! Look at scrapbook layouts for inspiration for your sketches, but don’t restrict yourself to looking at those alone. Also look at objects around you – tiles, photographs, artwork, faces, patterns on clothing, patterns everywhere can inspire! Every time you find yourself being bounded by walls in boxes, punch a hole in it and take a look at the pattern the hole created!