Under the umbrella of creativity, I have been meaning for so long to become a digital scrapbooker and the thing that always gets in my way is the lack of anything to scrapbook. The majority of scrapbook layouts I see tend to heavily feature either children, travel or both. I sadly don’t have children (thanks Fibro) and even before the pandemic I hardly ever travelled anywhere (thanks again…) but recently I have recognised a journey I am taking which I think will be the perfect subject to begin my digital scrapbooking adventure.
Historical Photo Storage
Do you remember the dim distant days of photography when you would take some carefully selected shots, then send off the reel for processing and wait patiently for an envelope of photos to arrive? It feels like a lifetime ago doesn’t it? Once the photos arrived you had three choices. You could keep them in the wallet, maybe putting some favourites up in frames. Or you could put them into photo albums, either the type with pages that had peel open sticky sheets (that proved to be bad because many of the albums had acid in then which hurt the photos) or lately the flip-up style albums. The third option was to use your photos and create scrapbooks with them, adding in journalling and mementos to bring the story to life.
Of course, in the modern era of digital photography we are far less discerning and restrictive when it comes to taking photos and can therefore end up with large digital vaults that just sit there. They are easy to share with family and friends (or the whole world if you choose, I’m a blogger so I do choose). But it is very easy to end up with the digital equivalent to a flip album. I appreciate depending on your camera and storage vault you may have metadata that adds some information, but that is all. Much like in the analogue days one option to add value to your photographs is to create scrapbooks.
Some people print their photos out and still create scrapbooks in the traditional way. Traditional scrapbooking involved using a simple album and printed photographs and all the there decoration was done manually by hand. This what I used to do, to varying degrees of success, ages ago. I have some much better albums, but they are currently still at my parents house. Here is a page from one of my earliest albums which I was slowly working through and removing the photos to scrapbook them properly with journalling and art work.
However, in recent years digital scrapbooking has become a thing and gained in popularity. The basic idea of digital scrapbooking is that you use software to create your pages, editing photos and adding text and additional graphics to create your design. You can read a very comprehensive guide to digital scrapbooking on the Pixelscrapper website.
In between these two options there is the concept of hybrid scrapbooking. This may involve using graphical software to begin a design, print this out and then add additional elements by hand. This is a great option if your art skills are not all you would like them to be, but you enjoy the tactile feel of a physical album. It also gives you the opportunity to hide away journaling elements in pockets or behind hinged panels. Hybrid Scrapbooking may be a good choice if you have a digital die cutting machine like the ScanNCut, which allows you to cut out your graphics with little effort.
My Digital Scrapbook Plan
As you may know, in recent times I have been working on improving my drawing skills as well as my colouring. Both my adult colouring as a stand alone experience and colouring stamped images to improve my cardmaking skills. Here is my complete guide to adult colouring in case you missed it. It is this creative journey I have decided will make a great topic to scrapbook. Although I usually photo my complete images and share them, either here in the blog, in my newsletter or in social media posts. They are stand alone photos and I think it will add value to scrapbook to just the completed pieces of work but my journey.
My thoughts about each piece, what I have learnt, processes I have enjoyed (or not enjoyed), which techniques are comfortable and what causes pain. Long periods of time working with coloured pencils really hurt my hands, I need no reminders for that one. As well as my colouring and growing art skills I can also scrapbook greetings cards I have made, encouraging me to use more of my craft stash.
Digital Scrapbooking as a Genealogist
My other plan is to use digital scrapbooking for some of my older family history photos. Many of them are ones I have received digitally, having been scanned in by relatives in other parts of the world. Many of these images are not good enough quality to be printed out at any useable size. But because web resolution is far more generous than print, I will be able to do something with them if I use digital scrapbooking methods. I already have a great deal of research shard on my family history website, but other than profile pictures have done very little with them.
Graphics for Scrapbooking
A big part of what makes an attractive scrapbook layout is the graphics you add. Look at this stunning layout by Michelle Davis from the Pixelscrapper website, the photos are lovely but scrapbooking them transforms them into a work of art:
Pixelscrapper* is my go-to place for graphical images, there vast selection includes a wide range of genres to suit every taste. Although I have not actually begun my scrapbooking journey. I have used them for a few years now for many creative processes. The butterfly I use regularly on this blog, that came from there, not to mention several of the decorative or journalistic elements I include in my Instagram creations. If you are interested in checking them out you will be pleased to know that every single day you get new credits to download graphics for free. If this is not enough you can take things to a whole new level.
In addition to the individual graphics available for download. Pixelscrapper has a subscription service that allows you to download whole scrapbooking kits, which include a monthly Goodlife Bundle which often contains kits from more than one designer. These provide excellent value. If you decide to purchase a subscription you have the choice of personal use or commercial license. When I first discovered the website a few years ago, it was their ethos that led to the manifesto that attracted me to the site. On top of this, there is an excellent community, the more you participate the better perks you have.
Graphics on the Go
I’ll be honest when I first took out the annual subscription I regularly downloaded whole collections. The problem with this was that they started taking up a lot of space on my hard drive. Recently I have done a complete 360 and deleted all of them. Not because I don’t want them, but because the organisation and tagging on the site are so good that I can use the search bar on either the graphics or kits page and find exactly what I am looking for. So I download the graphics I need, use them in a project then delete them again, safe in the knowledge I can download them again whenever I choose.
The Benefits of Digital Scrapbooking
As you saw earlier in the post. One of the negative sides to traditional scrapbooking is that as your skillset improves and tastes change it can be tricky to go back and deconstruct physical albums, if you are no longer happy with them. The benefit of a digital album is the simplicity of cropping out a photo and beginning the page again. We also need to remember the basic security digital products allow, you can easily back them up in more than one place. Heaven forbid that you have a house fire and a physical scrapbook could be lost forever.
Getting Started with Digital Scrapbooking
If this idea has interested you but you don’t know where to start. I can once again recommend the Pixelscrapper website because they have a fantastic tutorial section that can take you from beginner up to respectable graphic design skills. Although there are various graphic design software options I recommend two. If you prefer a one of charge then Affinity Photo or Designer (I have both) are a very good call. On the other hand if you are happy with a subscription model the industry standard is Photoshop and you can get an affordable photography subscription from adobe with gives you Photoshop and Lightroom which is like a digital darkroom along with other useful extra tools.
Are you tempted by Scrapbooking?
Are you already a scrapbooker? If so are you a digital fan or do you prefer the traditional method? Either way why not drop a comment below and share your experience? If you have found this article useful I would be grateful if you shared it with others so they can discover it.
* I have partnered with Pixelscrapper and had an additional month added to my annual subscription in exchange for this blog post, but all thoughts and wording are completely my own.