Pre-planning digital pages and projects – part 1


When I (Katie) sit down at my computer to scrapbook, it is almost always for a 1 or 2 page project. I don’t scrap in order for the same reasons that Janet listed in her post here. I love the freedom of creating a page based on my mood or the story I want to tell. Sometimes though, it is important to scrap in order, or at least with a well-thought out plan. When putting together mini-albums or special projects that have a clear time frame (a beginning and an end), planning is essential. I usually approach this type of project after the event has happened. (For instance, I am scrapbooking about my children’s baby years, even though they occurred more than a decade ago.)

There are times when it can be advantageous to actually pre-plan and put together layouts BEFORE the event actually happens. Does this sound crazy to you? It really is a bit of an adjustment if you aren’t used to scrapping this way, but the benefits are numerous! There are many situations where this would be a practical approach, but the 3 main events that come to mind for me are:

1- A baby album you want to prepare for yourself or as a gift. Once the baby is born (and time is a much rarer commodity) then all the scrapper has to do is insert the pictures and journaling to complete the album.

2- A travel album for a special trip that will occur in the future. After the trip (or even while it is in progress) you can simply add photos and journaling to complete the scrapbook.

3- A specific project such as Ali Edwards’ December Daily Album. See Ali’s blog for more details about this wonderful annual tradition. She puts a lot of thought and care into her album well before the calendar ever displays a December day!

All of these projects can easily be put together using an all-digital or a hybrid approach. You don’t have to be a paper scrapper to pre-make scrapbook pages! As I am planning to participate in Ali’s December Daily project this year, I decided to illustrate how a digital artist might approach this task. If I was as organized as Janet, I would have put together my album back in July like she did. Be sure to take a look at the beautiful album she created! My album will be quite different than Janet’s but there really is no “wrong” or “right” way to do this – just figure out what will work the best for you.

Here are the steps I am taking (and these would apply to any type of theme you choose):

  • What is the purpose of this project? In this case, I want to document an entire season of celebration in my family’s life that focuses around the December holidays.
  • What do I want to record? Traditions, events, gifts given and received, decorations, special meals and recipes, the visual beauty of the month, and special memories.
  • What format will I use? For me it will be square pages. I will probably print them as 8×8 size pages because that is the size that I seem to like the best. I like the idea of using an album that is large enough that I can fit a few years worth of December Daily pages into. I actually use the same type of albums that Janet uses. I want to use one of these so I can keep the December album on the shelf with all my other scrapbooks and enjoy it any time of the year.
  • How will I accomplish this? This is sort of a reverse Power Scrapping type of project for me. I’m used to designing the pages around the photo(s) and memories that have already happened. I will need to do some anticipating of the memories I hope will happen during the season. Rather than worry that this is restricting, I will look at this as a sort of “to-do” list of pictures I want to take and stories I want to document. I’m sure there will be some changes made along the way and this is one of the biggest benefits of doing a project like this in digital format – changes are EASY to make!
  • What tools will I use? I plan to make good use of templates and time-saving journaling starters. Even though I putting together this project a month ahead of schedule, I’m still a busy person and I need all the help I can get! I plan to shop my stash first and see what I have already purchased that will work for this album. As I put together my pages I may need to shop for a few items, but lucky for me that tomorrow is Digital Scrapbooking Day and there will be a lot of sales!
  • Anything else? I have joined Ali’s December 2009 flickr group so I can be inspired by others and of course I will read her blog to keep up with her ideas.

The checklist I just went through is a great way to organize any creative project you are working on. Feel free to copy this list of prompts and fill them out when you want to plan out anything from a single page, to an entire album.

  • What is the purpose of this project?
  • What do I want to record?
  • What format will I use?
  • How will I accomplish this?
  • What tools will I use?
  • Anything else?

Now that I have a clear idea of what I want to accomplish with this album, I’m ready to start creating. I’ll be back next Friday with part 2 where I will show you how to apply these ideas and turn them into ready-to-use scrapbook pages.