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Study shows high levels of versatility in scrapbook sketches

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I want to let you in on a little secret. I am not only a scrapbook artist but also a scrapbook scientist.

When I don my lab coat (in a flattering shade of aqua and sporting The Constant Scrapper logo), it’s time to put some aspect of our beloved craft under the microscope. I want to understand either what makes a layout really work, what slight adjustments to the formula make the most difference or what makes this hobby so enjoyable. Please join me on this voyage of discovery. :-)

First I thought it would be fun (ahem) scientifically relevant to test the effect that different product choices have on multiple layouts using the same sketch. Following scientific method, I will hypothesize, test and analyze three scrapbook layouts based on the same sketch and report the results here.

1. Define the question

It has been stated many times in the scrapbooking literature (add references here ;-)) that sketches add versatility and endless possibility to our crafting process. Yet, during interviews with scrappers who don’t use sketches in their design process I found that the most common objection was that their layouts would look too similar to other layouts completed based on the same sketch. This points to our main question for this experiment:

Do the products used on various layouts that all follow the same sketch introduce enough difference for each design to be seen by the community as unique?

2. Gather information and resources

I have chosen the following sketch and scrapbook products for this test. The sketch is one I drew after seeing a layout I liked in the Scrapbook Trends Quick & Easy special edition a few years ago.

ExperimentSketch_Daquila-Pardo

This sketch is from a layout I saw in a Scrapbook Trends magazine.

To further limit the variables in this experiment, I chose to work exclusively (except for just a few bits and bobs) with products from Echo Park (the Little Boy, Walk in the Park, Springtime and For the Record collections):

Echo Park's Little Boy collection Echo Park's Walk in the Park collection
Echo Park's Springtime collection Echo Park's For the Record collection

3. Form hypothesis

I predict that the difference in the products chosen will be sufficient to make each of the layouts look unique and not directly connected to the beginning sketch.

4. Perform experiment and collect data

Excuse me while I go to my craft lab and conduct the design portion of this experiment. I’ll be back with the results!

5. Analyze data

For this first layout about our cat, Oliver, I used mostly products from the Walk in the Park collection because of its bright but not primary color scheme and its sweetly simple patterns. The light in the photo was warm, so I played that up with the brown and gold cardstock I chose to use with the patterned papers. The button and sock monkey embellishments are meant to highlight the laundry theme and the comfort Oliver takes in curling up on a fresh pile of clean towels. I give you sample #1:

Comfortador_Daquila-Pardo

This design uses mainly papers from Echo Park's A Walk in the Park collection.

For specimen #2 about all the men in my husband’s family working together to renovate his mother’s house, I selected most of my products from the Little Boy collection because I wanted a bright and playful, obviously boyish feel for the layout. I added some Bazzill and Coredinations cardstock, a paper-pieced house and die-cut frame and clouds.

MenAtWork_Daquila-Pardo

In this layout I used mostly pieces from the Echo Park Little Boy collection.

For the vintage photo in sample #3 I chose to work with the patterned papers in the sophisticated For the Record collection. I thought the vintage yet slightly modern feel of these papers worked well with this one-time-event photo (my grandparents getting together to meet my new baby brother). The simple embellishments I used were stickers from the collection, a “family tree” die cut from paper from the Walk in the Park collection and polka dot letter stickers from Hobby Lobby. Again, I followed the same sketch as in the other two examples.

FamilySummit_Daquila-Pardo

This layout uses mainly the For the Record collection by Echo Park.

6. Interpret data and draw conclusions that serve as a starting point for new hypothesis

The look and feel of these three final projects is measurably different, based on the products chosen for each theme. I submit that even the well-trained eye of a scrapbook artist would not pick up on the fact that these layouts shared a common sketch (and certainly our non-scrappy friends and family won’t notice). My conclusion is that scrapbookers should find sketches that really work for them and then call on them repeatedly to help turn out designs they’ll love. No one will know they came from the same sketch but us. And really, we should feel more clever about that than guilty!

7. Publish results

Done here!

8. Retest (frequently done by other scientists)

Would you be interested in conducting a similar experiment and sharing your results? I ask only in the interest of furthering our scientific understanding of our hobby, of course. If you do repeat this experiment, please leave a comment so I can read your test results!

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Tammy D May 27, 2011, 11:35 am

    This is a great article! It still shocks me sometimes when I hear that scrapbookers would “never” use a sketch. I don’t remember the last time I created without one! They have been part of my creative process for years – using others or creating my own based on other pages I’m inspired by. Rarely do my pages ever look like the original. Our own creative processes are so different that unless your goal was to exactly copy the original, it’s never going to turn out the same. Use a sketch and save some time! :)

    • Janice Daquila-Pardo May 27, 2011, 12:06 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Tammy! I’m the same way about sketches; I just don’t do layouts without them. Since realizing how well they fit the way I think and create I haven’t seen a reason to stare at a blank piece of cardstock again! And the funny thing is that out of the little group of women I crop with each month, I’m the only one who keeps a sketch notebook and uses them. My friends act impressed by the notebook, but there’s something holding them back from taking the plunge. Well, we all have to find our own path, right? ;-) Have a great holiday weekend!

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