Important notes for scrapbookers.

When you first start out, the digital community can seem a little overwhelming. There is so much information available that it can be hard to know where to start. This is a collection of the places and things that I think all scrapbookers should be aware of.

Fonts
Trust me when I say you will quickly get bored of the fonts that you come installed on your system. There are a huge variety available to download free of charge. Dafont is one of the best as it has a massive selection. They are separated by type but also by designer. Make sure you read the TOU before using them! I have a preference for handwriting fonts on my pages so here are some of my favourite free ones. Kimberly Geswein, Fonts For Peas and their sister site Free Scrapbook Fonts, Sugar Frog Fonts, Miss Tiina, 2Peas there are also lots for sale I ♥ Darcy Baldwin’s and have all of them.

Photo Actions
Well edited photos can really take your pages to the next level, the easiest way to do this is by using photo actions. There are some amazing free ones available one of my favourites places to pick up free actions is The Coffeeshop Blog she also has great tutorials. There are also some good tutorials and actions on Pioneer Woman Photography. Facebook is becoming a great way for photographers to offer samples of their actions, My 4 Hens, Paint The Moon, MCP Actions, Pure Photoshop Actions, Florabella Actions, Addy Lane & Texas Chicks Blog and Pics all have free actions.

Open Galleries
It’s kind of pointless having an amazing page if you have nowhere to share it, some people prefer smaller sites to share their work but if you don’t want to be restricted to using products from a certain store, or are on a creative team you need an open gallery. All of these allow you to include links to the products and have no restrictions (except for how many pages a day you can upload). Digishop Talk, Digi Scrap Addicts, My Scrapbook Art and Me So Scrappy there are probably others but these are the most popular and ones I use for all of my creative team and regular layouts.

There are also semi open galleries where you can use any products but not include links, my favourites being Digi Scraps Drive-In and Gotta Pixel,

Inspiration

Trying to recommend inspiration in the digital community is a little like trying to find one drop of water in the sea, what you are inspired by depends a lot on the style you scrap in, the products you buy,the pages you hope to create and even the digital sites you chose to shop at. Browsing through galleries and picking a layout to scraplift can be a good place to start but my personal preference when I am feeling uninspired is to take part in site challenges. This is by no means a complete list just my favourites.

These sites offer a wide range of challenges and do not require use of products sold in the store – Digi Scraps Drive-In is my home site, which is why I used to be a creative team member there, they offer points towards a $5 store gift certificate. There are bonus points for using store products. Scrap Orchard offers a % discount for completing challenges and Scrap Matters also offers a % discount or you can bank your points towards a gift certificate. I find that I don’t have the time for participating at many other sites, but I have found Gotta Pixel require use of store product for prizes, amount varies according to challenge host. Gingerscraps has a system where they do a random drawing for winners at the end of the month using store products earns you extra entires and Digiridooscraps have participation gifts for each challenge all of these sites have have always been very welcoming and friendly. I quite like the challenges at stores my designers sell at for some challenges too, if you are doing the layout for your CT anyway you may as well take part in them. Oscraps offers a random drawing at the end of the month 4 challenges earns you 1 entry, 6 challenges earns you 2, Funky Playground Designs has a random drawing for a $5 gift certificate valid on Playground Collabs for each challenge 25% minimum FPD product for layouts in the gallery and Sunshine Studio Scraps has a points system 12 points earns you a $10 Gift certificate to the store, all layouts must be 80% current SUN product. Check out the sites your favourite designers or CT designers sell at!

There are some great challenges offered on blogs, usually they are run by creative team members but sometimes by the designer themself. Some great ones are Pencil Lines and Inspired Blueprints for sketches and templates, The Digi Dares and Hodge Podge are good for a variety of challenges and Log Your Memory offers challenges based on their memory logbook products available here

Mad Genius Designs is currently running a challenge called Adventure 365, each week she provides a free template to scrap P365. You can use the templates for anything you want of course, but scrapping P365 pages earns you participation prizes each week to make a monthly free kit.

Magazines are a good source of inspiration but they are few and far between now, The Artisan Notebook is a good one that’s still available.

Freebies

We all have to start somewhere and it’s smart to try out a designer before you buy from them, this way you can check the quality and make sure the designers style will work for the pages you want to make. This is one of those areas where it pays to follow the designers you love. Subscribe to the RSS feed on their blogs, sign up for their newsletters and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Many designers are now offering exclusive gifts via social networking sites, exclusive discounts in their newsletters and addons or freebies made with their products on their blogs. It’s also a good idea to check forums and stores where the designers sell as they often give out promotional gifts for new releases. Don’t be afraid to delete things that you don’t love after downloading them, and be aware that downloading things just because they are free is not a great idea. I promise you that all that will happen is your hard drive will end up drowning in freebies and you won’t be able to find the products you have paid for! So be selective and try to just download things you can think of ways of using.

I would be a really rubbish Creative Team member if I didn’t link you up to where the designers I create for frequently offer freebies.

Mad Genius Designs has a free commercial use texture set available every tuesday on her blog, she also offers a free template each week as part of her Adventure 365 challenge I mentioned above. There are also exclusive freebies available on her Facebook Fan Page under Fan Exclusive.

C.W Picket & Company has some addon freebies available on her blog and the occasional quickpage or mini kit freebie in her newsletter.

Jen C Designs has frequent freebies on her facebook fan page, in her newsletter and on her blog you should also check out her stores newsletters.

52 Inspirations is a subscription based service available at Oscraps here but Sue often has freebies in her newsletter and on her blog.

Tutorials

At some point you will come across something that you want to do but don’t know how, this is where tutorials come in handy. There are two ways of looking at them, there are the tutorials you actively look for when you want to know how do I do… and there are tutorials that people post that make you wonder how you ever managed without that particular skill in your arsenal. In the first example you need to be aware of how you actually learn, do you want written out instructions or do you need to see what they are telling you how to do with screenshots or video?

There are some great basic tutorials available for scrapbooking at Scrapbook Bytes and Digital Scrapbook Place there is also a great section for beginners at DSDI called Chef School as well as the tutorial section here. You can often find tutorials on blogs tutorials written by scrapbookers for scrapbookers can sometimes be more useful when it comes to program specific tasks, Jennifer Fox and Scrap Matters come to mind but tutorials written by photographers or better yet scrapbooking photographers can be better for tutorials relating to photo editing. Google is your friend, ask it for what you want and include the program you are using and it will find you answers, but beware as you may encounter information overload and not know where to begin. Youtube is good if you need video tutorials but it’s another place where you can run into information overload. There are also some amazing podcasts available on Itunes for free download but the absolute best option when you want to know how to do something is to ask the community. Post a thread at one of the big open sites or even a smaller site you hang out at, I guarantee there will be someone who either knows how to do it and will be willing to teach you or can provide you links to a great tutorial. Obviously there are classes and subscriptions available that can help you learn new skills, but I am not very good at actually completing classes.

General Information

The last thing I want to share with you is a list of some of the little goldmine sites and products that do not come with stores attached. These are the ones that are great when your mojo is on holiday, or even while you are scrapbooking filled with useful information, links and tutorials.

The Daily Digi, Simple Scrapper, Sir Scrapalot, Get It Scrapped, Write, Click, Scrapbook, Me So Scrappy and The Paperclipping Digi Show

Tips

  • Start organising in some way from the start, if you leave it until you have built up a collection it’s unlikely that you will end up doing it
  • It’s perfectly ok to change the method you choose for organising if you find that someone else that will work better for you.
  • Save your layouts frequently as you go, losing a layout part way through or just as you have finished really sucks!
  • Save the layered format as well as the flattened jpg and web version, so if there is anything you want or need to change it’s easy to do it
  • Always check your spelling before uploading or printing, in photoshop you can do that under Edit > Check Spelling.
  • Dropshadows can make your page go from average to amazing use tutorials or cheat with styles/actions to get them right there are some great ones for sale linked in this thread at DST and tutorials on One Little Bird’s blog, Megan Turnidge’s blog and Krystal Hartley’s blog
  • Don’t be afraid to try new things, be that designers, styles, techniques sometimes getting out of your box can be a good thing
  • At the same time don’t feel like you have to follow along with a certain style or technique just because everyone else is doing it.
  • Knowing some of the principles of design will help you learn which “rules” can be bent or broken there’s a free class here at Get It Scrapped.
  • Just because a program wasn’t designed with scrapbooking in mind, doesn’t mean that you can’t use it to help your productivity I would be lost without these programs – Google Reader to keep track of blogs, Evernote to keep track of credits & Unzipthemall to unzip all my files.
  • Communities vary as much as the scrapbookers in them, if you don’t feel comfortable try somewhere else until you find one you love.
  • There is no such thing as “cheating” it’s perfectly fine to use quickpages and templates to speed up your scrapping if you want to do that.
  • The most important tip is the simplest – HAVE FUN!
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