Posts Tagged ‘Guided Study Critique Workshop’

Week 3 of the Guided Study Critique Workshop at Get It Scrapped was on Balance. I think this was the easiest assignment to date for me. Here’s what I came up with:


I have gone through many iterations of layouts using this panorama from my trip to Sehlabathebe in February. I wanted to show off the grandeur of the huge photo (It would print at 12×24) but also get detail shots in. It finally worked with this. At first I just had the photo on kraft but eventually decided to add the strips of patterned paper to the bottom to add a little extra detail. But, I didn’t want the papers to take away from the photo. I can’t tell you have many different papers I tried. The beauty of digi. I also found the little “National Park” cut up amongst my supplies and thought it added  a nice little dimension to the title. After I typed up the journaling to balance the block of white from the title I had some extra space so I added the arrow border stamp.

No changes from the live critique session. I was really proud of the layout and think it’s one of my best ever.

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Phew! I can’t believe it has been so long since I’ve updated here. Life has been CRAZY. There is a lot to update on – Easter, Grandma’s 90th birthday, road tripping through National Parks, etc. but I came here  to re-start my series from the Guided Study Critique Workshop at Get It Scrapped that picked up again 4 weeks ago. This Thursday is the last session so I have lots to share. It’s been tough staying caught up while traveling. Thank goodness I’m a digi scrapper and can scrapbook on the road!

I haven’t finished the updates to Week 1’s assignment so here’s week 2: Contrast:


These were photos that I literally took the day I submitted this assignment. I was behind on creating because my family and I were taking a road trip down to Arizona via Moab/Arches, Monument Valley and the Grand Canyon and as I uploaded the pictures I couldn’t help but want to use them. I chose contrast in size (large vs small photos) and color (green and red are opposite on the color wheel). Here’s my second attempt:


The two biggest things that came out of the critique were to:

1) change the size of the smaller photos so they were just a bit smaller. This was actually something I thought immediately after I uploaded it. In the before version it was just a little too top heavy.

2) Increase the contrast of the “You are here” element and the arrow. I tried a lot of different colors – the light and dark blue of the tag and green before settling on white for the lettering. Someone suggested the arrow in the wood veneer – same as the little car element – and that worked pretty well.

I finished this just in time for it to be included in my latest order of prints (since I was in the US and had completed 50 layouts since the last time I printed). I have to say that in person it looks pretty amazing.

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I found the last week’s assignment to be much easier, even though “unity” is an abstract concept. I decided just to go with what I would normally do, not think about it too much and see what comments came back. Here’s my first attempt:


There’s unity because you know what the topic of the page is about without me actually saying it (except in the journaling.) The colors, the patterns, the embellishments all “say” Christmas. My original title was going to be “Christmas at Home.” Then I decided that I didn’t need to actually use the word Christmas and tried to think of a little more clever of a title. Sure “ho, ho, ho” isn’t going to win awards for creativity, but it’s outside of my usual state the obvious themes for titles. The biggest piece of feedback was to add something under the stamping and to move it up and to the right a little. Nothing to do with meeting unity, but more about improving the design. Here’s the final result:


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This was a difficult assignment for me because it was less concrete than other weeks. Breaking space and typography are pretty straight forward; creating “tension” is not. For the assignments I decided to focus on different techniques for creating tension that were mentioned in the readings. One is breaking borders (which I did in week 1) so for this layout I tried to accomplish “snuggle & separate.” This is not something I typically do in my layouts but it is a technique that I admire in others. Here’s how it looked before the live critique session:


and here’s how it looks now:


Changes made from the critique:

1) Changed the orientation of the photo so that Molly’s face is looking into the page (duh)

2) This necessitated moving the tag grouping to the other side so that it wasn’t covering up the faces

3) Moved the journaling block up so that the bottom was flush with the bottom of the photo block

4) Tacked down the journaling block with some stitching

5) Made the green in the top cluster more pronounced and the cluster a little bigger in general

Once again small details make a big difference on the layout. The orientation of the photo bugs me just a bit but I think it’s because I know that it was taken facing the other way. Design-wise it works and my eye will adjust. (P.S. Could you just die over the look Molly is giving the camera. Whenever I try to take her picture she barks like I’m trying to steal her soul. For my friend she looked right into it!)

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I shared this picture as an Instagram a few weeks ago via FB with the comment “Even after 7 years in Southern Africa white endearmints are still the best thing about going to meetings.” As I was looking through my photos I was inspired to scrapbook the photo because capturing ordinary everyday things like mints at meetings is what I think scrapbooking is all about.

This started out as an assignment for typography week in my class but the title work took me FOREVER to complete. I had the words and knew I wanted to do the fun look of combining a bunch of alphas with a long title. Something I very rarely do. I fiddled and fiddled and fiddled with the title. Finally I discovered that the font Lobster looks a lot like the endearmint packaging and after some more fiddling the title finally came together. The whole layout went through lots of iterations trying to find the right embellishments and color scheme as well as the right combination of alphas. I also had to reach out for help to my critique class on where to put my journaling. On suggestion was below the title but it was too long and kept going well past the bottom of the picture. Another was journaling strips but the journaling was too long. So I went with the third suggestion of a border around the edge and really liked it. I also fiddled with the color for the journaling, but black was the most readable. This is what I finally came up with:


Photo Corners: Colors No 1, White and Grey Tab Alpha, Clean Stitched Banners White No 1, Haunted Woodlands Solids, and Messy Stitched Circles White No 1 by Katie Pertiet. 10,080 Minutes Date Tools by Traci Reed. Ribbon Bits 3 by Patti Knox. Storyteller kit by Scrap Orchard. I Am Polka alphabet by Penny Springmann. Glittery Neutrals alphabet by Libby Pritchett. Text Paths – Rounded Squares by Jen Martakis Designs.

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Week 2’s assignment for my Guided Study Critique Workshop was to “make your journaling and title work an integral part of: 1) the visual design and 2) the story you are telling.” As I mentioned in my previous post, I found the assignment to be really difficult. Title work is NOT my forte. I think that I have a relatively good understanding of how to use different fonts but my titles are just not that wordy and don’t lend themselves to creative title work. I’d say that my average title is approximately 2 maybe 3 words long so there’s usually not much to do to ramp up the interest. Take the layout I created for this week:


For a long time in my design process all I had was “Belize Zoo” because … that’s where the pictures were taken. Hello Captain Obvious. One of the last things I did before finishing my page was to look through my brushes for something to spiff up the layout. That’s when I found the “adventure” brush by Ali Edwards. To that point I had “Belize Zoo” a bit smaller so that the journaling could be in a small block below it. When I found the brush that’s when I decided to go big with the title, add “adventure” on top of it as a sticker and then move my journaling to right side of the picture. Before adding “adventure” I figured I had a nice layout, but not something that fit the assignment. The new design, I thought, really elevated the use of typography AND it gave me more room for journaling so that I could tell more of the story than just the facts.

Typography wise I chose the alpha for “Belize Zoo” because it was a nice bold alpha that was pretty large but had a bit of additional interest with the dotted lines. Also, sanserif fonts are better for titles. The hand written “adventure” worked because it contrasted with the sanserif of the other font in the title. I used a type writer font (VT Portable Remington) on the labels because I thought in real life I would use a typewriter on labels like those and then I used a really plain font (Calibri) for my journaling because it was already somewhat difficult to read against the plants of the photo.

In the live critique sessions two big points came up:

1) That even though I had used a really plain font for the journaling it was still a bit tough to read. One of the instructors suggested blurring the background photo, which I did in the final product. The blurring is subtle but it makes a bit difference in the readability of the journaling. I just used my blur tool in PSE and went line-by-line to blend the background. It’s not something I’ve thought to do before but SUPER easy to do in digi scrapping. I will definitely do it again.

2) To move everything to the right and the red patterned paper strip to come out from behind the left side of the photo block. This improves the flow of the layout because previously the beak of the toucan was directing the viewers eye off the layout. Now it’s facing down towards the strip of paper and the red in the beak creates a visual triangle with the paper and the red in the title.  How spiffy! Here’s the final product:


Much better, right? Another minor change that I made was to make sure that I was using all shadowed stitches. One commenter (another digi scrapper) noticed that some of the stitching jumped off the page and others did not. I realized that I don’t always pay attention to whether I’m consistently using either shadowed or unshadowed stitching, but now I will!

I am so enjoying this class. Applying the topics are challenging and it really has me thinking hard about how to take my layouts to the next level. Next week … tension!

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Nerd alert: I’m taking a digital scrapbooking class online. Most of you can stop reading now ;), but just so you know I’m LOVING it. It’s the Guided Study Critique Workshop at debbiehodge.com I’m in a group with 15 other scrapbookers (both traditional and digital) and every week we focus on different design principles. Then we have an assignment to create two layouts using the principles we’ve focused on that week. One gets critiqued in the gallery and the other gets critiqued by the instructors during a live webinar.

I did my first live webinar last week and it was SO MUCH FUN and I learned a lot. I’ve never had anyone give constructive feedback on my layouts and I actually really loved it. Plus the instructors are so kind in how they give feedback you’d have to be extremely sensitive to have your feelings hurt. Last weeks assignment was on breaking borders and space. This was an especially good topic for me because I tend to be very “boxy” in my layouts and little adjustments to break space can add visual interest. Here’s my original layout for the webinar critique documenting a story from my travels over Christmas:


My examples of breaking space are pretty subtle – there’s the doily sticking out at the top, the “g” in magic breaks into the photo and frame, the photos break into blue/gray strip of patterned paper and my journaling sticks out below the major horizontal band of the photos and paper. The major comments that came were to:

1) Move the doily more to the left so that it was also breaking space on the left side of the horizontal band. (It was already sticking out just a TINY bit, but only by accident.)

2) Stretch the bands of patterned paper so that they broke space on either side closer to the edge of the paper.

3) Make “magic” standout more in the title (a piece of word art).

The first two issues were easy to do and, I think, make it just a little bit more polished. The tougher issue was how to get magic to standout. I had become attached to the word art just as it was. One suggestion was to make it red so that it made a visual triangle with the old man’s shirt. The result? Meh. The red was just TOO bold for me.


The other option was to make magic into a “sticker” by adding a white border to it. I also added a shadow to it to make it pop up a bit. The result? Much better and having magic bolder really emphasizes the story I’m telling.


I really like how this turned out and the feedback process was painless. As I said before, I think the little details I’ve added just give it a bit more polish. So it’s not that I’m designing terrible pages but I definitely have things I can learn to make them better. This is the third time the class has been taught. I wanted to take the first one when it was offered but I had  conflicts with the time. There’s at least one person in my group that has taken the class from the beginning and I’m totally jealous. The content builds on itself so it’s not repetitive each time but as a newbie I don’t feel like the topics are super advanced. This weeks assignment is typography and text as a design element. It was REALLY hard for me. My titles are usually pretty plain so I tried to kick it up a notch. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll share my layout and it’s progress next week.

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