Now that you’ve picked out your software, you’re going to need some papers and elements to make your first layout with. If you’re brand new and already have some software on hand, you might want to start out by downloading just a few freebies. I offer a free kit when you sign up for my newsletter and a lot of other designers do as well. Some also offer free kits or mini kits on their websites.
If you want to get a variety of full kits for a cheap price, you might checkout the Scrap Pack at Scrapstacks or The Digi Files. Both of these are great ways to be introduced to different styles and designers at a low price. They also help support two great digital scrapbooking websites.
If you have no idea where to start on a layout, you might want to use a layered template as a starting point. Amy Martin offers a free template monthly for the Lilypad template challenge. You can use clipping masks to clip papers to the shapes in the template. Sahlin Studio has a great tutorial on using clipping masks in Photoshop and Paislee Press has a tutorial that will take you step-by-step through using a layered template.
If you want your page to look realistic, you’ll also want to learn a bit about drop shadowing. Peppermint of One Litte Bird has a mind-blowing shadowing tutorial that I cannot recommend highly enough. I learned almost everything I know about drop shadowing from Peppermint.
Now might also be a good time to start thinking about how to organize your files. I use a simple folder system based on type of supply and the designer. After I download my files, I put them into my scrapbooking folder based on what type of supply it is. I also have a folder for my finished layouts (“Pages”) and one specifically for Isaac’s baby book pages (“Baby Book”).
I don’t have enough supplies right now (but I might if we weren’t on a pretty tight budget!), so I don’t use anymore subfolders but I do use a labelling system for my folders. Since I do a lot of challenges, each one is labeled with an abbreviation for the store I bought it from/that designer is currently selling at followed by an abbreviation for the designer followed by the kit name.
You can see above that all my Sweet Shoppe Designs kits I’ve labeled with “ssd,” while my kits from The Lilypad are labeled with “tlp,” and my kits from The Digi Files are labeled with “tdf.” You’ll notice that sometimes I don’t include a designer. This is for store collaborations that have a lot of different designers, like the Grateful collab from The Lilypad. Though since this came as part of the November Scrap Pack, I’ve also added “spnov12″ on there. If I have a kit like Worn that’s a collaboration between two designers, I will label it with both names. In this case, I have “olb” for One Little Bird and “sahlin” for Sahlin Studio.
The Daily Digi did an overview in this post of some other options for folder organization. There are more adavanced ways to sort your supplies with programs like ACDSee or Bridge, but I’ll cover those methods in a later post.
Play around, be willing to use “Undo,” and get your feet wet. Try out some of the techniques in the tutorials I’ve highlighted. In my next post, I’ll walk you through creating a layout step by step, but I think you’ll find it much easier to follow along if you’ve already played with the basics.