January 3, 2013

Scrapbooking Basics: Color Blocking

Scrapbook Tutorial

Color blocking is a great technique for beginning scrapbookers, or even for advanced scrapbookers who are in the mood for a little something quick and uncomplicated. 

The name says it all - color blocking basically involves creating blocks of color and arranging them on the page.  It takes your 12x12 blank page and breaks it down into smaller, more manageable parts.  These parts can hold pictures or blocks that you can use for embellishments, titles, or journaling.  To demonstrate color blocking I created this layout:

To begin, pick out two to four colors of paper.  These can be cardstock colors or both cardstock and patterned paper.  Typically, I like to shop by product line.  If I see something I like, I'll buy two sheets of the patterns I like and two or three shades of matching cardstock.  This is the easiest way to make sure things will go together - the manufacturers have pretty much done the color matching for you. 

I decided to catch up on some long overdue scrapbooking for my son - he's ten now, so I thought maybe I'd catch up on a preschool layout!  I picked up some of We R Memory Keepers Hall Pass collection:

This is an awesome collection with several designs of matching patterned paper, cardstock cut outs, and all kinds of embellishments.  I decided immediately that I liked the darkest pattern matted on the blue/green cardstock, so I started by trimming 1/2" off one side of the paper and the top:

Then I adhered it to the blue/green cardstock color I liked:

One of the cardstock cutout sheets that came with this line was the perfect size to make my first block, so I adhered it to the top left:

From there I started cutting mats to fill in the rest of the page.  You can use your photos as a guide for this, or just start cutting and filling in.  I like to keep a pretty even margin between the blocks - it's less distracting for the eyeline.  This is what I ended up with:

You can add as many or as few blocks as you like: I like the contrast between larger and smaller blocks, so I chose to mix it up a little.  The only design rule is to try not to "trap" white space... you don't want space in the middle of the layout that is surrounded by mats unless you're going to put an embellishment there - it will usually look like you just ran out of ideas and forgot to put something there!  That being said, you don't have to fill the whole page with blocks like I did; if you leave space, make sure it somehow leads to the edge of the page rather than being trapped in the center.   

Now, I chose the yellow for matting on purpose because I wanted to add a little brightness to the page, but then I was unhappy with how little of the original pattern was left; to fix it, I cut a rectangle out from behind a large mat and cut it into smaller blocks that would fit onto some of my smaller mats.

Once you replace the large mat, the cuts aren't noticeable.  I often do this when I make mistakes and run out of the paper I need. 

The next step is just to start decorating all the squares.  I chose my photos for all the large blocks.  Here are some design tips for photo placement:

1.Always have your subject looking toward the middle of the page.  People who are facing off the page draw your eye away from your layout. 
2. Keep visual weight in mind.  Pictures with lots of people are "heavier" than pictures with just one person.  Notice how the picture in the upper right corner is larger than the picture in the lower right corner, but the smaller picture carries more visual weight because there are two people in the picture. 

Luckily, when I bought this paper, I bought tons of embellishments to go with it, so I had lots of things to choose from to start embellishing my blocks:

I also chose a space for a journaling block in the lower left.  Journaling is IMPORTANT - please don't leave it off your pages.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but no one will no what that picture meant to YOU if you don't write it down.  Here are some journaling tips:

1. When possible, choose a patterned paper that has lines or grids on it - this makes your journaling SO much easier. 

2. I write my journaling out in pencil first, then go back over it with pen.  Going over it in pencil first helps you ensure your spacing is even.  When you go back over it in pen, you don't need to trace, just keep things in the same general areas so the spacing still works out.  Erase extra pencil lines with a white eraser. 

3. This is most important: write in your own handwriting!  Maybe your handwriting is bad - that's OK.  If nothing else, people looking at the page will remember you for your awful handwriting.  The most important thing is that they're remembering you, not your computer. 

Here is the completed layout again - you can see that I turned my original cardstock block into a title block, and used various stickers and chipboard shapes to embellish.  Quick and easy but it looks so neat and clean :)  I love color blocking.  

Color blocking also works great on cards - check out this very simple card I created using Authentique's Seasons Winter line:

The whole card took just a few minutes to do because I didn't have to think about where to put anything - I just placed my blocks and ran with it.  Notice on the card, I didn't fill the whole background with blocks - the right side is open and it looks nice because it shows the pretty pattern of the background paper, it is "open" rather than "trapped" space, and I created a little visual interest by allowing the greeting to bridge over into that space. 

I hope you enjoyed learning about color blocking.  We're really interesting in showcasing techniques for beginning scrapbookers, so if there's anything out there you'd like to see, please leave us a note and we'll try to do a write up on it.  Happy Scrapping!

1 comment:

Joyce's Journey said...

What a great post! Loved it!!