Sunday, December 11, 2011

How to Begin? Digital Scrapbooking 101

“Nadia,  I really want to try digital scrapbooking. How should I begin?"
"Is it expensive to start digi-scrapping, you need to buy computer, software and kits, right?"
“What kind of  software can I use?“
“Where can I download the kit?”
“Can you recommend me the best tutorials to start digi-scrapping?”
“I ran out of layout ideas. Where can I look for inspiration?"

These are some of the questions I sometimes receive from newbies. First of all, I want to state here that digital scrapbooking is not expensive at all. Yes, you need to invest on a computer/notebook and software, but the kits are considerably cheap compared to manual scrapbooking elements!

Basically, what you need for digital scrapbooking are :
  1. a computer. You will need a computer with a good amount of RAM to handle big resolution images.
  2. a scrapbooking program/software. You can use Photoshop, Photoshop Elemeny, Paint Shop Pro (PSP) or GIMP. These graphic programs allow you to work with PNG (kit elements) and JPG (kit papers) format.
  3. a digital scrapbooking kit. These kits are not expensive at all. They range from only $1 - $20 depending on complexity and amount of designers creating them. Usually collaboration kit products cost more than individual designer products.
  4. digital photos
  5. tutorial
  6. imagination :)
I've got some tips here that might help you :

Tips 1 : download quality freebies kit. My favorit is : Shabby Princess and Digital Creation from Millstream Cottage. Other websites that you can try to visit : Peppermint Creative, Digital Freebies and Scrap Girls. This freebies usually contains diverse kind of papers, embellishment and alpha. The kit is downloaded in the form of ZIP or RAR, so we need software like WinRAR to extract it to PNG form before we can actually use it.

Tips 2 : it's better to download 1 kit first and practice using it,  instead of downloading all available freebies and then get overwhelmed at the end! Hahaha... it’s easiest to say than do, realy... it's hard to stop the erg to collect all those fantastic freebies!. I’ve been there in that stage too .... :) If you really want to try the easiest way, you can just download QP (Quick Page) like in my blog. Just add couples of photos, journaling and titles. Tadaaaa..... just as simple as that :).

Tips 3 : make a special folder for the kits to make it easier to find them. You can group the kits based on themes or designers. Don't forget to make your WORK folder so not to mix the kits with finished layouts.

Tips 4 : decide on the software and stat to learn digi-scrap techniques based on it . From the beginning, I choose to work with Photoshop CS 5, The first tutorial I learned is from Shabby Princess :  Creating your first layout using Photoshop. After getting used to make simple layout, you might want to improve your layout techniques such as clustering, blending, extracting from other tutorials like these.

Tips 5 : join digital scrapbooking forum. I join some active forum such as : DST, DSA, and GS. A good quality store usually also has forum and blog to inform the costumer on special events like Sale, Download of the Month, Speed Scrap, Random Act of Kindness, CT call etc. Don't worry if those scrapbooking terms make no sense for you, you can check their meaning here. The advantages of joing forum are :
  • You can upload your layouts at the gallery. You can get positive feedback from other members and of course you can ask or comment on their layouts too. And, if you layout is really stand out, you can be nominated to win LOTW (Lay Out of the Week). You'll get free coupon for the store if you are the lucky winner... Yippee... Who doesn't love freebies :)
  • You can browse the gallery for inspiration and experiment with different scrapbooking style. It's fun... Whenever I experience scrapper block (hahaha....) I always browse DST gallery and do some scraplifting. It's fun to analise other layout, trying to figure out what techniques used on it and copy it.
  • You can join different kind of monthly challenges to practice and improve your technique. The challenge hosts often give the participants free mini kit or template to help them finish the challenge. Another frebiee... isn't that great? Plus, every participants will be given a chance to win free coupon by the end of the month! Don't have kits to start doing challenges? No worry.... As a welcome gift, many stores will give you free kits to start your digi-scrapping journey. So, what are you waiting now... Go and join a forum now!

Finally, we get to the last part of my tips. Hopefully they can help you give some enlightenment on how to begin your digital scrapbooking life. Happy digi-scrapping everyone!

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