Thursday, December 27, 2012

Focus On Two-Page Layouts!

Hello Memorable Seasons friends! Megan here with a special post for you!

I was beyond thrilled when Wendy asked me if I wouldn’t mind contributing a tutorial on creating 2-page layouts. “Mind?” I thought. I was honored!

So, here I am today to give you some insight on making cohesive, well-balanced two-page layouts based on sketches! Now for those of you who ran screaming from the computer when you read “two-page layouts,” I assure you that you too will be a believer in them once you read my tutorial and give it a try. 

(And please forgive my “old-fashioned” text and photo tutorial. I have not even begun to delve into the world of video tutorials and applaud Jean and Colette for their amazing videos.)

Okay, and now it’s time to take a walk through my brain as I develop a two-page layout. I always start with my photos and supplies and then I either sketch out a rough layout design on paper or seek out a sketch that I feel will work well with my photos and provide the right amount of space for my journaling (if I am including journaling).  For our purposes, we are going to focus on finding a sketch to use. I am a huge fan of sketches because they are such a time-saver and really help in creating eye-pleasing, well-balanced layouts. And, this is especially true with two-page layouts when the main struggle always seems to be balance and not over-crowding your layout. So, after you have your photos, supplies and sketch all chosen, it’s time to create!

When creating two-page layouts, I try to keep four main principles in the forefront of my mind…
(1) Achieve cohesiveness over the two pages.
(2) Don’t make your layout too crowded.
(3) Think about photo placement.
(4) Adapt a sketch to fit your layout.

So, how do you achieve cohesiveness over the two pages? My golden rule to abide by this principle is to use at least one patterned paper on both pages. A very close second is to create a visual triangle. You can also repeat elements across the two pages. Or, try crossing the gutter of the pages with paper, a border strip, ribbon or even a photo (if you have dead space in the photo that you don’t mind having a vertical cut through). You can also put a border around the edge of your layout to help tie the whole design together.

And how in the world do you not make a two-page layout look too crowded? Because you (usually) have a lot of photos, the key is to keep the embellishments minimal.  You can add interest with a creative title treatment, a variety of patterned papers and small details rather than a ton of embellishing. Also, you can help photos stand out from your page by inking the edges of them with StazOn ink or matting them.

What do you mean, “think about photo placement?” First, you want to have subjects face “into” page, toward the gutter of your spread (or in other words the middle of the layout). You don’t want Uncle Bob gazing off your page into outer space. Also, if you have multiple photos with the same person in them, space them apart. As adorable as your little girl is, spread her out over the two pages; don’t clump three photos of her in one corner (unless it adds to the story you are trying to tell, like if they are a bunch of photos in a series). Finally, try interspersing photos of people with detail photos for added interest.

I’ve got my sketch. So, how do I adapt it to fit my layout? Flip it. If it makes more sense to use the mirror image of the sketch for photo, title or embellishment placing reasons, then go ahead and flip it. When I do this, I actually save the sketch to my computer’s Desktop, open it with photo editing software and then flip it horizontally so I actually have the sketch’s mirror image in front of me. If you can’t find a two-page sketch you like, try expanding a one-page sketch. Not sure how to do this? Check out Susan Stringfellow’s two part series about this topic on her blog Sketch Savvy (Part I  and Part II). Try changing the size or orientation of your photos or the photos on the sketch. Add a visual triangle if there isn’t one already on the sketch to help with balance. Move the title and/or journaling placement. Alter elements of the sketch to fit your theme or topic; just because the sketch has flower embellishments on it doesn’t mean those couldn’t be stars or snowflakes.

Are you tired yet? I hope not, because now that we’ve reviewed these design principles for creating fabulous two-page layouts, I want to share with you two recent layouts I created using both a sketch and these principles. And, of course since we all have a whole new batch of Christmas photos to scrap, my pages will show you how to scrap lots of those photos in just a couple layouts!

So, first up is a sketch I created just for you. It’s my first attempt at a “professional looking” sketch, so be nice! This sketch allows for one extra large focal photo and then eight supporting photos.
And here is the layout I created using this sketch. The first thing you’ll note is that I flipped the sketch so that my brother Dan in the focal photo is facing into the center of the layout (so I adapted the sketch while thinking about my photo placement). Also in regards to photo placement, I intentionally separated the two photos of Dan, myself and Andrew. And, I made sure the detail photo of the stockings and gifts was somewhere in the center column of photos. I also changed out the scalloped edge for a torn edge to enhance my gift-opening theme. Then, I used a variety of different alphas and embellished each word for creative title treatment; when I say “embellished” I mean that used brown Thickers for the word “brown”, covered the word “paper” with mulberry paper, put a package sticker behind the word “package”, etc. And then of course are the various ways I achieved cohesiveness – I have a border surrounding my page, I used several patterned papers on both pages and crossed the gutter with almost all those papers, and finally, I created a visual triangle with my three embellishment clusters which are anchored by the same patterned paper circle.

And next up is a sketch from Susan Stringfellow’s Sketch Savvy Blog. I love her sketches and this one is definitely a favorite. It provides room for five good-sized photos.
And here’s my layout! You’ll first note that I adapted the layout for my photos by replacing the 4”x5” photo with two 4”x2.5” photos and also added the small 2”x2” photo of the poinsettias. I also switched the placement of the photos on the left side because I used the fussy-cut house to cover dead space in my table centerpiece photo. And I really wanted to include that cute house and didn’t want it to cover any of the ornaments dangling from the chandelier in the other photo. I also added an additional tag to the layout to create the essential (in my opinion at least) visual triangle. Then, I also moved the tag on the right-hand side of the sketch down for two reasons – (1) so I didn’t cover up any of the beautiful Webster’s Pages paper I fussy-cut and (2) to allow it to be the focus of my third embellishment cluster. You’ll also note that all the papers appear on both pages of my spread and I crossed the gutter with two of them. Finally, I added the stitched border to tie the two sides of the spread together even further. I chose a cream-colored floss because I wanted the border to be subtle since I already had a lot of visual interest on the page.

Well, that's it! I truly appreciate you taking the time out of your hectic schedule to read my 2-page sketch tutorial. Again, I am honored to have been given this opportunity! If you create a layout with either of sketches above (or one you find on your own), we'd love to see your page!

Happy scrapping!

1 comment:

Tami said...

great post Megan--lots of good info and I love your sketch. Hmm you got me thinking girl!