Why digital scrapbooking rather than paper scrapbooking?

We’re having a conversation about digital scrapbooking today. You may have got the idea from a few posts that our layout designer, Isabella, is a new convert to digital scrapbooking – and like all new converts talks about little else these days! lol! So, with the promise of a little peace for a while, I decided to interview her so she could get it all off her chest for this post, lol!

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Genie: How did you find out about digital scrapbooking?

Isabella: I was searching the internet for scrapbooking information last year when I was fairly new to the whole idea and came across references to digital scrapbooking. It looked complicated so I gave it a wide berth.

Genie: Why did you want to start digital scrapbooking?

Isabella: Several different reasons …

  • I saw some beautiful results
  • … and hadn’t found the physical products to duplicate them. I didn’t know at that point that you can print digital scrapbooking products to use in paper layouts.
  • My desk was never tidy and I never had enough room to get everything out. I can’t see in advance what I’m going to use, and as I’m inspired by what I see it’s easy and less messy to look up my files rather than pull everything out and take over a whole room as I do when I paper scrap – and tidying up afterwards is a cinch!!
  • I don’t have a local scrapbook store, so everything came by mail unless I wanted to drive for an hour to a store, both of which increased the cost significantly. The idea of getting products straight to my computer appealed.

Genie: How did you get started?

 Isabella: I’d found several digital websites in my early research, and because I was curious, I’d signed up for a newsletter. I got it for ages before I took the plunge to actually do anything more about it.

I liked what I saw and got to the point where I wanted to learn more and because I was already getting their newsletter I had a look at the website from time to time, and then I eventually signed up on the messageboard.

Genie: But why start at the messageboard?

Isabella: When I was looking in from outside I saw a lot of information, but I couldn’t ask questions without being a member. I didn’t bother for a while, and then decided I wouldn’t learn unless I asked. And as I wanted to ask lots of questions I thought it might be a good place to start.

Genie: What was the response?

Isabella: I was amazed at how welcoming and friendly everyone was. My questions were answered within minutes of posting them on most occasions, with lots of extra bits of info coming from many different people.

Genie: Isn’t that confusing having so many people answering you?

Isabella: No, not at all. It’s not any worse than a normal group conversion – only here you read it instead of hear it. Plus you can ignore or skip answers that are not relevant without offending people.

Genie: So you found a good digital website and joined in the conversations, but you’re not scrapping yet, so what next?

Isabella: I was familiar with some desk-top publishing programs and had a hint of experience with a photo-editing program, and I am used to working with computers. I decided to buy some downloadable training videos which would show me how to get going. However I had to work out which software program to go with.

Genie: How do you decide what computer program to use?

Isabella: I decided to go with what I had – and I’m sure lots of people start off this way. Photoshop Elements (PSE) is a widely used program and some early editions came with computers a while back. I had an early version on my computer.

Again there is lots of advice on the messageboard if you don’t already have a program. You just have to decide what will suit your pocket, basically.

Genie: How long was it before you made your first digital layout?

Isabella: Almost immediately for I made one as I followed the instructions on the training video. It’s comforting to know I have these on my computer for I can go back to check up on something I’ve forgotten.

It was also good to review them after a few months and make sure I was still doing things correctly, and not missing bits.

I’ve still a lot to learn, but between the videos and the instructions in the newsletter from time to time, you can do a lot. Add to that the written info at the websites and there’s enough to keep you going for a long time! Plus there are more indepth video series to take you farther.

I also found the instructions helped me to work out what to do in another program I had, so I feel I got more than my money’s worth. Why is that a concern? Sometimes you are only licensed to use software on one computer, say your desktop. However if you are away on business or vacation and you take your laptop, you could be stuck. PSE is on my desktop and this other program is on my laptop, so I don’t need to worry about not having PSE with me while I’m away.

Genie: What do you do if you get stuck?

Isabella: Ask a question on the messageboard. As I said, people are really helpful.

Genie: Are there any ‘down’ sides to it?

Isabella: Yes! There’s so much happening, it’s addictive! I really have to limit myself or I would never get anything else done. I could be online all day and half the night, if I wasn’t careful! lol!

Seriously, though, so long as you remember to back up your files, I haven’t found any downsides to digital scrapbooking.

Genie: But how do you make an album with digital scrapbooking?

Isabella: Your computer can become your album, if that’s what you want. But many people print their layouts at 8″ x 8″ and put them into albums. Obviously if you have a printer that copes with 12″ x 12″ paper you can print at that size.

As I’ve said already, just make sure you back up your files frequently.

Genie: What was the hardest thing you found when starting out?

Isabella: The hardest thing? For me that was making time to watch the videos! I knew enough in one program to start playing with the products I bought, and I kept putting off the moment when I’d start learning the new program. I’m glad I did though, for the new one can do more than my old one.

Genie: What do you like best compared with paper scrapping?

Isabella: I think as I said earlier, the fact of tidiness. I no longer have to get so many products out to be able to enjoy scrapbooking. They are still there if I want to paper scrap, but I can enjoy a few minutes if I have them spare.

Digital scrapping takes up less space, and I can do it anywhere I can take a laptop.

Oh, and no paper cuts on fingers anymore! And I don’t think my hands are as dry as they used to be when handling a lot of paper.

I also like that I can email a layout or web address to family members and they can see what I’ve made. That wasn’t so easy with paper.

Genie: Is there anything you miss from paper scrapping?

Isabella: Despite the risk of paper cuts, I miss the feel of the paper in my hands, but I can go touch my supplies any time, lol!

I don’t get so much exercise now that I sit at a computer! Picking up all those paper supplies, embellishments, stamps, glues, cutting mats, etc. was a heavy workout , lol, and used to take ages, on top of which I’d walk back and forward dozens of times before I could start scrapping!

Genie: What about all my paper scrapbooks are they redundant now?

Isabella: Of course not. We still love to look through albums. We love to hold, and touch and point while we talk and remember. (Just don’t let my husband see you touch the computer screen – too many messy fingerprints make for poor viewing of important things like ‘real’ work, lol!)

You could convert your paper layouts to ‘digital’. Photograph or scan them and store them on disk and they are much easier to transport. Or use one of the online photo galleries.

We love to get paper and digital layouts from readers here too, which is another way to ‘store’ them.

Genie: Do you have any favorite products yet?

Isabella: Yes, a product called ‘Lifted Photos’ by Melissa Renfro which gives a curled/lifted look like photos naturally have after a time.

Genie: What are some of the pluses of digital scrapbooking for you?

Isabella: I love how I can have the impression of bulk without the bulk. Without doubt the tidiness of it all – I can do it whenever I have a spare 10 minutes and not worry about leaving things around. I can do it anywhere I can take a laptop.

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If you want to learn more about digital scrapbooking, there are many freebies online  to whet your appetite. Some even include digital papers and paper template, embellishments, alphas, tags, layout template, brushes and textures. More than enough to get you started.

“I was amazed how quickly I picked it up,” Isabella laughed, “and I’m a silver surfer!”

Genie: Will you go back to paper scrapping?

Isabella: I may from time to time as I have some very nice papers to use up. However, the convenience and portability of digital scrapbooking I think will win overall.

I hope this has helped answer ‘why digital scrapbooking’ for one person at least. If you’ve anything to add let us know.

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[tags]Scrap Girls, scrapbooking[/tags]