How I Moved From Scrapbook Pages that Sucked to Pages that Kicked Butt

Last week, I shared why I felt my first scrapbook pages sucked. Today, I’ll share how I moved from scrapbook pages that sucked to pages that kicked butt.

My Secret Truth

2005 was a very weird year for me as a scrapbooker. I submitted my first digital scrapbooking pages as an entry for the Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame, and won. Mind freaking blown! Why? Well being recognized as one of the top 25 entries was incredible and quite humbling. The highlight of the event came from Lisa Bernson who complimented me on my storytelling and journaling — the focus of most of my pages.

But here’s the stinking truth: not one of the pages I created for my entry made it into my scrapbook albums! Honestly, I designed them for the contest, not for me. And because of this honest truth, I felt undeserving of the honor at the time. It feels good to get it off my chest by sharing here.

So, my contest pages simply didn’t satisfy me. And I had yet to identify my true scrapbook style.

Mud Baby by Tiffany Tillman

The Pivotal Moment For Me

One of the selected winners from the 2005 group, who in my mind was ever-so-deserving of the title, was Angelia Wigginton. She mentored me through a very tough phase as we developed regular pages and articles for the magazine. And I wanted to be just like Angelia when I grew up!

My pivotal moment was when I asked Angelia to look through my pages and tell me what she saw. And this, in a nutshell, was her answer:

Tiffany, you use color well. You always write an engaging story. And your designs are nicely structured. She added more fluff, but I’ve shared the core of her thoughts.

I was elated! Finally someone confirmed what I knew deep down inside:

  • I could work with a range of colors like nobody’s business.
  • The story was (and still is) central to my page.
  • And I know, and use, good design.

It’s what she did not mention that helped me focus. She purposely sidestepped embellishing! Because she knew that I sucked at using embellishments — she just didn’t have the heart to tell me. Nevertheless, my pages with embellishments were always my weakest because what the hell did I know about using embellishments? Nothing! What do you mean cluster with them, layer them, let them move the eye? You might have well asked me to drive on a European road using my American car. No bueno!

But when I looked back at all of the pages I had constructed that I wasn’t satisfied with, there were loads of embellishments used improperly because I had no clue how to use them … with purpose. See, embellishing was my area for improvement.

So I made a choice, either don’t use them, which was a perfectly fine choice. Or find ways to incorporate them on my page in such a way that was satisfying to me. When I adopted this philosophy, either drop it or learn to use them with satisfaction, my pages begin to rock, to me. I finally started building pages that spoke to my creative heart! And when I began to truly love what I designed, most people did too including the magazine editors, which propelled me to craft kick-butt pages.

And that folks, is my story.

When I teach a class or mentor one of the questions I often receive is: “Tiffany how can I create pages like you?” And I answer with, “Hey, you don’t want to create pages just like me! You want to create pages you love that are just like you! All I’m here to do is help you discover who you are and get YOU on YOUR page.”

Go From Sucks to Kick Butt

If there’s one thing you can do to craft satisfying pages, just one simple thing, it’s this:

Define what it is exactly about a page (any page) that makes you consistently say — ahh! Is it the photos? The eye-catching title? The colors, which make your heart melt? The words, which connect you to the story? The page design, which leaves you yearning for more? What makes you stop, drop, and roll?

What makes you drool, baby?

Also, look at your own pages. Which parts do you love? Which parts don’t you love?

Next, explore your results. For example, if titlework in general has you saying ahh but you’re not in love with your own titles, then you’ve identified an area for improvement. Seek out those with eye-catching titles. Adopt some of their techniques. Cultivate and grow!

Classes will get you where you want to go quicker if you take the right classes with the right teacher. And I’m going to be blunt — that’s why my classes stand out and why so many of my alumni are now kick-butt scrappers too.

How else can you craft satisfying pages?

Become one with your page design style. Here are some tips I recommend for those unsure of their style:

  • Have someone, preferably an expert or a buddy with professional scrapbook experience, look at your pages and determine your dominate style.
  • If your new to the craft with limited pages, look at the work of others and determine what types of pages stand out to you. Chances are the ones that catch your eye visually appeal to your creative heart. Some serious attraction!
  • Experiment! The digital community is packed full of different page template styles. The three main template-style categories are linear, layered and artistic. Try one out, try another, and then a third to see which style fits you best.
  • Learn more about the styles of other top-notch scrapbookers. Check out my Scrapper’s Style interviews with:

And guess what? Next week begins a new round of Scrapper’s Style Interviews! I truly believe they are beneficial, heart to heart talks with scrapbookers in our industry who can tell us how they create beautiful and inspiring pages time and time again.

You’ll learn how they found their style, what is their current style and how they keep it fresh. Subscribe to our blog feed for the latest updates.

What’s Your Style, Scrapper?

So here’s what I want you to do right now! It’s important because you can help us determine who’s coming up first on our interview list. Answer this question in the comments: “What is your scrapbook style?” That’s it! Feel free to elaborate especially if you’re unsure. And if you want to link us to your gallery, that’s fine too! We want to check out your design style and highlight scrapbooker’s representative to the Simply Tiffany readers! Why?

Because our Scrapper’s Style mission is to help you enjoy the journey that is called scrapbooking with pure satisfaction!