It’s All in the Details | A Scrapper’s Style Interview with Karla Dudley

Hello and welcome to Simply Tiffany Studios! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi! I live in Encinitas, California with my five children and “gamer” husband. :) I have been scrapbooking ever since 2003 shortly after my son, Kody, was born. I started out with traditional paper scrapbooking and a layout called “Bubble Time.” Years and two sets of twins later I’m now a digital scrapbooker and designer.

What three words would you use to characterize your current style?

Hmmm… If I were to pick three words to describe my scrapbooking style they would have to be:

  1. Custom. I love to make my pages my own. I tweak almost everything to fit my vision for the layout. I rarely leave anything as- is. I may change the color, add texture or my own handwriting, anything to achieve the look I’m going for.
  2. Precise. I add a lot of detail to my pages. Some are not as obvious at first glance as others. But every single part of my layouts are there on purpose for a purpose. I’m super picky with everything. Placement of elements, shadows, etc. It’s totally a personality flaw, LOL! I just can’t help it. Every page is my baby. ^_^
  3. Imperfect. This contradicts the above but it’s very true in my page design. Although each part is done with care, my applications may be more loose and whimsical. Like if I handwrite a word on a tag, for example. Most likely I will write the word bigger than the tag allows. So parts of the word is “cut off.” I may even have some page elements covering part of my journaling. Kinda crazy, but I love it. I have “perfect imperfections” everywhere in my design.


What’s your unique calling card?

That would have to be handwriting. I love to write directly on my pages whether they be traditional or digital. It may be one word to help tell the story or I may write all of my journaling smack dab on the page. The writing is not always legible and may be more for design purposes, but yes, handwriting on my pages is my personal calling card for sure :)

On average, how long does it take for you to complete a page?

Oh boy; do I have to answer? :) Ok well, as you may expect with a digital business and five children I’m pretty busy. So on a day where I’m just needing to get it done I can knock out a layout in an hour. But, if I have time to play then my average would be about three hours. Is that crazy? I always feel like I’m in confession when I answer this. But yeah, I can take that long and longer if I’m periodically getting up for different reasons. Sometimes I may come back to a layout several hours later or the next day with fresh eyes.

Not crazy at all! I’m just wondering how you manage to get everything done with five young children?

It’s magic, LOL! The mushy answer is that I couldn’t do it without them. They are wonderful kids. They are my muse and my life.

The more realistic answer is that I don’t. Even though I think I may have some super human powers to do what I do, I have to make sacrifices. The reality is that I DO have five children, no nannies. So it would literally be impossible to do what I used to do with creating and designing as I did years back. I had to cut back on some things. One of my goals for next year is to get my blog back on track and to create more pages/projects for myself!


Everyday Storyteller offers simple ideas for the practice of memory keeping. Why is digital scrapbooking your choice for memory keeping?

Because it’s a time saver. It’s that simple. I have so much on my plate from day to day that I rarely have the luxury of paper scrapbooking anymore. Digital scrapbooking lets me be as creative as I want to be without the worry of time management. Digital scrapbooking has other perks as well, like cost effectiveness and longevity. I don’t have to worry about cutting up one of my favorite papers anymore! Who doesn’t love that?!

How did you get started with digital scrapbooking?

I was asked by a digital shop owner. I had absolutely NO idea what digital scrapbooking was at the time. I think it was in October of 2008 when I was asked. She liked the handwriting and doodles I would do on my blog photos and thought I should give it a go. I never looked back. :)

Has your style evolved over time?

I think I have come a long way since I began digital scrapbooking in 2008. This is one of my first digital layouts that I made. A lot has changed over the years! Back then I was very “digital.” Meaning my elements looked like they were actually digital elements.


With this layout there is no texture or blends at all, no shadows or layering. If I were to do this layout again I would probably add a bit more dimension but keep the design the same. Love the enlarged photo. :) Currently my style is more realistic, and I think shadowing and my application techniques have a lot to do with that. My layouts now resemble traditional paper layouts and are oftentimes difficult to differentiate between the two.

Now that you’ve share one of your first layouts, would you care to share your all-time favorite page and tell us what it is about it that you love?

This layout is just one of my favorites for it’s too hard to pick one. :) I love it because there is a lot of me in it. I have so many different design applications and techniques in one layout and although there is a lot going on it still works. On top of that I got many stories told on one page. That’s always a plus. ^_^ This page just makes me happy. :)


Do you ever attempt to step outside of your style comfort zone?

I do, yes. I’m all about taking chances and trying new things. I have most definitely tried doing different styles and somehow the pages just turn out looking like my own unique style in the end, LOL. I’ve tried minimalist. Some were pretty much successful and then other times I couldn’t hold back adding more and more. :) I’ve attempted more “artsy” pages and those never worked. I’m inspired by so much that it’s impossible not to take new things and try them out. If I really like something I’m seeing then I will attempt it eventually!

Do you have any designers who are your “go-to” resources?

Actually, I only scrapbook with my own kits. I never use anyone else’s. It’s not intentional really. I suppose it’s because when I create kits I create them based on what I would love to scrapbook with. So I have everything I need if that makes sense. But I do love other designer’s work. I’m drawn to all kind of styles. From minimalistic to artsy kits, it’s all good!

You often post illustrations of characters on your blog. Do you work illustration into your designs and kits?

I do! Of course I do it in a different manner that my characters I digitally paint. If I draw a flower, a camera or anything really that had to do with my kit I will. I never have brought in actual characters into my kits yet. Not ones that I digitally paint. Maybe one day! ^_^


Who inspires you as a page designer?

I’ve always loved Erin Taylor. Every time I see her pages I feel good, calm and good. She has an “everyday” style with lots of journaling. Her pictures are gorgeous and her design is clean but thoughtful.

I just discovered Jennifer Barksdale. Her style is a lot like mine I think. Every one of her pages makes me want to scrap immediately! Wendy Bretz is one talented diva and a good friend. She has a graphic style that will blow your mind! I have some more talented scrap artists to mention like Jennifer Flaherty and Rachel Alles, but I’ll behave, LOL!

To whom or where do you look for inspiration outside of scrapbooking?

I love advertising – anything from commercials to magazines. I love looking at the use of color and typography. Some of my favorite magazines/catalogues that inspire me are Free People, Real Simple, Game Informer and Anthropologie.

What tips can you share with a scrapbooker who wants to design pages similar to your own?

Think. Think. And then go ahead and think some more. I always think about how my page will turn out. Try to envision what it will look like and set out to make it happen. Then it’s all up to you. Use your scrap techniques to make your pages come to life. My particular style is more realistic. So stick to smaller shadows and layering that would resemble what you would do with paper layouts.

Thank you so much for joining us today, Karla! It has been fun learning more about your style and process!

You can see more of Karla’s work in her gallery and on her website. To pick up some of Karla’s digital creations, visit her store at Pixels & Company. She is offering our readers 20% off through June 16th with the coupon code below.

Don’t miss her feature week sale at Pixels & Company, June 17-21. Her entire digital store is going to be on sale for 35% off with a Dollar Kit each day and a special kit release! Mark your calendars now!