Plan Your Creative Year Now!

Simple tips for beginning digital scrappers

Jennifer Wilson

I’m your guide here at Simple Scrapper. Our community helps people find what fills you up and fits your life in memory keeping.

October 7, 2010

At this past Monday’s #scrapchat, I learned that you really really really want to learn more about Photoshop Elements. To satisfy those desires, I will host “More Photoshop Elements Tips & Tricks” next Monday. To help prepare for this fun event, I would love for you to anonymously submit any and all questions you have about photo editing or digital scrapbooking with PSE.

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In the meantime, I thought I would answer some awesome questions about digital scrapbooking in general. These come from a reader and #scrapchat participant who is just getting her feet wet with the hobby.

One thing I am wondering about as a newbie is what else to invest in. Other than the PSE 8 software, I have not spent any money on this new hobby yet, which I LOVE but has taken a tremendous amount of willpower on my part!! I am thinking my next purchase, which is an expensive one albeit an un-fun one, should be an external hard drive because backing up photos and work is a no-brainer.

This idea is right on track as backing up should be a #1 priority in everyone’s memory keeping routine. An external hard drive (EHD) is a great first step. I also recommend selecting a secondary backup on a different type of media – like online storage or DVDs stored at a different locations.

One additional point to consider – invest in or use free software to automate your backups. I use Sync Toy on PC and File Synchronization on Mac – to make sure I have peace of mind that my files are safe and always updated.

For more ideas, check out…

More classes? Or should I just work on the skills I have obtained via Linda Sattgast’s DVD thus far for now and revisit the training issue in 4-6 months since I feel like I am learning by doing and applying the things I have already learned?

If you’re comfortable using layers, clipping masks and drop shadows – then you’ve got much of the basics covered. While I absolutely love and encourage you to spread you wings through online (or in person) classes, I think the best education you can get is through trial and error. Scrap often, learn as you go and never be afraid to ask someone “how did you do that?” Additionally, so much information can be found online for free, that I would want you to save you money for the fun, inspiration classes that aren’t as technique-focused.

What about supplies? I already have a ridiculous stash of free stuff for a newbie, thanks to Digital Daisy’s email and templates from your site and a couple of others. I am wondering about sites that offer a ‘premium’ subscription? Linda Sattgast’s  site or the Daily Digi are two that come immediately to mind. Are the content, tuts, kits, etc. that you get as a ‘member’ worth the price of subscribing?

Personally, my digital scrapbooking took a huge leap when I started making investments in the supplies I was using. Yes, there are many high quality freebies, but as they say “you get what you pay for.” If you don’t love shopping and just want to be assured of getting great supplies month-to-month, then the digital kit club offerings might be right up your alley. If you’re a little finicky and have particular styles you love, I would just shop around. The New Release Highlights here every Sunday showcase many of my favorite products – so that’s a good place to start.

Freebies can definitely get out of hand but what I like right now is that I am still discovering my style. My scrapbook pages for now look a bit like my closet—lots of separates but no real ensembles!! I doubt if I can do an album or book until I find that cohesive style. Any tips on finding that or if it even exists??

There are really two parts to this question:

1. Yes, every scrapbooker can find her preferred style or styles. As you spend time scrapping, you’ll find that you are more drawn to certain supplies and page designs than others. You’ll also find that while you love to look at certain styles, your hand just doesn’t work that way. The more you scrap and try out new things, the more you’ll find your pages become more cohesive.

2. As for albums, especially the “regular scrapbooks,” I think its important not to worry about everything fitting together cohesively. An eclectic mix & match collection, representing an evolving hobby, is part of what makes scrapbooks so interesting. It’s fun and beautiful to work within a specific theme and design scheme for specific album projects – where I love being matchy matchy – but in terms of the everyday pages, its necessary to let go of that compulsion.

I hope these tips were of help to some beginning digital scrapbookers – and that many of you will join us this coming Monday, October 11 for the next #scrapchat! Do you have any tips for beginners?

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1 Comment

  1. SusanL

    New scrapbookers should realise that there are really 2 parts to digital scrapbooking – technical skills and design skills.
    For the technical skills I cannot stress how much taking a few classes helped me. I recommend the ones at

    Artistic/ design skills – that’s more difficult. I took some classes at bigpicturescrapbooking and, but most of all check out the on-line galleries and the work of the creative teams from your favourite designers. And restrain yourself from buying supplies. It’s addictive and damaging to one’s wallet. If you follow the blogs of your favourite designers, then there are sometimes freebies. usually has freebies and challenges in there gallery each week – great source of inspiration.


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