Wednesday 16 November 2011

My Creative Process

I've had a few questions lately about my creative process, so I wanted to talk a little about that today. I've been asked whether I plan everything on a page or just go with the flow. I'll focus on layouts today.

Usually these days I start off with a sketch - Scrapbook Challenges and Punky Scraps DT duties provide me with most of them, but I also like to look at Creative Scrappers and others that come up along the way.

Punky Scraps Challenge 34 sketch
my take

Then I spend a good few days thinking about the theme of the layout - I'm finding I like to tell a story on a page, but not necessarily with words. My journalling is usually on the back of the page these days, or hidden in an envelope or pocket somewhere on the page. So I think about the story, and which embellishments I have that can help me tell that story. Gauche Alchemy kits are great for finding the right bits and pieces.

I'll usually re-draw the sketch myself, adding notes about layers, embellishments, techniques and so on.

Next - and I find this Absolutely Important - I select the Most Appropriate background paper (I'm making 12x12 and A4 layouts at the moment). This is the true beginning. I have often made the wrong selection. I rarely go back and redo a page if I've already finished it. But if I haven't yet begun, or have only just begun, I will go back and select the right paper.

From this, the colours and textures will start to flow. Keeping the sketch in mind, I think about the page layer by layer - do I want the rub-on under the paint? Should I mist and mask the base paper? Can I stamp over that series of paper strips? Can I stamp over that stamp already there?

And then I get started. I roughly follow the sketch, but don't get panicked if things start to go off course. It's an organic process, and a page may turn out looking very different to a sketch in the end. I make mistakes, and accept them. I commit.

I've made a few 'test' pages, practising techniques and so on, but I've never been happy with them. I seem to be happier experimenting as I go. And it's this experimenting that is helping me develop my skills and broaden my repertoire.

Take, for example, the punchinella that comes from Gauche Alchemy. There has to be more to it than just layering it underneath something, right? Play with it! Test it! Push it to its limits! There are LOADS of things you can do. See for yourself:

And a bonus this month:

the card I made with the punchinella resist technique

Experimenting is so important for the creative process. You can decide what you like doing, what you don't like doing, what you're better at, what you want to investigate more.

Go experiment!


  1. A really interesting post! You do sound very well prepared. I do prepare before I stick, but most of it is in my head - which means of course that I end up forgetting little bits and improvising instead!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hey Cheryl, thanks for sharing! So many parts of your "process" rang true for me too, esp the part about taking a few days to think about the page.. Very cool post! Thanks again..

  4. spelling mistake! You put so much work into a layout, and anything else you make, but you make it look so easy! I think perhaps I should spend more time thinking about the process. very interesting.

  5. I really love that page for the Punky sketch challenge- the little hanging foot paper clip has to be my favorite touch.
    I wish I was this thoughtful! MAybe that's why my pages take forever to make? I just sit down and pick things I like, make mistakes, start again, decide I want to switch the photo- and usually I think to mist or sew something after the whole page is finished so I rip stuff out and start from scratch- this looks a lot less angst filled. ;) LOVE the videos! When I read "put it in the oven" I actually said PUT IT IN THE OVEN??? out loud and you answered that which made me laugh so loud I had to rewind to hear what you said after, ;) GREAT post!!!!