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Inspiration to Sketch to Finished Project: A Guide

After yesterday's post, I decided to share a version of a post that originally appeared on my blog in July 2007 (almost ten years ago - wow!).  I edited it a bit for clarity and relevance.  Also, many of the websites I referenced in the original article are long gone.  I think you might find it interesting thinking about how to ride that ripple from inspiration to finished project.

When I first started scrapbooking, I had a lot of trouble using sketches as the basis for layouts. I couldn’t understand why people were so hot to trot for them. Every time I tried to create a layout based on a sketch, it was awkward and not my own. But then, I started doing an “ad inspiration” challenge online. My first few attempts were fun and easy – just follow the photo placement in the very linear and square advertisement making things wider or narrower as needed.

image from balzerdesigns.typepad.com
image from balzerdesigns.typepad.com
I thought I was being super innovative turning those three photos into a long stretch of multiple photos.

Then, one day, we were given the following ad:

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What?! I was freaked out because this ad didn't seem to have easy lines to follow! So instead of following the design exactly, I had to think about what appealed to me from the ad? What was sticking out and calling to me? Here’s the result:

 

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From then on, I just felt so much more free. I can now look at a sketch or an ad and instead of counting how many photos there are, I look at the overall principle. For instance, in this Pencil Lines sketch from Ali Edwards:

from the Balzer Designs Blog: Inspiration to Sketch to Finished Project: A Guide

The sketch simply indicates to me that the intention is to have a block of smaller items contrasted with a similarly sized block containing only one item. Immediately, I see the following variations for scrapbook pages in this design:

from the Balzer Designs Blog: Inspiration to Sketch to Finished Project: A Guide

Armed with this new ability to look at the design concept, rather than the physical design, I felt excited when Anam contacted me about creating altered items from scrapbooking sketches. Nervous, but excited. Creating an altered item from a sketch is different than a scrapbooking layout. It’s one more level of disassociation. What does that mean? Once you’ve got the basic design principle, you’ve got to get out of the box (literally). Check out the sketch below. It’s Pencil Lines #33 by Jo-Ann te Raa.

from the Balzer Designs Blog: Inspiration to Sketch to Finished Project: A Guide

What is the basic design concept? Three identical squares in a row attached to something larger with straight lines. Here’s a quick visual guide to how I get one level more abstracted:

from the Balzer Designs Blog: Inspiration to Sketch to Finished Project: A Guide

 

Can you see how I got all those projects out of the original scrapbook page sketch? I took the idea of three things protruding from a larger thing and simply changed scale and style while adding a few embellishments.

Once you’ve got the idea down, you can even take a peek around your home and see all the things you own that follow the sketch! Here are a few from my home:

from the Balzer Designs Blog: Inspiration to Sketch to Finished Project: A Guide

I hope that this has helped you to see one way in which you can use a scrapbooking sketch as inspiration for many other art forms. Here is a project I made using the sketch as inspiration:

from the Balzer Designs Blog: Inspiration to Sketch to Finished Project: A Guide from the Balzer Designs Blog: Inspiration to Sketch to Finished Project: A Guide

The next time you're having trouble understanding how to get from inspiration to something new, I hope you'll give this simple method a try!

Thanks for stopping by!

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