Planning your Layouts with Sketches.

Do you use sketches to help you to plan out your layouts?

I find that if I’m struggling with the creative process and just can’t focus on what I want my end result to look like, sketches are an absolute Godsend.

Of course, the doyen of sketches has got to be Becky Higgins. Her books and articles in magazines have really raised the awareness of scrappers to this great scrapbooking technique. And she creates such fabulous sketches, especially for incorporating multiple photos.

I find sketches especially helpful when I’m doing traditional scrapping. Without the forgiving Undo button of digital scrapping there’s much more importance on having some sort of end vision of your layout to plan and work towards. Even if that vision is fuzzy, having a structure for the elements is something I find enormously helpful.

When I have done large theme albums such as the two 40 page Trip albums I did of my last two overseas trips, I found sketching the framework of each double page spread (and limiting myself to a small number of different colours and patterns) enabled me to pull the albums together quite quickly. I was able to keep focused on the photos, memorabilia and journaling without agonizing over the placement of all the elements. An absolute boon when all you want to do is package up a great looking large project in a relatively short time frame.

And just to make life easier there are a number of great web sites offering free sketches for you to download. One of my favourites is Page Maps.

Page Maps is run by Becky Fleck who puts out a great free newsletter every month. There is a huge array of sketches of many different sizes and types to choose from and Becky loves to see some of the layouts you create and will often display them on her site.

Page maps Sketch

Credits: Erika Hite's Bookworm Kit

The above Page Maps sketch was my framework for this layout of my niece’s indoctrination as School Captain. It just made planning the layout so much easier.

So do you use sketches to plan your layouts? And what are your favourite sites for sketches. Let everyone know by leaving the details in the comments section. I’m sure we’d all like to see more of what’s out there.

Other related Posts

Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – The Visual Triangle
Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Making your own Rub-ons
Scrapbooking Techniques & Tips – Doodling for the Drawing Challenged


12 Responses to Planning your Layouts with Sketches.

  1. Hannah July 26, 2007 at 2:16 pm #

    I use sketches from time-to-time. When I do use a sketch, I usually adapt it. Very rarely would I copy a sketch directly, there is usually something I want to change or add. But they are great when you are short on inspiration.
    I like Pencil Lines which is a sketch challenge blog. They post a sketch and then readers (and the regular contributors) create a layout based on the sketch.
    I also like the sketches available at and of course the usual sketch queens like becky higgins is a good place to start. I’ve used Page Maps as well. Scrap Maps is another good one.

  2. Sharon July 27, 2007 at 6:58 am #

    I’ve just started looking at sketch sites. The one’s I find most useful are those that also include layouts based on sketches (like pencil lines) as I don’t find sketches on their own that inspiring. I’m going to check out the sketch sites you and Hannah mentioned right now…

  3. karooch July 27, 2007 at 7:16 pm #

    I guess that’s the beauty of sketches Hannah, you can use whatever bits of them suit you and make your own interpretation. I’ve used Scrap Maps too. They have some great sketches.

    Page Maps also has layout examples for their sketches Sharon. Hope you find some you like.

  4. Mackey July 29, 2007 at 2:07 pm #

    I gain a lot of inspiration from sketches and it helps that a lot of my scrappy friends create terrific sketches! One of my favorites is at Chris’ sketches are always relevant and current – love them!

    I, too, adapt, turn, choose this or that but I always love them and have a file folder full of them!

  5. karooch July 29, 2007 at 11:34 pm #

    Thanks for the pointer to your favourite sketch site Mackey. I didn’t know about that one. I’ll have to go and check it out.

  6. Tink July 30, 2007 at 4:01 am #

    I have a planning pad (graph paper) with 6 blocks on each page for those sketches that come to mind or if I see an ad that I think would make a great layout.

  7. karooch July 30, 2007 at 9:01 pm #

    Great organisation Tink. I wish I was as prepared as you.

  8. Antoinette July 31, 2007 at 8:20 am #

    I used a sketch once – I haven’t made that many layouts yet – and found it very usefull. It puts you on a track, but you can still wander away and change some things. I will definitely check out the links in your post and those mentioned in the comments.

  9. karooch July 31, 2007 at 4:47 pm #

    Hope you find some sketches that are useful to you Antoinette.

  10. Julie August 1, 2007 at 6:12 pm #

    I use a sketch nearly every time I scrap! It makes it so much easier for me, as I used to always spend the largest amount of time figuring out how to arrange everything on the page. When I’m going to a crop, I try to put together a “kit” for each page — pre-selecting the papers and embellishments as well as a sketch. Since those are the most time consuming parts for me, it allows me to get more done, and to do it more quickly.

    I love Becky Higgins for two page layouts. For one-pagers, I use some online resources like Scrap Maps ( and Page Maps, which you mentioned.

  11. karooch August 2, 2007 at 7:29 am #

    Yeah, Becky is especially good with the two pagers and also with multiple photos. And the beaut part about sketches is that a good one can be used in many different ways.


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