Digital Scrapbooking: Mythbusters

Hey everyone!  There's been another long gap in my blogging.  You know how it goes, right?  A busy summer, family functions, the end of school, etc.  Anyhoo...

 Recently, at one of the sites scrapbooking sites I frequent, there was a discussion pitting traditional, paper scrapping against digital scrapping. I enjoy the parts of the conversation where individuals explain why they like scrapping the way they do and what draws them to the method they've chosen to scrapbook.

The part of these types of discussions that I don't get, however, is when digital scrapbooking is said not to be scrapbooking at all. There's all sorts of misinformation about it that's perpetuated. I think so many folks misunderstand digital scrapbooking and why those who are enthusiastic about it love it.

So, as a former paper scrapper, current digital scrapper, and someone who is bound to do both in the future, I thought I'd chime in with my thoughts on the debate.  I hope to bust some of the more prevelant myths about digital scrapping.

Myth #1: Making Digital Layouts is not Scrapbooking.
The relevant thing (to me, at least) about scrapbooking is documenting memories through my pages through pictures and journaling. Wikipedia has a similar definition on their site about scrapbooking. It discusses both paper and digital scrapping. I think there are some who get stuck on the cutting and gluing part of the deal, and believe that if those methods aren't used to create a page, then it doesn't qualify as scrapbooking. I don't hold this view. If a person is documenting their memories on a page, then it doesn't matter if it's done through a Shutterfly book, created in Photoshop,  done with paper and glue, or by some other method. It all comes down to personal preference and what each scrapper prefers for themselves. I don't think it's necessary for everyone to do it the same way for it to be considered scrapbooking.

Myth #2: Digital Scrapbook Pages Are Never Printed or Become Part of an Album.
It is true for some digital scrappers that they don't print their pages. They enjoy their pages via their mobile phones, computers, or in a digital frame. That's great and what works for them. However, most digital scrappers that I know and talk with print their pages and put them in albums. Some choose to have them bound through great places like Shutterfly or Blurb, while others have individual pages printed at sites like Persnickety Prints, or Scrapbook Pictures. There are those, like myself, who have printers at home they use to print their layouts. I personally have done one Shutterfly book (with plans to do at least a few others), and have several of those cool American Crafts binders that I'm slowly filling with my printed pages.

Myth #3: Scrappers Cannot Put Their Own Handwriting on a Digital Page.
Lots of digital scrapbookers love using fonts on their pages. I'm no exception, and I fully admit to being a font junkie (which is fodder for a whole different post). Nonetheless, I still want my handwriting on at least some of my pages. I have a couple of ways that I get my writing on my layouts. My favorite way is to use my handy dandy pen tablet. The tablet I have is a few years older than the one you'll see in the following link, but it's similar enough. I use my Wacom Bamboo Fun.  Pen tablets allow scrappers to write on their digital pages.  Like any other tool, it takes a bit of practice, but it's so fun.  Here is a page I made about Izzy that includes my own handwriting:

The other method I employ is to use a font of my own handwriting.   This is nice when I don't have the time to hook up my tablet and need to crank out the journaling quickly.  This page about Elijah uses my handwriting font:

Myth #4:  Getting Pages Done Faster is the Main Reason People Switch to Digital Scrapping.  
I will say that digital scrapping is so much faster for me.  With no mess to clean,  and the ability to hit "save" and close my layouts while they are in progress, scrapbooking on my laptop is fast and slick.  While this is a huge perk, there are so many others.  There are things I can do on a digital page that would be really difficult or not possible with a paper page. Since it would be too hard to explain completely with words, I'll  post some of my pages as examples:

The effect of a grungy/artsy/painty-looking photo mask on a page (the photo of the cathedral is the one I'm talking about):

Selectively recoloring a photo without the mess of paint or pens:

The ability to match text color (and in this case, the stitching) exactly the same shade as my other embellishments.  I sampled the blue color from the strip of cardstock running down the vertical center of this page, and now it all matches wonderfully:

Brush files are the coolest thing ever.  They work pretty much the same way as a rubber stamp, but there's no way to mess them up.  When I stamp in the wrong place, I don't have to start my project over.  I just choose the "undo" command, and it's gone.  I can also stamp in any color and change the opacity of the brush.  For instance, in the page below, the tire treads are a brush.  I wanted the treads black, but when I originally stamped them on the page, they were way too dark.  I used my opacity slider and dialed it down to about 40% or so.  It looks so much better that way:

There are times when I need to an embellishment that I don't have in my stash.  When I was a paper scrapper, that meant a trip to the store.  I can go shopping at a digital scrapping site, but there are often times I can create simple items in Photoshop Elements.  On this page about Elijah, I created the blue brads and arrows, as well as the paper tear.  I did it without having to stop my projects in its tracks or leave home. They all complimented the premade goodies I used them with:

On this page about my first Mother's Day, I wanted to create a bracket-shaped border.  I'd see the punches in scrapbooking stores and like the look, but didn't have a digital element. Instead, I made one using the shape tool and a bracket symbol from one of the fonts on my computer.  You can see the result on the striped and solid pink papers around the photo:

On the layout about the beach, I was working on the title. When I first placed the black letters on the coral patterned paper, it wasn't "popping" enough and I thought the letters were getting lost in the pattern.  I decided to modify the text and make it look like letter stickers, which I liked much better:

I could go on and on about this.  There is not enough time or space to talk about all the coolness that is digital scrapping, but you get the idea.  The appeal of it goes far beyond the speed at which it can be done.

OK, I've been on my soapbox for long enough...:D I hope that this has shed some light on digital scrapbooking.  I also hope that those who choose to scrapbook using other methods will understand a little better why so many of us who do scrap this way really love it. 

What do you think about this whole issue?  How do you like to do your scrapbooking/memory keeping?

Thanks and enjoy your day!


  1. Wow! Lorelle I agree with so much of what you say here and more!!! - I am a recent convert to digital scrapping after years & years and lots of albums of paper scrapping. There are many reasons of "why" but mainly convenience! - I love how quick I can put a page together without the mess!!! an added bonus is that I can go back and edit mistakes with a click of a button - no dismantling of the layers of paper and adhesive - so.... non destructive!! and I print ALL my layouts - some get adhered directly to a traditional paper page, some in page protector sleeves but mostly into hardcover Storybooks....yep I LOVE the digi world.

  2. Very interesting! I agree with so many of your comments! And you have some great pages ;)

  3. Thanks for your take on digital scrapbooking
    I myself do paper scrapbooking, I have too many supplies to change to digital LOL.
    I did try digital very early on, it was very basic. Now I can't tell if a layout is paper or digital. The layouts are beautiful.

  4. Lorell, I love your layotus!

  5. What a great post Lorell! I'm an equal opportunity scrapper. I enjoy it ALL - digital, traditional paper and even hybrid. For me it's all about my memories and having fun while preserving them. :)

  6. I could not agree with you more Lorell what a great post and great pages. I do have some question, were did you get your own handwriting file. I would love to have my own handwriting in a font, and that tire-stamp, I love it, you have to tell us where that is from. I am gonna keep on following your blog.

  7. Miranda, there are various online places you can create a font of your own handwriting...let me go back and find where I did it. Also, the tire brush is from the "Beep Beep" brush/stamp set by Jen Allyson. You can still find it at Two Peas. I need to figure out how to link my pages directly so that people can find the credits.

  8. Wonderful post-- I don't digi scrap, but respect those who do! It's funny how people take this sort of thing very personally. I'm also very impressed with the making a font of your own handwriting thing! Very cool!
    Oh,and thanks for the sweet comment on my blog! I'm so glad it led me to this interest post on yours!

  9. You are a woman after my own heart! I love this blog! I love the idea of common sense scrapbooking--I totally agree! I find a lot of the style nowadays in scrapbooking is VERY impractical. Like huge 12x12 pages with one tiny picture on it and tons of froo-froo elements. Beautiful, but so impractical! Who wants to print all that?? And scrapbooks should have stories--tell about the picture, give more detail. I love your pages! it's refreshing to see someone else who does 8 1/2 x 11 pages. I swear, I thought I was the only one! I have never tried a tablet--that is such a great idea for handwriting! I DO have my own handwriting in a font--but I've never used it for digital scrapbooking! I can't believe I never thought of that! Well, you've inspired me. Thank you!

  10. You're so talented at this, Lorell! And it's just wonderful to see your kids growing!!! :D

  11. What a great post! I just LOVE paper scrapbooking. I enjoy textures, embellishments and the ability to make my pages 3D. I think that is why I am the most hesitant trying digi-scrapping but your blog made it very enticing! I don't see why I can't have both, except for learning how to use a new tool (photoshop, pen tablet, etc.). Can't imagine that would be a problem. Besides, I can always add embelishments to my digiscrapping once they're printed can't I?
    Happy Scrapping! Thanks for the post and inspiration!!

  12. Lorell, I would also love to know about having my own handwriting in a font. Thanks!!!

  13. Monica, you can check out sites like and if you want to make your own font. I'm going to try and do a blog post on this subject in the next couple of weeks, too. HTH :)

  14. Gorgeous pages Lorell! They certainly trump my simple "glue the picture on a page" method of keeping up on photos. Now I'm curious what the start up cost and time investment would be....