Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hone Your Instincts: Using QuickPages

As published in Scrapbook News and Review Magazine, June 2010:

I have a problem with QuickPages. I like the concept. I appreciate the idea that you just have to drop a photo behind a fully-designed layout, pop on a title and date and—viola’—it’s done. But I have fallen victim to a prevailing, and unfortunate, mindset among digital scrapbookers: that QPs are only for those who can’t design a page from scratch. I’ve become jaded by constantly explaining to the uninformed that the layouts I make are not drag-and-drop designs (e.g. “Which site did you do that on?”). I get irritated and defensive when someone dares to confuse my work with that of an actual, professional, product designer. Sounds a bit silly, right?
So, I took on this article as a challenge to myself to make peace with the QuickPage. After all, designers turn these things out with their kits every day. I figured there just had to be some value there for scrappers of all experience. Turns out, there is!

A QP Primer: The Basics

QuickPages are complete layouts, all pretty and embellished, that are delivered in a single layer with openings for your photos. Think of it like a sheet of paper with holes cut out of it.

QP from One Love: Reaching Out to Haiti Collab Kit at Scrap Orchard

Open the QP in your favorite software (where the gray photo area you see in the above example will actually be transparent), import the picture you want to use and position it under the opening. No fuss, no muss. Many QPs offer white space that can be used to add a custom title or journaling, if you desire. Just print, and you have yourself a perfectly lovely page.

Together digital scrapbooking layout by Chanell Rigterink Credits QuickPage: One Love: Reaching Out to Haiti Collab Kit at Scrap Orchard; Type Path: Valerie Randall; Font: A Little Pot

This page took about 15 minutes to finish...about ten minutes longer than it would have, if I hadn’t decided to rewrite the journaling. Twice. Clearly, the inherent attraction here is massive time savings. Plus, these pages are typically available in sets, making it very easy to create coordinated albums. And the blog-o-sphere is packed with QP freebies, given away as incentives to buy the matching kit.

Here’s where a lot intermediate scrappers stop in our consideration of the QuickPage. We agree that it is a neat thing…for newbies or someone with no time or inspiration. Ah, but keep reading!

Secondary Education: Personalization

If you feel strongly about needing to personally place the elements on your page, look for QPs that have good photo placement but fewer embellishments, like this one.

QP: GingerSnap QuickPage by Merkely Designs

I really like the overall look of this page; I’m kind of a sucker for staples and splats. So, I decided to experiment with a photo of my daughter from several years ago. I never thought I’d scrap it because it is so incredibly off-centered, but I can’t resist that pacie-smile on her face! As it turns out, the negative space made it ideal for placing my title directly on the picture, and I loved the result. I added some basic journaling and assessed the project.

If I was a minimalist scrapper, I might have been satisfied. But I’m not. The page needed something…it needed to be mine. A few flowers and flourishes did the trick.

Happy Girl digital scrapbooking layout by Chanell Rigterink Credits QuickPage: GingerSnap QuickPage by Merkely Designs; Daisies and Bow: Newborn Collection by Shalae Tippetts; Tag: Autumn Flourish by SAS Designs; Swirls: Fab Flourishes Vol. 4 by Karen Lewis; Happy Stamp: Amanda Sok; Script: Scatter Things by Christy VanderWall; Fonts: Eight Fifteen, Grant's Ghosts

Like any digital page, the key to realism in embellishing a QuickPage is creating depth. You may have to extract pieces of the QP itself to lay over added elements (see the staples on the left of the frame). Delete portions of the new embellishments to “tuck” them under the original design. Shadow items properly to either blend with or rise above the QP foundation, and watch a completely new and unique layout come to life.

Ultimately, if you can train yourself to think of a QuickPage like any other digital element, you can unlock incredible potential. Cover up elements that don’t work for you with new ones that do (like I did with the large daisy over the original small bow). Try recoloring it by adjusting the hue or saturation. Use layer masks to completely replace papers. Extract a beautiful cluster from a QP and use it on a new background! Or, try this…

Graduate Work: Customization

I almost giggle as I write this, because I found my QuickPage happy-place here. If you’re the kind of scrapper who takes elements apart; uses kits in ways other than how they were intended; moves parts of templates and sketches around; and isn’t afraid of an extraction or two…then this is for you.

A designer I follow released a set of QuickPages to coordinate with a kit that I already owned, and it started me thinking: rather than simply adding embellishments, why not add frames for more photos, layer in extra papers or actually move the position of things on the page? Don’t like the shadows? Change them! Especially when you have the original kit to work with, you can actually impact the structure of the QP…like this!

QP from Blooming Blossoms Kit by SAS Designs

Best Friends digital scrapbooking layout by Chanell Rigterink Credits Digital Kit (including QP): Blooming Blossoms Kit by SAS Designs; Fonts: My Own Topher, Baby Boston

But wait! There’s more!

Question: When is a QP more than a QP? Answer: When it becomes just a part of a completely custom layout, instead of something meant to stand alone! Watch what you can do with this multi-photo QuickPage I found while freebie-scrounging through my favorite sites. The brilliant part is that it came with three coordinating papers and a few elements, giving me total flexibility.

QP from November 2009 Digital Freebie by Erica Hernandez

Because the background kraft paper was included in the download, I could expand this one-page design into a seamless double-spread. I duplicated the circular motif from the left side and placed it along the bottom of the new right page. The band of houndstooth paper runs from behind a portion of the QP across the right page, creating flow and supporting the color scheme of the original design. I added layers with clipping masks for the photos behind the QP and used coordinating papers from the QP kit (as well as pieces from a secondary collection) to fill in empty photo spaces. Finally, journaling done in typefaces matched to the word art makes the total design look complete, intentional and unified.

Thankful digital scrapbooking layout by Chanell Rigterink Credits Digital Kit (including QP): November 2009 Digital Freebie by Erica Hernandez; Digital Papers: Love Letters Collab Kit by Oscraps; Glitter and Stitches: Just Remember Kit by SAS Designs; Frayed Edge Brush: Erica Hite; Font: Traveling Typewriter, Hannibal Lecter

Sigh. I think I’m over my grudge against QuickPages. Like any other time you sit down to design a page, QPs are a simple base that allows you to do as little or as much as you like. No more calling it “cheating.” If you start with a QP you like, and spread a bit of your own frosting on it, you’re bound to end up with a unique layout that truly reflects your personal sensibility. And then all your friends will want to know “which site you did that on.”


  1. fabulous LO's.. great design, fab colourings and too cute photos

  2. Thanks for this, Chanell! You've opened my eyes to new possibilities!

  3. You hit the nail on the head Chanell-even though I'm a beginner, I just felt that quick pages didn't capture my own style so I haven't been using them. But after reading this post and seeing new potential I will use them as another tool as well. Thanks so much for breathing new life into those unused quick pages!!!