Archive | May, 2005

A Necessary Evil?

Multiple submissions are the subject of ongoing debate among many members of the scrapbook industry, and their acceptability even varies from publication to publication. Is it alright to submit the same piece of work to multiple places for consideration at once? Obviously for some things like major contests, the rules are specific that it is not acceptable to submit work elsewhere that is being entered in the contest. But what about the rest of the time? Can you send the same layout to more than one publishing outlet at a time?

I believe for several reasons that multiple submissions should be acceptable and are probably a necessary evil for both the artists and publications in the industry for the foreseeable future. This is due to editorial schedules and changing needs and styles of magazines, as well as the practicality of notifying artists when their work has been rejected.

That last reason that I listed is actually the biggest reason. As it currently stands most publications do not notify artists when their submission has been rejected, instead keeping them on file for possible future use. While this can sometimes lead to a call in the distant future for a previously submitted piece, it leaves the submitter in limbo as to whether or not their page has been rejected. Even if they are aware through professional contacts that page requests have been made for the call for which it was submitted, artists can’t be sure their work isn’t still being considered for another use. And the vast volume of submissions they are receiving makes it impractical for publications to send rejection notices, as well as the fact that this would effectively result in greatly limiting the number of layouts they have on file for future use to fill editorial gaps. So with no such thing as a rejection notice in this industry, artists would have to either commit to offering each piece of work to only ONE publication or everyone has to work with the idea of multiple submissions.

There are other reasons for accepting the reality of multiple submissions as a system that works for both artists and publications. The first is seasonality. Much of scrapbook work is seasonal. If you don’t submit that Christmas page to multiple places when all the Christmas calls are out, by the time you know for sure one place has rejected it, more than likely all the other publications have finished selecting their Christmas work. Another problem is the evolving style of the industry. Just when you think you have figured out which magazine your work fits the best, changing styles may put you over in someone else’s territory. And since this all takes place months before anything actually goes to press, there is no way of knowing this is happening until after an issue is published – too late to adjust your submissions! Allowing for multiple submissions gives artists the best chance of getting their work picked up without having make what is often little better than an educated guess at which publication’s direction it will match, and recieving a broad range of submissions allows publications to have plenty of design style options from which to choose for their editorial needs.

But if multiple submissions are going to continue to be a fact of life in scrapbook publication, there has to be respect for the system. Scrapbookers shouldn’t abuse the allowance by “blanket submitting” work everywhere in the blind hope that someone will pick it up. Submissions should be targeted to match calls or a publication’s presumed editorial style and needs. Work should be provided to the first request received for it, even if that is not the artist’s first choice of publication. Rules of contests and other calls that specifically disallow multiple submissions should be respected. If these guidelines are observed, it will discourage publications from drawing a line and deciding to completely disallow multiple submissions. And while there are some advantages to it for them, it is us artists who have the most to lose if the publications decide to change the system.

Multiple submissions are a fact of life, a necessary evil in the industry the way it is today. Let’s all play by a few rules so it can stay that way.


What I won’t be able to live without…or at least my shopping list!

Now that I’ve told you what I can’t live without to scrap today, what won’t I be able to live without to scrap tomorrow, or at least next month? Here’s some of the items on my shopping list for CK Florida:

  • Carolee’s Creations: Carolee McMullin has rarely done anything I haven’t loved and her latest introductions are no exception.
  • Michael Miller Memories: Fabric paper looks very interesting to play with and they have some absolutely beautiful ones!
  • Basic Grey: I absolutely can’t wait to get my hands on more of these lucious distressed papers to create with. The rich colors are still bright while still having texture from the distressing and aging.
  • Pulp Paper Products: I used one of their beautiful fabric 8×8 albums for my winning Simple Scrapbooks Coolest Album project and really can’t wait to use one of their 12″ albums for my pages. I especially love the option of the window in the cover.
  • Creative Imaginations: I am especially excited about the new introductions in the Narratives, Art Warehouse, and Sonnets collections. Also their new alphabet stamp sets, die cut to prevent ink shadowing, sound very interesting.
  • Heidi Swapp: Need I say more? Her CHA product line introduction was absolutely tantalizing!
  • Bo-Bunny: Their new Woodmark collection is quite a style departure for them and looks gorgeous! I can’t wait to try it out.

So that is just a few of the products that I am anxiously awaiting the chance to try…and who knows what else I might find that inspires me?


What I can’t live (or at least scrapbook) without

Since it seems to be all the rage in scrapbook blogs these days, I thought I would take a minute to share with you all what the items are right now that it seems I just can’t scrapbook without reaching for:

  • Bazzill Cardstock: I came late to the Bazzill party because I didn’t have easy access to it and  didn’t understand all the fuss. But now that I am there I’m not leaving!
  • My new Tonic guillotine trimmer: Finally, a trimmer at a price point I can afford that cuts straight!
  • Inkjet Transparencies: These are a great way to put text on top of things and get it right every time.
  • Krylon Spray Adhesive: See my entry on my spray glue problem for the wonders of spray adhesive!
  • Making Memories Magnetic Stamp Sets: I have the date set, two alphabets and the express it! phrases and these are really great for quick, short text blocks.
  • Making Memories Rub-on Alphabets: They make a good selection of basic text types now – serif and sans serif, script and handwritten. I especially like those in white to get white text but they are also conveniet to get exact placement of black text or text on small items.
  • Rick-Rack & Ribbon: I can’t go to any craft or other store that sells ribbon without browsing through the selection and usually coming home with some! I use by-the-yard and spooled and it seems to find it’s way onto a large proportion of my pages lately.
  • Brads: They are so quick and easy to use and available now in such a large variety of colors, shapes and designs. I use them as a staple and always keep my selection within reach!
  • Chalk Ink Pads: The chalk ink pads by Colorbox and the Versamagic pads by Tsukineko give a soft, lustrous ink finish and are wonderful for direct-to-paper inking and distressing.

Well, that’s the must-haves for today….watch my next entry for my wishlist of new must-haves!


Networking: The Scrapbook Job Interview?

Thanks to the wonders of technology, co-workers today in the scrapbook industry can literally live and work across the country – or even the world – from each other while they collaborate on producing articles, books, product lines, or other projects. Page samples or works in progress can be reviewed by editors and design team heads from designers all around the world thanks to the wonders of scanners and the internet. Drafts of articles can be transmitted via email for review, editing and revision. Scrapbookers can work closely on large projects with other industry professionals that they have literally never met in person.

So given the far-flung geographic nature of the industry and it’s talent, traditional face-to-face “job interviews” are usually impractical before awarding design team spots, magazine assignments, and other sought-after positions in the industry. So, how is a company or editor to know that the person they are hiring for a project or position is reliable and reasonable to work with? I believe, whether designers like it or not, the answer to that concern has become networking.

Through the scrapbook industry network, designers who take as many opportunities as possible to meet socially other professionals in the scrapbook industry can establish a reputation for themselves in the way they conduct themselves. Membership in an online message board populated largely by other industry professional and attendance at as many industry events as possible are two ways to do this. The more people a designer knows, and the more people those people know, the more widespread the designer’s reputation can become. A good reputation for being pleasant and reliable to work with can go a long way to enhancing a career in what has become a very competitive field packed with quality designers.

So to get ahead in today’s scrapbook job market, don’t forget to put your best foot forward in the job interview: networking!


Getting in line….

I love the clean and graphic look that we are seeing more and more of in scrapbook design. I am an avid fan of the work of such graphic scrapbook artists as Cathy Zielske and Ali Edwards. My own pages have always tended towards a much cleaner look than the average scrapper. So why oh why I have wondered, have I felt like somehow I cannot quite achieve a perfect “clean and graphic” look? Something always seems just a little bit “off” about my clean pages.

And then while I was working on a page the other day, it suddenly hit me! I was trying out various arrangements to place my photos and other items on the layout and realized that for some reason I completely avoid lining elements up in rows or columns, or anything resembling a symmetrical arrangement! I have done “in line” arrangements on pages I’ve created from sketches designed by others (notably Becky Higgins) but when conceiving the design myself I don’t even consider it! Why is that?

Somewhere along the way in my scrapbook design evolution I got the idea that to create movement and flow in a layout and prevent it from looking rigid, I had to avoid lining things up in my placement of design elements. And yet these are fundamental tools of clean and graphic design – elements lined up, symmetrical layouts, and rigid lines! No wonder I couldn’t create a layout I was completely happy with when I was avoiding using some of the style’s fundamental elements.

The layout that I have been working on since I came to this realization is not done yet but I can already tell that it’s going to be the best thing I have created (in my eyes, at least) in a long time!


The Rise of Classic

During the early days of the scrapbooking industry, everything was new. We all followed trends and used the latest and greatest because that was all there was. But now, as the industry has become more established and has broadened in scope of both who it’s followers and who it’s leaders are, we are seeing something new that isn’t new: the evolution of classic.

If you look around my house and look in my wardrobe, you will see classic. Neutral toned furnishings, basic jeans and t-shirts, nothing that you would look at and say, “oh she bought that in the fall of 2002.” The look is classic – not trendy, not up-to-the-minute – classic. It is good solid design that stands up from one season to the next.

Up until recently the scrapbook arena didn’t have this sort of design. The art was so young and products and styles were changing so fast that nothing had a timeless quality. It all had an ability to be pegged to a certain style timeperiod. But I believe now we are beginning to see the evolution of classic for scrapbookers. Multiple styles are co-existing now in the market, in different publications and different manufacturer lines, unlike 5 years ago when style was much more cohesive across the marketplace. Certain products which began as trendy seem to have evolved into classic. Rub-ons, textured cardstock, metals, inks, sophisticated vintage and retro patterned papers….while years from now we may be able to place these layouts in time because of the specific product designs they utilized, the very fact that they used metals at all won’t peg them to a specific year.

And that is where classic design begins. When you can look at something and not be sure exactly what timeframe the design “belongs” in….you are looking at classic. I am a big fan of classic, and it seems especially appropriate when thinking about the design of something like my albums that I am hoping will be enjoyed for decades to come.

Trendy is fun to play with but for everyday, I think classic is on the rise.