Detail from illustrated handmade scrapbook layout background on watercolour paper
Scrapbook layout,  Throwback Thursday

Hand-drawn layout background, those were the days

When one has been paper crafting for a decade or two, once in a while you’ll will find old relics like this layout in your collection, where one hand-drew the entire background, possibly because of lack of patterned paper. Or possibly because one didn’t quite grasp scrapbooking as of yet. But really I just think that I did this because the few patterned papers I had back then felt too precious to actually use. Oh, how I’ve changed since then!

This was one of the very first layouts I made, so I date it to around 2006. I think that the one redeeming thing about this background is that I had the sense to use a heavy, hand-made (not by me) paper that could actually take a bit of water, instead of a thinner white cardstock. And sure, it has a rough texture and the edges aren’t straight, but I quite like it. Later I did end up mounting it on a piece of 12×12 cardstock to make it fit better in the page protector.

Handmade scrapbook layout background on watercolour paper

I have no idea why I chose to draw these motifs on my page, they are all over the place! A rocket and shmoll alien blobs, gears and cogs, a clock face, mushrooms, swirly leafs, cutsie skulls… Actually I still doodle the cutsie skulls during work meetings.

Detail from hand-drawn scrapbook layout background with swirls and cute skull
Detail from hand-drawn scrapbook layout background with swirls and cute skull

I know the size of my supply stash now, and I remember the size of my craft stash then. It gets very apparent when you look a bit closer… Black, red and brown fineliners, cheap watercolours, some sort of coppery shimmer spray, copper embossing powder. Well…

Detail from hand-drawn scrapbook layout background with swirls and cute skull

And then my handwriting, that was oddly awkward considering how bloody much I wrote by hand back then!

Scrapbook layout with early photo of me, placed on handmade background

Even though I cringe a bit at the sight of this piece, I think it is one of the most important scrapbook pages in my old albums. First of all, I really did try to make a scrapbook layout to the best of my ability, and it does paint a picture (ha!) of my taste and style back then, and what tools I had at hand. Also I think it was rather plucky of me to make a hand-drawn layout background. I have done that once or twice since, but not recently. Maybe it’s time to try again? I bet it’d look quite different today.

Most importantly though; I have taken time to write down what was me in the journaling. Things I liked to wear, how I usually braided my hair, things I kept in my home (like my huge terracotta tea pot that was always full of earl grey, and my piles of notebooks), and I made notes about my first apartment, my friends and my first SLR camera. It used film, back then, it wasn’t digital. And so one of my friends, who also had one, snapped this photo of me, circa 2001:

Portrait of Jennie from ca 2001, analogue camera
Portrait taken by friend – 2001

I love old photos where you can see stuff in the background. Every blurry pixel is perfectly clear to me. The memory magic of one photo!

The words back up the photo. And that’s the magic of scrapbooking.

But of course the journaling is backing up this photo in so many ways. There might come a day when this photo makes no sense to anyone on its own. The words back up the photo. And that’s the magic of scrapbooking.

Do you journal on your layouts? Do you journal in your photo albums? On the back of your photos? Are you content with the “who when what where”? If you go back to your oldest layouts, would something different pop up in you head than you have written down on the page? I would love to know in the comments below.

Until next time! Stay safe <3

Hi, my name is Jennie! Having been a multi-crafter since I could barely walk, it's hard to pick just one favourite hobby, as long as it has anything to do with pens, papers or paints. I love to geek out about paper-crafting, but right now I'm in love with art journaling, scrapbooking, card making, artist trading cards, photography, bullet journaling, painting, water-colours... I could go on. I do know one thing: as long as I have a piece of paper and a pen, I am never bored. You can find me on other social media by clicking the icons below. Happy crafting!

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