Sunday, August 20, 2006

Idea Books

Posting from Paradise
I must confess, dear readers, that I have gotten caught up in all the melodrama on the two blogs that simply everyone is talking about: 2 Peas in my Azz and Scrap Critic. While some of the name calling, etc. goes a bit beyond the pale, I do like the opportunity this affords women in the industry or who would like to be or scrappers/stampers who don't want to offend to voice their opinions w/o fear of reprisals.

Of the two, Scrap Critic, I think has the most merit. The intent of the blogger, as far as I can see, is to provide a forum for discussing various areas of scrapping (favorite technqiue, favorite designer, favorite magazine and also the opposite of favorite) as anon. I found the responses that stayed on the topic offered up by the blogger to be insightful and honest for the most part.

One of the topics I wish had been explored more was Idea Books. I have been a collector for over ten years and have some raves and pans.

To qualify for my Raves on an idea book it must offer a variety of techniques; these must be clearly written and, if possible, the steps accompanied by pictures. I like suggestions for variations and it should inspire me to go into a creating frenzy. I am technique driven in most of my scrapping and altered arts projects so obviously, I want to learn how! Pretty pictures and eye candy only inspire if they tell how!

Here are some of my all time faves: not all are scrapbook related but I've something from each in scrapbooking and they meet the above criteria.

Paint books: New Ways with Paint by Andrea Maflin (while this is a home deco book, every technique can be applied to paper with amazing results); The Painted Page by Laura Kennedy and Pam Lambie/ Pine Cone press (great techniques clearly explained and lovely layouts)

Inks and Stamping: Ink Art by Sara Horton (who is one of my favorite designers), Misty Mathews and Amie Wheatcraft. To me this is the bible of inking. Within these 35 pages you can find a gazillion idea and techniques both for the beginner and the advanced. This is also a Pine Cone Press book.

Altered books: (the techniques and ideas in these listed go far beyond the altered books themselves and offer unique ideas when applied to scrapbook pages): Any of the Design Originals Can Do Crafts books about Altered Books (especially the Materials Guide), Altered Books Workshop by Bev Brazelton (just plain yummy), Books Unbound by Michael Jacobs (the how to of binding, building and having fun with making journals and books), Vintage Greeting Cards by MaryJo McGraw: not at all what it sounds like although she does use the vintage card as her tool to teach. If you like vintage, heritage or want to learn some classy stuff, this one is wonderous.

Assorted Idea Books: Collage Discovery by Claudine Hellmuth ( this first volumn is great but I wasn't a big fan of the second one), Pockets, Pullouts and Hiding Places by Jenn Mason (lots of fantastic interactive ideas for altered project and some application for the scrapbook page), Transparent Art (my current favorite car trip book) by Sommerset studio...amazing stuff and so beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes.

Sommerset Workshop also by Sommerset Studio is like taking 4 classes at your leisure...I can't wait for vol. 2 on this one. Worth every dime, and it was not cheap. I also recommend the Wedding (I hear there is a second vol to this out but have not yet seen it). I loved, loved, loved this book. I was inspired to create and create and create. One tiny idea in the book would lead to 3 or 4 layouts for me.

I was not trained as an artist. My stick figures even look funny. I was an English teacher for eons and spent a long time looking for a basic design class for continued learning or for a good basic design book. When I found this one and read it, my layouts started having more cohesion and I realized (not always) why some of my layouts got picked up for publication and why others did not. My favorite basic design book (and it was recommended to me by a very good artist) is Design Basics for Creative Results by Bryan L. Peterson.

Let me know your favorites here also please!


crazydarla said...

Such an interesting post Jules! Lots of fab info! I wish I had such a spectrum of arts to cover but I really don't. Most of mine are scrapbook related but I do have a few that i would not give up for a million dollars. So my brief and somewhat interesting review is as follows:

The Journalers Handbook by Tracy White.
Although the 'read' itself is not too compelling, there are some great lil' stories in there that might bring a tear. My main reason for loving this book is that it opens your mind to explore journaling at new levels. Helps to open up sights, sounds, places, people in a much more indepth process. I love what it brings to my journaling... I am a writer, sort of,(or like to think I am) so if I can relay a story or memory with such detail that you feel like you were there with me, then I feel like I have done a great job! This book really helps to open avenues to bring out better journaling.

Bazzill Basics Eclectic
I cannot count the times I have poured through this book putting post it notes and tabs on pages, I have piles of sketches and notes I have made from this book. While some of the design elements are 'outdated' in the industry, some of the ideas are timeless and I find COMPLETE inspiration every time I look at the book. Eva Flake is amazing as is Pam Black, just two of the designers...I have met them both in person as well and they have such a genuine love of the hobby as an art and expression of love for thier families. I could probably give away 98% of my sb idea books as long as this one stays.

Don't think I am crazy, but...

Becky Higgins! Yes, I don't know where she "went" in the whole CK scheme of things but we rarely see her much anymore which I find sad because she really is an artistic genious in my mind! I love ALL of her books:
Creative Companion (sits on my desktop in arms reach!)
Creative Sketches (used frequently)
Creative Sketches II (I do not have but have heard rave reviews about.)
Creative Lettering and Creative Scrapbooking...old but good! Some of my VERY first Idea Books outside of just plain magazines and I think the oldies are 'goodies' because they keep to some of the basics and don't go so much with trends.
I have 1001 books, I am looking up at them on my shelf now, because that is where most of them "live" because they don't bring much to my scrapbooking design. A good idea book to me is like a Bible, its' pages are worn and dogeared from use and inspiration. They have paint on them, pages that are torn and glued together... covers that are falling off. Like a good baby blankie that is loved, they show the wear and tear. You could buy most of my scrapbook idea books thinking they were brand new off the shelf, but the worn ones you would KNOW were the ones that are useful and chock full of genius!

Hope this helps Jules and sorry I rambled!! (I do that well!)


Kip said...

Thanks for the great reviews Jules. I just ordered two of those books from Amazon!

Ruth said...

Wow, thanks for that. I always wanted a useful stamping book but did not know what would be best for me as I learn the craft.

As for me, I get my techniques by searching the web. Mainly because idea books are terribly expensive and it is hard to know what will be the most useful. Most of the books I own I use to scraplift from though which include cards making books and the Becky Higgins sketch book.

Thanks for sharing all this Jules, you sure did cut down the leg work.

ribinscraps said...

AS far as informative books I LOVE donna downeys. I am a hands on make it myself kinda gal and her books show me HOW. What glues are best in what situations, how to get the look of handmade but easy to do. Another book I look at over and over is Ali edwards. Love her style even though its not my style but her ideas help me step out of my box a bit.

Doug Bagley said...

I have to admit, I don't scrap so can't give you an honest list of favorites.
I think I'll check out the websites though.
Hope all is well in your neck of the woods. BTW, where's our hurricanes? Now that I have a new roof I reckon it's time for it to get blown off, lol.