Feel the Rhythm
Recently I attended a musical concert that I absolutely loved. With such a wide variety of rhythms in the music, I never lost interest. During some of the numbers, it was all I could do to stay in my seat—I wanted to jump up and dance! Other selections were so soothing I'd sit back, close my eyes and nearly fall asleep.
While an interesting melody is essential to a song, it's the regular, repeated rhythm that gives music its life, its flow and its movement. In music, rhythm is the beat that carries along the melody. On a scrapbook page, rhythm is the repeated use of elements that carry out the theme.
So how do you create rhythm successfully on a scrapbook page? The key is repetition. Repetition is simply the act of repeating an element from your photos or imitating a design element with another similar element. Repetition creates a strong visual flow that moves the eye through the entire design.
Rhythm and repetition are powerful ways to communicate and accentuate, whether you're talking music or page creation. So, a one and a two and a ... look at the following five layouts and feel the rhythm!
How do you turn an electronic keyboard into a baby grand? With repetition, of course! In Figure 1, the red, black and white colors in the focal-point photo seemed to suggest classical piano. This made me think "baby grand"—the perfect theme for this layout showcasing Trey playing "music" on the keyboard.
I printed the title on vellum and adhered the vellum to a piece of musical patterned paper that repeats the layout's theme. I also added the piano sticker to repeat both the keyboard and the title. As a final touch, I used the word "note" in my journaling and added a note sticker as a subtle repetition of the patterned paper. Of course baby Trey makes a grand subject—well worth repeating!
"Chase Gets a Buzzzzz"
Your first inclination when designing a barbershop-theme page might be to go for the red, white and blue on a barber's pole. But when you let your individual photos dictate the design and color of your palette, you'll end up with a stronger presentation.
My favorite use of repetition in this layout? By far, it's the title. The "buzzzzz" captures both the haircut and the story behind it—after taking three pictures of Chase in the barber's chair, I sat back down to wait. All of a sudden, the barber exclaimed, "Come quick! You really need to get a picture of this!" Chase had fallen asleep. He was actually sawing zzz's right in the barber's chair!
"The Bear Necessities"
When my dad showed me the great photos of his work as a wildlife veterinarian (see Figure 3), I said what any committed scrapbooker would say: "I have the perfect sheet of decorative paper to go with these photos!" I knew the earthy greens and the fuzzy brown bear would imitate perfectly the photos of my dad in this forest setting.
I bet you have pictures similar to this one of my son, Clark, where opportunities for repetition aren't very obvious (Figure 4). In cases like this, I start with color. I chose two reds and a green for my color palette. Knowing the ABCs have special meaning for first-graders, I chose a green ABC paper for the background that would also introduce a new element to repeat throughout the page. I repeated the lettering style from the paper for my title, and added a white stripe above and below the title to repeat the stripe on Clark's sweater.
"Why the Long Face?"
One of our favorite spring activities is feeding horses at a local park. We bring sugar cubes and let the horses eat right out of our hands. When it came time to make the layout in Figure 5 that documents our tradition, I knew repetition would play an important role. Every element used in the design of this layout is repeated from somewhere else. Take a closer look and see how many repeated elements you can find.
Notice any other instances of repetition? All the colors I used in my page layout are taken directly from the photos. I even used scissor edges that reflect the icy drifts of snow.
With a little practice, you'll be singing, "I've got rhythm" as you scrapbook. I know that using the principle of repetition will really get your audience involved in your pages. People may not get up and dance, but I guarantee they'll ask for an encore!
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