Beauty of Artistic and Fusion Layouts


(I know, it’s been a while lol….I’m horrible about blogging.)

You know me.  I love doing artsy things. I love mixed media, getting my hands dirty and creating projects that reflect my love. But, not everyone can figure it all out. Looking at all that painted goodness when one is used to digital scrapbooking can be a little daunting. You want to try it. You love looking at it, but sometimes you just draw blanks in how you can use it. I know because I have been there. When I started digital scrapbooking, long before I became a designer, I was used to the placement of frames and elements. I rarely used anything remotely mixed media and artsy looking. Eventually, by watching others, my style grew from placing elements, to blending, using photo masks and overlays to adding artistic touches. This is reflected in my design work. It is why my styles can vary so much. But, the root of my designs is in art.

I went from one extreme to the other in my designs. From digital scrapbooking to all out art. Now I think I have found my happy middle ground. It’s a fusion between the two. It’s the best of both worlds. If you love art, it’s in there. If you love digital scrapbooking, it’s in there. But, the best part is combining both into your work. This is my favorite style to do layouts, when I do do them. I am not all about art when I do my own personal layouts. I WANT to scrap my children and my life. I don’t want to do layouts of other people for the simple reason to sell my products. And, while I do that, mainly it’s about my children. With the exception of art prints. I also want to be able to create that art journal page as well.

Which brings me to my tutorials. I have two of them actually. The first one is all about a more artistic approach to doing layouts. The second is more fusion…a combination of scrapbooking and art. At the end of this tutorial, I have a little freebie for you.

The Artistic Layout


I would first like to note that if you don’t have any decent images to work with, Unsplash is a gorgeous stock photo site full of free, high-resolution photography. This is where I got the bridge image. Second, the product I used, if you want to follow me along on this tutorial is my kit called “Urban Sprawl.” It is new at Scrapbookgraphics. This products was a huge undertaking. I love when that happens. You create something you love and you just can’t stop lol. So much so that I was able to add some wonderful “free with purchases.”  This layout may look daunting to you. It LOOKS difficult. But, I assure you it is easy. I try to create products that are very easy to use, I certainly don’t want to confuse you lol!


Step One:


The obvious first steps is to open your program and opening the files you would like to use, like your image of choice. Please note here, that I used Photoshop Elements 12. I don’t use other programs other than PSE 12 and Cs5. So, if you have another program, I apologize, but I don’t have tutorials for them. But, for tutorial purposes, I use Elements.


Then open up a background paper of your choosing.


And, then you want to open up some sort of Photo Mask. This isn’t a photo mask per se, it’s a paint scrape thingy I created lol. But, it works just the same.

Step Two:


Convert your photo to a black and white image. Mine here is an old action I had that makes it a slightly tinted, but any black and white will do. If you don’t know how to use actions (photo effects) you can simply go to “Enhance” at the top of your menu bar and in the drop down, select “Convert to Black and White.”



Then in your Photo Bin at the bottom, you will drag your black and white image on top of your photo mask. After which select your photo image in the layers panel on the right, take your mouse and hover over the line in between image and photo mask at the same time holding down the Alt key.  You should see an “eye”.  Click that and it will clip your image to the mask.  Move around image or stretching it around to fit the mask. Then you can merge the two by clicking “Layers” at the top menu bar and selecting “Merge Visible” at the bottom of the drop down menu.


Next, just drag the masked image onto your paper of choice.

Step Three:


Here is where I go off the beaten path a bit as well as changing programs (Please note that this step is completely optional). I have taken the same image and used a little tutorial to create this watercolor effect. I used my Cs5 to do so because the tutorial they use is Photoshop. But, I am sure you can follow basically the same rules in PSE. You can find this tutorial HERE on YouTube. If you find it too hard to use (I found it simple…the tutorial is good and step by step), you can always use FotoSketcher, which is free to download. It’s wonderful as you can create all kinds of artistic styles for your photo images.


Then I grab myself a different photo mask and clip my watercolor image to it.


And, drag that clipped mask onto my previous image and paper too. Note that the mask here is smaller than the first one. The reason being I wanted to show part of the bridge as black and white and part of it as in watercolors. I shape the second mask around to fit in to the first image. To make sure it fits and looks like one image, I reduce the opacity in the layers panel on the right to 50% and move and stretch the image to fit. Then return the opacity back to 100%.

Step Four:



This step is simple enough, I find myself a scribble brush. I have loads of scribble brushes. Urban Sprawl has a set of scribbles, which I used here, but I have two packs on sale permanently at the Archive Attic at Scrapbookgraphics. You can find them HERE and HERE and HERE. After I choose my scribble, I convert stamp it on white or convert it to white. You can change the color by clicking Ctrl + U and changing the “Lightness” to 0 (zero).

Then I select my background paper in the layers panel and place my scribbles on the paper behind the masks.


Step Five:


Now I’m going to select a frame. Choose any frame you would like. I prefer paper frames because to me it’s more realistic. When creating real paper layouts, we don’t use wooden frames :).


Next, I drag the original un-edited photo onto the layout UNDER the frame. Just click on the top most photo mask in the layers panel and insert your image, which will end up on top the mask and under the frame.


You will then, again, reduce the opacity of the image to 50% so you can move and stretch the image to fit the images on the mask. You see what’s happening? We are making one image in part black and white, part watercolor and part original which will be framed but also look like ONE image. After you have resized the image, return the opacity to 100%


Now simply crop out the outer part of the image. Just select the “Rectangular Marquee Tool” on the left side tool bar, click on the image under the frame in the layers panel, then drag to make a “rectangle” OVER the frame though you are still on the image in layers. Once you have made the shape of the frame, click on “Select” at the top menu bar, and then click “Inverse.” Then click delete on your keyboard. This way, the outer part of your image is deleted while the rest is under the frame.



I ended up moving slightly around my image and frame a bit because I didn’t like the original spot it was in.

Step Six:



Here I have added some text brushes and I used my Mathematical Brushes, which you can find HERE and HERE. Now these are optional. If you like the background the way it is, you can leave. I liked to add white brushes in the background because I’m a huge fan of rich textures.

Step Seven:



Now on to adding some elements. I don’t add a whole lot here. In my Urban Sprawl kit, I have some blue crackle paint I’ve added to the layout and placed just subtly into the layout to give it a slight touch of color. I have also added some other elements like stitches, paint drips, and a couple more brushes of scraped paint. If you like scrapped paint brushes, I have some HERE.

Last, just flatten your layout and you’re done!  You flatten by clicking on “Layers” at the top menu bar, and at the very bottom of the drop down, click “Flatten.”


That’s it! What do you think? Easier than you thought, right? Just play around with it and create something that is uniquely you!

Still uncertain about doing an artsy layout? Well, I do offer free monthly templates at Scrapbookgraphics. I do a monthly challenge in the forum where you can download and create with my artsy templates. They are fun and easy to use! Here is my artsy template for October:



Be sure to swing by each month and grab the latest template. They don’t stay around forever :).

Ready for the next tutorial? This one is shorter and even more simple! And, right after, I have my little freebie for you.

The Fusion Layout


The biggest reason this is so easy is because instead of me layering in elements, I have created some cluster frames for you to use. But, this layout style doesn’t require my cluster frames. You can certainly pick and choose any element you wish.

The fusion layout is just that…a fusion between the more traditional style of digital scrapbooking with the more artistic style.

Step One:


First you want to choose your image. Here I have chosen an older one of my son. Isn’t he cute in his little baseball hat? Then you can select a photo overlay. This is optional, but I wanted to give my photo a unique texture. I have a photo overlay pack, which you can get HERE. I know Studio Laitha has a wonderful pack in the store. You can check them out HERE. But, for now, I used a photo overlay from my pack.


Next, I simply convert my photo to black and white.

Step Two:


Drag your photo overlay on top of your image. Then on the right side in the layers panel, click on drop down where it says “normal”. This is your blending list. The blending mode I personally used was “overlay”, but you can pick and chose any one you like to give your photo a unique textured appearance. Then I merge my layers.

Step Three:


Choose your background paper and select a photo mask you wish to use. I chose my mask that is blendable and fits the background paper. But, any photo mask will do. Drag the mask on top of the background paper.


Next I chose to Posterize my image. I go to “Filters” at the top menu bar, click on “Artistic” and then “Poster Edges” from the drop down menu. You have three sliders to choose from. The first two are edges and thickness. I have those completely turned off. I move the posterize slider around until it creates the effect I want.

I know I added texture to the photo and that will be used later, but I wanted to really make it unique by adding additional interest to the photo.

Step Four:


Now I drag the photo on top of the photo mask and clip it. Again, just click on the image in the layers panel, at the same time, click on the line in between the image and mask while pressing “Alt”. Click on the “eye” to clip image to mask.


I chose my blend mode in the right layers panel. Again, I simply chose “overlay” and I stretched out the masked image to fit 2/3 of the background paper.

Step Five:


Step Five is basically a “how to” in using my new clustered frames, which were specifically created for Urban Sprawl. But, you don’t have to use them. You can create your own clusters as you see fit.

So, here I chose one of my cluster frames and opened it into PSE.


Then I selected that photo we added the overlay too and placed it on top of the cluster frame. I reduced the opacity by 50% so I can move it around and cut the edges properly.


Next I cut around the image using my “Polygonal Lasso Tool” on the left side tool bar. Now you can either cut the image inside the gray area and once you cut around and connected the lines, you will see marching ants around the image. Click on “Select” at the top and “Invert” so you can delete the outside of the image.

Or, you can just cut away some of the image outside the whole frame and click “overlay” in the left side layers panel and will leave just the image part in the gray area.


Return your opacity to 100% and click on “Layers” and “Merge Visible” at the bottom.  You don’t want to flatten it as you will lose your transparent background.

Step Six:


Drag your cluster frame onto your layout and move around to where you want it exact on the paper.


I added additional elements and brushes like text brushes and a word art strip to add more interest. You can leave as is if you so choose.


Then simply flatten your image and you’re done!

I do hope you enjoyed my little tutorials and you make great use out of them! Please feel free to contact me at should you have any questions.

And, as a little thank you for reading my little blog post today, I have a little freebie for you.  It’s a Facebook Timeline template using my Urban Sprawl kit. While I used elements from this kit, it’s set up so you can change out whatever you wish. I personally added a photo of my town onto the mask and converted it to watercolor and black and white.  It turned out really awesome!

You can download it HERE or simply click on image (both of which will be direct downloads).



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