Wednesday 3 July 2013

Scrapbooking: Thinking aloud about 'signature' style

Hi, hi, hi.

It's funny isn't it:
  • when other people can tell what your artistic / crafting / personal style is ... while you're sat there thinking 'What? Me? I have a recognisable style? Are you sure you've got the right person?'
  • that they can identify a layout/journal page/card etc by you at 20 paces ... while you just think that the finished result was more by luck than judgement!
  • and you can wax lyrical on everyone else's 'signature style' ["You know, she's the one who draws all those faces / uses all those layers / uses bright colours / has great handwritten journaling' ... and so on] ... but still believe that you don't have one of your own!
I've been surprised to be told "Oh that's a very 'Julie' page [etc]" ... and, while I've no reason to believe that person is lying to me ... I had no idea that anyone would even think that about my work.
The thing is - we're just too close to our own work to be objective aren't we?

It's like when you recognise how much someone else's child has grown, or that someone you haven't see in a while has lost weight since the last time you met ... and you tend to notice more than they do ... because of the distance. The fact that you don't see at them at the breakfast table, or stare at them in the mirror, every day gives you that objectivity and things appear more obvious to you.

[BTW: if you were staring at someone else in mirror or sitting at their breakfast table ... I'm not surprised they don't want to see you more often! ;-)]

However, when I was editing these images of a page I made with photos taken a year ago, I kept noticing little traits that I know for sure are things I keep returning to in my crafting ... things which, I dare say, might just be part of my 'signature style'.

Things like ... 
  • A snippet of text from an old book: there's no escaping the fact that when it comes to cutting into old books - I'm a repeat offender! The 'Two together' title here came from a children's book.
  • Black and white stripes: you know about the whole zebra thing ... right? Plus - I'm a big fan of black and white in general, I think a little bit of it, here and there, can add a nice crispness to a layout / journal page etc. And it works really well with text papers [which I love. But you knew that].   
  • And, while I don't tend to scrap many - I do tend to take quite a few similar photos to this one, where I point the lens down on mine + James's feet: it is, after all, one of the easiest 'portraits' a couple can take without having to bother someone to take a snap of them together.
And also ...
  • A patterned backdrop: I struggle to put anything on a plain background. Even when I'm not using one as patterned as this, I do like to use a subtle stripe, check, or spot ... and the infrequent occasions times when I do use a plain colour card stock... is simply has to be textured or kraft. I just cannot do a plain flat cardstock base.
  • Small scraps: I love to use small scraps of colour to balance out a design and the ones in this cluster were really small ... but still had the desired effect:
Not forgetting ...
  • More zebra stripes! this time it's a washi tape
And ... at the same time as representing the kind of style decisions I make across my crafting ... this is yet another example of a creative project which, on reflection, bears a distinct similarity to many of the style choices I've made in my house! Including ...
  • several grey walls,
  • plenty of patterns [including one grey patterned wall!]
  • lots of wood grain [or 'wood' as it's called in real life!] 
  • And the hints of turquoise-y blue match those of the rug and accessories in the living room
And so ... maybe it shouldn't be such a stretch of the imagination to believe that other people can identify a 'Julie Kirk' from across the room.
Maybe all our preferences [for colour, layout, style, background, attitude, shape etc] just can't help but run out of our fingertips and down into our creative work whether we're aware of it or not.
 And while we ourselves may be a little too close to recognise it every time ... other people can. And, if we start looking for it in our own finished pieces, noticing those things we've turned to again and again when we sit down to get crafty, we can begin to spot it too!
So ... what about you ...? 
  • Do you think you have a signature style?
  • Do other people think you do?
  • What is it?
  • What do you notice keeps recurring in your crafting?
You can share your responses and thoughts on this in the comments and/or ...
... if you're looking for a fun topic to blog about this week ...
  • why not create your own post sharing your thoughts on your own style
  • maybe share some illustrative examples with your readers
  • or, if you just can't see it, why not ask them what they consider your style to be? They might have a clearer idea about that than you do!
It'll be interesting to hear your thoughts on this ... over to you ... 
Julie :-) 


  1. It always surprises me when someone says they can always spot a "Sian" page too! When I did a piece for 365 on Signature Style it took me a lot more thinking about than I thought it was going to..if that makes sense lol

  2. I reckon i could recognise a julie too! i think you tend to just use one photo and your subject matters are more creative and perhaps *dare i say* random than our American counter parts. I was looking at some of my scrapping on the wall last night and did conclude that i do have a certain style lots of bright patterned papers, lots of layering and a tendency towards certain compositions.

  3. I think that my pages tend to be unembellished. I have to work really hard to put "stuff" on the page with the pictures. I think it's because I regard the space around the pictures as "Where I write the story". Oh, OH my style is to write all over the pages!! I do use die cut letters sometimes.

  4. That's a thought provoking post and a great invitation, Julie! I often wonder about this. A bit of me doesn't want to think we each have a 'style' - I think it's the fear of a straight jacket we might not get out of. I guess the zebra bit would speak to me of you. And the quirky collections of bits on the page. And the interesting colours these. And ... Ooh, dear ..

  5. I agree Julie. I'm sure I do have a style but I would struggle to define it, whereas I could much more easily describe Sian's Alexa's and your own. If I am working with friends and we put our pages together we would each be able to identify each others straight away (and not just because of the photo used!) LOL
    My signature style is something I will think about more.

  6. humm..there are a few, including yours that i am sure i would pick out from a line up! You have (i'd say) a quirky style that I love.

  7. I would pick your pages out of a line up too Julie. I have never thought whether I have a style, I'll ask around or have a look at my paper pages and digital pages to see if something leaps out at me.

  8. I know I could identify a Julie page, and I now wonder if someone could identify my artwork? Probably because I use so many of the same vintage images over and over again, maybe?
    I think my writing style may be less distinct, but I'm trying to figure out what it is.


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