Spotlight on BeckiB
By Jan Walker
You can tell a lot about a person’s life just by looking at the art they create. Such is the case with our Spotlight subject this month, Becki Bishop, shown here with her sweet granddaughter, Caylynn, and known in the Digital Scrapper Forum and Gallery as BeckiB.
Full lives make for fascinating layouts, and we’ve had a great time watching Becki as she has grown her skills, refined her techniques, and defined her own personal style over the past several months.
We think you’ll enjoy getting to know her as much as we have!
JW: Becki, thanks for joining us this month… tell us a little about yourself.
BB: Like many women of my generation, I tend to start out describing myself through my relationship to others: I’m a wife (married 44 years) mother of three beautiful adult daughters, and grandmother to one darling granddaughter, who is the subject of most of my scrapbook pages. My husband is retired but keeps himself busy building Flamenco guitars. It was our mutual interest in Spain and love of all things Spanish that brought us together. I had been an exchange student in Spain while in high school, and he was fascinated with Flamenco, especially the guitar. We got engaged in Spain and now, many years later, we go there every summer. I can’t talk about myself without mentioning both my family and Spain!
I have lived in Michigan most of my life, though I was born in San Francisco and lived my early years in and near New York City. I work from home, so my typical day is doing whatever I want (including digiscrapping) in the morning, answering the phone in the afternoon, and then spending time with my family in the evening. Aside from digital scrapping, my other favorite activities are reading, family history research, and gardening. I love to travel, but don’t often get to do it.
JW: How long have you been digiscrapping? And were you a traditional scrapbooker before that?
BB: I can’t say I was a traditional scrapbooker, but I always loved taking family pictures and putting them in albums (and I still do). My parents had a beautiful scrapbook-like album that documented their courtship, marriage, and early married life as well as my babyhood, and I used to pour over that album as a child. Also, my grandmother kept a scrapbook for my mother during her high school years, and that was another treasure that fascinated me. The only “real” scrapbook I’ve made was one I gave my husband for his birthday the week before we were married. It was similar to the one my parents had, with black background paper and white ink, and lots of photos of us in Spain and other memorabilia from our time together there.
I started digiscrapping in 2007, when I learned I was going to be a grandmother. As I always do when I want to learn about something new, I searched the internet and the library, and that’s when I discovered the whole world of digital scrapbooking. At first I did hybrid scrapbooking, creating and printing sections to paste into the family history scrapbook. By the time my granddaughter was born, I knew I wanted to make a digital scrapbook to document her life and growth. I soon discovered Digital Scrapper and signed up for Premier membership. It was my gift to me and I still enjoy it every month!
Although I began digiscrapping 5 years ago, my initial progress was interrupted for a substantial period of time because serious family matters took my full attention. There were a series of deaths in my family, including both of my parents, my father-in-law, and three favorite uncles, as well as other crises. It isn’t stretching things to say that digital scrapbooking was one of the things that helped me to work through my grief and kept me sane during and after this stressful time in my life. It gave me a creative outlet, helped me to focus my energy on something positive, and to “see” the things in my life that I could still celebrate. It also gave me a way to remember and honor my parents’ lives.
JW: You’re right, Becki. Creative pursuits can often help us through difficult times, and help us give expression to emotions that are sometimes hard to put into words. What kinds of pages do find yourself scrapping the most?
BB: I most like to scrap pages about my family and events in our lives. Another favorite topic of mine is the special places we’ve been — like like Spain and Italy — or the family places that mean a lot to us, such as the Smoky Mountains. And, since I love to take pictures of flowers and my garden, I like to use those photos on scrapbook pages too. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to do a page on a concept, though I do love inspirational Word Art and like to work that into a page if I can. Recently I have become more interested in using photographs to create art — the kind that could be framed and not only be put in a scrapbook — though I still like the art to tell a story or include a story.
I guess I’m really a journalist or documentarian at heart. I love both words and pictures. Sometimes I want the words to complement the pictures, and other times I use the pictures to illustrate the words. Maybe that is why I am enjoying the Your Story. Brilliant! Class so much — because both approaches are needed and work well in telling My Story.
JW: You’ve taken some Digital Scrapper classes, and you’re a Premier member. How have they influenced your designs?
BB: The Premier Lessons are a favorite source of creative inspiration and new scrapping techniques for me. I look forward to the new kit and new lessons every month and love trying them out in my own pages. I love that I can go back to the lessons and review them when I know I want to use one of the techniques on a page.
All the classes I’ve taken have been fun as well as interesting, and have helped me to keep improving my skills, but I think the Easy Page Design class, that I just finished, was my favorite. It is probably the class that has influenced my designs the most. It also encouraged me to do my own designs instead of relying so much on quick pages and templates. Probably what helped me improve the most were the helpful critiques and the opportunity to try out the suggested changes. I also took the Get Organized Now class and in organizing my pictures and scrapbooking supplies, I was reintroduced to the treasure trove of digital photos and scrapbooking kits that I’ve accumulated. And best of all, now I can find them!
JW: What’s your favorite digiscrapping technique? Is there something you go back to again and again?
BB: My favorite techniques are blending photos into the background and using digitally extracted photos to liven up a page. I especially love the out-of-bounds techniques that make it look like someone or something is coming out of the photo boundaries. And I love, love, love the lessons that teach how to turn a photo into a painting or illustration or something artistic.
JW: Is there some particular thing you’d like to learn, but haven’t yet?
BB: I still feel very hesitant and insecure when it comes to using elements to finish off a page. So for that reason, I tend to use very few embellishments. It’s funny, though, some of the pages I love, that I have in my design inspiration folder, are layered with embellishments. I hope this is a skill that will eventually come to me as I practice and continue to create pages.
JW: What’s your next big scrapbooking goal?
BB: I want to create more pages for the different monthly assignments of the Your Story. Brilliant class to have a nice, printable album at the end of the year. And I’d like to create a beautiful tribute album that honors my parents and their lives. Both of them left wonderful written stories behind, and I have lots of great photos of them, too. I know my children and granddaughter will consider this a family treasure in the years to come.
JW: What advice would you give to someone who’s just started out with digiscrapping?
BB: First, learn how to use your selected program, starting with how to make your photos look their best. Then, use the internet to explore all the digital scrapbooking sites to get ideas and see what training and kit options are available that would suit you best. Of course, I would recommend the Digital Scrapper Premier membership because that is what worked for me. Then, have fun with the creative process, and practice, practice, practice!
Thanks, Becki, for sharing your story with us! Be sure to stop by Becki’s Gallery to see more of her wonderful work… and while you’re there, don’t forget to leave some love!
Also, did you know that Jan Walker’s new class: Creative Inspiration Class starts Friday, May 18th, 2012? Find ways to expand your creative horizons, generate unique layout ideas or beat scrapper’s block. If you sign up by Friday, May 18th, 2012, you will qualify for the BONUS – don’t miss this amazing opportunity!