Hi there, it’s Ann with a quick tutorial on how to make a layout with wavy, layered shapes. Do you know the style trend I mean? Do an image search online of “layered wavy abstract” and you’ll see! It is so easy to do, and it works great for scrapbook pages.

There are several ways to achieve this look. You can draw with the pen tool, or warp rectangles, both of which give you fine control over your shape and its curves.

One quick, simple way is to use a really big brush, and paint your waves on separate layers. I’ll give you a brief rundown of how to create waves with a brush.

I’m working in Affinity Photo, but any of these techniques are commonly available in image editing software.

To start out, create a new layer in your document, and grab a basic, round brush. In the brush settings, make sure the slider is set to the lowest point for Spacing. Opacity 100%, Flow 100%, Hardness 100%.

Brush settings for making a wave shape

I turned on Stabilizer and Window Mode for the brush, which smooths the stroke as you paint. Use Smoothing in Photoshop and Streamlining in Procreate’s brush settings.

Once you have your first wave painted, trace around the edges of the page, then use the Fill tool to fill in the shape. Repeat by adding a new layer, then moving that layer underneath, and painting another wave.

Brush smoothed lines, then fill

You can also duplicate waves and flip them horizontally or tilt them slightly to re-use ones you’ve already created.

Transform layers to mix it up

Once your waves are made, use a clipping mask to clip papers onto your shapes. Experiment with various shades of the same color tones, or mix it up with patterns or gradients.

Finally, add a drop shadow with a big radius and offset to each shape.

Create deep shadows beneath the waves

TIP: To save time, copy the layer style, then select the other wave layers in the layers panel, and paste the style to the rest of the layers at once.

In case you don’t have time to make your own waves this go-round, I’ve created a freebie template you can use. Download here. But I encourage you to try making them yourself. It’s fun and can add a little modern pizzaz to your page.

I used a variety of items for this layout. The papers are from July 2020 Midsommar Ombre paper pack. Elements are from several designers’ Christmas Advent 2019 mini kits: Sekada, Studio4, Thaliris, Nibbles Scribbles, Schwarzwald Designs, and JB Studio. The photo is by Valentina Sotnikova on unsplash.