This is a fun, easy, clustering exercise for beginners using Photoshop. You can download a trail copy on Adobe HERE.

Clusters are the heart of most layout pages. It is always challenging to deal with pictures and different elements of a kit.

Layout by Sandy

Basically, clustering is a combination of different elements that allow the viewer to admire a pleasant page.

By creating clusters, you allow the viewer eyes to be leaded to the focal point and to experience better visual awareness of white space, a key component to good compositions.

Today we will do an exercise to practice layout page compositions.

Go to any scrapbooking gallery or visit The Studio’s Design Team Galleries and choose a page that you admire. Or watch The Studio’s newsletter LOTD (Layout of The Day) to inspire you. Sign-up for our Newsletter HERE.

For our exercise today we will use following layout sample from Yvonne (aka mijo):

Layout by Yvonne

Take a black pen or pencil and a white paper and start to “draw” the page. Create a very rough sketch with the position of the outside clusters.
Add a diagonal line (or a direction line according to the layout of your choice). This is very important to keep the visual alignment of the page! See my sample sketch here below:

Then draw the inside cluster and frame of this page.

Practice this exercise every day or even every second day. Keep your sketches to use as reference to inspire you when you are going to create your layouts.

You can be inspired by this and other pages and then, based on your layout sketches, make your own compositions.

Add additional Elements

Notice the positions of the kit papers and also be aware of the effects with pattern or images that have been blended with the background. Make notes. In our example above we have the position of the bird, which is admiring the photo, leading the visitor’s eye to the focal point!

Another tip: count the number of flowers that are clustered together. keep track of this also. This can help you to create your clusters.

The most important thing in this exercise is to train your eyes. The more you practice, the more these concepts will be etched into your memory and you will start to do them instinctively.

We can also follow some composition “rules” like the rule of thirds, rule of odds, the diagonal rule, etc. But here I decided to escape the theory and give a very practical tip. If you follow this exercise based on examples of compositions that are pleasing to your eyes, I think you will soon be trained and able to make beautiful pages.

Remember that white space is important and a well-composed cluster (usually with an odd number of elements) creates a great visual attraction.

Homework (lol):

Now it’s your turn! Create a sketch from this page here below and then create a layout based on your sketch. Remember to count the number of flowers and elements and be careful with the sizes of the elements: keep them small (not too big). Post the layout it in The Studio’s Gallery and tag me @silkebr so I can leave you some love.

Layout by Elly
Layout by Yvonne

Next week we will have a Quick Tip about shadowing clusters.

Happy creations!

Silke, PapierStudio Silke