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What do you think when someone asks you to doodle on your layout? Do you cringe, worrying about whether or not  you will mess up the photos? Doodling doesn’t have to be scary. In fact, using pens and markers on your layouts can be very budget friendly. It can also often be just a matter of having the right inspiration to guide you until you feel confident enough to go it on your own.

My latest source of inspiration came from an assignment at Get It Scrapped. Brazilian Interior Designer Ana Strump provided our inspiration to remix our photos using doodled designs.  She likes to doodle on the cover of magazines to create vibrant and unusual art. When approached with art as inspiration, I find it best to choose elements of the art that I can work with. Many artists are very talented and it can be intimidating to try to recreate something in the exact same detail that they used. As I looked over Ana’s work, I made notes of the designs I felt I could replicate,paying attention to how she incorporated those designs into each part of the magazine cover.  As I share my process with you, I invite you to do the same. Don’t try to recreate my layout in it’s exact form. Instead, take from it the parts that work for your personal creative process.


An open mind and attitude

Cardstock 12×12 sheet


1 sheet of 81/2 x 11 matte photo paper or cardstock

Patterned Paper and embellishments

Letter stickers in a solid color

Gel pens and/or permanent markers






Step One The magazine covers that Ana worked with featured people in strong poses rather than images with landscapes or objects as the focal point. For this reason, I chose to use a portrait of my son. Both my husband and I are reflected in the lens of my son’s glasses. This photo is perfect for me to journal about my perspective concerning where my son is at in his life right now. While doodling with markers might work well to decorate an event layout in a fun manner, I  feel they can also  add more depth to layouts which reflect on a mood or an emotion.

I chose to print the photo in an 81/2 x 11 size. A smaller photo would certainly be fine, but the larger size is closer to the size of the magazine covers in the inspiration photos. One photo is printed on regular photo paper. I printed a second photo onto cardstock.


Using scissors, I fussy cut around my son’s image on the glossy photo paper. The print on the cardstock will become the base for the photo. You will see how in a moment.


Step Two The next step is to determine the photo placement. You can use cues from magazine covers. I chose to place the photo on the bottom left of the 12×12 canvas. While I love using patterned paper as the canvas, I don’t necessarily wish to use the whole sheet. Cutting away a section slightly larger than the photo will allow me to save some for another project. I will be using the L shapes piece of patterned paper.


I adhered the L shaped strip of patterned paper to the layout. There is a nice little nook of white cardstock onto which I can place the photo. I used the photo printed onto the cardstock as my base. I added strips of chipboard to the glossy photo cut out of my son.This will help it to pop out from the canvas. Don’t use a solid piece of chipboard. Small strips work best and you will see why in step five.


Adhering it to the cardstock base really makes him stand out from the page. The cardstock print is a little blurred which adds a dreamy feel to the layout. Simple stitching around the cardstock photo and L shaped patterned paper piece adds subtle detail.


Step Four I now need an idea of where to place the title and the embellishments. Large photos take up a lot of real estate on a layout. When I use a larger photo, I prefer not to use a lot of embellishments. Quite honestly, I would be content to stop here. This page could work just fine as it is, but I know I can push things a bit farther with the doodling. *note* the title and embellishments are not yet adhered to the layout at this stage. 


Step Five Cut vellum into strips or shapes. I used a starburst pattern, but any shape would also work just fine. Remember how I advised that you not used solid sheets of chipboard beneath the photo? I can easily slide the vellum strips underneath sections of the photo in between the spaces in the chipboard.


I can now doodle on the vellum sections, and should I mess up, I can simply replace them with another piece. I suggest using a permanent marker for the doodling such as a Bic Mark It or Sharpie. I also used some opaque chalk markers by Martha Stewart. Bistro Chalk Markers would work as well.


Step Six When it comes time to create the title, choose letters with enough surface area to easily doodle within. Regular letter stickers will work better than those with glitter on them. Since I desired stitching on my title, I layered the letters over cardstock and stitched prior to doodling. Some inks, such as those from some brands of gel pen, may flake off if you stitch afterwards.


Start from one side of the title and work your way across. Depending upon the letter sticker, you may need to allow time for each pen to dry before applying the next color. I used a combination of permanent markers with a white gel pen. After looking over the magazine lettering in the magazine covers, I chose a simple triangle design which easily filled the letter with a little room left over to outline each triangle.  You don’t need the doodling to be complex to achieve a fabulous look. I found is best to use the white gel pen to apply the details after the darker markers had dried.


  Reflected by Christy Strickler Supplies| Patterned Paper: Studio Calico; Letters:  Jenni Bowlin; Markers/Pens: Martha Stewart, Sharpie, Bic Mark-it’s, Signo Uniball:  Enamel Dots: My Mind’s Eye; Sticker: Studio 112

I did end up smudging some of the  ink onto the cardstock photo. I was able to correct the error with the white opaque pen. If You smudge a section that can not easily be replaced, choose a marker color that will hide the smudge and add to your doodled design. I chose to add tiny flowers to the background portion of the photo.

Doodled designs like this can be fun. Using markers allows you to customize your own mix of patterns and colors. To keep the doodles from overwhelming your layout, limit the amount of patterned paper and embellishments you use on the page. Also, be aware of the patterns you use, both in the patterned paper form and in your doodles. I used hearts, a polka dot, and a dashed pattern. If you are unsure about which patterns to use, follow the same tips you would use for mixing patterned paper.

Additional Resources

6 Tips for Mixing Patterned Paper from Get It Scrapped


Patterned Paper

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