CardMaker’s Sketch Book

Reported by Julia Stainton

When card designing…one of my favorite things is to try out new layout ideas. Whether you follow the sketch directly or use it as a jumping off point for your creativity, card sketch ideas are a fabulous time saver. These helpful layouts also stretch your creativity to try out new ideas that you may never thought of yourself. The CardMaker’s Sketch Book is a fabulous resource to add to your collection and is perfect for those times when you need to create a card but just do not know where to start. New papercrafter or experienced designer, we all have moments when we just want to get past the layout and get creating.

This paper-bound book collection of 45 sketches is sure to give you a myriad of ideas and become a much used book in your craft library. Edited by Tanya Fox, this book features original sketch layouts by Tami Mayberry. I first came across Tami’s designs in many papercraft magazines and over the past year, Tami has been creating weekly layouts for Card Positioning Systems. This publication features four card designs for each sketch layout. These layouts give you great ideas on how to take a sketch and use it for different products and occasions. Card designs are high quality unique designs by designers whose names you will be familiar with… Sherry Wright, Lisa Johnson, Kim Hughes, Kathleen Paneitz, Julie Ebersole, Linda Beeson and many others.

This book is divided up into four main sections. Each of these sections feature sketch layouts for a specific card size. You’ll find designs for 4″ x9″ cards as well as 5×5″, 4.5″ x 6″ and 5.5″ x 8″. There are no sketch layouts specifically for what I think of as the most standard card designed out there…the A2 4.25 x 5.5″ card size but that is really not a problem. I found that the 4.5×6 or 5.5×8 size layouts worked all worked well by just changing the proportion of the layouts. For that matter…changing a layout from a rectangle format to a square layout is really not that difficult. With a little practice, you can alter the layouts to meet your own needs. Each sketch layout is drawn in a clean linear format. My favorite way of designing from a sketch is to no look at the samples ahead of time. This allows my to keep my mind open to many possibilites.

The photographs of the card designs are beautiful clear shots and feature many color combos, styles and seasons on each page. No matter what your card making style, you are sure to find something here to inspire you. Some of the designs show you how you can flip a card layout 90° to get a new look. Don’t be afraid to try and experiment. These are sketch layouts and not a mathematical equation. Many of the card designs feature patterned paper scrappy style designs but for the stamping enthusiast, there are still plenty of designs to look at for inspiration and these layouts work equally well for both mediums and styles of designing.

As part of this review, I decided that it would be good to try out a few sketch layouts in the different size cards and see how well I liked the actual sketches. I actually had a difficult time deciding which ones I’d like to do. 4 x 9 designs I love but find myself rarely creating them and I know I’ll be having fun working my way through this book. If you are familiar with my design work, you’ll know I love to create on a 5×5 card base. I’m always looking for new ideas for this card size and was delighted to find some great card layouts for these. You can see from my samples that I tried to make each sketch my own style. These sketch layouts work for stamping designs, and more scrappy style designs too. Keep in mind also that these layouts can be easily adapted for tags, artist trading cards, journals and other altered projects.

Tucked into the back of this book are four envelope templates so that you can create your own envelopes for each of your card designs….another great resource and lovely addition to the book. The one thing I would have loved to see included in this book is a double spread page of all the designs in miniature. This would make it super easy to scan for the perfect design for your needs. I’m hoping a CardMaker’s Sketch Book 2 is planned for a future release!

I’d definitely recommend this book to any cardmaker. Perfect for beginners as well as all levels of cardmakers, the layouts in this book will not date even after the card sample designs and products are. Well worth your money at $14.95 US retail, you can also purchase this book on-line at Amazon for $10.17 For Canadian readers, here’s another source…I purchased my copy from for $14.40 CDN Pick up or order a copy today. I know it is a resource you’ll turn to time and time again.

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18 Responses to CardMaker’s Sketch Book

  1. Julie Campbell February 27, 2008 at 8:53 am #

    I have this book and LOVE it! It really helps to get me started when I need inspiration. And… for only $10 on Amazon, it’s DEFINITELY worth every penny!

  2. Laura February 27, 2008 at 9:05 am #

    Seriously . . .this is THE best resource. I don’t accumulate many books – and the ones I have, I never look at . . .EXCEPT this one. Tami’s sketches have definitely helped me improve my cardmaking . . . I reach for this book constantly!!!

  3. Lynn Mercurio February 27, 2008 at 9:14 am #

    Ok, you’ve convinced me…I just placed my order. I can’t wait to get it!

  4. Tami February 27, 2008 at 11:29 am #

    So glad you like the book Julia. Your cards are awesome!

  5. Scrapbookmama February 27, 2008 at 12:10 pm #

    I’m beginning to think you guys are spying on me! lol I was actually looking for a card sketch book yesterday and what do I find this AM 🙂 I just ordered my book! I can’t wait to get it thank you so much for the review!


  6. Linda Beeson February 27, 2008 at 12:52 pm #

    I absolutely love to work with sketches for both layouts and cards and these sketches were so easy to work with – truly a fun project. The example you guys made are amazing!

  7. Jarie February 27, 2008 at 1:48 pm #

    I have this book and it is just wonderful. It is so very inspiring. I got mine at AC Moore and used a coupon.


  8. Alexis February 27, 2008 at 2:46 pm #

    I also have this book and have been really happy with it. It’s great when you need a little jump-start to the creative process!

  9. milkcan February 27, 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    Your cards are BEAUTIFUL! Rock on!

  10. Heidi February 27, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    I’m gonna have to go get this book now! Great review Julia! Your cards are beautiful!

  11. Sherry Wright February 27, 2008 at 6:57 pm #

    Beautiful cards Julia, this book is one of my favorites!

  12. staceykingman February 27, 2008 at 7:10 pm #

    I will definitely be getting this book!

  13. Lindsey (jacksonbelle) February 27, 2008 at 8:00 pm #

    Gorgeous card samples and awesome article as always… I really need to get this book, I feel like I am totally sketch impared lol. Thanks for the info.

  14. Gina K. February 27, 2008 at 9:00 pm #

    This book is grea! Tami rocks and your cards rock too Julia!! WOW!!

  15. Debbie Olson February 27, 2008 at 11:23 pm #

    Beautiful cards, Julia! I have and LOVE Tami’s sketchbook too–a fantastic resource, especially when you’re feeling a design rut!

  16. Mandi Miller February 28, 2008 at 9:59 am #

    Great article and most importantly, great book!!!! Tami is a good friend of mine, I teach her daughter piano lessons, and she’s been a HUGE inspiration into my scrapbooking/card making. The book is fabulous and I use it nearly every time I’m making cards. I love the idea of have one sketch with 4 completely different takes on it to spark your creativity!!! I would recommend this book for every cardmaker out there!

  17. ~Lea~ February 28, 2008 at 11:10 am #

    Books with sketches are just timeless!! They are something you can look to for inspiration for years to come! Here is hoping Volume 2 will be in the works soon!


  18. Tammy February 28, 2008 at 3:10 pm #

    Julia, thanks for the great review! I was really stumped for an idea for a demo next month for the store that I manage! I found the publisher information at Amazon, contacted them, and now have several copies on the way to my store for a demonstration next month! Can’t wait to get my hands on it! Sketches are the best thing to get my creativity going!