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6.11.2006

It's the Great Magazine Debate, Charlie Brown!

So, by now, ya'll probably know that I am a sucker for a good magazine debate, especially at 2Peas. Magazines are my forte. I read them. I've been in them. I still submit occasionally although not very often because I am a busy woman. Unfortunately, lately there have been several really intense magazine threads that got my attention. I've come to a new conclusion--some people just like to complain about magazines and use them as an excuse. Although that bothers me (because cop outs in general annoy me), I try to let it go. Try.

First of all, I think the primary role of a paper art magazine is to inspire and challenge the reader to try new things and to expand creatively. Sure, it's going to be hit and miss because no editor is good enough to inspire 100 percent of her audience, 100 percent of the time. Maybe a torn piece of paper on a LO is a total creative expansion and departure from the norm for you. Or maybe it's venturing into the use of watercolors or that Pearl stuff. Maybe some part of a layout or project in a magazine speaks to you and makes you a better writer or an improved photographer. Whatever causes the readers to be inspired to stretch...that should (IMO) be the goal of the editors.

With that in mind, a reader of a paper arts magazine is not just an observer. Well, I suppose you could be, but that's another topic. Get beyond the eye-candy. Use the magazine--let it be your jumping off point. Dig into it and *use* what you are able to see.

Second, don't expect every layout in every issue to be something that would fit into your personal style. Let's just face it: you aren't going to be bowled over by every layout in any issue. Not every issue is going to be chock-full of "Oh my goodness, that's amazing" work. Don't expect this and you won't be let down. That's precisely why it's important to learn to glean usefulness from any source, even a layout that you don't find particularly appealing. Sometimes the mental act of determining what you might do differently to "improve" what you think is an unappealing layout will lead you to the building blocks of your own excellent layout.

Lastly, art is subjective--which is just another way of saying "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". It's not a lie. This thing called scrapbooking is personal. Sure, magazines make a business out of it, but it's still very personal. Most people who get published in magazines are ordinary scrapbooking, memory-making, paper-lovers like me and you. Sometimes they are lucky enough to make a short-term career out of scrapbooking...sometimes it blossoms into something remarkable BUT for every Becky Higgins there are 500 normal scrappers who get published a once or twice and are positively happy with that.

If I had to guess, (and I'm not about to spend time researching this) I would say that 90 percent of all published scrapbookers are "short term professionals"...meaning they may get paid for a few layouts, win a contest and maybe write an article...and then they move on with the rest of their lives. That's my guess. Popularity in scrapbooking seems to be a short-term gig for most people.

I love magazines...that's certainly not news to anyone. I love that they inspire and inject a level of creativity into this medium that wouldn't be there if they didn't. I love that they give me a place to turn when I get into a hum-drum rut. I love that they brighten my space with the art of other people. I love that they challenge me to incorporate elements and ideas into my layouts that aren't (or weren't) "totally me" but can become "totally mine".

So, what do you love (or hate) about our scrap/paper arts magazines? I'd really like to know.

Happy Sunday.

2 comments:

Shanna C said...

I, too, love magazines - of all kinds, not just for paper arts and scrapbooking. They bring the world to me and I appreciate the time and effort the editors, publishers, and contributors put into making their publication come to life. Right now, I subscribe to Simple Scrapbooks and Paper Crafts. I love to see the color combinations and use of embellishments, and look for simple ideas I can create. I'm an uncomplicated scrapper. A lot of what I see is "fussy" but I just skip over it and move to the next page.

I was an avid reader on the Two Peas site until I kept running across repeated negative threads and comments aimed toward the popular scrapbooking magazines and their contributors. So I dropped out of the Two Peas readership. It's one thing to express an opinion - but quite another to drag someone else through the dirt. I know that not everyone is going to be a fan of every publication out there due to preferences in style and content, but vicious comments aimed toward contributors, "celebrities" and/or editors really aren't necessary.

Mimi said...

I'm always surprised by those threads in a way - I enjoy magazines very much (although right now I have a backlog of new ones I've not read yet) - inspiration is always great, and I'm such a sucker for reading the journaling.