have you ever gotten feedback on your scrapbook page layouts? – early-bird list

 I met several of the women I now work with at Get It Scrapped and Masterful Scrapbook Design because we were in a critique group together over 5 years ago.

Celeste Smith, Doris Sander, Betsy Sammarco, Paula Gilarde and I used to post our pages for each other (and the rest of our group) with a request for feedback. If that sounds scary to you, read on to find out why it’s actually an empowering and enriching experience.

In a well-run critique group, the goal is not to tell a designer what’s wrong with a piece. Rather, it is to give the designer the opportunity to “see” his or her work through the eyes of others and find out if and why it appeals to them. What draws the eye first? How does it make the viewer feel? What is the story the viewer takes away? What might she or he change if it were their page?

the critique workshop

Participating in a critique group allows you to:

  • understand the impact your work makes.  You (hopefully) understand how a piece of your work affects you, yourself ( you know how  you look at it and what you take away from it). But what grabs others? Where does your viewer’s eye go first on the page? How involved in/interested in the page are they? What do they think it’s about? What mood/feeling/associations did it evoke for them?
  • learn how to weight and use criticism. You get multiple eyes on a piece and voices weighing in. This creates a mechanism for deciding which advice to take and which to decline. Every critic comes at a piece with some degree of subjectivity and personal preference, but with several opinions you’ll find there are always some words of advice repeated and, thus, important to consider.
  • gain objectivity about your own work for the re-visioning process. As you get repeated feedback you learn to see in new ways. What’s more, you learn how to step back after finishing a page and consider it with less subjectivity. You learn how to spot things that should be changed on your own.
  • hone your craft. Seeing your work and the work of others considered by a group over and over again, you will see visual design in action and internalize the principles and elements so that they become second nature – so that your eye and your hand are confident.
  • evolve your style and try new things. You will go new places with your craft when you’re in a critique group as a result of several aspects of the experience including: the assignments, seeing what others create that you like and the changes you make as a result of feedback.

the guided study critique workshop

(getting a leg up)

The quality of your experience in a critique group is directly affected by the level of proficiency your fellow group members possess. Thus, many of us looking for feedback find ourselves in a “chicken-or-the-egg” situation. How do you get into a critique group with skilled groupmates if you, yourself, are still learning?

A guided-study critique group takes care of this challenge. In a guided-study critique group, you not only get feedback on whatever page you made this week, you study focused topics together with your group and create assignments around those topics.

Additionally, you are led by experienced designers who keep you on track and guide everyone in getting questions answered and assimilating feedback and opinions. As a result, you and your groupmates develop the skills to give solid feedback, yourselves.

this fall at Get It Scrapped

This fall at Get It Scrapped we are working with experienced designers to offer a guided-study critique workshop lasting 4 weeks. When the 4 weeks are complete you may continue workshopping with your group or a subset of it using Get It Scrapped private facilities at no charge. You will also have first access to the next workshop in the series.

how it works

You will study with myself and 2 additional teachers who have designed for manufacturers and publishers and who have teaching experience. I will be responsible for defining the topics to study, the study materials, and the assignments. I will attend the live webinars and guide the critiquing process. The two teachers working with me will provide you with 1 weekly written critique and 1 weekly critique in a live webinar (with webinar recording). We will all answer your questions in the forums and provide additional study resources and help you grow your design skills. We will also work to teach you workshopping skills, which includes helping you “see” your work and the work of others with a critical eye, teaching you how to interpret and use (or discard) feedback, as well as how to give effective and valuable feedback to others.

Fridays: get reading and layout assignments with resources for exploring the focus topic in depth

     Week 1: focal point,emphasis,dominance
     Week 2: contrast, size, shape
     Week 3: balance, symmetry, asymmetry
    Week 4: repetitions, unity, pattern

  • You will receive 2 layout assignments per week. Complete 1 for critique in the gallery and 1 for critique in live webinar. (We will critique your page in the webinar even if you are not present; video and audio recording will be provided within 24 hours).

Wednesdays: post up to 2 layouts for critique by end of day

Thursdays: live webinar critique session (one of your two layouts will be critiqued here in the live webinar and the other will be critiqued in the gallery–you choose which). The webinar will be recorded and posted within 24 hours. You do not need to be present to have your layout critiqued — just be sure to submit it. If you want to speak in the session (rather than type comments) you’ll need a headset with a microphone. Your layout will be critiqued by two teachers


  • Mondays: This is the latest date at which you’ll receive the 2 written critiques from teachers on one of your layouts submitted the previous Wednesday.
  • Fridays: Recordings from the previous day’s webinar will be posted by day-end.

the teachers

The workshop leaders are 4 women I have worked with at Get It Scrapped and Masterful Scrapbook Design on MANY projects (and you’ll probably notice that 3 of them are from that original critique group I started out  in years ago). I asked them to teach for many reasons including:

  • I understand their design styles — and their underlying knowledge of design.
  • I know their personalities and work ethics.
  • They are all experienced at teaching and in using the technology of live webinars.
  • They are strong communicators in both written and verbal formats.
  • They are qualified to teach both design and workshopping skills–but, even more, they have the attitude and personality to teach these things kindly and effectively.
  • I trust these women to handle your creations with care and respect.
Celeste Smith has been publishing scrapbook pages in magazines and books since 2005. A former ambassador for Simple Scrapbooks magazine, she has designed for paper and digital manufacturers including Jenni Bowlin Studio, Jillybean Soup, KI Memories, Creative Memories, American Crafts, Prima, Kenner Road, and Provo Craft. She currently designs for the write.click.scrapbook Collective, Sweet Shoppe Designs, and Design House Digital. Read more at her blog my life in lowercase.   Doris Sander is currently the marketing director and a designer for Jenni Bowlin Mercantile. Doris was one of the first teachers at Get It Scrapped and she is currently on the Get It Scrapped Creative Team. Her work has been published many many times in magazines including Scrapbook Trends, Creating Keepsakes, BHG Scrapbooks Etc., Memory Makers, and Cards. You can see more of Doris’s work and stories on her blog, {me}anderings.   Emily Pitts has designed for manufacturers and kit clubs, most recently Cocoa Daisy, Maya Road, Simple Stories, and the write.click. scrapbook Collective. Emily writes for Scrapbook and Cards Today and, until its recent decision to cease publication, BHG Scrapbooks Etc. Emily has designed for Studio Calico, October Afternoon, Scrapbook Destination, and Sassafras Lass. Check out Emily’s blog at Here I am, Here I am.   Paula Gilarde is a 2007 Creating Keepsakes Hall of Fame Winner, and, along with Doris, another early teacher at Get It Scrapped. Paula has designed for 3M/Piggy Tales, Kraft Girl Kits, Core’dinations Cardstock, and, currently, for Designer Digitals and Jillibean Soup, and the write.click.scrapbook Collective. She’s written for the Scrap Review in the past and current for Scrapbook and Cards Today. See Paula’s creations at PaulaGilarde.com.

And I am Debbie Hodge, a graduate of both writing and scrapbooking workshops. I participated in a two-week workshop at the Bennington Writers’ Conference, in an ongoing weekly workshop in the  home of Atlantic Monthly Senior Editor C. Michael Curtis, in a group with friends that retreated to Maine every summer throughout the 90s, and in my first virtual workshop–that fabulous online scrapbooking workshop I described above. I met one of my oldest and dearest friends at a writing workshop in Portland, Maine. I met author Caroline Preston (“The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt”) at Bennington–and loved interviewing her at Get It Scrapped last fall. I met Doris, Celeste, and Paula in an online workshop — and I met Emily through Paula. I believe that critiquing workshops build skills and connections, and I’d love to give you that experience. 
I am also the author of Get It Scrapped from F + W Publishing and the owner of Get It Scrapped, Masterful Scrapbook Design, Easy Scrapbook Pages, and This Memory Keeper’s Life. I have been on the creative teams for Scrapbook Answers Magazine and Designer Digitals and wrote articles and a column for Memory Makers Magazine.  


We are offering two sessions of this workshop as described below. Each has a different team of teachers and a different live webinar time. Each of these sessions has a maximum of 16 seats. Because you put your name on our early bird list you are getting first crack at grabbing one of these seats–we announce it to everyone else tomorrow at this time. You are also getting the opportunity to register at a $32 discount with early registration. The $192 price is reduced to $160 just for the next 7 days.

Group 1

16 seats maximum

0 seats left


workshop leaders:

  • Emily Pitts
  • Paula Gilarde

with Debbie Hodge providing lessons and readings, facilitating webinars and forums, and making sure you get what you need


  • Thursdays at 1pm ET
    (recordings available the next day and if you miss we will still critique your layout)

Add to Cart


Group 2

16 seats maximum

0 seats left


workshop leaders:

  • Celeste Smith
  • Doris Sander

with Debbie Hodge providing lessons and readings, facilitating webinars and forums, and making sure you get what you need


  • Thursdays at 9pm ET
    (recordings available the next day and if you miss we will still critique your layout)

Add to Cart

Refund policy on Guided Study Workshop: if you complete all of the assignments over the 4 weeks and are unsatisfied, you may present the assignments and we will consider your request for a refund. But, really, we want to make sure you’re happy, so if you encounter any problems during the program, tell me (Debbie)! We will do our very best to make sure this class gives you value.

Missed out? If you planned to purchase today and didn’t get to, click here to email me (Debbie Hodge) asap and tell me which section you’d have purchased. With so few seats and the possibilitiy of shopping cart glitches — we may still have a seat.