Today I’m happy to introduce another inspiring scrapper, April Rieff! If you’re a digi scrapper, you might know her by her screen name, “sorashell”. Now, I have been a fan of April’s work for quite awhile, but it wasn’t until I interviewed her for this feature recently that I discovered the meaning behind her screen name. Click here to find out the real story (I think most ladies who have been pregnant can relate). And all this time I had been calling her “sora shell” in my head LOL! Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff, shall we? I emailed April several interview questions, and in response she has shared a wealth of her scrapbooking secrets and experiences - I think you’ll enjoy reading this! Here’s the scoop from April:
I’m 39 years old and a SAHM/WAHM to Sophie (6) and Aiden (4) and wife to Chris. Today is actually our 9th anniversary [August 21st]! I live in Southern California, about 5 minutes from Disneyland and am “mom” to Rocky the dog, two cats (Rocky and Shawty) and a Ball python named Valentina. As you can probably tell, I love kids and animals… When I was a newer mom I was passionate about Attachment Parenting (and still am) but the kids are getting a bit big for breastfeeding and carrying in a sling, so most of my online time is now spent pursuing my digital hobbies.
I also love photography and am the proud owner of a 5D and some great lenses, and I’m surprised my kids actually know what I look like without the camera in front of my face. Besides photography, I also love traveling and being outside and reading when I get the chance. I make my traveling and camera $ by making quick pages for Jen Wilson Designs and selling templates and elements I make on her site.
I started playing around with digital in March 2004 and got started by noticing all of the amazing “signatures” on the mommy message boards I was seeing. I was using Arc Soft Photoworks at the time and it took me about a six months to figure out how to use Photoshop. My first layout was posted December 2004 at Scrapbook Bytes. I remember trying to use EVERYTHING in the kit I was working with (Chain Gang Vintage Christmas kit) and being so frustrated that it all wouldn’t fit! Still to this day I have a real problem with “clean and simple”…
I started off as a paper scrapper back in 1998 with using Creative Memories, but didn’t get too many pages done. I felt really guilty that I didn’t have a baby book for Sophie like all of my friends did for their kids. :p When I finally went digital it was awesome because there was no mess and I could just pick at a layout all day if I needed to, in between housework and mommy’ing. At first I printed things out 10×10 and paper scrapped them into my 12×12 albums, but pretty soon I gave up on that and just started doing 8×8 Shutterfly books. I absolutely LOVE these books and usually have one in my purse that I can whip out and show off if the occasion arises. :p
I use Photoshop CS3 for both my digital scrapbooking and my photography, and I’m in love with this program. There’s so much you can do in it and it’s a blast trying to figure out how to do things. I never get tired of tutorials and especially love the “warp” tool for shadows.
My main subject is my family and I’m always inspired there, but when I need scrapbooking technique inspiration there are a few galleries that I’ve always gone to. The main one is Krash’s…that girl has unknowingly taught me so much, just by me trying to copy her. :p For brush work I have always loved Emmem’s on Scrapbook-Bytes and I’d love to shadow like Tyting. The gallery that humbles me the most, though, is Nevache’s. Gerarda just has a way with putting the whole page together that makes perfect sense to me. Her stories are amazing, her photography is stunning and her composition and innovation really just blow me away. Other than galleries, products really have a way of inspiring me. Jen Wilson’s stuff always makes me want to scrap and I was so happy when I made her team so many years ago. Templates inspire me too, because they’re like decorating without having to worry about a pleasing composition.
Some of my favorite layouts, and the ones I’m proudest of are “perspective” layouts or scenes from an imaginary room. I love blending digital and reality so I end up taking pictures and mixing them with digital elements to create a kind of tableau. My kids have gotten really used to being asked to pose a certain way and my 6 year old has gotten quite adept and handling the 5D with a heavy lens and flash mounted so she can take pics of my hands in certain poses. Thank God for neck straps! With these kinds of layouts, it’s really all about two things- shadowing and Edit>Transform in Photoshop. Remember, Transform is your friend!
I have two favorite scrapbooking techniques and it’s hard to find a layout of mine without one or the other…or both! Extraction and Blending. I’ve been called the Extraction Queen for many years because I just can’t seem to not do it. Extractions (especially complicated ones) really just make the page so much more interesting to me. Here’s a good example of one I’m proud of ~ Monkey See/Monkey Do …and here’s an example of how I like to shadow and extract and blend, lol ~
Wow, thanks April -I have enjoyed learning so many new things about you !
My favorite pages of April’s are the ones that have that 3D, realistic look – well, maybe some are sur-realistic lol! Here are a few of my favs (click images for credits):
The more I look at these, the more amazing they are! Here’s some more information about this talented lady:
Creative Teams (Present and Past)
Jen Wilson Designs
Shabby Miss Jenn (Summer Girl)
Weeds & Wildflowers
SBB Star Award and DST 2007 Scrappers Choice Award
April has been published in Digital Artist Magazine (DAM), as well as in a few e-zines and newsletters.
April doesn’t have a website or blog, but she does have lots of great items for sale at Jen Wilson Designs: Click here to check them out !