Behind the Scenes with Cara Dibbs

Our March Guest Designer already shared her talents with us through her fun free download last week. Today she shares a bit more of herself through a Q&A-style interview. Read on to learn all about Cara Dibbs… and be sure to enter our giveaway contest for a chance to win the full version of her amazing new kit, “Relax”!

Cara Dibbs, March Guest Designer

Cara Dibbs ~ March Guest Designer

Name:  Cara Dibbs
Username:  SweetTomatoScrapper
Location: Coastal Virginia

Retail Outlets:

Funky Playground Designs
Polka Dot Plum
Scrappity-Doo-Dah

Please tell us a little about yourself … your family, your background, pets, hobbies, etc… I’m  a wife to a hard-working guy with the world’s coolest job, Planetarium Director.  I have 2 energetic (read exhausting) little ones, a son who is 5 and a daughter who is 3.  I’m a desert girl who relocated to the ocean after graduation and while I love living minutes from the ocean, I always yearn for those Arizona sunsets.  I love to Irish Dance, drink large amounts of tea, read mysteries, watch cheesy TV, and avoid doing housework as much as possible.

Are you a digital, paper or hybrid scrapper/designer? What do you like most about this method? I was strictly a paper scrapper for 15 years (way before it was cool) and was literally dragged by my BFF into the world of digi.  She made me take a Jessica Sprague class and I’ve never looked back.  I can get layouts done more quickly and with more creativity because the supplies are always here and reusable.  If I accidentally crop a picture wrong, no problem, I can just hit CTRL-Z!

Layout by Cara Dibbs Layout by Cara Dibbs

How long have you been a designer & how did you first get started? I started designing almost as soon as I learned digi-scrapping, as one of the last JS classes focused on how to make your own paper.  Can you say “hooked”?  I then took a bunch of tutorials and the few classes that were around digiworld at the time (this was 2008).  Then I upgraded my software and entered a few designer contests and learned an amazing amount of information that way.  I began selling my designs in March of 2009, so this month is my two-year Design-o-versary.  Yeah, me!

Is scrapbook product design your full-time job? If not, what else do you do? I’m a 3rd grade teacher turned SAHM, library science graduate student and graphic designer.  It seems I traded in one job for three and took a serious pay cut.  How did that happen?  Seriously, though, I love being able to stay at home right now with the kiddos and one of my children has some special needs and this has allowed me to take her to the doctor and therapy without worrying about taking off from work.  I spend nap time, kid’s school time and some evenings on graphic design, averaging 25 hours a week.

Layout by Cara Dibbs Layout by Cara Dibbs

What software & platform do you use in your design work? Do you use any other special tools? I use a PC with the CS4 Suite.  I use Photoshop and Illustrator mostly.  I also use ArtRage, Genius tablet, Canon 8800F scanner and ACDSee to organize all my CU items and kits.

Has your design style changed over time? What has influenced this? I’ve always been a realistic, traditionalist designer because I truly love paper scrapping. I just don’t have the time or inclination to paper scrap now, but still want the look of it. I’m huge into realistic shadows on layouts.  I’ve begun adding more doodly items since perfecting my Illustrator skills, thanks to Carina Gardner’s classes.

What is your biggest challenge as a scrapbook product designer? ELEMENTS!  Gad, I hate coming up with so many elements for kits.  I rarely use them in my own scrapbooking, even when I did paper scrapping.  I prefer to play with papers, textures, patterns instead.

What has been the biggest reward or most fulfilling aspect of being a scrapbook product designer? Seeing my product used to document the lives of so many people out there in the world.  I’m honored that they loved my colors, textures, and ideas to create artwork that their families will enjoy forever.

I {heart} You Templates

Where do you get your product ideas? Who & what inspires you? Color is my number one inspiration, and I grab it from circulars, websites, trends, Target stores, even my DD’s panties inspired a kit.  Patterns come mostly from my mistakes that I make in Illustrator and my elements come often from things I’ve made in my paper-scrapping days.  Sometimes I dream about items and they make into kits.  I also try and keep in touch with paper scrapbooking trends.

How long does it typically take you to design a full kit from concept to delivery? What is your process? WAY TOO LONG, usually at least two weeks.  I get a spark from either a theme or color combo, then create a color swatch. Then I brainstorm ideas for papers and elements, check what’s trending in scrapbooking, doodle patterns or element ideas. Then I work on papers and then elements (takes me the longest) and then an alpha to coordinate.

What has been your most popular product? My kits that tend to deal with the everyday, actually.  And I’m totally NOT saying that just because I’m on LYM.  LOL.  Ordinary Moments, Today, and Time Flies By have been very popular as well as my templates and CU overlays.

Time Flies By Kit Bookish Kit

What is your favorite kit and why? Hmmmm, gosh this is a hard one.  I’d have to say that Bookish has been my favorite thus far, although the Relax I made for ya’ll is pretty scrumptious, too.  I like Bookish because I created it to honor my long-time book club members and I did a lot of cool extractions and doodling in that one that I’m proud of.  It’s also got my favorite color combo right now, turquoise and orange.  It’s all over my home décor, too.

How do you incorporate “real life” scrapbooking into your personal & professional scrapbooking & design work? Well, that’s almost all that I scrapbook as I absolutely HATE event scrapbooking.  I tend to create more general kits, so the pieces can be used over and over again and be used for a variety of subjects.

What fills your time when you are NOT scrapbooking? My amazing family who give me the time to pursue this dream of mine. My kids are an absolute blast (when they aren’t squabbling) and my hubby takes such pride in us all. I think every day how lucky I am.  Which sounds totally Hallmark, but very true in my case.

Sibling Rivalry Kit

What advice do you have for fellow scrapbookers interested in pursuing the scrapbook product design field? This thing called designing is HARD.  It takes patience and perseverance. I still haven’t reached the goals I set for myself two years ago, because this is just as much about good design as it is networking and social and traditional marketing plans.  And THAT’s a lot to learn all at once.  If you can find a mentor, or can purchase a book like Wendyzines or afford to take the Designer class at Jessica Sprague, I would recommend doing that first and see if it’s truly something you want to put your heart into.  Because that’s why those of us who stay around still do it!

Anything else you’d like to add? I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but please JOURNAL. Take time to document yourself and your personal life as much as you do your family’s!  Most of us take on the role of family historian gratefully, but future generations want to know your hopes and dreams, your voice, your life as it was everyday.  I know for many people, journaling is overwhelming and you’re worried about what it reads like.  My advice?  Just write how you talk and your family will remember you like you were talking to them.  What a gift.

And of course, the brand new release you’ve all been waiting for … the full version of Relax created especially for Log Your Memory to coordinate with the March theme “Feeding the Spirit: Mind, Body, Soul” from the 2011 Memory Logbook.

"Relax" by Sweet Tomato Designs

"Relax" by Sweet Tomato Designs

This brand new kit will soon be available for purchase from Cara’s stores, but one lucky Log Your Memory blog reader will win the entire kit for FREE in today’s Guest Designer Giveaway. To enter, simply leave a comment below sharing one way you like to relax. One random winner will be drawn from all comments received here on the blog as of 5 p.m. (Mountain) tomorrow, Tuesday, March 8th. Our winner will be announced in Wednesday’s Story Board post. Good luck!

 

Sweet Tomato Scraps

Comments

  1. I love to relax on my bed, after I’ve collected kids from school and made them lunch etc, lying there stretched out with a good book and a couple of cats, what could be better?

  2. Hello Cara, awesome color kit! thanks for the chance!

  3. I love to relax by putting my feet up and enjoying an episode of “The Good Wife” – Love that show!

  4. I love your new kit…the colors are fabulous! Thanks for the chance to win it.
    To relax, I usually sit down with my notebook and scrap a few pages.

    • Cara,
      Your work is amazing and Love everything you make,This new Kit is wonderfula nd i can’t wait tos ee it in stores.
      Hugz Charly

    • Cara,
      Your work is amazing and Love everything you make,This new Kit is wonderfula nd i can’t wait tos ee it in stores.
      Hugz Charly

  5. Karen H says:

    It was great to hear your story int digital scrapbooking. Love the colors of the kits

  6. Great designs —I love the attention to details 🙂

  7. Kathryn says:

    A beautiful color palette, and neat theme. I’m sure I’m not alone, but scrapping is very relaxing to me. Even when creating a layout for a CT assignment. Getting lost in all of the papers, elements, and the memory of the photo puts me in a peaceful state.

    PS… Thanks for a chance to win.

  8. Claudio says:

    Cara, I loved reading about you. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself in this interview.
    Good luck to everyone who is expecting to win your beautiful kit. I hope I have some luck myself LOL
    See you around 🙂

  9. This kit looks amazing…just like all your stuff, though! Thank you for the opportunity to win it! I relax by scrapbooking to my hearts content! Happy scrapping!

  10. This kit looks amazing…just like all your stuff, though! Thank you for the opportunity to win it! I relax by scrapbooking to my hearts content! Happy scrapping!

  11. Thank you for sharing some of your thoughts – Bookworm is also one of my favorite of your kits.

  12. Thank you for sharing some of your thoughts – Bookworm is also one of my favorite of your kits.

  13. Andiette says:

    Yea, Cara! So proud of you! Miss you and the kids!

  14. Of course I love getting a massage and going to the spa…but that’s just not practical too often so my favorite way to relax everyday is to snuggle up with my kiddo and read a story together.

  15. Thanks Cara this kit is gorgeous! I love bookworm too (probably cause I am one!) Of course I love going to the spa & getting a massage…but that’s not practical to do very often, so my favorite way to relax everyday is to snuggle up with my kiddo and read stories, sometimes we both fall asleep.

  16. Thanks Cara this kit is gorgeous! I love bookworm too (probably cause I am one!) Of course I love going to the spa & getting a massage…but that’s not practical to do very often, so my favorite way to relax everyday is to snuggle up with my kiddo and read stories, sometimes we both fall asleep.

  17. Amee0521 says:

    I loved reading about you Cara! I’ve just found your site recently (like last week!) & totally LOVE your designs!
    I love to relax by editing photos and blogging about them & of course reading the blogs I follow.
    Thank you for a chance to win! 🙂

  18. Amee0521 says:

    I loved reading about you Cara! I’ve just found your site recently (like last week!) & totally LOVE your designs!
    I love to relax by editing photos and blogging about them & of course reading the blogs I follow.
    Thank you for a chance to win! 🙂

  19. Jodie M. says:

    I like to relax by taking a long hot bubble bath. Oh so wonderful!

  20. relaxing to me is sitting on my favorite chair drinking tea with my kitty and my laptop on my lap scrappin or designin 🙂

    Congrats on your guest spot here Cara, your stuff is totally amazing!

Speak Your Mind

*