Introduction to Scrapping with Artisan

Are you a new digital scrapper or crafter looking for a piece of software to use? Or maybe you’ve looked at Adobe CC or PSE and thought it looked too complicated for what you want to do. We asked Jan (quiltymom) from Amber’s creative team to share a little bit about the program that she uses, Artisan.

Here’s what Jan had to say:

Why I scrap with Artisan 5

I began to digi-scrap by default. I was a Creative Memories Consultant for over 15 years, and although I loved paper scrapping I was sold when StoryBook Creator 2.0 was introduced. No more messy tables with pieces of paper scattered around my house. No more having to run out to get more photos printed, or running out of my favorite papers and stickers. Best yet, I would have smaller, lighter books with more photos in them, and I could make something once and order multiple copies. What a concept!

I “grew up” with StoryBook Creator as it changed (morphed?), becoming more excited about what the product could do with every upgrade. What began as StoryBook Creator 2.0 has grown into Artisan 4 (A4 – for 36 bit computers) and Artisan 5 (A5 – for 64 bit computers), which is owed and sold by Forever. Although it doesn’t do everything that Adobe PS/CC/PSE programs can do, I’m still sold on it. For the sake of full disclosure, I have never tried another scrapping program just because I haven’t seen the need.

Here are the reasons why I am sold on Artisan 5:

1. It is affordable, both for the initial software (currently $59.95) and a nominal charge for any upgrades. Updates are free. And you can do a 30 day free trial to give it a test run.

2. It is extremely user friendly. While there is a learning curve as with any program, the user interface is very easy to use and understand.

3. It works in conjunction with Historian, Forever’s photo editing and organizing software, but you don’t need Historian to use Artisan.

4. You can download and use any artwork/kits that use .pngs and .jpegs.

5. You can import any template in .page format. Templates in .png format can be easily converted to .page files. A4 will allow you to import .page and .sbpage files; A5 will allow you to import .page, .sbpage, or .artpage files.

6. You can create and save custom shapes, which can be used for live photo spots or shaped text boxes.

7. You can do simple editing of photos within the program, such as red-eye correction, as well as apply filters and image effects.

8. It has a built-in calendar and rubber stamp maker, and it is very simple to recolor an element.

9. It is simple to create pages using either standard or custom sizes.

10. You can work on single pages, or between two pages at once.

11. It is also easy to save pages and projects for printing. While Forever has its own print service, you may save the pages as individual .jpegs to upload to any printing site, or you can print at home through your desktop printer.

12. With A4 you can export as .page, .sbpage, or .pdf file; with A5 as .artpage, .jpeg, .png, tif and .pdf.

13. You can share directly to Facebook or Flickr.

14. You can make albums, page prints, calendars, wall art, cards & envelopes, and photo gifts.

15. And if you’re really lazy – you can put anything on the page and click a button that will coordinate all the colors on the page for you!

16. Artisan does have a built in help button with a searchable database, although its tutorials are linked to a paid subscription website for more in depth assistance. There are many other people and groups in digi-land that are more than willing to help you for free!

17. You can use any font that has been installed on your computer, and you can categorize your fonts within the program for easy access.


1. It is not meant for designing, so if you have designing aspirations this is not the program for you.

2. It does not accept .psd or layered .tif files, including “Actions” and “Styles” that are available for Adobe PS/CC/PSE programs.

3. Some of the tools in Artisan are comparable to what you see in PS or PSE tutorials, but in many cases not the same. There are many things that you cannot do in A4 or A5 that you can do with an Adobe PS/CC/PSE program, although you can come close with many of the techniques.

4. The online help is not as extensive as it used to be when it was sold under Creative Memories.


Since I personally haven’t used any other programs, I asked some friends what they think. Here are their responses:

1. Artisan was designed for scrapbooking, unlike Photoshop and some other tools, which were designed as graphic arts programs that just happen to be used for scrapbooking. The mindset and approach to how things work is different.

2. I have played enough with Photoshop to know it is quite different than Artisan. I find it challenging. For example, there is a Move tool, a Zoom tool, and then your normal tools like paint, crop, etc. You have to remember which tool is in your hand before you click on an element.

3. I love that [in Artisan] the elements on your page are more important than what you are doing, i.e., in Artisan you select the element you want to work with and then click (or right-click) the tool. In Photoshop, you have to pick the tool first and then the layer (typically 1 element) you want to work with.

4. I LOVE Artisan and use it every day … while it is designed for scrapbooking, I use it for letterhead, brochures, posters … the list goes on and on. I love the kits, I love seeing other people’s projects, I just love it all!

5. For me it was a progression from traditional to digital – first using the online software of BigW.  So Artisan (or SBC as I first used it) was a WOW factor – though I started in fear and trepidation.   I used predesigned Creative Memories (CM) kits first and then when CM went down I branched out into the open market and now I am addicted.  Artisan allows you to be as creative as you would like – or as little as you like – I think that is the main factor I like.  And that Artisan has kept the facility to save your pages as .jpgs so I can print my books in Aussie – I would not use it if it didn’t have that option!

6. I’ve been a digi scrapper since CM first came out with Storybook Creator. I’ve never used any other scrapbooking program so I can’t speak to the differences.  Artisan 5 is so versatile.  As mentioned above, you can be as creative as you like or just do simple pages that still look amazing.  Paired with the training from Pixels 2 Pages [Forever’s online subscription service and Forever Good2Know Facebook page], and/or Lori Bickford’s training [see her videos on YouTube], learning new things is easy and putting it all together is so much fun!  There are so many great choices for content too. The freedom to change colors, sizes, textures makes each page look different from the last.  I just LOVE Artisan!  [Another resource is the ” Artisan Lovers Unite!” Facebook page.]

Here is a screen shot of the program showing a completed page using Amber’s Golden kit (papers, elements, alphas and pocket cards), Labely Bits V.2 and Story Grids Vol 5 templates.  It gives you a quick overview of what the program offers.  Each tab across the top of the page offers a variety of options in that category.  The bar to the right allows you to view the pages in your project, the photos to be used (or have been used), and your content – papers, elements, shapes, strokes, frames & colors.  The left bar (which I expanded so you could better see what’s there) shows you the order of what you have placed on your page.  These items can be rearranged, hidden, and/or locked in place to suit your needs.  Your background can be either white or grey (I find it easier to see lighter elements with the grey background.)  It’s just a taste of what the program can do!

I hope you enjoyed the overview of Artisan software. I’ll be back on the blog soon with more  A5 tips. If you have questions, please leave me a comment and I’ll try to help!

Stacy is an accountant by day and spends time scrapping when she can. She describes herself as a storyteller at heart, who wants her children to understand and feel what she was thinking when she created her pages. Her scrapping goal for 2016 is to continue focusing on everyday moments and maybe to get a little more current on weekly scrapping 😉

5 Comments on Introduction to Scrapping with Artisan

  1. Andi
    March 2, 2017 at 10:27 PM (4 years ago)

    Yes! Love seeing a post about Artisan. I also began using Storybook Creator 2.0 when I switched to digital. I love Artisan and I’m thrilled that so many designers now offer the .page files for their templates. Also, I’m a huge fan of Jan (quiltymom) and have gallery stalked her for years! Great post!!

    • Amber LaBau
      March 3, 2017 at 4:54 PM (4 years ago)

      I’m a huge fan of Jan’s, too! 😉 So glad you enjoyed the post! 😀

  2. Cynthia/MrsPeel
    March 4, 2017 at 4:25 PM (4 years ago)

    Love Jan. love Amber- I scrap in a different program from Serif but they will stop making it now, so I am looking into possibilities as I do find PSE challenging and I have even been in tears trying…. one detail Jan doesn’t mention: can it be used on Mac? my program is exclusive to Windows, I am on Mac so I had to buy software that creates a virtual windows on my Mac…. and that is also $$$$$ so I would love to find something that is easy enough, scrapbook orientated and I could use on Mac!

  3. Cathy Wild
    November 9, 2017 at 7:19 PM (3 years ago)

    What are your thoughts between Artisan and Becky Higgins Project Life App? I have my old CM program codes, and invested a ton so it makes sense for me to use Artisan, but several friends are trying to convince me to use Project Life.

  4. Kara
    May 31, 2018 at 11:12 PM (3 years ago)

    I began Digital Scrapbooking on StoryBook many years ago. I love the program, but, I am no longer able to use the program since I had to get a new hard drive on my computer. I have been nervous to purchase Artisan because I don’t want to lose all of the work I have done in StoryBook. Is there a way to transfer my projects and content from StoryBook into Artisan? Your pros and cons list was very helpful. I appreciate you taking the time to write down all of that information. Also, does Artisan make the content easy to organize and access? I had started to become overwhelmed with content in StoryBook, which is probably why I needed a new hard drive. LOL! Sometimes I had a hard time finding the papers or elements I was looking for. Thanks again for your help. I can’t wait to get back to scrapbooking!


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