Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

July 14, 2009

Tuesday Tutorials : Cathy Zielske : Multi-Photo Grids



This week Tuesday Tutorials welcomes Cathy Zielske.

I first met Cathy back in 2003 when I took her Scraphic Design class at Creating Keepsakes University in Vancouver, BC. Known for her awesomely simple, beautifully designed layouts that get to the heart of the matter, she is also one of the best teachers around. Today she’s going to walk you through the steps (via video + a pdf download) to create a photo grid in Photoshop Elements.

If you ever have the chance to take a class from Cathy online I highly recommend it.

Here’s Cathy:

Consolidation has been a key inspiration for my scrapbook layout design lately, and I know of no better way to consolidate than to get a lot of photos onto a single layout using multi-photo grids. In this video, I’m going to walk you through how to make a 12-photo grid using Photoshop Elements for use on your next scrapbook page or project.

You can also download the PDF step by step tutorial here.

Tuesday Tutorial from Cathy Zielske on Vimeo.

Here’s a look at some additional layout samples using the photo grid technique:


Cover one month at a glance.

I love condensing a whole month into one page. I designed a cool “monthly snaps” date artwork series so I can make a page a month for a full year. (See below for info on how you can download my artwork for free to use on your own pages.)
MATERIALS: Photoshop Elements 6; Avenir and Archer fonts


Give everyday snapshots an interesting home.

Ali and I once had a conversation where we both decided if photo grid layouts were the only ones you could ever again do, we’d both be just fine with that. Here, I used the grid approach to create a page when I was participating in my friend Susan’s 12 of 12 project. With a handful of photos and a few lines of text, you can capture a nice wide swath of your everyday life on one page.
MATERIALS: Photoshop; stamp (Cat’s Life Press); Times New Roman font


Make a grid strip.

Here one grid row is used to fill in shots taken over the years of me in my fabulous bee costume. (Note: I’ve been wearing it every year since I was in my early 20s.)
MATERIALS: InDesign CS; Amelie, Avenir and Times New Roman fonts


Think grid.

Thinking grid on any design can make page layout a snap. Here, the 12-square grid exists, it’s just filled in differently. One larger photo takes the place of four smaller ones, and a journaling area to fills in the other. Once you divide up the space, you’ll find that grids can be mixed and matched really easily.
MATERIALS: sticker (7gypsies); stamp (Autumn Leaves); Handwriting font.

Cathy is offering a free download of her Monthly Snaps artwork, to use in creating a page like the one above every month for a full year. You can also download the journaling card as well. Visit her blog for the download and while you’re there catch some outtakes from her tutorial video.

Cathy Zielske is a graphic designer, author and blogger. She is the former art director for Simple Scrapbooks magazine, where she oversaw the visual direction of all Simple publications and books.

Cathy started scrapbooking in 2001, and found that her background in design and her passion for telling stories made her new hobby as easy as it was fun. As a scrapbooker, Cathy helped to usher in the trend of clean, graphic layout design. She is the author of the best-selling books, Clean&Simple Scrapbooking, and Clean&Simple Scrapbooking: The Sequel. Both books inspire women to take a fun, well-designed and guilt-free approach to telling their stories through scrapbooking.

Cathy is currently developing and teaching online workshops to help scrapbookers write better and take what they’ve written and make it look fabulous. She’s currently teaming with Big Picture Scrapbooking in 2009 to offer her workshops.

Cathy also reaches scrapbookers through her popular blog, Bits&Pieces.

She hopes to develop more online content in 2010 and beyond, to inspire scrapbookers to continue telling their story in an authentic and well-designed way.


  • 1.
    Sandi Keene said…

    Another great tutorial! I love Tuesdays! Thank you, Ali and Cathy for a fun and informative tutorial as well as the downloads. Can you imagine the two of you team-teaching a class? That would be amazing. Sign me up.(I have two kids and glasses – can I join your club?)

  • 2.
    Amy said…

    I love Cathy as a teacher, she’s awesome! I took her Design your Life class last year and it was so well done. I learned so much. This was great also. I have done these photo groupings before, but since I’m fairly new to a mac, this was great to learn the shortcuts. Thanks Cathy and Ali!

  • 3.
    Monika said…

    I signed up for the class Cathy is teaching at Big Picture Scrapooking and am excited to learn new things. I am so, so glad to be learning how to do a photo grid the right way (not just muddle through like I’ve done in the past). The Tuesday tutorials are something to look forward to each week…thanks Ali.

  • 4.
    ee k said…

    great tutorial. are the steps basically the same for CS3?

  • 5.
    jennifer said…

    so useful! thanks!

  • 6.
    Char Griffith said…

    Thanks so much for this tutorial!! I just purchased Photoshop and this was one of the main things I wanted to learn to do! I can’t wait to get down to doing some grids!!!

  • 7.
    Paula said…

    Absolutely great tutorial!! I’m going to try this as soon as I get home from work. Thanks for bringing this to us Ali – it’s very much appreciated!

  • 8.
    Patience said…

    Thank you for sharing this! Love Cathy and her sense of humor. This was something I’ve wanted to learn to do. Thank you for bringing so much inspiration to us each week Ali! I *heart* the scrapbooking community! :)

  • 9.
    Heather said…

    Just when I think that my two favorite scrapladies can’t possibly come up with any more bits to change and inspire my life… I’m wrong! THANK YOU for this tutorial. I have been doing photos into grids TOTALLY the long, complicated, and more difficult way. THANK YOU!

  • 10.
    cathy said…

    Cathy here to answer: yep, more or less. I mean, some of the things might be in a different place, but the steps are essentially the same!

  • 11.
    Jenny Alfonso said…

    I LOVE Cathy!!!! Thanks so much for this Tutorial – it’s my favorite tutorial to date! I can’t wait to try this. I was on the fence about taking her online class (I really really want to but I’m trying to watch my money). But now I’m totally signing up! Thanks again!

  • 12.
    Vera said…

    This tutorial is exactly what I needed at exactly the right time. Thanks!!!

  • 13.
    melissa said…

    Ali you are so lucky to have a buddy like Cathy. Her sense of humor just floors me. As for her work — well what can I say I am a junkie at heart. Thank you so much for putting this grid idea up. I have forever wanted to understand Elements and this just totally made my nightmare simple. THANKS!!!

  • 14.
    Anilu Magloire said…

    Duuuuude!!!! This is perfection. It was simple and easy and, I gotta say Cathy Z’s a grrrrreat PS teacher.
    Keep em’ comin’!!!!

  • 15.
    sara lambert said…

    Wow, I am so new to Photo shop elements and haven’t a clue what I am doing so this step by step class was perfect for me – thank you both xxx

  • 16.
    Irene said…

    THIS IS SO AWESOME!!!! Thank you so much.

  • 17.
    Jill said…

    Love that another one of my ‘stalkees’ is doing the tutorial today. Thanks for inviting her. I’m currently enrolled in a digital freebie and craving more time to accomplish digital techniques. Thanks Cathy!

  • 18.
    Theresa Butler said…

    Thanks so much for the great idea. Your site is inspiring me in ways you can’t even imagine. I am new top scrapbooking and blogging so any tips are helpful at this point. Take a look at my blog if you would like. There are more post to come!!!

  • 19.
    Amy Tangerine said…

    love her simple and authentic style, thanks for sharing!

  • 20.
    Veronica said…

    Great tutorial….would have taken me minutes if i didn’t see the massive need to organize all my computer files while I was looking for the photos to drop in!!

  • 21.
    Veronica said…

    darn it…just realized I can’t join the club….i had three kids!! :( … but I have the glasses!! :)

  • 22.
    o-girl said…

    I don’t even have PS or PSE but I had to watch the tutorial because I just love CZ. The outtakes video was priceless…”we’re both women and we both have hands!” LOL
    Thanks for another informative & inspiring Tuesday Tutorial!

  • 23.

    Great tutorial!~ Thank so much to the both of you!

  • 24.
    Annette said…

    Love , Love , Love this!!!!! Thanks for bringing this to us Cathy and Ali. Can’t wait to try this one.

  • 25.
    jen said…

    love this tutorial!!! thanks!!

  • 26.
    Erica Hettwer said…

    Cathy, thank you!!! I’ve been wanting to know how to do this and you made it super easy!
    Oh, and you and I also very alike. We both have last names that are very easy to mispronounce! ;)

  • 27.
    Karen S. said…

    Thanks for the great tutorial…and for the pdf instructions too! I’m looking forward to giving this a try!

  • 28.
    Bree said…

    I was trying this along with watching the video and can’t find my “bucket of paint tool.” I think my photoshop version is CS2?? Any ideas what I could do to keep moving along?

  • 29.

    That is soo great Ali and Cathy. Your styles are just the kind I like and in that short video I learned so much. (alt/option, shift, click…who knew?!?!?) I like knowing more than one way to do something, but I like the easiest best. TY!

  • 30.
    Mitch said…

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this tutorial! I’ve been wanting to do this for ages but just couldn’t figure out how to place the photos. This opens up endless possibilities. Thanks!!!

  • 31.
    Ali Edwards said…

    Look under your gradiant tool (the box that goes from light to dark on the tool palette). Click and hold and you should see the paint bucket tool.

  • 32.
    Susan said…

    Help? Made grid – so cool. However, can’t get double overlapping circle thing for putting picture in. I think she called it “mask + drag”. I place “hand” between pic and layer A and push Alt and nothing – nada. What up?

  • 33.
    anna said…

    i’m so happy to be introduced to Cathy!!! SO insprired!thanks ali!

  • 34.
    Kathy F said…

    Ali- I am such a huge fan of CZ! :) She is a kick in the pants and a wonderful teacher! :) I was blessed to be able to take her class with Big Picture Scrapbooking and loved it! :) I loved the tutorial today and I WILL be playing with it soon! :)

  • 35.
    cathy said…

    Hey Susan, i think you’re the same Susan if you posted the question on my blog. I just emailed you!
    It’s sometimes a little touchy to get the double overlapping circle on the PC. Try moving the cursor over to the very right edge in the layers palette, while still trying to keep it on that line that divides the two layers.
    See if that works!

  • 36.
    Janie said…

    Ali – Thank you for starting the Turorial Tuesdays hosted by some tremendous scrappers!!! They have been so generous with their time and talent. Every one of the tutorials has been fantastic. I’ve learned some great shortcuts along with wonderful ideas.

  • 37.
    Sara-Jane said…

    Thanks so much for this – just awesome, I can feel a whole years worth of these layouts coming on.

  • 38.
    Linda said…

    Nice… thanks!

  • 39.
    Diane said…

    OMGoodness. I have never scrapped digitally before but this could be the temptation that tips me over the edge!
    Thanks for the tutorial. :D

  • 40.
    jennifer said…

    That was a fabulous video. Easy to understand with great things to try. Thanks!

  • 41.
    Kathleen said…

    I LOVE you guys! I’ve been using an OLD version of Photo Impression to try to do this and just recently downloaded the trail version of Photoshop Elements. I am definitely buying it now. You guys have awesome tutorials! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

  • 42.
    Christine Villacarlos said…

    Thanks so much for your photoshop awesomeness, CZ! :) Learning a lot from you!
    Ali, thanks so much for featuring Cathy! :D

  • 43.
    Linda J said…

    I just got Photoshop and this was exactly what I wanted to learn to do. Thank you Ali and Cathy, I have admired your work for years and am always inspired by you both.:)

  • 44.
    Karen said…

    Oh, I love Cathy! I just wish my Photoshop was working-I have the Vista version and everytime I try to use it, I get an error message and it closes. So, disappointing as I love those grid pages. I guess I’ll just have to continue doing it the old-fashioned way until I figure out to fix it. I will be saving the directions for someday!

  • 45.
    Elise Blaha said…

    I just realized I have no idea what I am doing in elements.

  • 46.
    Heather P said…

    Yeah! So glad you included a tutorial from Cathy Z. I’m loving this new feature on your blog. Thank you!

  • 47.
    Christina said…

    Thanks Ali for inviting the best teacher in the world… except you of course!!! For those of you who haven’t done any of her classes ENROL NOW. She’s the best (and no she isn’t paying me to say this. She doesn’t even know me). Thanks for this tutorial can’t wait to try it out. I have been doing this the long way for so long now.
    Love you Cathy and can’t wait to start writing about ME!!!

  • 48.
    Heather said…

    This is fantastic. I can’t wait to try it out!!

  • 49.
    Kate said…

    Hey Ladies,
    I love this tutorial. I have a funny question, but I cannot figure out how to change my grid preferences. I don’t have that cool line at the top when I open my adobe photoshop page. Help???

  • 50.
    just B said…

    Ali thanks so much for having Cathy share yesterday, I love the idea of using a grid, and doing so using Photoshop is just another lesson learned. Wonderful! I can’t wait to try it out, thanks again

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