Monday, December 7, 2009

DST Feature: Getting to Know Jessica Sprague

Editor's Note: The following article was published in the December 2009 issue of DST Insider, a publication of

Merging paper and digital scrapbooking to tell stories that last a lifetime: Getting to Know Jessica Sprague
By Kaylea Hutson

Helping people become more comfortable using their computers and allowing them to record the stories of their lives continues to be a goal and passion for Jessica Sprague.

That passion has fueled, in her own words, a “pretty incredible” journey which began with tutorials on her blog and has since grown into an entire website – which features a variety of on-line classes for paper, hybrid and digital scrapbookers.

The growth of her website continues to humble Sprague.

“I’m awed by the beauty and variety of the stories and by the creativity, the passion, and the desire for learning,” she said. “I think my biggest revelation has been how very similar we all are in some ways, though - that everyone has a story to tell and that anyone can make beautiful scrapbook pages to tell it.”

From the initial Photoshop Friday tutorials, Sprague has developed a complete scrapbooking series for both Photoshop and Photoshop Elements.

Additionally, the site offers a photography series taught by Candice Stringham, a digital organization series for ACDSee Photo Manager and Picasa, and a set of hybrid scrapbooking classes.

In January 2010, Sprague will offer the first Wacom pen tablet course.

In addition to a selection of core classes, Sprague has also developed several elective courses, including one called “Beautiful Evidence” which helps participants develop 20 scrapbook pages in 20 days, as well as two typography courses and one class which focuses specifically on using the Photoshop brush tool. She anticipates adding more courses in the next year.

Sprague said the “Beautiful Evidence” course is one of her favorites because it allows her to see into the lives of her students as they post completed projects.

“It’s an awesome journey to go on with a group and the book that they have completed in the end is an incredible, priceless keepsake,”  Sprague said. “I think that what we (at do is different.We’re more than just a place to learn Photoshop. We’re a community of storytellers, and that specific focus on Photoshop as a storytelling tool sets us apart.”

She said often class members share tips and techniques as they learn how to use the photo-editing program.

“Photoshop isn’t a self-evident program, so it really does require not only some well-made classes, but a supportive environment where you can ask questions and get help along the way,” Sprague said. “I’m always amazed at the supportiveness of our community - it feels for me like once you learn how to use Photoshop, you want to pay that knowledge forward since you received so much help to get you where you are. It’s an incredible thing to be a part of.”

For users wanting to get a taste of her teaching style, Sprague has moved all of the original “Photoshop Friday” tutorials to her website – which means there are approximately 80 free lessons available for users of all learning levels.

Getting personal with Jessica
Sprague describes herself as a “dreamer and a juggler,” confessing that she’s happiest when she’s “dreaming up big new things” and has lots of things to keep her motivated.

Sprague lives in Apex, North Carolina, with her husband, Jared (whom she describes as the “geeky mastermind” behind, daughter, Rowen, 5, son, Elliott, 4, and one “longsuffering” cat named Jane.

Sprague is a scrapbooker, first and foremost, because she loves to tell stories. She began as a paper scrapbooker and dipped into the digital scrapbooking world in the fall of 2005.

“Making scrapbook pages blends imagery and words in ways that broaden and deepen both my storytelling ability and my appreciation for my life,” she said. “It’s all about the pictures and the words and the love behind them.”

Her kids are often the subject of her layouts.
“I’m usually either marveling at their sweetness, their growth, their joy, or laughing at the funny things they do and say,” she said.

A final note
On November 30, began its annual holiday sale with everything on the site, including classes, on sale for 20 percent off.


  1. Jessica Sprague rocks! Run, don't walk, to sign up for ANY of her classes - you won't be disappointed!

  2. Taking Jessica's classes has truly changed my scrapbooking life! I am no longer intimidated by Photoshop. I have gotten so many more layouts done! Her teaching style is easygoing and her voice incredibly soothing and confidence instilling. Take a won't regret it!


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