I have been doing some challenges for some contests at House of Paper and have come to realize that I am relying on sketches so much more now that I am doing them on a regular basis. It takes almost nothing for me to lay out the photos how I want them and then sketch around them how I think the rest of the layout should be! I have begun keeping a small notebook in my scrappy space just so I can do this. Here's a couple of recent ones that I think came out really well!
As you can tell, I've been using a lot of shaped paper lately. I actually bought a pack of shaped papers cheap at Target and have been using those as templates. Not only does it add some pizazz to the layouts, but then I don't have to worry about whether or not it matches my layout.