I just posted to this question over at CKMB. And, I find it very interesting that there are so many ways to go about doing a scrapbook page. I always begin with a sketch. It's just been pounded into me in design school, and I think it is the best way. So many times thru the years I would get a new graphic designer (I was a creative director for an agency, now I own my own), and they would try to do a brochure, and it would just be horrible. They would throw a couple of photos on a page, with the title and logo and wonder why it looked bad. So, I had to teach them what they're $50,000 worth of schooling did not. And that was, do THUMBNAILS.
Thumbnails are little sketches (not literally the size of your thumbnail, lol) of what you want your finished product to be. Every single scrapbook page I do I do a thumbnail for. The end result may be a little different from the initial sketch, but, it gave me a foundation to work from.
Think of it this way.... if you were going to build a house, would you just go to Lowes or Homedepot, buy all the stuff you need to build a house then just start building it? Of course not. You would do a sketch first, then the detailed drawings, the architectural plans and then the renderings... then you'd build the house.
I think the same principal can apply to scrapbooking. You know what pictures you have to work with. You know the papers and embellishments. Now you can do your sketch and while doing that, note the things that you want to use. Jot down title ideas and your journaling. I love to do this. It's something I can do while in the living room watching TV with the family. I can plan out some pages, with a scrap magazine in hand and my sketchbook.
I had a teacher in design school who would make us just do sketches. All the time, for a month that is all we would do. As soon as we would walk into his classroom he would say, "Put 'em up." Meaning we had to tape our sketches to the wall. If you didn't have your sketches done, I think he made you sit in the hall. (how 3rd grade, this was college!) Then we'd walk around the room and look at everyones sketches. It was fascinating how many ideas people could come up for just one assignment.
I really hated this teacher. He is the one that told me I'd never be a graphic designer. That I didn't get the graphic part. Now I look back and would like to thank him. He pushed me to become what I am today, and I think I'm pretty darn good, if I do say so myself, LOL!
So, here's a picture of a page in my sketchbook. My map, my "architectural" plan to follow to build my scrap pages.