I admit it. I’m something of a graphics snob. A graphic design degree will do that to a girl. So when I make my images that combine text and photos, I use Illustrator or Photoshop or both. But this week a new friend of mine (Hi Heather!) asked if I knew anything about PicMonkey, and I got curious.
You know what? You can make some nice graphics for free and super easy using the PicMonkey. I made that image above with it, and in this day and age of Pinterest, a pinnable image is worth so much for the blogger who is creating original content. So here it is, everything you need to know about Creating Awesome Pinnable Images using PicMonkey.
Start by going to the PicMonkey web site. From the home screen click on “Create a Collage” at the top of the screen.
From this screen you can adjust the layout. The boxes with the dashed outlines represent places to put photos or patterns either from your computer or from PicMonkey’s choices. I chose a two-picture format, and rotated them.
Here’s a tip: Go for taller rather han wider. Pins that are vertical rather than horizontal appear larger on Pinterest and so they’re more visible, and so they’re more likely to be repinned. And if you’re a blogger that’s kind of the goal.
Next up, pick the photos you want to include in your collage. You can pick from photos on your computer or from the choices on PicMonkey. For my pinnable image, I used a photo from a stock photography site called New Old Stock and some of PicMonkey’s patterned swatches. Once you have the photo open, drag it into place. And swatches can be chosen by theme from the swatch menu. Drag them into place too. Photos can be edited by clicking edit on the picture after it has been placed. You can change some basics, like the size and exposure.
Using the Background menu, you can eliminate the space between and around your images and make the background any color (or no color at all).
When you’re happy with how your image looks so far, click “Edit” above your image to start on the really fun stuff. This will take you to the picture editor portion of PicMonkey where you can alter the way your image looks and add text and overlays.
First things first, check out the Effects menu in the left sidebar of PicMonkey. It looks like a magic wand. Here’s where you will be able to change the way your image looks by altering the exposure, color, tint, light, “film” style, all kinds of things. If you’re new to PicMonkey, I suggest you find a photo and jump in and alter it any way you can just to see what effects do and what you like.
I changed my image with the Dusk Effect and the Yestercolor helped me to round the corners, which I kind of love.
Cool, right? When you have the image as you want it, and I mean looking perfect, then focus on type. Here are some things to keep in mind. Too many fonts can be distracting. I typically don’t use more than two: one font for the majority of the type, and I use another, very different, font to make something stand out and draw attention. Fonts are fun though, so experiment and see what works.
If you want your type to stand out even more, you might want to use an overlay, or a block of color behind your type. I used a rectangular overlay to add a line about PicMonkey to my image.
Remember that even after add something to your image, text and overlays are totally editable. I decided I didn’t love the word “breathtaking” (who really is left breathless after seeing a Pinterest image?) and swapped it out. I also added the word “create.” Objects like fonts can be easily moved and changed once you place them. Just click on them to see your options.
If you want to, you can crop your work to a certain size with a cropping tool. On this blog, all my in-feed photos are 680 pixels, but all sites are different, and your site might use different sized images all the time. Whatever you do, be sure to save your masterpiece. The save option is right above your picture. You have small, medium, and large choices, so pick the option that works for your plans for the piece. If you’re saving for web use, you won’t need the large one at all. Your photo will save to your computer so you can rock it on your blog or web site.
Ta Da! I will admit that I added my watermark (the logo and site name in the bottom right hand corner) with Photoshop. But that has more to do with branding and my own wish to be consistent than anything else. You could easily come up with a watermark label and use it consistently with your PicMonkey images.
Have you tried PicMonkey? What do you think?