Make Your Blog Pop with PicMonkey

Tips for Using PicMonkey on Your Blog

If you’ve been floating around the blogosphere, you’ve probably caught word of PicMonkey, which is a site with tons of photo editing and collage tools you can use for free. Though the basics of PicMonkey are pretty self-explanatory, with just a few extra tips and tricks you can create some great looking images to make your blog pop.

Everything I’ve done for this tutorial uses the free version of the site, but PicMonkey does have a Royale subscription, which offers premium content (marked by a small orange crown) for $33 a year. If you’re on the fence and want to try out the premium features, PicMonkey offers a free one-day Royale trial

Since this is about to get pretty image heavy, we’re going to head behind a cut!




PicMonkey tips and tricks
As a book blogger, one of the things I use PicMonkey most frequently for is creating collages of book covers, so that’s what I’m going to focus on for the sake of space. At the end of the tutorial, I’ll leave some tips and tricks and you’re more than welcome to comment with general PicMonkey questions! 

From the PicMonkey homepage, you’re going to click on the collage button and select the photos you want to add to your collage. Don’t panic, you can always add more or delete some later! (You can click on any image in the tutorial to make it larger.)


PicMonkey for book bloggersOnce your images are loaded in the sidebar, you’ll want to click on the collage button to choose from several different layouts. Don’t rule out a layout just because it has a different number of squares than the number of images you plan to use or because it doesn’t look the way you want it to, there’s wiggle room! Click back up on the photo button and drag your images into the template. In this example, my layout was originally facing a different direction, so I used the rotate buttons on the bottom to flip it around to a shape I wanted.

PicMonkey for book bloggers


If you noticed in the last screencapture, I left the top box on my collage blank because I wanted to fill it with a background. To add the background you see here, I clicked on the tag button and uploaded my own, though there are dozens of backgrounds pre-loaded into PicMonkey you can use. 

Now, there are a few important options under under the palette button. The first is to adjust the spacing between the images in your collage, which (like adding rounded corners) is a personal preference. The other option is whether you want the spaces to be color or transparent; if toggled, the transparent background takes on the color of your blog (and will need to be saved a special way, make sure you read to the end!). 

At this point, you want to make sure you like everything in regards to placement within the collage, because those elements can’t be changed once you move into the editor. If you’re happy, click on edit up at the top.

There are tons of overlays and effects to play with here, so have fun giving everything a shot. In this case, I’m going to add an overlay to make text stand out over a patterned background. Click on the overlay button, and choose a geometric shape. Stretch it over the area you plan to have your text and set it to the color of your choice. We still want to see some of your background, so drag the fade button until you can see enough of your pattern, but will still be able to make your text stand out.
Make your blog pop with PicMonkey
By clicking on the text box, you’ll have the option to choose from several different fonts when adding your text. You can also use the eyedropper tool (here and in any other point where you are choosing a color), which allows you to “pickup” a color that is already in your image. To do this, click on the box to the right of your color palette to access the eyedropper, then click anywhere on your image to choose a color you would like. I chose the background color on Joshua Ferris’ book cover as my text color for this example.
 
Once you’re all finished with your edits, click on save at the top. Here’s where the color you chose for your spaces comes in to play. If you set your spaces as transparent and you want them to remain that way so they will pick up the background color of your blog, you want to save your image as a .png file. 
 
PicMonkey for book bloggers
Finished Image!
My best advice when it comes to PicMonkey is to take some time playing around with it to figure out what it can do. The site has limits, but many things I can do in Photoshop, I can also do on PicMonkey. 
Here are a few last minute tips:
  • You can do some serious customization with that “Your Own” button. The digital scrabooking community is alive and well on the internet and with a few Google searches you can find tons of free backgrounds and images to add to your graphics. 
  • Don’t go overboard. I know, I know, the overlays and stamps and fonts are really cute, but if you try to put them all in the same graphic it can look like a hot mess.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! If you see a blogger who seems to know their way around creating a graphic or two, ask how they did it. I tend to mix PicMonkey and Photoshop on this site, but I’m more than happy to help point out what’s what. 
  • PicMonkey itself has pages of tutorials and an amazing list of Cool Tips Nobody Knows that is totally essential if you feel like you have most of the basics down. These includes things like drawing straight lines, working with overlays and creating shadows on text. 
YOUR CHALLENGE
Using anything you learned from the tutorial, PicMonkey’s tip sheet or any more advanced questions you might have for me (I’ll try my best to answer them!), create a new graphic for your blog. It can be a collage, button, header – anything you might need. I would love to see your images or links to them in the comments!
  • Kim Ukura

    This is a great post Shannon! I just signed up for the premium version of PicMonkey, but haven’t really started to explore much yet — this is a helpful place to start.

  • Words for Worms

    Oh holy crap! How did I not know about digital scrapbooking?! Dude. This was eye opening…. I’m going to go try something…

    • It definitely opens a whole new world! If you want to look for good text backgrounds, try searching for digital scrapbook “journal cards” (that’s what the heart is on my first image).

  • Wesley

    I love picmonkey, though I haven’t ever used it for the blog, which now I realize is a dumb idea!I should be using it all the time!

    • There are definitely TONS of things you can use it for when it comes to blogging and since you use it already you have a head start!

  • A most excellent tutorial. PicMonkey is the best thing since sliced bread.

  • PicMonkey is so great, and this tutorial is fantastic. I’ve never been sure where to get background images, but I’m loving PixelScrapper!

  • GREAT tutorial. I’ve been using Picmonkey for… a little bit? :) I absolutely love it – though you have unlocked deep and important secrets I never would have known. I WILL BE BACK with a unique and beautiful snowflake of an image… (I really can’t shake the Fight Club quotes this Bloggiesta, for some reason. :) )

  • Kerri

    Great tutorial! I have been meaning to try Pic Monkey and now I feel like I can-thanks!

  • Ahh, I love PicMonkey! Still getting the hang of all the different functions, but I think it will be really useful for making pretty images for my blog. I made two random thingies here

  • Oh, wow, I’m super excited to play around with Pic Monkey. I must have been living underneath a rock!

  • I was already planning on using PicMonkey to create the new “Shameless Plug” award I plan to start using in my comments! I’ll be sure to come back and let you know when it’s done!

  • Laurel-Rain Snow

    I have been using PicMonkey for awhile, but I learned some new tricks here today. Thanks! I’m off to try to create a new graphic.

  • Stormy C

    I use picmonkey for a lot of “quick” graphics I want to make, and it’s incredibly useful! The thing that sometimes makes me use Pixlr is when I want to use a specific font PicMonkey doesn’t have, but other than that, it’s a really useful tool. A lot of the basic stuff you’d do in photoshop can definitely be done with PicMonkey & at least for me, it’s definitely faster.

    • The limited number of fonts is my biggest complaint, but it’s definitely quicker when it comes to making collages for me. Most of the time, I’ll make a collage and then load it in to PS to finish up.

  • Tanya M

    I love PicMonkey but I haven’t tried adding my own scrapbook paper background. That’s a great tip! Thanks for the challenge. I love your graphics!

    • Using outside graphics definitely gives you a whole new world to play with, have fun!

      • Tanya M

        Yes, you just kicked our picmonkey images up a notch. Is there a way to make each picture clickable so it goes to a review or goodreads, for example?

        • I know in Blogger, when you add a photo into a post you’re editing, you can highlight the photo and add a link so it becomes clickable. I would imagine there is a similar option in WP?

  • Michelle R.

    Whoa! This is exactly the kind of tool I was looking for! I will definitely be participating in this challenge once I get a moment! Thanks for the knowledge drop!

  • I love PicMonkey and learned about it through a past Bloggiesta, actually. But the digital scrapbook paper looks like the key that I was missing before! Thanks!

  • Chrisbookarama

    Thanks for the tutorial! I made a graphic for this challenge but I plan on using Pic Monkey on the blog in the future. http://www.chrisbookarama.com/2014/03/blizzarding-bloggiesta.html

  • I need to use PicMonkey more. There is so much more to this site than I ever knew!

    • It seems like it’s really basic at first, but there are lots of tricky ways you can manipulate the tools :)

  • kai charles

    Great post ! I’m going to give it a try

  • Isi

    I’ve already tried the basics on picmonkey and I love it, but I have to try more things :)

  • Stephanie Turner

    This is very cool. Thanks for sharing!

  • I love PicMonkey! I use it in so many of my own posts :)

  • I’m just new to picmonkey and always marvel at how you can make things look so beautiful. Thanks for sharing some secrets!

  • I looooove pic monkey! Photoshop is overwhelming. Pic Monkey lets me do exactly what I need!

  • Made a new header for my brand new Stephen King Project Page. (Also made one for the Margaret Atwood page too, but I’m more pleased with the SK one. :))

  • Thanks, Shannon! I made a fun graphic and posted it in my Bloggiesta Update 2.

  • I’ve never really messed with the “fade” option but I can think of SO many uses for it now. I tinkered with my blog header to soften up/round out the edges, and to create a little ribbon overlay on the sides. Thanks for this mini-challenge!

    • I love it, Monika! I love a good faded overlay, it’s one of my favorite tools…even if you just use it a little, it does soften things up so much.

  • Akilah

    Thank you so much! This helped demystify PicMonkey a lot. I made a button!

    http://theenglishist.com/2014/03/28/lesson-plan-friday-works-cited-page/

  • Shaunesay

    Well, I made a new header for myself, which led to a complete theme/color scheme overhaul that I sort of like, but I’m not sure about. I am happy about learning to make a header graphic though, what I used was one of my own photos from vacation last year in the Tetons, so that’s awesome! Thanks Shannon! I’d never heard of PicMonkey before, but it’s a lot of fun! You can see my new header here: http://shaunesay.blogspot.com/

    • Looks like you did tons of great work today! Even if you don’t stick with the new theme, I’m glad the tutorial was helpful :)

      • Shaunesay

        And I tinkered some more, because I accidentally overlayed some stars over my mountains and really liked it! lol! Lots of fun! :)

  • Cailey

    Love this! I hadn’t used PicMonkey before, but I immediately had to try. I have a newer meme we’re doing, so this is perfect to establish the graphic for it. Thanks!

    http://mplreader.blogspot.com/

  • I have been looking for a site exactly like this so thank you!!!!!!

  • I don’t think I’ve stopped by since you switched your layout and I adore your new header! Everything looks beautiful! Now I’m off to try to make my blog a little more beautiful with PicMonkey :) Currently, I don’t love my Non-Fiction Friday picture, so I might try to come up with something better for that.

  • This is an AMAZING how to post. I have been using Pixlr and trying my best but just wasn’t getting what I wanted. I love the graphics people make for posts like Top Ten Tuesday but just could never figure it out. Really thanks for this!

    • So glad it’s been helpful for you! Pixlr is a good one for photo editing, but yeah, you won’t find all the collage tools there. Let me know if you get stuck and need any help!

  • deadbookdarling

    This is really, really fanatastic – thank you so much for sharing! I needed someone to talk me through how to use picmonkey, and now I am a convert!!!

  • Bookmammal

    WOW–I’m so excited to give this a try! You make it sound easy–thank you!

  • lulu_bella

    This is an excellent tutorial! Thank you for sharing!

  • Hollie @ Music Books and Tea

    This was so helpful! I was already using PicMonkey, but I wasn’t utilising all the features. Now I’m going to be creating collages even more obsessively! Thank you so much. :)

  • Isi

    Shannon! I did a new header for my FB personal profile adding text and “shapes” which was kind of new to me :D

  • BlogABookEtc

    This was a great tutorial and it has been bookmarked for future reference :D absolutely awesome! I’m catching up on my bloggiesta list now! Many follows from this end to you :D

  • That is actually a really great idea to combine banners with the book covers.

  • Beth

    This site is awesome! I had never heard of it until I read this post! Thanks for the tip! :)

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