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!
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.)
Once 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.
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.
- 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.