How Canva.com Turned Me into a Graphic Artist

Canva will make you a graphic artist, too!

First, let me tell you a few of secrets to become a graphic artist.

being a graphic artist made easy

  1. Canva.com is free, so they did not pay me a dime to write this post.
  2. I am not a graphic artist. (Maybe you can tell that already.) Just so you know, I rarely got more than a C grade in art for anything except enthusiasm.

Easy steps to creating a graphic

  1. Templates start your graphic artist skills on the right page. Start with a size template for what you want to create. There are tons of choices. Facebook banners, trifold brochures, flyers, I’ve tried most of them. The one you see above is a blog graphic. It’s bigger than most pictures that you might use on your blog, so I don’t use as many pictures. It creates a more professional look, I think.

    graphic artist template
    The template
  2. Next, I browse through the layout templates. Most of them are free. Generally, the ones that cost something charge for the photograph parts of the design. Photos usually only cost $1. This is most valuable for me because I am design challenged. Notice how a graphic artist uses shapes. Look at the colors they put together. Most of the time I would never choose the colors they do, but that’s what makes them graphic artists, and me a dud.
  3. I have tons of pictures, so I usually use my own pictures, but placement is key. Framing is key. If you use a frame, load it by clicking on it first, then upload and drag your picture over to the frame. As soon as it hits the canvas – pop – it snaps into the frame. It is sooo magical.

    graphic artist
    If you hover your cursor over the color, the formula appears. WRITE IT DOWN.
  4. Look at where the text appears and what font they are using. Some of the fonts come inside a graphic or sign shape. These fonts are not always available, and I have not found a way to cut and paste just the text. But no matter, there are plenty of others to choose from.

    graphic artist
    Many free templates help you design
  5. At the top on the right are five choices: copy, arrange, transparency, link and delete. Since everything is layered, I use “arrange” a lot. I’ve never thought about using “transparency,” but it would be an easy way to add a watermark to a photo if you do not have Photoshop or a photo processing program.
  6. When you learn from Canva, you will spot tricks that a graphic artist does. For example, it is stylish now to put a transparent shape on top of your photo. Canva can do that.
  7. Once you finish your design I usually download it as a jpeg because that is easier to post on social media, including your blog. However, if you are printing a brochure I would download it as a pdf with the bleed marks on it.

You may already be using Canva.com for your graphics. I learned about it this summer from Hack the Entrepreneur, which I bookmarked. Rarely a week goes by that I do not use Canva for something. Sometimes I use Photoshop first, but text comes out much clearer using Canva than Photoshop, so I usually finish in Canva. Now I am a graphic artist – just like you! 🙂

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If you have tips about Canva, be sure to leave them in the comment box. If this helped you, feel free to share it with others by email or social media. I’d be so proud to help someone. It’s not hard, but I stumbled a few times.

Ask Marsha: The Ins and Outs of Guest Blogging

Before I get to guest blogging, let me make a confession.  The pure, honest, and whole truth is I’m not sure why my husband thought people would write in and ask me questions on my website.  Really!  It’s not that I don’t get tons of questions daily.   I do.  “Where are my glasses?”  “Have you seen my keys anywhere?”  “Could you come here and hold this?”  “Do you know if this or that person is on this or that committee?”  “Do you want me to make coffee this morning?”  “What are we having for dinner?”  “Did your power go off in the storm last night?”  Each of those questions would make a marvelously interesting post, don’t you think?

Glasses male

I mean, after all, where could glasses be?  In the refrigerator, I doubt that?  I’m always in the middle of something when Vince asks me that question in a  tone reminiscent of lost homework when you can hear the school bus is turning the corner approaching your stop.  So mid-email, I get up, start looking for the glasses, in all the right places, and can’t find them.  I’m worried for him.  I know he has an important meeting sometime that morning.  So I search all over the house, and in the meantime, he quietly slipped outside to check the truck, found the glasses, put them on, and is now out in the back yard watering.  Meanwhile I’m still looking for the glasses.  There ought to be a rule, if you answer your own question, please tell the researcher so they will quit researching.

Where are my glasses

To be fair to Vince, turn about is always fair play, and I FINALLY found my sunglasses the other day wound up in the dog’s retractable leash laying on the antique sewing machine, right inside the front door, where we always dump stuff.  I don’t remember if I told Vince that I found them after we both looked for 10 minutes – EVERYWHERE – even in the bathtub.

The the only question that might interest you this week involved preparing a guest post. My friend, Carol, graciously asked me to do an article for her blog.  I think that is an honor, by the way. I mean she could have just pressed the reblog button.  I’m not sure there is a lot of difference, really.  The problem she ran into was that even though she had access to all my pictures, some of them were in galleries.  WordPress galleries don’t transfer when you cut and paste.

When you trade posts, or write articles for magazines, it is best to have the pictures in a folder to pass on to the publisher.  In the case of blogs, it is best to resize them to either 400 X 600 or 600 X 400 pixels.  If you want credit, you can either put a watermark signature or embed it in the photo information.  Then save them at a low quality – I choose 3.  This takes time to prepare the photos unless you do batch processing in Photoshop, and that is another lesson.

I have a blog just for unpublished materials, and Carol has administrative access to that blog.  In her case she could open two windows of the post from “our” blog.  Leaving one post open in preview form, she could use that as a template to see what pictures were intended to got with which paragraphs.  Then, in the other window, she could edit the post, remove the galleries and go to the media library to insert the pictures individually into the article.  Finally, she could cut and paste the finished article into her other blog, The Eternal Traveler.  Look for it on September 3rd.  She’s already scheduled it.  How cool is that?  (Another question!)

After
Take a journey with the Eternal Traveler to a far away place, Fresno, California.  

Sharing blogs with someone else is another lesson for another day, but it can be either interesting or forgotten.  I’ve done both!

So is my husband right?  Do you have questions for me?

 

 

Ask Marsha: Easy Tips to Improve Photos

You all know that I took an online lesson with Leanne Cole.  You can too, by the way.  She gave me some composition tips as well as some Photoshop tips that I’ve been practicing and will share with you today – even though NOBODY asked!!!  hahaha

Composition tip#1  If you take a wide angle shot, to get a record of a building, person, thing, make sure that you don’t cut it off.  It looks like you are being lazy.  Ouch Leanne!  Me – LAZY – I’ve been caught!  I have to work at that because I just automatically go in standing, and shoot from eye level – bad photographer – SOMEBODY SLAP ME!

Composition tip #2  Watch for stuff around the edges of the photograph, such as legs, poles, cars, anything that detracts from your focal point.  I corrected these in Bridge using Camera Raw.  Given that we had to be quick so that we didn’t hold anybody up in line, and given the fact that I had let my camera battery go dead, sometimes you just have to get what you get, and fix it as best you can .  Vince saved the day, and for an iPhone pix, I think this turned out great!  🙂

Composition tip #3  Keep the horizon on about the upper third line of the photograph.  Here again, if you mess up, and it looks ok, great.  If you mess up and it doesn’t look ok, you can crop.

Photoshop tip #1  Work in Bridge in Camera Raw.  Right click on the picture and choose, “open in camera raw.”  You have lots of choices, and it is faster than in Photoshop.  You can edit several pictures at once.  Here are my before and after pictures.  I accidentally shot the pictures on AV and not P.  It was 108 degrees.   Vince wanted to get the table fixed and get back inside.  This edit took just a few seconds.  I pressed auto.  Bridge made its correction.  Then I clicked the scroll bar that said clarity and vibrance and made the pictures a little clearer.  They were all done at once!  Awesome – Problem solved!

Now here’s the story behind the picture in case you asked me – which you didn’t!  We were inside where it was cool, and walked out for a second to see how hot it was getting.  We both got house bound yesterday.  The umbrella had blown on its side upending and moving the heavy metal table about 4 feet south taking the one chair with it.  Notice in the background, the other umbrella still upright in the holder in the pool  Go figure. We get funnel clouds here, but we don’t call them tornadoes.  They are dust devils.  This must have been some devil of a whirlwind.  🙂

Dear Abby

I may be trying too hard to be the “Dear Abby, or “Hints from Heloise, ” of the internet.  Maybe it will take longer than a week to catch on. (hahaha)  Picture me sitting by my email box, hoping, checking it every day. Today might be the day for someone to ask me a question about anything. (Oops!  I’ve broadened the scope of my expertise to God level!  Such confidence conceit!)  Remember, I’m a teacher with no students.  What’s puzzling you?  Do you have problems?  (Ok, that’s asking for it!)  I’ll listen, at least – like Dr. Frasier Crane.

Dr. Frasier Crane

Relaxing: …. In Photoshop?

How could Photoshop be relaxing?  Well, for one thing it’s not 110 in my house!  That’s helpful because it is about that outside. I walked and swam this morning, but that was before 8:00 a.m.  If you are thinking about coming to see me, you might want to rethink coming in late June through late August.

I started another blog on Blogger and am specializing in history resources.  Basically I’ve taken some of the articles I have here, and revised them for that blog.  Today I decided to put some of my Photoshop classes to work.  I edited these photos in Bridge, and all I did in Photoshop was to add my name.  Can you tell the differences?  There are three.

In these I worked in Camera Raw. I pressed Auto and immediately Camera Raw saw things to correct that I wouldn’t have thought possible.   After CR made changes, I adjusted for more clarity and vibrance.  I was pleased with how they came out.

Actually I’m not sure I like the after better on this third set.   What do you think?

Amazingly, I spent hours doing this.  Then I checked my emails and realized that five hours before our new secretary for CCSS had asked me for some information.  So, I guess I spent FIVE hours.  I think I fixed lunch somewhere in there also!  Amazingly I didn’t get too frustrated, so it was a RELAXING day.  OK I did get frustrated with Blogger because it wouldn’t delete my WP slide show, but it wouldn’t show it either.  That resulted in having to completely redo the post and reinsert all my new pictures.  I forgot about that frustration!  hahaha!  You can check out that blog too, if you’d like.  I’ve had 85 views just today, and I just got it done right!  🙂  Most of them saw the bad job that I did!  🙂

Now I must stop being so relaxed and get ready for a birthday party in the next 10 minutes or so.  I have swimming hair and no make-up.  Not a good sign.  🙂   Tomorrow I’ll be relaxing looking at your blogs,  So shop around in my other posts, please and leave me some likes and comments.   Have a great weekend.  🙂  Lots of love to y’all  🙂

A Truly Retired Day

V is home, so my alone-time retired day is over, but I thought I’d share what it was like to be truly retired today.

While I waited for the guy to fix the cabana, I spent several hours writing my first fiction book (short story – whatever it turns out to be), a romantic mystery about a therapist named Amanda Church.  V named her.  She’s beautiful and 41, widowed, smart, independent, and funny.  (Hold on there Ralph, she’s not real!!!)  I’m up to chapter two.

Of course I read blogs and answered comments and emails, but I wasn’t overrun with emails full of things I need to do, like normal, so I took my time and explored new sites.  I made a few phone calls including an appointment with a man in our area to get learn more about the history of Tulare County.  His family was one of the first settlers, and in fact, started the first school in this area.

Yesterday when I was making a Valentine’s Day card for V I discovered that I could draw in Photoshop.  Now, I am not much of a drawer with a pen and pencil, (Dianne Gray’s gherkin-faced salesman looked pretty sophisticated to me) and have even less control with the palm of my hand, but I actually drew a flower – like you would see a first grader draw.  I actually scribbled all over V’s card, and had a great time. Fortunately I also made him chocolate chip cookies and yummy soup and sandwiches for dinner.

I don't think I'd win any card making contests!!!
I don’t think I’d win any card making contests!!!

So today, I tried drawing again.  This is what I came up with after a couple of hours, maybe.  The time disappeared.

Piggles was my favorite guinea pig of all times.
Piggles was my favorite guinea pig of all times.

 

So that was my wonderful, lazy, retired day.  What did you do today?