In today’s busy writing, blogging, and marketing world there is one constant – We do our best when we learn and share with each other. I have been blessed to belong to one of the best author/blogging communities around the web. Today, I
beggedasked, Marsha Ingrao, to share with my readers her tutorial on how to use Canva. I can attest that it works because I created the graphic above from her instructions on canva.com. ❤
Authors need to create or hire an expert graphic artist to create book covers, headers or illustrations for marketing on their blog and on social media. They may be asked to speak somewhere, and they have to create a flyer.
Their blog post may require an infographic like the one below. The problem is that many of us who write do not have an artistic bone in our bodies. Worse, we may be operating on a tight budget that doesn’t include hiring an artist.
The good news is that we don’t have to.
You could exchange work with an artist who can’t write, but that’s hard to find.
Others of us have sneaky ways of being an expert graphic artist. Mine is Canva.com.
You can use any photo editing program you wish. Some people swear by PicMonkey. Others put their nose in the air and tell you that only Photoshop or other Adobe products will work. I’ve tried both of those, but I choose Canva.
But don’t go away, just yet. Bookmark the tutorials because you may go back time and time again. Here are a few quick tricks from the tutorials you can use as a writer.
To a teacher “stupid” is the ultimate cuss word, but to myself, it’s a great reminder.
Before the Tutorials
This example is pretty simple. I used a template for the text, and I like the look. However, it does not have the importance that the title indicates. This is not a party library even though I might have a party personality and like the font.
This is an A+ library. The best books, the best authors reside here in my hand-picked collection for you.
The insinuation here is that if you are in this top-rated collection, then you must be a pretty good author.
After the Tutorials
After I worked through this lesson, I changed my Always Write photo above by taking out some of the stars. I also changed the font to make it more scholarly rather than partying at the library.
The tutorial suggests that using large and small fonts together is good. Combining bold or italics and normal fonts add interest.
Canva recommends changing the letter spacing so that the large and the small lettering covered about the same width. So I made that change after reading another tutorial. The spacing button is on the top bar to the right of where you find the color box. If you can’t find it, click “Need a Clue.”
Tutorial six teaches about aligning the words to make a point or fit the photo. You also learn to enlarge the font of the most important words. The main font should fill the space.
Which of the two do library illustrations do you think is more useful and why?
Tip Two: Use Grids
In the second lesson of the tutorials, you crop pictures and put them into virtual grids. I experimented with several grid templates as I wrote this post.
Grids are fun and easy. You drag your uploaded picture or a Canva picture to the canvas, and if you put it in just the right place, it pops right into the grid, like a cracker into someone’s mouth.
You don’t have to crop the picture. It will snap into place no matter what size it is, but unless the photo is the roughly the same shape as the grid, it distorts.
Therefore, if you want to crop it first to get the parts you like best to show, then drag it, to the canvas, but don’t move it until it clicks.
Sally Cronin asked me to do a guest post on her blog. I had never thought about advertising before the fact until just recently.
Why not, authors? Make announcements on your Facebook Page, Twitter, Linked In and other social media with a Canva collage of pictures you might use. In this case I used pictures that did not all get included. I liked the pictures, but couldn’t find a place for them in the post.
Here’s another tip. Sneak in a bit of your brand, even on a guest post. See the touch of turquoise? That’s me!
This next slide was simply a fun creation to teach the use of analogous colors or three colors next to each other on the color wheel. The slide is a template, which makes it super simple to use.
You will recognize the next picture which illustrates a couple of elements.
By the way, when I use only one picture, I don’t go to the effort of using a grid. However, I notice that my top and bottom borders are different sizes. Don’t worry if you have an astigmatism. Grid lines come up to tell you when you’re in the zone.
The suggestion of keeping colors simple and choosing only three makes this picture striking.
To eliminate most of the colors, I experimented with Canva filters.
After I used the filter, I changed the background color to match the darkest blue in the picture. I had to do this by sight, but you can use hex codes if you already know the color you want. The hex code appears when you hover over the color button.
Next, I matched the text to the slightly yellow clouds. Compare this to the canva project above with the same picture. Which do you like better? It gives me two ads to use without spending very much time on the second one.
This is a newsletter infographic. You can buy all sorts of pictures that contain computers. They are only a dollar from Canva but why not take several pictures of your own computer?
In this next example, I chose three colors from the photo, and the green just happened to match the wire basket on my table as well as the picture on the computer.
This photo had a problem. When I tried to insert my photo into the screen, it would not align with both the top and the sides.
So, I solved that problem by adding a black rectangle “element” to cover the screen, then inserting the photo on top of the “new” black screen. Unfortunately, I need to go back and resize my new screen.
In order to pick out details, you can enlarge your workspace on Canva, but sometimes I don’t think I need to do that for a quick fix. In this case, I should have.
Interestingly though, the alignment mistake turned out to the good. I can now change the picture to reflect the topic of what I’m writing. Maybe it’s my book cover or a picture from the book.
I hope you see how versatile this tool can be. You can upgrade to get a few other amenities like additional downloadable formats. Trust me, you don’t ever need to upgrade to do what I showed you today. It took about an hour to read through the first nine tutorials, upload a few photographs, and create these illustrations.
For questions, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like me to create Canva images for you, I can do that too, for a fee. However, why not do it yourself? You, too, can be an Expert Graphic Artist.
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Thank you, Colleen, for inviting me to write a guest post for your blog. I hope your readers love it. 🙂
Marsha Ingrao researches tips for bloggers, writers, and photographers to keep them moving forward toward their goals. A former teacher and instructional consultant for 25 years, Ingrao experiments and gives readers the heads-up regarding best practices for their blogs. As a reader, she reviews books and provides additional exposure for indie and traditionally published authors. As a teacher, she trains virtual assistants to provide services, especially in social media. Ingrao has one book published by Arcadia Press, and one self-published by Lulu.
Thanks for stopping by to meet Marsha. Now get creating on Canva.com.
“A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.”
Click: What is a Rhyme Scheme?
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Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Poet who loves crafting paranormal fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre flash fiction, syllabic poetry, and creative nonfiction. Colleen sponsors a weekly syllabic poetry challenge, called Tanka Tuesday, on wordcraftpoetry.com where participants learn how to write traditional and current forms of haiku, senryu, haiga, tanka, gogyohka, tanka prose, renga, solo-renga, haibun, cinquain, Etheree, nonet, and shadorma poetry. Colleen's syllabic poetry has appeared in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal, and in “Hedgerow, a journal of small poems.” She’s won numerous awards from participating in the Carrot Ranch Rodeo, a yearly flash fiction contest sponsored by carrotranch.com. In 2020, she won first place in the Carrot Ranch Folk Tale or Fable category, with her story called “Why Wolf Howls at the Moon.” Colleen is a Sister of the Fey, where she pursues a pagan path through her writing. When she is not writing, she is reading. She also loves gardening and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art.