DIY Design #1: Using Clipart in Your Graphics

Clara and I are doing a series called DIY Design. You can read more about it in my previous post, but the main point of DIY Design is to help beginner bloggers with graphic design, and hopefully we’ll give some tips and ideas to the bloggers who have been blogging a while.
To start off DIY Design, I’m going to be giving you some pointers on how to use clipart in your designs and graphics. First I’ll be doing a tutorial on how to make clipart in Photoshop and PicMonkey.com.

While you can make clipart in PicMonkey, you can get a much smoother product in Photoshop, and it is also a lot faster. But one of the cons of using Photoshop to make your own clipart is that you can’t easily make clipart out of a picture with a cluttered background. In PicMonkey this doesn’t matter.

To create clipart in Photoshop, follow the steps below.

1. Open an image with a solid or mostly solid background.
clipart w photoshop1

2. In the layers panel, add a transparent background and drag it to the bottom of the list so that it becomes the background layer.
clipart w photoshop2

3. Click on the “Magic Wand Tool” and select the part you want to erase. Depending on how much shading is in the background, you may or may not have to turn up the tolerance of the Magic Wand Tool. You can do this by going to the spot where it says “Tolerance” up at the top.
clipart w photoshop3

4. Now just go to “Edit” up in the taskbar and click Delete. This will erase all the background that you selected, and should leave you with a gray and white checkerboard background. This means that the background is transparent. If you want, you can crop the image down to size.
clipart w photoshop4

5. Go to File and click Save. Your clipart is complete!

To create clipart in PicMonkey, follow the instructions below. This tutorial is very simple, but very time-consuming.

1. Go to PicMonkey.com and click “Design.” When your canvas loads, change the canvas color to transparent. (I left it white for the tutorial’s sake.)

2. Go to the Overlays section (click on the butterfly icon) and click “Add your own.” Select the picture you want for clipart.
clipart w picmonkey1

3. Click on the Eraser tab in the Overlays box. Zoom up to the edge of your clipart subject and carefully erase the background. When you are satisfied with it, click Save.
clipart w picmonkey 2

Another neat way to use this tutorial is to turn your artwork into clipart. My example below was made with a watercolor flower that my sister painted.

clipart diy design7

Using Photo Clipart in Graphics
One way to use photo clipart is to put it over another photo. To make it look realistic though, you’re going to have to blur your background picture. To do this, I suggest using “Soften” in the Effects section. (If you have Royale though, I would use the Fancy Focus tool and make the focal size as small as possible. Drag the focus ring down to where you will be placing your clipart.) Then go to Overlays and click “Add your own”. Insert your clipart and position it how you want it. This doesn’t always look the most realistic, but if you combinr the right photos it can look really neat.

create your own clipart.jpg

In the DIY Design poster (as well as this post’s poster) I used a graphic I made using a picture of a computer on a blank background. This lets me change up the featured images a bit and brings out a continuing theme in them.
If you soften a more realistic-looking background like this watercolor background, photo clipart can look neat with it.

clipart diy design

I can also move the clipart around, flip it, and change the size of it.
Different Ways to Use Regular Clipart

You can find lots of free clipart around the internet. You can check out my Pinterest board where I’ve pinned some free graphics. In a few weeks Clara is going to do a post with some free photo sites and places to get free clipart.

If you want your graphics to have a modern look, then I’d leave everything straight (and mostly use text and geometric shapes). But for a more fun look, tilt your clipart around.

clipart diy design2  clipart diy design3

To tie your graphics into your clipart, match your font color with the color of your clipart. You can do this by selecting your font and clicking on the rectangle that shows the color of your font. Put the color dropper on the color you want and click. Voila! Your font color is changed. 🙂
clipart diy design4
What about those boring solid-colored graphics? Changing colors can look neat, but they still look pretty flat.
clipart diy design5
To add some texture to your clipart, change it’s color to black and put it on a solid white background. Then go to “Add your own” and select the texture you want. I like to use watercolor backgrounds a lot, it makes it look more like it was painted. Drag it over top of the clipart so that it covers it, and then click on the drop down under “Blend modes”. Click on “lighten”.

clipart diy design6

Remember to check clarascraftcorner.com next week to read her post on fonts! To see the complete schedule go to my previous post.

What are some ways you like to use clipart?

Have you made your own clipart before?

megan signoff

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55 thoughts on “DIY Design #1: Using Clipart in Your Graphics

  1. Oh my gosh, so THAT’S how you make fonts and graphics have those different shades??? *IS EXCITED* AGH THIS WAS SO USEFUL AND I’M LIKE SQUEALING RIGHT NOW BECAUSE I LOVE GRAPHIC DESIGN AND THIS IS SOOOOOO HELPFUL THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH! ❤

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      1. Hehe! Agh, I’m still trying to convince my mom . . . XD I’m going to wait until I have a it more money so I know I have enough to pay for my bunny for the rest of the year. 😄 The one that I’m hoping to adopt is named Celery (probably going to change that XD) — he’s this ADORABLE Holland Lop and eeeee so cute. 😄

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  2. Ooh, very nice tutorial, Megan! I really like the textures thingy and it’s great to know how to make a picture into clip art and stuff. 😀 I can’t wait to read your next DIY Design post!

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  3. Good tutorial, Megan! Clipart is fun, but I don’t use it much. I have made clipart from photos before, but I use GIMP. 🙂 Also, for our family’s Christmas card last year I made a clipart poinsettia on the computer(not using a photo), and it was fun but difficult.
    ~Christian Homeschooler

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  4. Hi Megan! I just tried this, with a picture of my doll, I made it look like she was in a flower field. It was very helpful, I can’t wait for more tips and tricks.
    ❤ Arunima

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  5. Hey, guess what? I just asked some kids in my writing class “Google or Bing?” and they said Google! And they said that Bing was slow! HA! *smiles innocently*

    -Clara ❤

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