Doing Great Visuals with Free or Cheap Internet Stuff: Five Fantastic Sites

I love art, pictures, illustrations and infographics.  But I wasn’t born in a time or place where I could get that kind of training–and my drawing is. . .okay.  Sort of. I think the most wonderful thing about the Internet Age for me, personally, has been all the technology for doing art.

These days, blogging is just as much about the visuals as about the text.  Video and graphics are essential to making a blog fun, readable, and engaging.  Finding the art and MAKING the art, however, can be expensive and a big drain on time.   I thought I’d do a post on the best resources and tools on the Internet that will make your blog pretty, fun, and interesting–without forcing you to take a degree in graphic design first, or pay tons and tons of dough.  This stuff is fun and creates great visuals even if you can barely hold a pencil.

Give me Photographs!

Pixabay is my go-to for free pictures suitable for blogging.  It boasts 1.3M images, an easy interface, pictures you can download in many different sizes and a a bustling community of creators.  Where else can you find a tiger-keet?  

tiger-2430625_640.jpg

Go to these people! Buy them a cup of coffee from time to time. They deserve every accolade they get.  When you need a cool picture, these people provide!

I need business cards and mailers, and blog headers and, and, and. . .

Want to do those cool graphic title pages but can’t afford Adobe Creative Cloud? Hey even though I do USE Creative Cloud, I find Canva to be an amazing resource!  It’s a great free to cheap resource for home businesses, bloggers and content marketers on a budget. It’s a template-based graphic arts resource with tons of pictures and designs that you can customize–logos, mailers, banners for your Etsy shop.

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Just a small sample of Canva templates

 

While I tend to just page through the endless array of pictures on Pixabay, Canva is all about doing it myself.  And I love that. 

I made the header (or featured image) for this post for free — and it took me about five minutes.

Even the visuals that are not free are in the $1 to $5 range.  Very  affordable.  I can spend hours fooling around with settings and backgrounds and some very, very interesting fonts.

 

Oooh, how about Vector Art?

GravitDesigner is another free graphics package that I keep handy for vector art.  It was the first vector arts graphics package I ever used–and it helped me to learn enough to where I could graduate to the pricey Adobe Creative Cloud (where I’m now teaching myself video editing, but that’s another post for another day!).  GravitDesigner is free–that’s the good part–and it has great tutorials and good clip art, photos and other resources built in to the package. Its compatible with both Mac and Windows platforms.  If you’re not familiar with vector art and graphics at this near-Adobe-Creative-Cloud level,  that’s okay as it has built in tutorials that really quite good.  You can edit eps and svg files– and it has a whole lot of in-app photos and vector art you can work with and adapt. I highly recommend this program for people with no experience in editing or working with graphic art.  It got me started and I still use it.

One of the big secrets of creating great vector-based artwork is taking stuff other people have done and adapting it.  This is especially true of infographics and cartoons.  My go-to site for great vector art for adaptation is Vexels.com.  I got a 10,000 image license plan for fifty dollars on a special holiday sale, but you can also use materials for free with proper attribution.  I can find svgs and Eps files (types of vector art formats) and plug them into GravitDesigner, or I can take their Adobe native art — there’s a ton of it on Vexels–and put that straight into Adobe Creative Cloud (if you have the budget for that).

Ah! Customizable Animations for Free!

Last but not least is this newest cool site I’ve found, Crello.com.   I wanted to put in something for animation or video and stumbled upon Crello purely by accident.  Crello is similar to Canva, but it has these cool animations that you can customize!  In minutes!    Here’s mine:

Everyone has probably heard of Giphy; in many ways Crello is Giphy and Canva rolled into one package.  I’ve been spending a good half an hour here, playing with its settings and colors.  There are just tons of free graphic resources on this site. My mind– BLOWN.

I hope you have as much fun with this stuff as I’ve been having!   More soon!

Best wishes ~ Lola

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Lola

Recovering academic, real-life, honest to cornflakes anthropologist (Ph.D. and fieldwork and everything), tech-head and social media researcher.

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