This guest post is by Naveen Jayawardena of sleepWRITER.
When I decided to start a blog on sleep habits, I wanted to try something different. As any aspiring blogger, I was trying to stand out from the crowd. And I did it by creating my own graphics.
Now I run my blog exclusively with “home-made” graphics. My readers love it and I enjoy making graphics as much as writing posts.I am not a professional graphic designer. So I can assure you that most people can learn how to make graphics with a little practise.
I am a self-taught amateur graphic artist. And I started out from scratch. And I will tell you how to do it yourself.
I use “home-made” graphics for each and every one of my blog posts. If you are wondering whether this is worth all the trouble, then consider these benefits you can get from using graphics:
- Graphics blend in with the blog design more easily than photos. I have limited my blog design to few colors and could not have achieved this without the use of graphics.
- It’s much cheaper than buying photos or graphics.
- It introduces your own, unique voice to the your posts via graphics.
- You can come up with the right picture for the posts every time.
- You can explain difficult concepts with infographics.
- Making graphics is fun. Drawing a few sketches after writing a post can help you relax and think creatively.
How do you start?
If you’re an absolute beginner, I suggest you start simply. Don’t worry about your graphics not being lifelike. The idea is to create your own style, with which others can identify your graphics.
You can draw something on paper and scan it, or take a picture of it from a digital camera. This is a very basic method of using graphics. You can draw cartoons and add lists in your own handwriting.
At some point you need to learn to use graphics software. I use Adobe Illustrator, but there are plenty of other software packages that can do a good job. I suggest you stick to one and learn it well.
You can learn from books, web tutorials, video tutorials and by attending classes. There is a range of brands under each category, and most of them cover the basics. I used video tutorials but I feel that having someone to show you the ropes can help you learn faster. Take time to learn the basic functions, and remember that learning keyboard short-cuts can save you a lot of time in future.
Once you have the basic skills in place, you can explore on your own. But if you are serious about graphics, then there are plenty of online tutorials that teach you, step-by-step, how to create advanced graphics. I use online tutorials to sharpen my skills and also to learn new “tricks.”
To create good graphics, you need to be a good observer. Look at the graphics on stock graphic collections and libraries. What techniques are they using? Can you replicate them? Look at the graphics and cartoons that appear on newspapers and websites and learn.
Once you are confident in making graphics, then you can adopt your own style and technique. When I write a post, I also think of the graphics which can go with it. If I don’t get a good idea for a graphic, I finish my writing and visit again with a fresh perspective for a graphic idea.
What are the drawbacks?
It would be unfair if I told you only the good side of creating your own graphics. I have encountered few disadvantages of using graphics for my blog:
- Detailed graphics take time. This can affect your posting routine. But with practice, you can create them faster. You can recycle old graphics to save time.
- It takes time to learn to make graphics. It took me few years to master the art of graphics and I still learn. It is not a quick fix.
- It may not suit all types of blogs. But it is worth a try.
Graphics can be a nice addition to your blog. I hope I inspired at least a few of you to bring your inner artist to your blogs! Please do share your own experiences using graphics on your blogs.
Naveen Jayawardena is a doctor by profession and blogs during his free time. You can find plenty of graphics and sleep tips at sleepWRITER.