Friday, 5 September 2014

Easy graphic design tool for writers

This week I came across an incredibly easy graphic design tool to make banners and ads for my novels. I discovered this tool a smidgen too late, as the deadline to get 50% off an ad for RomCon magazine lasted only a few days and it took me longer than that to track down a site that suited my level of expertise. I missed the deadline. Sad face. Next time I'll be ready.

I usually create my images in PowerPoint and covert them to jpeg, and earlier I provide a post on how to create an image using PowerPoint. You can read the full blog post here. The problem with this method is the quality of the jpeg is shit. I can create an okay quality png file, but nothing I use is compatible with a png file. So I had to find something I could use, because let's face, I'm on a budget. I need it free. and I need it easy to use.

Well, this week I found exactly what I was looking for. I believe this new tool is the best thing since the invention of the word processor. So far I have created high quality images for ads that won't be fuzzy and the best thing is this is so freakin easy to use. I want to create banners and ads just for fun!

Okay, I'm using the very simplified steps of the software in order to produce an image because I haven't yet figured out how to manipulate text and images. So I'm configuring the images in a format I know well - PowerPoint - and then I'm copying them across to my new software.

So what is this brilliant new tool that has distracted me from my writing goal? Serif DrawPlus Starter Edition.

One of the best things about this software is that it's free to download. Nothing worse than spending money to buy a car only to find out you can't drive the thing. So I'll give you a quick lesson on what I've tested so far.

Create a new drawing and pick your size. You can enter custom sizes which is perfect for when an ad tells you the specifications. The ad I wanted to place had a size specification of 3.5 inches high and 4.5 inches wide with 150+ psi. None of this meant anything to me. But when you create a custom size you can select the width and height. The 150+ psi comes when you export the image.


You'll get a blank page and this is where you insert images. What I did was create the text boxes on PowerPoint and then copy them into the Serif page. A tip to remember is when you're using Serif DrawPlus that when you select paste it won't paste until you click somewhere on the page. Another thing to remember is that if you delete an image it will insert a new one on top of the other images, so you'll need to move them off to the side and then cut and paste them back onto the board.  
 

 
 
 I copy the text from the PowerPoint slide onto the DrawPlus board and then resize them to suit. Note that the blue line in the image is the size you set at the start, so it's a good idea to set the image outside of that, which is called the "bleed area".
  
 
 
Then when it's ready to convert to a jpeg it's as easy as selecting File > Export > Export as image. here's the point where you set the dpi to whatever the ad specifications are. Remember mine was to be 150+ dpi which means greater than 150, so I exported it at 200 dpi
 
 
 
 
 
And then when you select Export and choose your file location you have a high quality jpeg. (You'll note that I changed the image to the correct one. For the examples I used my YA fantasy novel image but it is not a romance so to avoid any confusion I made the switch at the last minute.)
 
This is the final jpeg using Serif DrawPlus at the large view.

 
 
Below is an jpeg I created using only PowerPoint. The text is too blurry for my liking. When I save this as a png file it's clearer to read on websites, but not all sites support png.
 

If you're looking for an easy to use graphic design site I'd recommend giving this one a go. It's great for authors who need to crate banners and ads for blogs and online magazines. I reckon I might also be able to use this for ebook covers.
 
Have fun creating!
 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.

 
CONTACT INFORMATION

Email                   dlrichardsonbooks@bigpond.com 
Blog                     www.dlrichardsonwrites.blogspot.com
Website               www.dlrichardson.com
Facebook            http://goo.gl/560JXl  
Twitter                 www.twitter.com/#!/DLRichardson1
 
 

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