Friday, October 29, 2010

How to use stick figures to spice up your blog posts

Disclaimer: this is a tutorial post. If you aren't into tutorials, you can just read a different post. I recommend the favorites tab.
My style of photography has been getting some attention lately.

I don't know if it's the camera model, the composition, or my unique finishing process that appeals to so many of you. Maybe it's a combination of all three?

Today I am going to share some tips and tricks on how to give your photos that nice, two dimensional look.

(to see me in action, you can just skip down to the bottom of this post. I made a video)

Draw Yourself A Stick Figure.

I use Microsoft Paint. It's simple, free, and already on your computer. Unless you use an Apple. In which case, you should try Paintbrush, which is basically the same thing, only for Macs.

I use the circle tool and the straight line tool a lot, but you can also free hand it using the paint brush tool, the way Allie does on Hyperbole and a Half.

Her style gets her "between 1 and 2 million unique visitors a month (with about 4 million total page views)". Here is one of her pictures:

(It's ok, she let's you use her pictures so long as you link back, and don't try to pass them off as yours)

So, you know, you can do whatever you want.

There's no "right way" to do stick figures. This is just my way.

For my faces, I zoom in using the magnifying glass tool. You will have to play around to get the right expression.

Also, hair. Hair can be difficult.

Add the other characters in your picture, and any furniture that you want.

Save your picture. I just save it as a .bmp on my desktop.

Edit like a pro

Have you heard of Google just bought them, and it is a fantastic site. It's also free. But I pay $2.08/month to use the premium features (why use the free version when you can pay for it?).

You could probably use Photoshop for the editing. But if you are poor like me, picnik is an awesome alternative. Plus The Bloggess uses it.

I am just going to assume you guys try picnik. Upload your photo.

Then open that photo, and click on the Create tab.

Once in there, I like to click on the Touch Up option. On the left, I scroll down until I see the Blush tool. You can adjust the size and the color, and it really makes them look more lifelike.

Then click on Stickers. There are like a million sticker options.

And they have some awesome Seasonal stuff.

To add words, click on the Text tab. Select a font, and type into the text box on the left. Click "add".

  (click to enlarge)

When a screen pops up, drag the font color to black (or whatever color you'd like). You can change the size, and drag the text to where you want it.

To change the tilt of the words, hover your mouse over the letters, and move the top dot around.

If you are writing more than a single line of text, and you want the colors to match, you can copy the color code from one, and paste it in the other.

Experiment in picnik for a while. It's really fun once you get the hang of it.

Once you are satisfied, click the Edit tab. You can crop the photo, or just check the size to make sure it will fit ok in your blog post.

The photos in my posts are usually around 400px wide.

Then save the photo. Picnik lets you save it to your computer, or they have tons of other options (picasa, photobucket, facebook, etc).

(click to enlarge)

Now use those suckers!

(This next part is for Blogger only, because that's what I use.)

Upload the picture to your blog post in Compose mode.

After it's uploaded, click on the picture. A gray bar will come up along the bottom of it- click Original Size (this will keep it from becoming pixelated).

To move the picture to a different spot in your blog post, go into Edit HTML mode, and cut and paste that large block of code that represents the picture. You can paste it wherever you would like.

Then hit preview. How does it look?

If the answer is "FANTASTIC", hit publish, and you're done!

There you go. That's how I do it.

Now go experiment, and find a style that fits your blog!

(Why yes, this was incredibly long. But I wanted to be as helpful as possible. You're welcome).

UPDATE: Last night I decided that I could really use some more stress in my life. And so I made a video. Now can watch me do all this stuff.

Yeah. It took HOURS to figure out (and yet, it is only a couple minutes long).I never really went to bed.

Warning: There is no sound. I recommend turning on some sexy background music while you are watching this.

Recommended sexy music: Let's get it on, Fire, Business time.

Click here to watch it on a larger screen. <--- I highly recommend this, because then you'll be able to see what's going on.



Unknown said...

Ok, if I survive my hike today, I'm so coming home and trying this!!

the thrifty ba said...

thank you! now i can be as cool as you!

Macey said...

YOU are awesome.
Bookmarking this...printing this...all of that jazz. :)

viewfromdownhere said...

I always wondered how you did those! Thanks for sharing!

Jean Has Been Shopping said...

Great tutorial! You really shared all your secrets! Can't wait to give this a go. :-D

~~Mia~~ said...

lanie, i have always loved your stick people and this tutorial is super fun.

major let down, though...the fact that the video had no sound, i was super stoked to hear you talk and to see what kinda crazy american accent you had too. *pout*

Alexandra said...

I LOVE THIS!! I tried to tweet it out but, since it's friday, twitter is down with all that FollowFriday stuff.


Joey Lynn Resciniti said...

I don't post photos of my kid on my blog, perhaps I could start portraying her in stick figure. Has me thinking!

Mama Mary said...

I love you for this! Well I loved you anyway, but now it's for always and forever. I have always wondered how all to do this! Signing up for picnik stat. And when I try my first art project I'll let you and give you mad props for being the person to show me the way.

Anonymous said...

I use Picnik but are the premium features really worth the extra $2/month.

Why, yes. I am incredibly cheap. Why do you ask?

Also, I love that you made a video :) You kick serious ass.

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

Great tutorial!

amieggs said...

thank you for always visiting my blog Helena!! =)
reading yours always makes me smile =D
oh and a giveaway for one of my eggs just started... this can be your chance to get one for free!! =)

The Zany Housewife said...

This is a great tutorial! I have just recently discovered Picnik, although I only do the free features so far.

The husband doesn't like me posting pictures of any of us so I may have to start thinking about the stick figure thing myself.

Unknown said...

Thank you! I didn't even know about Paintbrush until you mentioned it and now I have it! Woot! I hope you don't mind if I totally rip off your stick figures from time to time now. I mean, you did a tutorial and all, so you're kind of to blame.

Chantel said...

This is great! I've been wondering about how you make yours so perfect

Susie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

It seems so simple now that you;ve explained it! I'm going to share this tut with my readers, with full credit to you of course.

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