Designing Featured Images

When working on launching my blog I discovered that I would have to do a lot of custom artwork for my blog. The template I picked out allowed me to put featured images on pages and categories. This was going to be the image that would be seen before a reader picked a post to read. That meant the image needed to be something that captured the essence of what the reader might encounter. 

This started with the introduction page. When someone comes to my website I want them to instantly see what I am about. So it started with incorporating my logo. Then I wanted readers to get a broader sense of what I am about so I included an image of my rural landscape, out to the farm across the way, and the trees in full color expressing the season.

You see, my blog is about life in the country, it’s about creativity, and it’s about seasonality. You also immediately  see the headers, Culinary, Digital Art, Design, and so on. This lets you know what kinds of things interest me and what you might find.

Once you click into the Culinary page you see color rich photos of delicious food. This was an easy decision as I photograph everything I cook with my iPhone 6+. I do a little digital clean up in Photoshop and I crop it to the specific size I need for the format of the theme template I chose.

Then I got into making a custom menu which best worked with categories. I wanted to do this so if you, as the reader, had tons of butternut squash from your local CSA and were out of ideas you could click on “Gourds” and see recipes and ideas for all sorts of interesting ways to prepare squash. This however meant I had to then create “featured images” for every category. The key to designing this was going to be consistency. I didn’t want to used images I would use for the actual recipes so I needed images that were just that ingredient. However, just taking a picture of the squash I bought at the market didn’t seem like it was going to be visually interesting enough. This got me thinking. I then thought about the beautiful botanical prints that are done either in watercolors or colored pencil. Although that drawing style is not what I do, I then got the idea to draw each ingredient. I do this on my iPad Pro using the Procreate App with the Apple Pencil.

gourds-featured-image

One of the nice things about this is that I can do split screen and have an image of the ingredient up in google images and have Procreate up right next to it so I can sketch what I am looking at. Once I am done I then load it into Photoshop through Procreates great export function through Apple’s Air Drop. No wires and just send it right to my computer. There I then edit the canvas size and add the text.

To create some consistency with the text I have created capital letters that are inspired off of the same font that I used to create the “A” in my logo. I first type the single capital letter in Photoshop and scale it to a decent size to work with. I then rasterize the letter and start transforming it, editing it, and adding to it. Once I have the over all style I am looking for I then trace it using the “pen tool”, creating a vector shape. This allows me to scale it to any size I might need and it won’t compromise the integrity of the shape.

letters

What I really love about designing these images is that it uses my skills as an artist, as a designer, and as a graphic artist. It allows me to use all of the tools I have and create some fun custom images.

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