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Tutorial: How to Make Cool Octopus Art With PicMonkey

Updated on December 10, 2016
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PicMonkey is More Than JUST a Photo Editor

Did you know that you could use PicMonkey to make cool art?

If you've ever taken a photo to share online, then you've heard of PicMonkey, right? Someone has recommended it to you for editing your photos or overlaying text so your article headers are more "pinnable".

But that is only a tiny portion of what you can do with this pretty amazing photo editor. It also makes a great art tool. It might not be up there with Photoshop, but it is a program that anyone can afford and learn to use easily.

Today, I am going to walk you through creating that lovely octopus painting in my header photo. Because you never know when you will need the skills to create an octopus graphic for some special...squishy occasion.

And of course, you can use the tips and tricks in here for other artistic endeavors as well. So read on!

What You Need to Make Your Octopus Painting

There are only two things you need for this project:

  • PicMonkey Photo Editor
  • An octopus silhouette

Since I understand that not everyone has an octopus silhouette hanging around, I drew one for you to use. Just click the next image and download him to your computer.

Also, there is a free version of PicMonkey, but I use the paid version (Royale) for creating my art. You can sign up and get a free trial, but I guarantee you are going to love all the extra stuff you can access. Plus, the Royale version is ad free, which means you can edit photos and graphics like the wind. No lag!

Now, once you are all set up and can use the PicMonkey Royale features, you are ready to make some art! (Don't forget to download this guy though...)

Just right click and save your octopus silhouette.
Just right click and save your octopus silhouette. | Source

Step 1. Open Your Canvas

When you first open PicMonkey, hover over the icon on the landing page that is marked "design". Below, it will show you several size options for a blank canvas.

Choose 8x10.

The canvas will open in the main editor, and ask you to choose a background color. You want to leave it white, and hit "apply".

Right below the canvas color option, you will see "rotate". You want to open that, and flip your canvas on its side. Hit apply again, and head to step 2.

Under "rotate", click one of the circular arrows to flip the canvas sideways.
Under "rotate", click one of the circular arrows to flip the canvas sideways. | Source

Step 2. Add Your Octopus Graphic

Look at the far left side of the menu. The butterfly icon opens up "overlays". That's what you want to do next.

Once you are in that, click the bar at the top that says "Add Your Own".

That will open up the option for you to upload your octopus. Once he is on the canvas, grab the corners of his frame, and drag them to adjust the size.

Once you are happy with the size, click the center of the overlay and drag him so that he is centered.

Now, look down at the bottom of your editor. There is a little toolbar there. The first icon is the "merge" tool. You want to click that right now, so that your graphic is glued in place, and can be colored in the next step.

Adjust the size of your image and center it in the middle of your blank canvas. Then merge the layers.
Adjust the size of your image and center it in the middle of your blank canvas. Then merge the layers. | Source

Step 3. Coloring the Image

In order to get all the textures to look right later, you have to base color your image now. To do this, look at your left sidebar again.

The second icon, the one shaped like a wand, is where you will find effects. (If you've used this editor before then you probably have all the effects memorized!)

Open this section, and scroll waaaay down to you get to "Warhol".

When you click it, it will show you two paint palettes: one for the image and one for the background. Click the second one and turn it to white.

Now, open the second palette and choose a nice caramel brown. You can see the one I used highlighted by a little white box in the image. Click "apply".

Don't worry about the background yet. We will come back to that a few steps later.

Use "Warhol" effect to change the color of the image.
Use "Warhol" effect to change the color of the image. | Source
We'll start with a brown image and a white background.
We'll start with a brown image and a white background. | Source

Step 4. Adding Texture, Part 1.

Flat smooth images are pretty neat. But playing with the textures is what really brings drawings (and some photos!) to life.

For the first texture, go to your left sidebar and choose the second-to-last icon. It looks like a weird hashtag, but I think it represents something woven.

Now, scroll down the the section marked "Paper".

Choose the bottom middle option. Now, you have to change how it appears on your canvas. See the box marked "Blend Mode"? Click that, and choose "Overlay" from the drop down menu.

Now your texture is only on the octopus.

Lastly, set the "fade" slider to 50%.

Hit apply, and pour yourself a new cup of coffee. We've stilll got a few steps to go.


Adding texture to to the graphic gives it depth and personality.
Adding texture to to the graphic gives it depth and personality. | Source

Step 5. Adding Texture, Part Two

Although the octopus already looks pretty cute with just that texture, layering on more will give him more "oomph". And a happy is octopus is one with plenty of "oomph".

You can give him some more by looking for the section texture marked "Paint".

Choose the one in the middle.

Again, make sure the blend mode is set to "overlay".

  • Set the saturation to 48% (Weird number, but it felt right)
  • Set the fade to 30%

This gives him some interesting character lines.

Don't forget to click "apply".

Using the PicMonkey Paint Texture for more depth.
Using the PicMonkey Paint Texture for more depth. | Source

Step 6. Adding Texture Part 3

Next, go up to the "Water" textures. Resist the temptation to use them all to create a somewhat cheesy "ocean-y" feel. (Just kidding, you can play around with that for a bit, if you want.)

Okay, ready to get serious?

  • Choose the bottom middle option.
  • Set blend mode to "overlay"
  • Adjust saturation to 68%
  • Adjust fade to 65%
  • Click Apply

Using a faded water texture creates a "watercolor" effect.
Using a faded water texture creates a "watercolor" effect. | Source
Close-up of background color choice.
Close-up of background color choice. | Source

Step 7. Adding a Background Color

Now we finally get to color in the background! There are several ways to do this, but today is your lucky day because I am going to use the EASY way. (as in, you don't have to use your mouse to do any painting.)

Go to your left menu and click the butterfly icon again. At the top of the overlay section is a box marked "geometrics"

Click on the first rectangle. Its a "stretchy" rectangle. Which is cool.

Grab the corners and stretch it so that it covers your entire canvas.

Now click where it shows the color as being black. When the palette opens up, choose a pale blue. (You can see which one I chose in the image to the right.

Set the blend mode to "darken".

Merge the layers.

Color your background by first opening a rectangle overlay.
Color your background by first opening a rectangle overlay. | Source
Change the color of the overlay and use the "darken" mode to finish coloring your background.
Change the color of the overlay and use the "darken" mode to finish coloring your background. | Source

8. Adding More Texture

In this step, we create a little bit of inky illusion around the octopus. Because apparently, every octopus has a leaky pen in one of his pockets.

You could technically go to the "draw" effect and do this manually one dot at a time. But I'll bet you have other things to do today. So, back to the "textures" menu.

Near the top, you'll see one marked "Space".

I know what you are thinking. A Space Octopus would be the coolest thing ever. Or the weirdest, depending on your tastes.

Don't worry. This is a neat trick.

As soon as you open "Space", it will take you right to the one you want. The first option.

Set your blend mode to "subtract". Fade it to 57%.

This part is optional, but I used the brush tool to clean up an "ink spot" that I didn't like. I included the image so you can see where I set the brush and where I erased the spot that sorta looked like a monacle.

Octo-ink!
Octo-ink! | Source
Using the brush tool to erase an unwanted blemish on his head.
Using the brush tool to erase an unwanted blemish on his head. | Source

Step 9. The Last Texture

This step simply adds a bit more visual interest to the background.

In the textures menu, look for "Smudge".

  • Chose the second option in the top row.
  • Set the blend mode to "hardlight"
  • Fade to 60%

Next step: Eyeballs

Using a smudge texture on the background.
Using a smudge texture on the background. | Source

10. Adding Eyes to Your Octopus Art

There are several ways to make eyes. You could draw on some dots, use some circles, or stick some big flowers on there.

Octopus eyes are pretty weird looking in real life, and anything goes in art. So I went to the overlay section and chose one of the mottled buttons.

TIP: Open one button overlay. Adjust the size and position it where you want the eyes to be. Then fade to 58%. Once you've done that one, right click it. A menu will drop down, and you can choose "duplicate overlay". This saves you a lot of time trying to match your second eye to the first. Just duplicate and position.

Don't forget to merge the layers when you are satisfied.

You are almost done! Just one more detail!

Creating "eyes" by using the button overlay.
Creating "eyes" by using the button overlay. | Source

Step 11. Creating Bubbles

You don't have to add bubbles. But I like bubbles.

To make some of your own, go back to the geometric overlays, and choose the circle.

To create the "clear" bubbles, click the paint palette where it says "color 2". Then choose the box marked "transparent". This makes the center, well...transparent. You can then change color one to any color you like.

I used a few different shades of blue and dark gray, and faded them to different levels. You get to use your creativity here; I didn't record each bubble! Just make as many as you like, play with the colors and fade, change the sizes, and position them around your octopus.

For the solid bubbles, you can set both colors the same (such as a dark gray) and fade them. Or you can use to close shades of the same color.

Try not to overthink it. Bubbles always look good!

Once all your bubbles are in place, combine all the layers, and take a deep breath. Because...

Making bubbles: 1

Making bubbles. Start with the circle overlay
Making bubbles. Start with the circle overlay | Source

Making bubbles: 2

Bubble effect. Make the center transparent, and the outer rim blue or gray.
Bubble effect. Make the center transparent, and the outer rim blue or gray. | Source

Making bubbles: 3

Resize and position your bubbles around your image.
Resize and position your bubbles around your image. | Source

You Have Finished Your Octopus Painting!

Congratulations! You survived my tutorial! If you painted along, then you should have something that looks like the image below (give or take a few bubbles.)

A painting created with PicMonkey!

  • Now you have several choices.
  • You can save your art just like it is.
  • You can go to the "frames" section and add a cool border.
  • You can overlay some text.
  • You can adjust the brightness and colors in the effects or basic edits sections.

But first!

Save a copy of your finished work!

So what can you use this for? Well, you can apply what you learned here to images and graphics for a variety of projects. You can create truly unique header images for your articles or blog posts, create new graphics for your website, tweak photos, enhance your printables and more.

Thanks for reading along, and I hope you found this tutorial helpful and entertaining. If you liked it and want to see more, let me know in the comments below, and I will start piecing together another tutorial soon! In the meantime, you can check out my tutorial on how to create a butterfly painting in Picmonkey.

The finished PicMonkey painting.
The finished PicMonkey painting. | Source

Comments

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    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 9 months ago from USA

      Very cute! I hadn't heard of PicMonkey. The editor I use is changing so much in order to charge for services that used to be free that I'd like to try out something new.

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 9 months ago from Hamburg, New York

      I book marked your article, I will use it later, I have been looking for an easy to use picture editor program. Photoshop always seems so complicated.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      I don't think I've ever heard of PicMonkey, but I've been looking for an easy to use quickie photo editor. I bought a Corel photo editor two or three years ago, and I didn't have time to learn it's complications very well.

      Anyway, this is a great hub, very professionally written and described, so it should be easy to follow along. I'm on break right now, but I'll have to try it at home. Thanks.

    • WinterRea profile image

      WinterRea 9 months ago

      That is really cool. I love drawing and taking pictures I bet this would be a good way to combine both.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 9 months ago from Oklahoma

      @FlourishAnyway PicMonkey has has some very decent features on its free version, which I used for a couple of years before upgrading. I've tried a few others, but this one has the easiest-to-use control panel for me. And that is saying a lot because I used to hate doing any kind of digital editing or art because the programs took too long to use!

      Hope you enjoy it, its fun! And thanks for reading!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 9 months ago from Oklahoma

      @Lipnancy--Ooh, I think you will like PicMonkey then. Its very simple to use. I had Gimp for awhile and I hated using it because it took forever to do some basic editing. This one is fast, and has lots of neat, built-in goodies.

      Another one I like to pull up and use occasionally is BeFunky. Its also easy and fast. Good luck! And thanks for reading!

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 9 months ago from Oklahoma

      @MizBejabbers I've not had a lot of opportunity to try Corel. I started using PicMonkey because I'm trying to ramp up my online business by combining my art and my writing...and I needed something very affordable. I really hope to add the heavyweight programs in the future. I've sold a few prints made with PicMonkey though, so I am very happy with it for now.

      Thank you for the compliment about how the tutorial was presented. That means a lot to me. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that although I use PicMonkey everyday and could walk you through using it even if I were blindfolded...I only just learned how to take screen shots on my laptop last week! Once I figured that out, I got all excited and couldn't wait to start making tutorials! So I appreciate your comment greatly! I hope you enjoy the editor, and have a great week!

    • CYong74 profile image

      Cedric Yong 9 months ago from Singapore

      Very detailed tutorial. Thanks for introducing this programme. All of us could do with more ways to create eye catching graphics easily.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      Back at ya, Jayme, I caught the Corel on sale for about 50 bucks a couple of years ago. The problem is, now I don't know if it will work with my husband's Windows10 and probably not on my new Apple unless I install Windows on it. That's the problem with buying pricey programs, even on sale. We just keep paying through the nose because after awhile, the updates run out. So, if you are having success with PicMonkey, I would keep using it.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 8 months ago from Stillwater, OK

      Wow, this can really make things pop. I used the free version of Picmonkey to create a signature for my photos.

    • Sharkye11 profile image
      Author

      Jayme Kinsey 8 months ago from Oklahoma

      @WinterRea It can be used for so much! Even combining photos with drawings. And using some of the paint effects over photographs makes for some very beautiful digital art too. Hope you try it and have fun!

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