Blog Graphics Tutorial For The Thrifty: Canva & Freepik


I’ve previously done a post recommending the apps I recommend to create blog graphics, but as I still get questions about how to make graphics – I thought I’ll make a more detailed post. I hope you’ll find this useful and go off to create your own work. I would also love for you to show me when you’re done :D!

Warning: Very Image Heavy!
Sorry mobile phone browsers!


By this I mean the fonts and images I use in my design. To be quite honest, I cannot draw to save my life, and the majority of my resources are from the following websites:

1. Freepik – Images here can be used free as long as you give attribution, or credit, to the website. The exception to this is if you pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee, then you can skip the attribution as long as the work is for your personal usage (e.g. designing your own blog or invitation card). I believe you still have to attribute if you use these resources in a commercial project (e.g. book cover design, Society6 or RedBubble designs). We’ll be looking at this one a lot today!

EDIT: I’ve had a couple of questions below on how/where to attribute the Freepik image. When you download the free option, the site will present you with a copy & paste link which directly links back to the IMAGE you used, not just the general web page. Use this link to credit Freepik, either by adding the link at the bottom of your post, captioning the picture, or even in the footer/sidebar of your webpage if you’ve used the design extensively throughout the site. Hope that makes it clearer!

2. Creative Market – This is an aggregate site featuring illustrations from numerous designers with some seriously high quality work. I mainly use this website for customised project such as blog designs. You can purchase a Simple License which is cheaper for personal usage or ONE commercial project (e.g. aforementioned blog design project) – but for more widespread commercial use you have to purchase the more costly Commercial License (usually 10x the price of the Simple License).

3. The Hungry Jpeg and Design Cuts – These are both websites that sells Design Bundles, meaning they take a lot of different products from Creative Market and combine them together, offering them at an amazing discounted price (usually $29) – the best part is that they include a FULL commercial license, so you can use them to do whatever you please. This is the site that most professional and amateur designers uses (including myself). Their bundles are offered on a limited time basis, so I suggest you sign up to their email newsletter to keep an eye out for ones that would suit you.

For the purpose of this tutorial, I will be using free stock images from Freepik to show you how to put together a ‘design’.

After I obtain the design elements from these sites, I put them together using Photoshop CS5 to create the numerous graphics you can see on my own site. To be frank with you, it’s not rocket science, it’s little more than glorified copy & paste or scrapbooking (these are words straight from my boyfriend’s mouth, he’s so supportive). In fact, if all you want is pretty image + writing, you don’t even need an expensive program like Photoshop or Illustrator. My examples below will be by using Canva – a free web-based app.

1. Download an image of your choice from Freepik. This time I searched: ‘watercolour flowers’, purely because both these things are trendy and pretty – so I know there will be lots of choices. I picked this gorgeous and bright flower arrangement because why the heck not. Remember to copy & paste the attribution link to include in your post if you’re not paying the subscription fee. Legal woes are the worst.


2. Load up Canva, you can sign up or log in using Google or FB. First choose the SIZE of your intended file. I chose SOCIAL MEDIA 800×800, because I find square format the easiest to work with (this is a call back from my Livejournal day where all the graphics were 100×100 icons).

3. Choose a BLANK canvas without any of the premade elements, we gotta start our collage fresh. Drag/Upload your Freepik image in the PNG/JPEG format into Canva and resize it by dragging the edges as seen below.


4. Now we have to get rid of the pesky pre-existing text on the picture. Do this by clicking on the tab ELEMENTS > SHAPES > then select one of the free shape options, I picked the square because it’s proven to be easy to work with.

Then we have to match the colours, do this by clicking on the square, then the (+) sign and drag that mouse around on the colour chart until you find your match – in this case it’s just plain old white.


In hindsight the circle would have worked better than the square, which did not cover up the entire body of the text. I added a second smaller square at the bottom to achieve the blank canvas.

5. We should have a nice bare canvas with pretty flowers now. All you need to do next is add text! So go ahead, select the TEXT tab. I chose to Add A Heading because I didn’t want anything too fancy, but you have a bundle of free choices on Canva to choose from.
For the purpose of this tutorial, I typed up the first bookish thing I thought of: ‘Professional Bookworm’ – but obviously you can write anything you want e.g. title of your blog post, some other cute quote.


I chose the font Amatic Small Caps because handwritten thing is just as cute & trendy as watercolour, but they have heaps of other options you can choose from (again, for free :D). Now all that’s left is to pick the colour as you did for the square, I chose something similar to the surrounding flowers in the name of uniformity and whatnot.


Resize and rearrange and bit. Voila, you’re all done. Click the DOWNLOAD button at the upper right corner & save as either JPEG or PNG depending on what you want to use it for.

Sometimes you get an image off Freepik that’s not easily ‘isolated’, i.e. it’s on a very busy background. If you had Photoshop, you can extract the image by using all the tools like pen-tool, vector mask, plain old magic wand etc… But what if you were stuck with Canva? Let me show you how.

6. I chose another popular topic with our part of the blogosphere: book photography. This time I searched’camera + watercolour’ and found an image of 4 different cameras. However, I only want to use one of those, and they’re stuck on a grayish polka dot background.


7. Place image on a blank canvas as above. DOUBLE CLICK the image to crop it, crop as close to your chosen camera as you can without losing any of the details.


8. Then go into BACKGROUND and select the most suitable background colour to blend in with the image. I picked the gray textured background on the third row – because it looks more interesting than regular old gray and because it’s free. I then go back to the camera image, click on FILTER and adjust the brightness/contrast until it blends into the background as much as possible.


9. Add text. I chose the premade layout called ‘You Are Simply The Best’ (you are!) & changed the colours and font around a little to make the final design.


10. Download and done! Yes, it does not blend in seamlessly, but unless you have either Photoshop/Illustrator or transparent PNGs of the elements you want to use – unfortunately this is the best you can do on Canva. I hope you found the tutorial helpful regardless.

Now go forth and experiment! There’s so much great resources on Freepik, you won’t ever have to spend on dime on your blog graphics unless you don’t want to credit the site & its creator.

I’m gonna anticipate some questions so I will pretend you have already asked them.

Q1. How is this all free and so awesome, what’s the catch?

The nature of the internet is that it’s filled with the free & the awesome! Just bear in mind that since everyone can use Freepik or purchase the graphics pack from Creative Market & The Hungry JPEG, you do run the risk of having blog designs that are similar to someone else’s – especially if you’re limited with what you can do on Canva. This was also a problem during my graphics making in my Livejournal days – where everyone basically made icons of using the same resources and images (I can perfectly recall all of CLAMP’s artwork, even to this day) – but don’t worry, with practice your own look with shine through. Keep experimenting & strive to be unique!

Q2. How do I use my downloaded fonts on Canva?

You will have to purchase a Canva for Work subscription, I believe it’s $12.95 a month. It might be worth it, since fonts are like eyebrows, they can make a huge difference to the look of your work.

Q3. Is there a point of purchasing Photoshop/Illustrator if Canva is free and awesome?

That depends on how much you want to do with your graphics. Photoshop allows you to add a lot of effects onto your text and your image, but it is also a steep learning curve – plus it’s really expensive. If you’re just wanting graphics for your blog design alone, I would say that it’s probably not worth the investment. But if you do photography or professional design on the side, of course (but then I guess you wouldn’t be reading this tutorial).

EDIT: Shanelle, the lettering extraordinaire, has let me know below that Photoshop CS2 is free! As far as I know there’s very little difference between it and the version I use.

Q4. Can I sell the stuff I make on Canva?

Yup, as long as all the components have the correct license. E.g. purchase commercial licenses for the resources and the font, add the correct attribution, and you’re good to go. There are so many different ones, I would urge you to read the fine prints before committing to a purchase & ask the creator if you’re unsure.

EDIT: A little bit of an aside from Canva here – most graphic bundles, stock photo and freepik images cannot be sold on their own, you need to modify them before you can resell the design. For more details of the specifics, please check the fine prints of the license like I mentioned above.

Q5. The timing of this tutorial is awfully suspicious, does it have anything to do with the drama in the past weekend?

I’ve been meaning to work on this tutorial for a long while, but I’ve put it off because of laziness in screencapping. If you held a gun to my head, I will admit that I was partially spurred on by drama, mainly because graphics is something I am irrationally passionate about. However, I wanted to create something productive/beneficial for everyone instead of adding another 2 cents to it. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then just ignore me and enjoy the post ❤

That’s all, folks! Let me know if you would like to see more tutorials in the future or whether this was helpful for you. Feel free to shoot me any questions as well!

103 thoughts on “Blog Graphics Tutorial For The Thrifty: Canva & Freepik

  1. LOL at the last bit. But in other stuff, the Adobe CS2 is legitimately free, and it can still do a lot of stuff. It’s definitely worth mentioning in here. And that watercolor wreath is so pretty ❤ As always, though, there is the drawback of it being a free resource. Licensing is hard to get one's head around, but at the end of the day, if I'm not sure, I'd stick to personal use

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had no idea that CS2 was free. That’s awesome and I’ll add that to the post. I’ve been using CS5 for many years so I didn’t even think of the previous versions. I know I still get nervous about licensing and don’t use the Freepik stuff in commercial projects at all.


    1. Glad I could entertain haha! Thanks for stopping by and there is so many watercolour graphics out there now 💕💕


  2. OH MAN AENTEE your FAQ is comedy gold! This tutorial just highlights how easy it is to make beautiful watercolour graphics which is something I’ve always shied away from, thinking that it would be really difficult and expend lots of money on creative market. But why haven’t I used Canva before this? I also own photoshop but I’m clearly terrible at it. Thanks for the tutorial!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Jeann! I hope you found is helpful, it’s super easy if you’re just after text on a pretty background 🙂 hope you will experiment with it ♥️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is such a good post for people who don’t know how to do this or are new to blogging…I’m a big fan of Canva and when I ran my online marketing biz it saved me an absolute fortune, I only used a graphic designer for really big important projects! Am going to share this far and wide!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Eeeep this was SO HELPFUL. Especially the part about sort of making the merging the backgrounds…because I didn’t know that. xD I want to use photoshop but a) it very much overwhelms me and b) it also overwhelms my computer and it crashes. *facepalm* SO YEAH. The thought of paying for photoshop and also more computer ram isn’t fun. Buuut, if it’s free…I’m going to go check that link out. THANK YOU, LIFESAVER.
    (Omg I feel kind of guilty about the design drama that went down because I felt I instigated it by doing a post about inspiration vs copying. 😱 😱 😭 And then it sort of entered the design realm and AGH. I think people are waaaaay overreacting. BUT WHATEVER. YOU’RE HILARIOUS. 😂 😂)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries Cait I’m so glad you found it helpful! Have fun with CS2. And your post on originality was awesome don’t be sorry for it ♥️


  5. This is exactly the kind of post I’ve been looking for! Thanks for taking the time to put it together. I’m relatively new to blogging and only just working out how everyone has such good graphics, and now I finally know!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you found this helpful 🙂 don’t hesitate to ask any questions as a newbie blogger we will be here to support you!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. THIS. IS. AMAZING. And as much blog designing could be a hassle, the end is worth it. Everyone just needs to remember to credit where they get their graphics (which is why most of the time, I make mine.) And the FAQ is ridiculous. I could not stop laughing. :”>

    But as a graphic arts student, having Illustrator and Photoshop at hand is a definitely great investment. 🙂 It’s actually on this post that I first heard of Canva. Now I know. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bianca I’m glad you found it amusing haha. The credit thing is something I see people forgo a lot sadly.


    1. Definitely nothing to be scared about, Canva is incredibly accessible and even the free content is abundant and high quality!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so glad you did this because I am totally in love with all your graphics 😍 to be honest, your iPhone wallpapers are my favorite things of yours and I still hope one day you’ll share a photoshop tutorial because that’s the version I have. However I loved all the information you shared on here and I’ll be checking out the websites soon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My photoshop graphics have so many steps I dread doing an entire tutorial on it, but maybe one day! I’m going to do a tutorial on starry back drops? Glad you found this helpful 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure it’d be stressful and time consuming, so sorry for asking haha but I’m trying to get back into using my photoshop more and I thought graphics and wallpapers would be a good place to start I just don’t know how haha


  8. Lol at the last FAQ XD. Thank you so much for this tutorial!!! Your graphics are always amazing!! I’ll admit I kind of stopped using graphics on my blog because I’m always afraid that maybe someone might come at me with a pitchfork and sue me lol. Now I just prefer to keep it safe and use my own photos that I post on IG. But I still love making graphics so this will come in handy!! ❤ <3. Though I actually use PicMonkey a lot more. I have been using Canva lately as well 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Karina! Glad you found it helpful. I’m scared of being sued too which is why I no longer do S6 stores haha.


  9. I had no idea CS2 was free! But awesome! 🙂
    I’m still laughing my butt off at the glorious copy and paste comment because you are so right. A lot of people think it’s much harder than it is, when it really is quite simple and straightforward.
    You’re great for putting this up for readers, Aentee! 🙂 I hope we get to see lots more watercolor flower designs out there! I’m ready for book blogging to become watercolorified! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nick 💕 especially for proofreading this post for me. And yes I want the whole blogosphere to be flooded with freepik beauties.


  10. Nice post! I had never heard of canva before but I also use a lot of Photoshop and Illustrator. Also there’s a free program called Gimp that’s almost exactly like photoshop only it just focuses on the editing tools. Which shouldn’t be a problem for things like this.

    There has defenetly been a lot of drama recently but hopefully posts like this will help bring awareness to certain issues that a lot of people don’t realize. Free doesn’t always mean free and you can’t copy other people’s designs. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I have heard of GIMP and need to check it out one day. I personally got really annoyed by the drama and hope that graphics designer won’t butt heads again in the future – we all did it for the love of books after all 🙂 thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unfortunautly all the drama isn’t new for me because there’s always people out there stealing designs and resources. 😦 it’s just the world we live in I guess.


  11. Love this post, Aentee! Very informative. I absolutely LOVE Canva, and have just recently started looking at Freepik. How do you credit them correctly? Like if you use images on your blog that are located throughout your design, where/how do you suggest is the best way to give them credit?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Copy and pasted answer cos someone else asked. I didn’t anticipate this FAQ 😂
      When you click free download on freepik they will give you a copy & paste link that says “Designed by Freepik” and link directly to the image you downloaded- not just the general website. You add that link to the image somewhere within your post e.g. Caption below the image. Or footer/side bar of your blog design if you used it on the entire site.
      Let me know if that makes sense.


      1. When you click free download on freepik they will give you a copy & paste link that says “Designed by Freepik” and link directly to the image you downloaded- not just the general website. You add that link to the image somewhere within your post e.g. Caption below the image. Or footer/side bar of your blog design if you used it on the entire site.


  12. THIS IS AMAZING. I am going to use this for everything now (well… almost everything lol). I have CS5, so I’ll try it out with that. Thanks for the awesome and informative post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a question, though. To attribute credit to Freepik, I have to add something at the end of the page saying “I got this image for free from Freepik” or is there like something else I have to do? I’m a bit confused lol


      1. When you click free download on freepik they will give you a copy & paste link that says “Designed by Freepik” and link directly to the image you downloaded- not just the general website. You add that link to the image somewhere within your post e.g. Caption below the image. Or footer/side bar of your blog design if you used it on the entire site. That’s all you gotta do!


    2. Sorry for the copy & paste, since someone asked the same thing above: “When you click free download on freepik they will give you a copy & paste link that says “Designed by Freepik” and link directly to the image you downloaded- not just the general website. You add that link to the image somewhere within your post e.g. Caption below the image. Or footer/side bar of your blog design if you used it on the entire site. ”
      Glad you found it helpful 💕


  13. HOLY FREAKING CRAP. TANK YOU so much for showing us these lovey tutorials!!! OMG.. I always stressed and stressed about how to make some awesome graphics such as these and NOW I can’t wait to try these out! I’m always searching for ways to make my blog…prettier? And I’m so TIRED of PicMonkey. I mean, Yeah, I know people use it and all that and they love it but…. Idk, just tired of it! Thanks for sharing these with us!

    Love ya girl! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries Keionda, I think you can use the tips in this tutorial on PicMonkey as well though! Glad I could help 🙂


  14. I really sure utilize all these for my blog graphics just because it looks so easy haha! And I love using CS2, I use it to draw all the images for my…..language experiments.

    I’m currently on the hunt for a great vector program for my mac so that I can make my own designs to sell 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I could do more vectors too because the thing I depend the most on with freepik is silhouette! Why can’t I draw? *cries*


  15. Your graphics are always absolutely gorgeous Aentee, so thank you for sharing these tips and secrets with us! 😉 Definitely going to have to try this out now. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries Zoe! Glad you found it helpful and I can’t wait to see when you try these tips out!


  16. these graphics are AWESOME, as long as this tutorial! ❤
    i use Canva as well for graphics of my blog. however, i use my own pictures, so attributions and things like that is none of a big deal to me. and omg yes i LOVE Canva's graphics! they're amazing!
    wonderful post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I didn’t know about Canvas! I’m a designer myself so I know the good, the bad and the ugly about all of these things and I’m so glad you helped a lot of bloggers out with this post! I honestly don’t imagine my life without Ps or Ai, I’ve used them for so many years now that when I need to do the simplest thing like cropping an image I just go straight to Ps haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Same I do everything on photoshop even screencap haha. I had to learn Canva for this tutorial and it was a bit frustrating but I wanted to give people the free option instead of suggesting they spend thousands of Ps😂


    1. Creative Market is such a money sink haha. Thanks Emily!! You don’t need graphics your own art and lettering are beautiful ♥️


  18. I absolutely LOVE these Aentee! I use Freepik a lot for personal use items, but have never actually heard of Canva before. I’ve spent a fortune on Creative Market and The Hungry Jpeg too, THJ is incredible when they have their specials and some of their packs are just too awesome to pass up. Another site I love to buy clipart and fonts from is Etsy. They start from as low as $1.00 on there too.

    A program also you can use to create your own is Krita. It’s a program that allows you to digitally paint, so if you want to be unique, you really have to create your own. I think with so many bloggers moving towards putting together graphics for society 6 and the likes, they probably need to try to make their own elements too as that point of difference. Awesome post Aentee, I hadn’t heard of Design Cuts before, so checking them out now ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kelly, I will now have another site to spend all my money on. I just committed to tumblr again too so there will be many more graphics in my future 😂 I have never heard of Kit, will definitely check it out!!


    1. I can’t wait til you take on the world with your flowers and camera Shannon 😉 I know you’ll be flawless.


    1. Freepik is so great, I am glad you have found it! Have fun experimenting and thanks for stopping by ❤


  19. This is so helpful! I’m a Canva newbie as well as a do anything graphical on a computer newbie, so I’ve been finding it a little difficult on how to actually use Canva to it’s full potential. I love it though! I also bought a design bundle from the Hungry JPeg which I love as well. Although don’t be silly like me if you sign up for the Canva work trial – if you don’t cancel after 30 days, they’ll charge you! Oh well, at least I have Canva for Work now for a year!


  20. What a fabulous post you have here!! It took me almost a year to figure out graphics—last year I didn’t know a THING!! And I didn’t want to pay a ton of money to have someone else do it for me. And lots of trial and error. LOL But I really like Canva and Creative Market. I just recently discovered FreekPik. I also like to use Pixlr for editing photos through FreePik. Like if it doesn’t have a white background so I can put it in Canva, then I can easily adjust it there before transferring it to my design. Creative Market I like, because so many fun graphics for a cheap price.


  21. I read this so long ago but finally have time to comment. Amazing post Aentee! I love how you really showed everyone how easy it is to make graphics. I used to use photoshop and illustrator daily when I was in fashion design school, but my laptop with the programs messed up and after not using those programs for years, I kind of forgot how to use them. But I’m sure with this tutorial, I can make some kick ass graphics too! *off to find a camera graphic*


  22. Thanks for creating this tutorial, it will be really helpful. I’ve been dreading and putting off making my own graphics.

    Happy Reading!


  23. Thank you for this! I had no idea what to do and this clarified things. Now I’m very curious about how you make your graphics. They’re beautiful! 🙂


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