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Sue Chastain

Graphics Software

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Introducing the Pattern Tool in Illustrator

Thursday April 17, 2014

In this tutorial, Sara demonstrates the pattern tool in Illustrator CS6 and later.

Pattern Tool in Illustrator CS6 -  Sara Froehlich
Pattern Tool in Illustrator CS6 Sara Froehlich

If you have ever tried to create a perfectly tiling pattern in Illustrator, you have known the frustration of trying to line up the pattern with grid lines, snap to grid, and snap to point. It will try your patience! Thanks to the Pattern Tool introduced in Illustrator CS6, those days are behind us forever! See how easy patterns can be with Illustrator.
Pattern Tool in Illustrator

Adjusting Text in GIMP

Tuesday April 15, 2014
Adjusting Text in GIMP
Ian Pullen

As a graphics and photo editor, GIMP does not have the degree of flexibility in its text tools as you would get with a desktop publishing app, or even a vector-based graphics editor like Inkscape. Ian shows you how to work around some of the type editing limitations of GIMP in his most recent tutorials.
Adjusting Text Line Spacing and Letter Spacing in GIMP
Adjust Spacing Between Pairs of Letters Using GIMP

See more GIMP Resources and Tutorials.

Free Christian Brushes and Shapes for Photoshop and Elements

Monday April 14, 2014
Christian Symbols
Download several sets of free brushes and shapes for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. These shapes and brushes are based on Christian symbols and include crosses, doves, fish, stars, and many more Christian objects and symbols. Perfect for your Easter projects...

Free Brushes:
Christian Cross Brushes
Christian Dove Brushes
Christian Stars Brushes
Christian Symbol Brushes 1
Christian Symbol Brushes 2
More Christian Cross Custom Brushes

Free Shapes:
Christian Cross Shapes
Christian Symbol Shapes
Christian Fish Shapes
Christian Star Shapes
Christian Dove Shapes
Christian Assorted Shapes
More Christian Cross Custom Shapes

Graphics Challenge: Textures

Sunday April 13, 2014
This week's graphics challenge theme is Textures. Textures are all around you. Soft and smooth, hard and edgy they come in all shapes, sizes, and well...textures. This week we have some starting images for you to explore and create a new image with. Use at least two of them on their own or with something else, we'll let you decide. Have fun! Read More...

Adjusting Text in Inkscape

Thursday April 10, 2014

This tutorial shows you how you can adjust text in Inkscape to make your designs more legible. Ian takes you through the steps to adjust the line height, letter spacing, word spacing, and kerning of your type.
How to Adjust Text in Inkscape

See more Inkscape Tutorials and Resources.

Put Contact Info on Your iOS Lock Screen Wallpaper

Wednesday April 9, 2014
The passcode lock on your iPhone and iPad is a good idea if your device is stolen, but if you lose it, you'll want to provide an easy way for someone who finds it to contact you. Learn how you can add your contact info to your lock screen wallpaper with my templates and instructions.

iOS Wallpaper  Sue Chastain

How to Add Contact Info to Your iOS Lock Screen Wallpaper

Note: I have not had any luck finding a FREE iOS app with a text tool and background swapping that will work with these templates. If you know of one, please suggest it in the comments.

Christian Crosses and Gold Layer Styles

Monday April 7, 2014
Download a set of 36 Christian cross designs as Custom brushes and shapes for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. They are also available as transparent PNG files for use in other software. To go along with them, get the Gold 3 layer styles, a set of 24 metallic effects shown in the image here.

Gold Crosses

Crosses and Gold Styles shown here:
Christian Cross Design Graphics, Brushes, and Shapes
Gold 3 Layer Styles

More Crosses and Christian Symbols:
Christian Symbols Brush Sets - Crosses, Doves, Stars, Etc.
Christian Symbols Shape Sets - Crosses, Doves, Stars, Etc.

More Layer Styles:
30 Gold Layer Styles Set
Shiny Metallic Styles
Gold Stroked Layer Styles
Gold Layer Styles
Imperial Gold Layer Styles
48 Silver Layer Styles Set
Silver Metallic Layer Styles
Silver Stroked Layer Styles
30 White Layer Styles Set
Spring Layer Styles

Graphics Challenge: Easter Eggs

Sunday April 6, 2014
This week's graphics challenge theme is Easter Eggs. Eggs have been dyed or painted for many symbolic reasons by different cultures...we're going to do it because it's fun! Eggs have been viewed as symbols of life and fertility through the ages. It is believed for this reason many ancient cultures used eggs in their spring festivals. Easter, it's said, derives its name from Eostre an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring. A month corresponding to April had been named "Eostremonat," or Eostre's month. We'll get you started with some images, the rest is up to you. Have fun, and careful not to drop them! Read More...

Beware: 'Jaffrey Bay' is Not Representing Me

Friday April 4, 2014

I have recently been alerted to the fact that someone is using my professional head shot in a phishing scam under a fake Google Plus profile under the name "jaffrey bay." I have asked Google to remove this obviously fake profile, but so far all my attempts have been refused by Google. I am posting this here to announce that this profile and whatever phishing scam is associated with it is in no way connected to me. My image has been used without authorization and if you visit the profile in question, you will see that it is a very low resolution copy.

Jaffrey Bay - Fake Profile
Click for full size Read More...

"Pick Your Own Cherries" Digital Scrapbooking Kit

Thursday April 3, 2014

Pick Your Own Cherries Digital Scrapbooking Kit by Darleen Araujo

This digital scrapbooking kit would be great to scrap a summer or fall memory. The colors of reds, browns and golds were chosen to make it a little different for a cherry kit.
"Pick Your Own Cherries" Digital Scrapbooking Kit

The Refine Edge Feature in Photoshop and Elements

Wednesday April 2, 2014

Refine Edge in Photoshop by Ian Pullen

Recent versions of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements have introduced the refine edge tool for fine-tuning and improving difficult selections. In these tutorials, Ian and Liz take you through all the refine edge options in Photoshop and Elements. So don't fret over making selections of hair, fur, clouds, and other difficult objects. Just dig into the powerful refine edge tools!


How to Use Refine Edge in Photoshop Elements
How to Use the Refine Edge Tool in Photoshop

Free Matted Frame Layer Styles

Tuesday April 1, 2014
Free Matted Frame Layer Styles
Matted Frame Styles
Shelby Kate Schmitz
Create quick and easy matted frames with these free layer styles for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements. Just apply the style to a rectangle and add your photo to a layer above. This collection includes a total of 48 frame styles--4 sets of 12 frames each. The preview images in this gallery only show half the styles in each set so the other half will be a surprise when you download them.
48 Free Matted Frame Layer Styles for Photoshop and Elements

Torn Paper Effect and Digital Washi Tape in GIMP

Monday March 31, 2014
Ian gives us two new GIMP tutorials this week to help you add some effects to your digital scrapbook pages and other projects. In the first, he shows you how to create digital Washi tape, a type of decorative tape from Japan. In the second tutorial, he shows how to add a torn paper effect to your images which you can use on your digital Washi tape, or for other projects where you need a torn effect.

Digital Washi Tape

How to Make Digital Washi Tape in GIMP
How to Make a Torn Paper Edge in GIMP

Graphics Challenge: Painting

Sunday March 30, 2014
This week's graphics challenge theme is Painting. It's Vincent Van Gogh's birthday this week, so let's celebrate the masters with a Painting theme. Get out your digital brushes and choose your medium. Don't worry if you're not a Michelangelo or Rembrandt, just get out your painting tools or try out some painting programs. Who knows, you could be famous! Read More...

Restore a Discolored Photo with Photoshop Elements

Thursday March 27, 2014

Restore a Discolored Photo with PSE by Robert Redwood

I made a mistake in this week's newsletter, and the link for How To Restore a Discolored Photo with Photoshop Elements wasn't working. If you're looking for that article, here it is. Sorry for the mistake! Thanks to Barb for pointing it out.

Restore a Discolored Photo with Photoshop Elements

Free Ornate Shapes for Photoshop and Elements

Thursday March 27, 2014

150 Ornate Shapes by Shelby Kate Schmitz

These free ornate shapes by Shelby Kate Schmitz can be used in Photoshop 7 and up and Photoshop Elements 2 and up (Mac or Windows). The examples shown are just a small portion of the full set containing 150 decorative shapes.
150 Free Ornate Shapes by Shelby Kate Schmitz
Sue's Free Shapes for Photoshop and Elements

How do I Make Eye-Catching Pinterest Photo Titles?

Wednesday March 26, 2014

Make Pinterest Titles by Liz Masoner

Have you wondered how to make your blog photos more eye catching for Pinterest and other other social sharing networks? In her latest tutorial, Liz shows you how to take the many free shapes and brushes available on this site, and customize them for your blog titles. These tips also are great for digital scrapbook layouts, every day photo sharing, and other projects.

Create Pinterest Friendly Titles for Your Blog Using Photoshop Elements

Put an Image or Photo Into Text with Photoshop Elements

Monday March 24, 2014
Plaid P
Sue Chastain
You may have seen the text effect where a photo or other image is used to fill a block of text. This effect is easy to do with the layer grouping feature in Photoshop Elements. Old timers may know this technique as a clipping path. In this tutorial you'll work with the type tool, layers, adjustment layers, and layer styles.
Put an Image or Photo Into Text with Photoshop Elements

Graphics Challenge: Out of Bounds

Sunday March 23, 2014
This week's graphics challenge theme is Out of Bounds and a re-visit to this favorite was suggested by Rainbowbird1. The idea is to take an image or images and make it appear like it is protruding over the edges or maybe jumping out of the picture. There are many possibilities for embellishment, so use your imagination and have some fun with it and thanks Rainbowbird1 for the suggestion! Read More...

Free Trim Action for Photoshop Elements

Thursday March 20, 2014

Trim Action by Sara Froehlich

Sara Froehlich has shared a free trim action for Photoshop Elements 6 and up. This command removes excess blank image area from around an image. This can be either a solid color or transparent background area. For the free download and instructions visit the link below.
Free Trim Action for Photoshop Elements

Grunge Layer Style Effects

Monday March 17, 2014

Grunge Layer Styles by Shelby Kate Schmitz

Download a set of grunge layer styles for Photoshop and Photoshop Elements by Shelby Kate Schmitz. These styles will create a worn-out, grungy effect on text or objects. The set includes 2 different grunge patterns, in 6 color combinations, all with and without black outlines. I've also included instructions on how you can easily change the color in these and other layer styles.
Download Free Grunge Styles
Grunge Layer Styles Set 2

Graphics Challenge: Spring!

Sunday March 16, 2014
This week's graphics challenge theme is Spring! Still caught in the clutches of Winter? Can't wait for Robins to return and the Crocus to poke through the ground? Well, then, it's time to think Spring. This week we are going to celebrate the vernal equinox--also known as Spring. The idea for this theme is to create a springtime image. So think about what Spring means to you, and share it with us! Read More...

St. Patrick's Day Digital Scrapbooking Kit

Friday March 14, 2014

Glen o' the Green by Sharia Braxton

Download this fun and free St. Patrick's Day kit of coordinating elements and papers for digital scrapbooking. These elements and papers can be used with any graphics software that supports JPEG and PNG files. The kit includes 5 papers, 3 ribbons, journal boxes, and several decorative elements to create a unified scrapbook layout for your digital photos.
"Glen o' The Green" Digital Scrapbooking Kit

Get Ready for St. Patrick's Day with Adobe Illustrator

Thursday March 13, 2014
Saint Patrick's Day is around the corner! Here are some Adobe Illustrator tutorials and symbols to help you decorate your St. Patrick's Day projects with shamrocks and more.
St. Patrick's Day Shamrocks Illustrator Tutorial
Creating Shamrock Brushes in Illustrator
Free St. Patricks Day & Shamrock Symbols for Adobe Illustrator

Make a Funny Leprechaun Cut Out Cartoon in GIMP or Paint.NET

Wednesday March 12, 2014
Cartoon Leprechaun
Ian Pullen
Ian Pullen shows us how to create a funny cartoon cut out leprechaun using a photo for the face in his latest tutorials for GIMP and Paint.NET. This idea is inspired by those old life-sized cartoon paintings that you'd find at fun fairs, with cut out holes that you could put your head through. So, let's get the craic underway... choose your preferred free software and click a link below to begin the tutorial!

Paint.NET Leprechaun Cut Out Cartoon Tutorial
GIMP Leprechaun Cut Out Cartoon Tutorial

St. Patrick's Day Collection Photoshop Presets

Tuesday March 11, 2014
St. Patrick's Day Collection
S.K. Schmitz
Here's a collection of brushes, custom shapes, patterns and layer style effects hand picked for St. Patrick's Day. This collection includes shamrock brushes and shapes, plus patterns and effects in green and gold colors for your St. Patricks's Day projects. The presets can be used in Photoshop 7 and up and Photoshop Elements 2 and up.
St. Patrick's Day Collection Photoshop Presets

Also see:
"Glen o' The Green" Digital Scrapbooking Kit
Free St. Patricks Day & Shamrock Symbols for Illustrator

Plaid, Plaid, Plaid!

Monday March 10, 2014

Tartan Plaid

My husband has always said that plaid is his favorite color. If you love plaid, too, you're in luck! We have several plaid patterns and layer styles from Shelby Kate Schmitz and myself. I've also created a tutorial that will show you how you can turn a regular plaid pattern into a tartan plaid, which can be tricky if you need to keep it seamless. So visit the links below and go plaid crazy!

Plaid Pattern
S.K. Schmitz
Plaid Patterns in Photoshop Format
Plaid Seamless Patterns in PNG Format
Plaid Patterned Styles by Shelby Kate Schmitz
Convert a Regular Plaid Pattern to a Tartan Plaid (and Keep it Seamless!)
Seamless Patterns (Some Plaid)
Sue's Plaid & Checkered Patterns for Photoshop

Graphics Challenge: Wearing o' the Green

Sunday March 9, 2014
With St. Patrick's Day coming up soon, our theme is Wearing o' the Green. Whether you're whole or part Irish, or maybe just Irish for a day, why not join in the celebration and create an image for St Paddy's day? Have fun and keep an eye out for the leprechauns! Read More...

Celtic Knot Border in Adobe Illustrator

Saturday March 8, 2014
Celtic Border in Illustrator
Sandra Trainor
In this tutorial, you will use Adobe Illustrator to create a Celtic knot border design. With the aid of a grid and rulers, you'll work with the Pen tool to plot points and create lines, and by means of a clipping mask you'll make the lines appear intertwined. You'll learn how to create and apply color swatches and graphic styles to objects, and how to scale and reflect objects. You'll add text with the Type tool and apply to it specifications using the Character panel and Paragraph panel. This tutorial uses an Irish blessing for the text, but you can use your own text if you like; perhaps written for a greeting card or party invitation.
Make a Celtic Knot Border in Adobe Illustrator

Using Patterns in Adobe Illustrator

Friday March 7, 2014
Patterns in Illustrator
S. Froehlich
Patterns in Illustrator are easy to use, and they can be applied to fills, strokes, and even resized, rotated, or repositioned within an object. Illustrator comes with a large variety of preset patterns, and you can make your own from symbols or your own artwork. Let's look at applying patterns to an object, and then see how easy it is to resize, reposition, or even rotate the pattern within an object.
Using Patterns in Illustrator

Draw a Chibi Elf or Leprechaun in Paint Shop Pro

Thursday March 6, 2014
This Paint Shop Pro tutorial shows you how to create an elf or leprechaun in the extremely popular Manga style of cartoon drawing. Our elf is a Chibi, which is a cute and small version of Manga. Chibi characters are cheerful, adorable, mischievous and a lot of fun to create! You can dress your elf for St. Patrick's Day and send someone a shamrock with your holiday wishes!
Draw a Chibi Elf or Leprechaun in Paint Shop Pro

Nomad Mini 2 Paintbrush + Stylus

Wednesday March 5, 2014

Nomad Mini 2 Paintbrush + Stylus

Nomad Mini 2 is a compact rubber-tipped 2-in-1 touch screen stylus with a retractable paintbrush tip on one end and a rubber nib on the other. Read my review for all the details on this new stylus from Nomad Brush.

Nomad Mini 2 Paintbrush + Stylus Review

Also see:
What's the Best Touch Screen Stylus?
Choosing an Electronic Stylus for iPad
Smart Stylus Roundup: Pressure-Sensitive Electronic Pens for iPad
Top Touch Screen Stylus Pens and Brushes
Reader Reviews of Stylus Pens and Brushes

Graphics Challenge: Typography

Sunday March 2, 2014
This week's graphics challenge theme is Typography, suggested by Rainbowbird1. The idea is to explore typography by creating a new image using only type. You may want to try different fonts, learn about kerning or other aspects of typography. See what your type editor has to offer--what you create is up to you. Most of all, have some fun with it and thanks Rainbowbird for the great suggestion! Read More...

How to Make Retro Sun Rays in GIMP

Monday February 24, 2014
Sun Rays by Ian Pullen

Retro sun rays have been a popular graphic style for many years and their popularity shows no sign of waning. In this step by step tutorial, Ian show you how you can create your own sun rays effect using GIMP, the free raster image editor.

This graphic style is perfect for adding interest to backgrounds of all sorts of projects, including blog banners and adverts. While there are a few steps to take to get a balanced design, this isn't particularly complex and should be suitable for beginner GIMP users.

How to Make Retro Sun Rays in GIMP

Graphics Challenge: Travel Brochures

Sunday February 23, 2014
This week we will be enticed by foreign and exotic destinations, as we look through our Travel Brochures. The idea for this challenge theme is to create a travel brochure to a destination real or imagined. Take off to somewhere you want to go or where you have been and have some fun with it! Read More...
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