Starting this year, I'm going to do a few blog posts here and there on some of my favorite tools I use as a teacher librarian that I couldn't do this job without! The very first tool I'd like to highlight is PicMonkey. This is a tool I seriously could not live without!
PicMonkey is an online photo editing website that you can use for free OR upgrade your account for $33 for an entire year. This is money I am willing to spend every year as a librarian because I feel this service is invaluable to me and quite a bargain for what you get out of it!
How do I use PicMonkey? Take a look at a few ways in which I use it to create signage and promotional materials below.
You can see that I use PicMonkey for a variety of signage reasons. From promoting new books to NonFiction signage, to genre signage, to letting students know the books I am reading and enjoying! Oh, and all of my headers for my blog posts and social media thumbnails are created in PicMonkey!
Much of the fonts and clip art used for this signage was provided by PicMonkey with their wonderful library of built-in clip art and fonts. PicMonkey also allows you to use not only your own pictures but your own FONTS that you have installed on the computer you are using! It simply brings this tool to a new level.
Speaking of bringing things to a new level, this past year PicMonkey has done some amazing upgrades to it's product for users and especially Royale users. First, they added in a "Hub." The Hub is where you can store projects you are currently editing and working on. Previously, you had to create a product pretty much in one fell swoop. They did not have any project saving features on their website. Now with the Hub, you can save your project there and return to it later. This is a HUGE upgrade!
In addition to this, they recently came out with templates. See the picture below.
Now you can use their templates to create a wide variety of things from invitations to announcements to social media posts, etc. All of it incorporates their own clip art and fonts and everything is customizable. Again, another awesome upgrade!
If you think this is just a tool that has some clip art built in with a few templates, then you are mistaken! There is so much more beyond just this. For example, they have awesome editing tools for "touch up" as they call it. Check out the picture below. . . .
In their "touch up" section, you basically Photoshop an image without having to know Photoshop. They have simple tools that will allow you to "wrinkle reduce," "airbrush," "blemish fix," "teeth whiten," "eye brighten," etc. They are really simple to use and give decent results.
In addition to this, they also have many different "themes" throughout the year. They group together various "touch ups," clip art, fonts, backgrounds, etc. within a certain theme. For example, right now we are approaching Halloween, and they have many different Halloween themes that will allow you to do a variety of things from making a picture of yourself look like a vampire or zombie to Halloween theme clip art to fonts that would work for Halloween. These themes change throughout the entire year, and I find them very useful to find what I want quickly!
Finally, PicMonkey has an excellent tutorials page! You can explore it HERE.They'll teach you have to do everything from how to make custom phone wallpaper to photo editing for beginners to creating pop art to how to mask text. Things you never even knew you wanted to do, you will discover with PicMonkey.
Overall, PicMonkey might be my very favorite tool! Tune in again to Our Lively Library to hear about another invaluable tool I use as a TL everyday. Now off to make some awesome graphics. . . . .
Jennifer Zimny has been a teacher librarian at Ponderosa High School for the past three years and previous to that, she was the drama teacher for 9 years. She holds a BA in Theatre from CSUS, a teaching credential in English, and a teaching credential in Library Media Services from Azusa Pacific University
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