The Bookworm’s Guide to making Aesthetics (including aesthetics for what might or might not be my future WIP)

If you’ve been following me on my twitter, you’ve probably noticed at least one of the aesthetics I’ve been making the past few weeks. I love making aesthetics and I’ve made several for both published books and people’s NaNoWriMo projects (of course I’m not procrastinating nooo). And people have been asking me how I made them, so here I am explaining in a step-by-step guide how to make aesthetics. So you can now become as awesome as I am πŸ˜›

Aesthetics are just collages of pictures that look pretty together and fit a theme. This theme, is for me usually a book or story. It can, however, be anything you want! To illustrate every step, I will be showing you exactly how I make an aesthetic by making one as I write this post.

I had this story idea a few days ago that apparently everybody loved so I’m going to use that. It’s a contemporary Alice in Wonderland retelling about Alice who suffers from psychosis and works in a hat shop, it also features a therapist in training (who is constantly high…), a mom that bakes cakes that taste like magic, and a very cute cat!

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Step #1: FantasticΒ pictures and where to find them

For your collage you, of course, want the best pictures. And you’re not going to find them on google images, you might try but it’s surprisingly hard. Instead, you can use Pinterest and WeHeartIt. Both are completely free and work quite similar to each other.

WeHeartIt is a personal favourite of mine but it can be quite hard to find pictures you love. I’ve been using it for many many years and have saved (or ‘hearted’) many beautiful images I use constantly.

Pinterest is much more accessible for beginners, and searching something in the search bar will usually not leave you feeling unsatisfied.

Both platforms allow you to save pictures on boards/in collections, which makes it easy to look at all the things you’ve saved and collect pretty pictures.

Step #2: how to find them

Finding the pictures you love has only a few tricks. You need keywords, things that are related to the theme of your collage. If this would be for example Six of Crows, keywords could be: crows, Amsterdam (Ketterdam is based on Amsterdam), thieves, heist, playing cards, magic, etc. Usually while looking for pictures, you’ll get inspired for new keywords.

So the best tip there is, is to add “aesthetic” after your keyword when you search for it. It’s a little thing but can improve your search results so much!

When looking for pictures, it is important to keep in mind whether you want a color scheme. Having a color scheme often improves your end result a lot!

So my search terms would be: cat, Alice in wonderland, chess, red roses, mental illness, psychosis, baking, and so on. I am sticking to a beige with red/orange color scheme.

post aesthetic1
Example of what you find when you search for “painted roses aesthetic” on pinterest

And then you just download all the pictures you want! You better have too many than too few!

Step #3: What’s next

So you’ve found your pictures, what’s next? It depends on what you want but an aesthetic collage could have four pictures up toΒ however many you want. You can make them square and have 2×2, 3×3, 4×4 squares etc, but you can also make rectangles of 2×3, 2×4 and so on.

I really love the 3×3 square so that’s what I’ll be using. For this one you need 9 pictures (obviously).

For making collages I always use ipiccy, which is completely free and online software.

post aesthetic2
The interface of ipiccy.com

You can press “add images” and add all your images and then comes the most fun part!

Step #4: Making it look nice

Now that you’ve found your pictures and uploaded them to wherever you’re making your collage, you can drag them to your collage! You can do them randomly of course, but there are a few tricks to making it look nice!

  1. Alice2Don’t make it too busy, if you add a lot of busy pictures, it can get quite overwhelming. For example theΒ picture on the right. It is quite pretty, but it is a bit too busy, with many pictures and colors all asking for your attention at the same time.
  2. Adding quotes: I love using quotes because they are calm and make the aesthetic in general look more pleasing. You can find quotes on pinterest as well.
  3. Using a checkerboard layout: meaning you alternate pictures that have a similar color or feel to it. If you have two colors, you can alternate them. I usually also try to alternate quotes or at least not have only quotes in one row. As you can see in the picture below, having the five pictures forming a cross have the same colors and tones, and having the other four pictures having similar colors, gives it a nice balanced look. Another trick is to use symmetry to your advantage, as you can see the picture in the top left and the bottom right are very similar, so are the picture on the top right and bottom left.Β Alice1
  4. Play around, try different things and see what works well.
  5. Once you’re satisfied with your layout, you can also do some post-editing if you like. I usually use the photo editing software from my laptop (I don’t know what it’s called, but it was already on my laptop when I got it). I use hue, saturation, and temperature to make it seem a bit more similar. It gives it a bit more atmosphere and gives it overall a more coherent feeling.

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The final result

Alice3 (2)

I have decided to go with this design, but of course tastes differ so don’t take my tips as rules but just as guidelines. You can do whatever you want with your aesthetics. This post is just to help you along the way!

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Do you like making aesthetics? Any tips or tricks I should know about? Are you going to try making some aesthetics after reading this post? I’d love to see them! If you think this is too hard, you can also message me, and I would love to make you aesthetics!

36 thoughts on “The Bookworm’s Guide to making Aesthetics (including aesthetics for what might or might not be my future WIP)

  1. I’ve never made aesthetics, but I’ve always wanted to and I do not Pinterest boards that are dedicated to my WIPs.. This doesn’t look so hard so I may have to give it a go!! I love looking at aesthetics people have made. The only thing I worry about is giving people the correct credit…. I have no idea how it works and don’t want to use someone’s art or photo that I’m not supposed to….. HELP

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You should definitely try it! Making aesthetics is so fun!
      I don’t know how it works with credit but all my pictures are from pinterest and weheartit… I think if you don’t sell their pictures, it’s not too bad? I don’t know, sorry :/

      Like

  2. Great post! Following you on Twitter definitely made me want to try this. The problem I always come across is not being able to find aesthetic pictures for my characters. What if I want a chubby girl? Yes there are outfit shots but none running through fields and things. Or a women who is tall and broad shouldered…. Or. Or. Well. I guess the plus side is I’m not getting side tracked from writing but I want pretty aesthetics too…Haha

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, characters are hard! Especially ones that aren’t white and skinny. Character aesthetics are much harder to do than general ones, I think. Sometimes it’s just luck, if you find one that fits well… Good luck!

      Like

  3. this is an awesome post! thanks so much for the tips. your aesthetics are always so amazing and beautiful! i’m excited to try out aesthetics for myself sometime. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I rarely make aesthetics and collages, in general. But I have like a HOARD of pretty pictures saved from Pinterest on my phone haha πŸ˜€ I use Photoshop whenever I make aesthetics just because I have more tools in my arsenal to make the aesthetics look cohesive but OHMIGOSH IPICCY WAS MY FIRST LOVE ❀ ❀
    This is a great guide, Lia! I'm totally with you on adding the word "aesthetic" or "tumblr" when searching on Pinterest to filter out the DIYs and crafts and recipes pin πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I love photoshop as well but it’s much harder to use! There were other sites on which you could change the hue etc per individual photo but those don’t have the easy interface…. or are paid.
      Thank you! I’ve never tried adding tumblr to my search query, I should try it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yeah. If I get a dime for every time I had to ask Google for help πŸ˜©πŸ˜‚ Be careful with addin tumblr tho because you might get like a tumblr comment chain (? gosh I don’t know what it’s called) instead

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this, I always wanted to create aesthetics but I never really took the time to really get into it. I have the weird habit to save every pictures that would make a good aesthetic but never got further πŸ˜‚
    I also didn’t know any free app/website to do my collages, so thank you for that!
    I think it’s a really great guide! 😘

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This post is just what I needed, because I love your aesthetics 😍 Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks in making them! πŸ™‚ Now I definitely have a huge urge to abandon everything on my current to do list and create dozen aesthetics for my story ideas πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks! I love making aesthetics (especially aesthetics for my characters and my WIP!) Somehow, time just slips by when I make them- I tell myself that I will just make one, then I end up making five :’)
    I have been using Pinterest so far but I will check out WeHeartIt πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This is such a fantastic post, thank you for sharing your aesthetics, also THE ONE YOU MADE IS SO STUNNING ❀
    I only got into making aesthetics for my ideas and WIPs recently, but I'm loving it so much! πŸ™‚

    Like

  9. AGHAHGHGH you answered to my un-asked question, Lia!! πŸ˜‚ I still won’t be able to make character aesthetics as yours, but at least I can make somewhat decent ones. πŸ˜› (And that Alice retelling idea is AWESOME and I’d totally want to read it!)

    Liked by 1 person

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