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 😛
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!
Step #1: Fantastic 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.
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 to 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.
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!
- Don’t make it too busy, if you add a lot of busy pictures, it can get quite overwhelming. For example the 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Play around, try different things and see what works well.
- 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.
The final result
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!