Wacom Bamboo pen and touch tablet, and Adobe Photoshop Elements (this is the cheaper version to the full Photoshop program, aprox. $80)
My Process: (Doesn't this make me sound all creative and artisty?)
When I create a Christmas header, I'm not aiming to make a brand new image. I want to take the header that is already in use and embellish it with Christmas-y goodness. I still want the blog's "brand" to be recognizable. Using my pen and touch tablet, I open my current header in PSE and get drawing. Each "element" of the header gets a new layer so I can get rid of my not-so-good-ideas easily. I start by drawing a rough shape and colouring it in. I find that the shapes really come to life by dodging (lightening) and burning (darkening) to create highlights and shadows. It's an easy way to take an image to the next level. Here's an example of a Santa hat with and without the shading.
|Here's the hat without shading.|
|And here's the hat with shading.|
I know what you're thinking right now.
But Sunny, I don't HAVE Photoshop Elements or a fancy drawing tablet! How can I make a super awesome Christmas header?
That is where the second part of this tutorial comes in!
After hearing talk of picmonkey.com in the blog-o-sphere, I decided to check it out. I was surprise with just how much it had to offer. Here's the thing about picmonkey: they have a free version and a version you pay for. The free version offers a lot, but you will stumble across certain features that require the upgrade.
To make a Christmas themed header, start by uploading an image of your normal header. Then go to the click on the snowflake called themes in the bottom left-hand corner. As of Dec. 2014, they have a Winter Wonderland theme and Santa's Workshop theme. Each of them offers Christmas stamps that you can use to decorate your header. Don't be afraid to use the eraser tool to give the stamps a layered look. Here's a screenshot of me working A Splash of Photography's header (it's usually just plain text).
In addition to using the provided stamps, picmonkey allows the user to upload "overlays" (under the butterfly icon on the left). With that feature in mind, I have pre-drawn some shapes you are welcome to download and paste on your headers (see end of this post).
A few lovely bloggers let me use their headers as examples of how the finished product can look!
First up is Cait from Paper Fury:
And I used this Santa hat:
|I gave this Santa hat a drop shadow around the "fur" so it would show up on white backgrounds|
For this header, I used these two overlays that I drew:
|I didn't technically draw this, but I used a snowflake brush in PSE to create it. Psh...details.|
|In the header, I added a bit of sky and snow behind this in PSE.|
As always, let me know what you thought of this tutorial. Be sure to leave links if you decide to make a Christmas header! I'd love to see them.
P.S. Here are a few other Santa hat options that I drew. Two of them don't have drop shadows, but the fur will show up on a non-white background.
Reading: Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Listening: Christmas Playlist