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12 March 2015

How to Customize Products at Zazzle

I have been posting my art and photography on products for sale at Zazzle for a few years now. Using their design creation and customization tools has become second nature. But as I think back, I realize how much of a learning process there was and how some customers may feel intimidated by the tools or may be reluctant to experiment with them. Here, then, are two Zazzle product customization user manuals that show how to customize products at Zazzle.

Zazzle provides two methods for customizing a product: a design template and a full set of customization tools. A design template is a list of image layers and text fields which appear only if created by the designer and which allow a customer to make simple changes to the design. The full set of customization tools is available via a Customize it! link if the designer has not turned off this feature. These tools provide numerous ways to add, change, and remove various aspects of the design.

In order to keep this post, and the manual pages, to a reasonable length, I have posted the two manuals to separate pages. The first manual explains how to use a design template; the second one, which is quite lengthy, explains all of the tools available for full customization. Below are links to the two manuals plus links to all of the sections of the full customization manual.

  0 – Introduction
  1 – Using the Art View
  2 – Understanding Image and Text Layers
  3 – Adding Image and Text Layers
  4 – Changing Image and Text Layers – General
  5 – Moving Image and Text Layers
        5-1 – Moving Image and Text Layers in the XY Plane
        5-2 – Moving Image and Text Layers in the Z Plane
  6 – Rotating Image and Text Layers
  7 – Resizing Image Layers
  8 – Formatting Text Layers
  9 – Changing the Background Color
10 – Customizing Designs with Multiple Sides or Areas
11 – Using the Edit Menu
12 – Using the Advanced Options

19 January 2015

GIMP Magazine Issue 8

News Flash!

GIMP Magazine Issue 8 is now available. This issue focuses on Ian Muttoo, a photographer with quite a few tricks up his sleeve, and includes an article about night time and low light photography, plus many examples of Ian's work in this area. There is also a gallery of art and photography by members of the GIMP community.

Don't miss this tablet-friendly edition.

22 December 2014

GIMP Magazine Issue 7

News Flash!

GIMP Magazine Issue 7 is now available. This issue focuses on Evelyne Schulz, an extraordinary digital artist, and includes a tutorial, an in-depth interview, and a few examples of her work. There is also a gallery of art and photography by members of the GIMP community.

Be sure not to miss this tablet-friendly edition.

18 December 2014

GIMP Magazine Issue 6

News Flash!

In case you missed it, GIMP Magazine has returned from a long hiatus sporting a new look and a new format which is tablet-friendly. Issues now have fewer pages, but focus on one photographer, artist, or topic.

This issue focuses on Aaron Tyree, master photographer, and  includes an in-depth interview and a tutorial, along with many examples of Aaron's work. There is also a gallery of art and photography by members of the GIMP community.

Download Issue 6 for free!

10 July 2014

A Painting Tutorial by Evelyne Schulz

Many months ago I discovered Evelyne Schulz on Twitter due to a GIMP-related post. I immediately loved her artwork and, after some correspondence, she graciously agreed to write a tutorial about how she creates her digital paintings in GIMP. What follows is what she wrote about how she created her Warrior painting, with editing and inclusion of a description of the Palette Editor by me.


21 May 2014

How to Import EPS Files into Inkscape

While browsing the shelves of a local discount book store, I stumbled upon an interesting pattern book called Drip.Dot.Swirl. by Von Glitschka, published by HOW Books in 2009. Being a bit of a pattern nut and seeing a lot of patterns in the book that I liked, I was about to buy the book when I noticed that the DVD that was supposed to be in the back of the book was missing. The DVD contains editable vector files, swatch libraries, and tutorials and is at least half the reason for buying the book. Being undaunted, after a quick search online I found the book on and had a copy in my hands within a week.

I happily popped the DVD into the drive and grabbed the first vector file, only to discover that all the files are in encapsulated PostScript (EPS) format and plain vanilla Inkscape is completely unable to load them. Fine. Back to the internet. After poking around for a while I finally found some useful instructions at Here's a quick step-by-step on how to set up Inkscape so that it can read EPS files.

23 April 2014

Four Ways to Draw a Border Around a Selection in GIMP

I was recently asked for a quick way to draw a border three pixels wide around the inside edge of a rectangular selection on top of an in-progress graphic design. Two methods immediately came to mind and a third occurred to me later that afternoon. I discovered a fourth method while writing this article.

Method 1

The most obvious method to use is Select > Border [1], which opens the Border Selection dialog [2]. This dialog contains three adjustments.

Border Selection Dialog
Border Selection Dialog