Unlock your creative genius with Canva. This beginner's guide will get you started.For anybody wishing to get serious with social media, you will need some awesome graphics. Where do you start? The Internet is a minefield of conflicting advice and dubious recommendations. In Discovering your Creativity, I want to explore the possibilities offered by Canva.

Canva the tool of choice for creativity

I have been dabbling in the field of social media for more years than I care to recall. I have come to realise that you need a little more than smart-ass sayings and clever quips to gain a following and generate a meaningful bond with your audience.

I have been recommended Canva by many members of a Facebook group that I have been using. I was aware of the existence of Canva insofar as I have had a very cursory look at it in the past.

Being that I now wish to record my journey through this social media minefield, I decided it was imperative that I should, at least, familiarise myself with this much used graphics tool.

canva awesome graphics killer images engage social media audience on pinterest, facebook, twitter and google plus
Canva Start Screen

I confess that I did, initially, find the Canva interface confusing as I was accustomed to using picMonkey to create my Pinterest pin graphics.

But, take a few moments to look around, and it soon falls into place. Now, if you use Canva, and many of you do, I may be stating the obvious. However, there are many people out there looking to enter this exciting world of social media; let’s face it, we all want to be loved and appreciated for what we bring to this life.

This is for the beginners, so if you are already familiar with Canva you have my full permission to “Bounce” away from this post as it is probably not for you.

The above screen shot show you the starting point in Canva; the Create a Design screen. In the right pane, you have the blue area with a number of popular, possible templates. In the main area you see a number of my designs, all of which are works-in-progress.

If we begin by clicking on the “+” sign for “more” templates, the screen expands to show the full range of available templates, grouped by type.

Canva - Expanded Templates View

Adding your first Drawing

Explore, you ain’t going to break it. I would draw your attention to the second row of templates, the “Social Media Posts” where we shall start with the “Pinterest Graphic”. Click this and it will take you to a blank Pinterest Graphic ready for you to add your magic.

Canva - Blank Pinterest Graphic

Now, as well as the blank graphic, you have a number of Canva layouts in the left column. These are optional but, can be a good starting point for you to use and customise for your needs.

You will also notice the toolbar at the extreme left of the screen, with Layouts currently highlighted. Other tools include: Elements, Text, Backgrounds and Uploads. We shall ignore the layouts for the moment, and move on to Text.

Canva Text Screen

Again you will see the left pane or column has updated to show available text templates. There are many and some of them will allow you to create your killer image with just a few mouse clicks and text edits.

Scroll down through the available text templates until you find the one I have used for this example.

Canva - Title Selected

Notice that all of these text options have a little callout box saying “FREE”. When you explore further and get into the the available images, you will see that they are NOT all free which is where, for me, Canva falls down. You can upload your own graphics, so it is entirely possible to use Canva without charge if you are selective about what you use.

You can now edit the text areas within this sample, you can update the body colour and the border colour using the two colour squares above left in the right pane.

Now, you need to save your masterpiece. But, before we do this, we need to name it. In the upper tool area you will see buttons for “Share”, “Download” and “Make Public”. To the left of these buttons is the word “Title” which is the title of this graphic. Click on the word “Title”

Canva - Edit Title

And a dialog box will appear allowing you to change the title to something more meaningful for your purpose. Now, look to the left of that same toolbar and you will see “File” under which is the save option.

You have now just created your very first Pinterest pin graphic.

OK, at the moment it is still on Canva and you need to get it onto your computer so that you can start to use it. To do this you need to use the “Download” button on the top toolbar. This will download to the Downloads folder on your computer.

That addresses all the questions I had raised for myself in this first foray into the world of Canva. This does not make me, nor will it make you, an expert. But we can now use this graphic creation tool and begin to unlock our inner creative genius.

It is my intention to continue using this new, to me, graphics utility so that I can expand on this post to, perhaps, create a full-blown training course in the future. And, in keeping with the Canva principle it will have to be a FREE training course.

Over to You

Do you use Canva? Can you offer me any tips? I would love to hear from you, be it praise or criticism.

I know this is nothing to do with multiple sclerosis or any other health matter, but it is part of my journey in learning to contend with my autoimmune disease.

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