There’s been some interest (thanks to Cate’s repost lately) in my Visual Writer’s Bio, and one request for instructions. So here they are, should you want to play around with making your own bio. I used commonly available software, and have a template for you.
Normally I create a lot of the graphics you see here on this blog using Corel Paint Shop Pro. I can’t afford Photoshop, although have recently downloaded Photoshop CS2 – which is now free. I am still to spend time learning it. But many people use the free GIMP or Picmonkey successfully to create graphics or alter images you may need.
Finding Other Graphics and Images
Do a search for png files on the internet. Pngs should have a transparent background, making it easier to place on your bio. Searching for icon files will often locate pngs on your theme also. Be aware of copyright and crediting also. Where I couldn’t find applicable creative commons or free-to-use graphics I created my own.
2. The Template and Assembly
I created my own visual bio in Microsoft Powerpoint rather than a graphics program like Photoshop. Powerpoint has some decent image editing and placement features – you can add text boxes, images, take the backgrounds off images that may have them, and add arrows etc. Once completed you can save the file as a PDF, and as a JPEG for upload to the web.
My template was based on the design found in the Writer’s Digest magazine when they profile book agents etc. That’s where the bubble images and arrows coming from a central figure come from.
Some of the round circles act as frames for images. These were initially created using Powerpoint’s Smartart–>Pictures insert. There are a range of picture groups in there, which offer a frame or double frame group. I have moved those around in my design, and inserted or replaced the central picture inside the group.
For other circles I simply cut out my graphic into a circle shape or selection inside my graphics program, and saved as a png (which preserves the transparent areas around the circle). Then I’ve inserted a picture, chosen that circular image, and then once inside the bio, I’ve resized the image down and moved it to fit inside the circle frame.
Other elements have been created from templates inside graphic draw programs such as MS Visio, or Smartdraw, then copied over into the template.
Here is the Powerpoint template to download: (both are simply one-slide presentations).
Powerpoint 2010 (pptx format)
Powerpoint 97-2003 (ppt format)
Save this file, then Open this into powerpoint, and you will have all the layers. You can add, re-arrange, and insert as you wish.
Each of the elements on the page can be changed colour or size quite simply. For the My Books area, insert cover images (jpeg or png format work best) and resize and position. I have left a few graphic elements in the template which you are free to use, or simply click on them to select and delete.
Insert your own URL links for your blog, social media profiles etc. When the bio is saved as a PDF, these links will be preserved, but in a jpeg graphic will not be. Therefore I would recommend that if you are uploading the visual bio as a graphic for your about me page, that you put these links below this, and include your bio text blurb also, so that people can read and copy it from your webpage should they wish.
Play around with all the display elements to make your visual resume your own. I like Cate’s idea of providing a blended border at the top and bottom of hers also, which diffentiates the page.