David Bowie reading Viz illustration by Ed Clews

It’s hip to be Square AKA making sure your illustrations work for social media.

These days I seem to spend a lot more time thinking about where my illustration work is going to end up. Most of it ends up either on my Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and occasionally Dribble.

Even if I’m doing an illustration for an A4 or A5 portrait or landscape format, I’ll now spend a bit extra looking at the space around the main characters and backgrounds to see if it fits a square template. That way I can work out what will get clipped off.

If you look at the David Bowie reading Viz illustration below, you can see how much room disappears off the edges. With this in mind I have to work out what detail I want to keep in around the edges.

Photoshop image with guides on cropping your work for social media

It’s something to bear in mind especially now as I’m doing more extra animation in video and gif format - the more places I want to show the artwork, the more things I’ll be producing.

  • Instagram: 1 x square picture plus 1 x How I Made It animation in mp4 (as Instagram can’t take gifs without some fiddling) plus a gif for blogs etc. You can upload landscape images but if you upload a portrait image it sometimes gets slightly cropped off at the top and bottom.
  • Dribbble can be a bit of a pain in the arse as it needs a 800 x 600 pixel landscape for the main image (although you can add more images afterwards). If I’m working in portrait format it’s time to do some creative cropping or I can sometimes make the main character a Smart Object layer in Photoshop and scale it in.
  • For Facebook and Pinterest you can pretty much stick anything on.
  • Plus a 600 x 425 pixel teaser image for the blog post or page on my website (this is roughly A4 scaled down)

Example of gif illustration

David Bowie reading Viz illustration gif

Don’t forget you can buy stickers and cards from my shop.


Updated: - written by Ed Clews

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