If you aren't handy with a paintbrush, there's another way you can create eye-catching art to hang proudly on your wall. It's a great way to display holiday memories and turn a few heads at the same time. All you need is a computer and some of your favourite pics to get you started.
While my software program of choice is Adobe Photoshop, there are a heap of free alternatives on the net. GIMP is a free image manipulation program I have used before and some highly rated alternatives include Krita and ChocoFlop.
What you are looking for is a program that has filters to add to your photo. Filters are visual effects you can apply to your image to give them a different look. There are many great and tacky filters out there, so the best thing to do is have a play and see what works for you. If you are planning to create a set of images to mount together (as I have done) then I recommend sticking to the same treatment for all images.
If you don't have much experience with these kinds of things, then you can always download a free trial of Photoshop and follow the simple steps below. I have chosen to use the 'cutout' filter on this occasion. After installing the software, the process only takes a few minutes so why not give it a try.
Step One: Open your chosen image in Photoshop
Step Two: Select from the menu Filter/Artistic/Cutout Step Three:
There are three main bars to play with in this filter; number of levels, edge simplicity and edge fidelity. Basically, a higher number of levels will give you more colours, higher edge simplicity gives you more detailed edging within your image and higher edge fidelity will maintain edges similar to your original.
You don't need to fully understand these options to make them work. If your image is quite detailed you may find that higher values will work better for you. Low figures will give you more of an abstract result. It's best to play around with these and see which combination gives you the best effect. I have chosen in this instance a reasonably high number for all three options to keep the images quite realistic.
Step Four: When you are happy with your look, click OK then choose from the menu File/Save As. Enter a new file name and select JPEG as your format, this will be compatible with most printers for your canvas.
You now have an image ready to print onto canvas
These days, printing onto canvas is cheap and easy. You can choose to go to a photo shop to order your canvas or online services such as Snapfish are reliable and cost effective options. Snapfish regularly has specials on certain items, so it's worth waiting until a special comes-up and you can save about 40-50%. If you haven't used Snapfish before, the process to upload your image, select your canvas size and order is very simple and the site will walk you through each step.
TIP: Have a think about where you are going to hang your canvases and the arrangement before you place your order. Be sure to select a place visitors will notice your new artwork and you'll be surprised how many comments you get.