Graphic Design Tools & Tips

A.K.A. Reasons I Love Canva by Käri Nuñez

I would like to welcome author Käri Nuñez. She creates fantastic journals for readers, teachers, and more. I asked her to give me her favorite graphic design tools and it was all about Canva. I also use Canva on a regular basis so there is much love for the platform here (and no, we aren’t being paid for this post). So, without further ado, here are some graphic design tools and tips.

Five Reasons to Use Canva

To those who are looking for a user-friendly design tool, I’d recommend Canva. Here’s why:

  1. Canva offers a variety of templates for all platforms—Facebook posts, Instagram stories, reels, pinterest, etc. You can post your artwork worry free and not stress over measurements. 
  2. Canva has plenty of stock photos and graphics that are copyright free. Artists and other content creators upload their work to the site for others to use. As a result, they have a variety of options, styles, and mediums to choose from (videos, photos, graphics, stickers, and audio clips).
  3. Anyone can be a content creator. The design tools are simple and easy to use. You can edit any image, such as removing the background, blurring certain sections of the graphic, adjusting the brightness, adding shadows, etc. 
  4. If you are a small business, Canva provides smartmockups. You don’t need a professional camera or a lighting studio to showcase your product. They have a plethora of templates to show the consumer what they are buying. Canva has mockups for print products, apparel, packaging, and technology.
  5. Lastly, Canva creates space for you to store your work. I have multiple folders to file my current and former designs. When I need to reference a previous design, it’s easy to locate the file and upload it to my workspace. 

Graphic Design Tips

  1. Be patient. As an artist, your first draft isn’t always your finished product. When I am stuck, I close my computer and take a walk.
  2. If your focus is growing your social media account, follow the trends of like-minded mainstream artists. Typically, we want to create something uniquely our own, but the trick is to mimic the trending photos, hashtags, or graphics. Instagram and Facebook have algorithms designed to boost trending content. By playing their game, your content will reach more people. 
  3. Get feedback on your work before you post. Find people to look at your graphic art and comment on how they interpret artwork. Listening to other people’s perspectives helps determine if your content mirrors the message you intend others to grasp. 


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What Inspired Your Blog?

I published my first blog in February 2022. Our book club selected The Ex Hex by Erin Sterling. This was an anticipated read. This story hit all my guilty pleasure points – magic, witches, black cats, and romance. Here is a brief synopsis of the story:

“Never mix vodka and witchcraft” is solid advice and, for us mere mortals, a helpful reminder that alcohol mixed with emotions can be a recipe for regret. That day of remorse could come the following day, or in this case, nine years later. Once upon a time, nineteen-year-old college student Vivienne Jones locked lips and held hands with heartthrob Rhys Penhallow. Rhys has charm, looks, and the family name that tethers him to Graves Glen’s founding and infamous warlock status. As the summer came to an end, so did the relationship. Rhys returned to England, leaving heartbreak for Vivi, who, in turn, left Rhys with a curse.”

I loved the book cover as it evoked a nostalgic feeling from the tv series “Bewitched.” But as I turned the pages, the story and its characters were not as I had expected. The cutesy cover was misleading, so I designed a book cover that felt true to its genre and themes.

The photo pictured here is the first graphic I designed.

To those curious to read this post, this blog is a negative book review. I took a great pause before publishing this blog.

As a rule, I strive to support artists and commend all who put themselves out there. Erin Sterling is Rachel Hawkins, a well-known author who took a different direction in her writing. I settled on being honest and reporting on how our book club responded. Turns out that other bookworms share a similar opinion.

With every story we read after, my imagination went wild. The memorable scenes and their characters inspired my artwork, which led to more blogs.

Bookstagram, Baby!

Below are graphics to showcase some of my other blog posts: The Night Circus, Homicide & Halo-Halo, The Alice Network, and Sign Here. I also post them on Instagram.

The Book Journal

Note: I recently purchased Käris book journal and LOVE it. Link below.

I joined a book club in March 2020. As our group consumed more books, remembering the characters and plots of other stories became increasingly difficult. Other bookworms admitted suffering from this same affliction, like my aunt. My aunt loves to read. On her visits to the west coast, she’d carry several books in her luggage. Turning the last page of her novels, she’d hand the book to anyone who might enjoy it. To my surprise, she confessed to forgetting certain parts of the previous book. Over time, the story would fade from her memory, and she’d need reminding of what the story was about. She is not the only one hooked on books yet forgets the story line ten books ago. So, I began designing this book journal.

Between the Covers took over a year to create. To compare the first draft with the design of today would be astounding to consumers. Thanks to book clubs and avid readers, this journal provides space to review, remember, and relive the stories of old and new. There are writing prompts to help record, analyze, question, and rate the novels in your library. Among the 100 journal entries are unique engagement activities – such as banned books, author notes, favorite genres, book awards, and fun questionnaires. The journal is colorful and packed with watercolor artwork. Between the Covers was a joy to create and has been a helpful tool  to fellow bookworms (and myself).

While I have you here, what are you reading?

I am currently reading Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo, and finishing The Huntress by Kate Quinn

About Käri

Kari Nunez is the founder of Jot it Down, a small business operating in the outskirts of the Portland area. This online store offers unique record-keeping books for teachers, planners, and, of course, bookworms.

For a decade, Kari taught junior high-age students the history of ancient and modern civilizations, the European invasion and settlements in the Americas, and the rules, influence, and power of politics and activism in the United States. While teaching full-time, Kari earned a Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Education, the art of teaching, learning, and curriculum development. In time, these skill sets matched with an odd passion for data collection, produced unmatched teaching resources, a For the Record scorebook, and the latest release, Between the Covers: Book Journal.

Where to Find Käri

Jot It Down Website

Käri‘s Instagram

Support Käri and Buy Here

Buy on Käri’s Website:

Purchase on Amazon:

Do you have a story in your head?

Prompt Me Novel can help.

  • Brainstorming and Outlining 
  • Plotting and the “Tent Pole” Method 
  • Character Worksheets 
  • Conflict and Setting 
  • Space for Easy Journaling 
  • Reference and More!

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