How to Make an Artsy Poster in PicMonkey

Did you know that instead of spending a lot of money on an art poster that’s pretty close to the beautiful dream in your head, you can save a lot of money on a poster that’s exactly what you wanted? It’s true! It’s what happens when you make a poster in PicMonkey.

Hold up … isn’t designing a whole poster a lot of work?

Not so, friends. One of the most fun ways to make a poster for your home, office, or other space is to put your own spin on an image that already exists—say, your favorite famous painting. We’re gonna show you how easy it is to rework public domain art in PicMonkey, print it, and achieve poster glory. It goes like this:

  • Find your image for the background

  • Give it a good makeover in PicMonkey: mirror it, turn it pop art, texturize, whatever.

  • Graphic a title and text

  • Resize for printing.

  • Print the poster

  • Bask in the glory of your poster

Finding your images

As ever, when picking images from the internet, make sure to check the rights. Many images of classic art are free to use, but you’ve gotta be vigilant because some will trip you up.

Our images for the art prints we’ll show you today come from the Yale University Art Gallery, which has an extensive online folder of works in the public domain. Other prominent sources of public domain art include the Getty’s Open Content Program and the New York Public Library’s Public Domain Folders.

You then have two paths to posterdom:

  • Open Collage, scaled to your desired printing dimensions.

  • Open a blank canvas in Design, scaled to desired printing dimensions.

Designing a poster in Collage

It’s stunningly easy to transform a work of art using Collage. Today we’ll focus on our current favorite transformers, mirroring and our Warhol effect.

What is mirroring? It’s what turns this image:

Claude Monet. Camille on the Beach in Trouville. 1870.

Into this one:

To get this look, we created a collage with four cells and dropped the image into each one, then rotated them around. For those of you squinting at the screen like, “Whoa, slow that down and explain it better,” we have a handy tutorial on the mirror effect that goes into more detail.

The mirror effect is undeniably cool, but what if your aesthetic is more “modern pop art” than dada? We’d like to introduce you to our good friend, the Warhol effect:

To achieve this look, you’ll wanna hit up Warhol, an effect that lets you repaint an image in any two colors of your choosing. Drop the same image into four collage cells, then add Warhol to each cell individually. As with mirroring, we have a more detailed walkthrough over here.

Designing a poster from a blank canvas

If you use the Design tool, open a blank canvas at the desired dimensions and add your image file as a graphic. (To do this, go to the Graphics tab and click Your Own, which will allow you to open a file from your computer and edit it like a PicMonkey graphic.)

In the sample image below, we began with Hokusai’s “Under the Wave off Kanagawa,” then added two textures: a concrete wall from Edifice and brushstrokes from Paint. We adjusted the transparency of each texture, erasing them off some parts of the original image, to give the classic woodblock print the illusion of having been painted onto the side of a building.

Original work by Katsushika Hokusai. Under the Wave off Kanagawa. 1831. Remix by PicMonkey.

There are many, many more magical transmogrifications you can work on your chosen images. If you love a series of illustrations, why not put them all in one collage? Combine a favorite painting with a favorite quotation, or a quotation from the artist. You may consider putting mustache graphics on portraits that originally did not have mustaches. (Mona Lisa, we’re lookin’ at you.)

Once you’ve fancied up your image and made it your own, you’ll be ready to print it at your desired size.


“But wait, how do I know my ‘desired’ print size? What if I don’t know what I want, couldn’t that be ANY SIZE?”

Sort of yes! But to make your poster design look its best and crispiest, you’ll want to adjust its dimensions (and by extension aspect ratio, or shape) for printing. Here are some common print and poster sizes:

  • 8 x 10 in

  • 11 x 17 in

  • 12 x 18 in

  • 18 x 24 in

  • 24 x 36 in

You may notice that 24 x 36 inches is just a fancy way of saying 12 x 18 inches. Correct! They’re the same aspect ratio, so sizing your canvas to 2400 x 3600 pixels is a recipe for both poster sizes. Just make sure you start with an image as hi-res as you can get it, especially for printing at a huge-o size like 24 x 36, to preserve image quality.

Ultimately, choosing a size for your print totally depends on your space and the look you want, so look around and measure the area where you want your poster to hang.

Now, to hocus-pocus your art print from the digital realm to the physical! We compiled a wealth of printing resources that you can access right from your computer, or you can also print right here in PicMonkey with the PicMonkey Print Shop. You can also use a local, brick and mortar print shop. Many print shops accept file submissions for printing via email, and make it a lot easier to get ahold of an actual person if questions or problems come up.

That’s all the DIY-full wisdom we have for you today, folks. Happy arting!

Turn inspiration into action. Bring your creativity to life in the PicMonkey Print Shop.
Elisa Chavez

Elisa Chavez is a content writer here at PicMonkey, where she hopes to change the world one dinosaur selfie at a time. She is also a nationally ranked slam poet, champion shopper, and doting dog mama.