How to make an animated gif from your step by step painting photos

How to make an animated gif from your step by step painting photos

How to make an animated gif from your painting step by step shots

If your paintings or canvases are really tiny it can be tricky to get a camera close enough for a time lapse video of your art in the making.

Three things tend to bugger up the process (for me at least):

  • my head gets in the way
  • my phone runs out of battery
  • transferring the enormous video file is a pain in the butt

Enter the GIF – (giff or jiff) however you say it – a tiny animated medium perfect for showcasing the creation of your tiny art.

I’m going to show you in a few simple steps how to turn your progress snaps of your art into a very cool animated gif like this one below.

What you’ll need to make a gif the way I did it:

  1. A phone that can take good photos
  2. Photoshop (and a basic understanding of how to use it)
  3.  A background image (I prefer doing it this way so literally only the painting transitions – it helps to avoid viewers of your gif from being overcome with dizzyness and nausea!)

 If you don’t have photoshop, you may want to check out some free gif making sites on the web. There are many. Here’s one I tried a while back before decided I preferred doing it myself.

Gyphy – However then your gif is loaded onto an account you need to create with them. Make sure you set it to private if you don’t want others to use it.

Some things to keep in mind while taking progress pics of your art:

  • Try to photograph your progress snaps in the same light.
  • Keep the camera lens as parallel to your work as you can to avoid perspective warp that you then have to fix in photoshop later.

Let’s quickly touch on why making a gif of your progress shots is a neat idea:

  • You have some engaging and interesting content to share on your social media
  • You can teach others how to create a specific technique by showing the step shots
  • You might inspire others to paint if they can see how yours came to life
  • It’s a nice value add for a customer who ordered a commissioned painting
  • It’s a good way of showing other potential clients your work quality


Step by step process for creating a gif from your art process.

I’m going to skip the part where you’ve taken intermittent photos of your painting on a table or easel. I feel like that’s pretty obvious. If not – you’ll need to take about 10-15 snaps of your work as you’re painting. There. Covered.

art print packaging

1. First, drop all your individual photos of your progress shots into photoshop.

2. Next, create a single new document in photoshop (I recommend 1000 x 1000 px wide to make it Instagram friendly).

3. Then drop your desired background image into your new document. Let’s call it the GIF document. I find it quite neat to use a background image that has one of your art works of the same size on it in a more stylised setting, like in a frame or in your hand or on an easel so the changing painting comes to life in a lovely setting. Also the framework of your existing art work on that background will be the template area where you place each layer of your progress pics. So make sure they’re the same size artworks for scale and ration purposes.

4. Then go back to your first progress pic and, using the select tool to isolate only the canvas or paper of your art work, select, then copy your artwork and paste it onto a new layer on your GIF document.

5. IMPORTANT STEP: Name the layers in your GIF document as you create them. Something easy like 1, 2, 3 etc – just for clarity and organisation’s sake and incase they get muddled you’ll know what the order was!

6. Do this with all your layers until you have one document with a background and each painting progress pic as a separate layer. Don’t worry if they don’t align just yet.

7. Make sure each layer is converted to a smart object. You can do this by right clicking on the layer and converting it to a smart object. Tada. It’s rocket science, I know. 🙂

8. Then make sure the layers are arranged in order of 1-10 (or however many you have – note the more you have the faster you will have to scroll through them, Instagram only allows for 15 sec videos! so 15 slides can transition at 1 sec per slide etc. You can do the math)

9. Next up, you want to hide all layers except layer 1 and your background image.

10. Align the corners of your progress pic in layer 1 to the corners of the artwork on your background image. You can do this by selecting perspective warp or perspective skew.

11. The unhide layer 2 and do the same. It’s helpful if there are edged on your painting that you can also check to line up.

12. Before you move on to the next layer toggle the one you’re working on on and off to see if you’re happy with the alignment and the transition from one to the next. If it’s still too jumpy, keep tinkering until they match up.

13. Do this until you’ve finished aligning all your progress pic layers.

14. Create a closing slide – something simple with your brand/ name and or website on it. It makes the whole thing look professional. You can even add a private note to you client if it’s something you’re making as a value add.

15. Now, save out each layer with the background in view as separate jpeg files. You can do this by hiding them all, unhiding the background and layer one and then saving it out as “PaintingLayer1” or something like that.

16. Now you should have 10 (or more) slides of progress steps, each with the same background image, at the same size.

17. Drop “PaintingLayer1” back into photoshop as a new document and then drop all other into the same one.

18. Now comes the fun part. Open Timeline under Window at your top menu bar and select ‘Create frame animation’ from the dropdown. You should see a new window open at the bottom of your main window.

19. It will have a single button like prompt in it. Click on that dropdown menu and select ‘create new layer for each frame’.

20.Then, select all your layers in the right hand layer panel and with them selected go back into your timeline window and in the top right corner of that timeline window, click on the burger menu and select ‘make frames from layers’.

21. Set the interval (bottom left) to either 1 sec or 0.5 seconds. I suggest letting your final logo layer play for 2 sec so that it’s actually legible.

22. Press play to see your gif in action and see if you’re happy with it.

23. Then to save it out, go to Save – File – Export – Save for Web – Save as GIF (dropdown by Jpeg) – select highest number of colours and presto.

You’ve made a transitioning gif from your art.

Because Instagram doesn’t accept GIF files (or at least didn’t at the time of writing this article), you need to convert your gif to an mp4 file which you can do using a free online gif to mp4 converter. Just make sure it’s under 15 seconds to be compatible with Instagram.

I hope that was helpful for you!

If you do create any timelapse gif animations using this tiny tutorial – please tag it #mininaturestudio so I can admire and share your work too!

Have a good one!



Beautiful header image from Content Pixie on Unsplash

Scary reasons not to pursue your art and how to overcome them

Scary reasons not to pursue your art and how to overcome them

7 Scary Reasons Not To Pursue Your Creative Path And How to Make Friends With These Monsters

Following your creative passion can be a damn daunting thing to do for many reasons.

I put it off for the longest time, but when I finally did face all the scary reasons not to do it (by tackling a daily painting challenge), I learned how to make friends with the fear instead and, that if you let it, your fear will teach you a thing or two.

As a Halloween Baby, I put a little halloween spin on these creative learnings. Halloween (or Samhain for any fellow witchy women out there) is after all one of the only times in the year where we embrace “the scary” and celebrate it.

Reason #7 not to pursue your creative path: Being Dead Broke

Being strapped for cash while you try to make a go of your creative dream and possibly ending up dead broke down the line is a legitimate reason why we avoid taking the plunge.

I decided if Zombies can get by ‘dead’, then I’ll figure out how to get by “dead broke”. As it turns out artists can feed off of brains too. Brain fuel that is – ie. using your brains and being resourceful. I’m making it work with various side gigs, accepting help when offered (this one was rather hard for me) and living with a LOT less (not as hard as you’d think).
Tada – the undead artist is born.

Drop a comment if you also had or are hustling side jobs to feed your art.

Reason #6 not to pursue your creative path: Being Judged For Being “Behind”

Being judged for not being “where you should be by now” can hold us back for ages and ironically, just makes your fear deepen as it seems to come more true.

It’s hard deviating from the publicly accepted norm. I worried that if I jumped in now at age 32 to pursue a thing I felt could be my thing (because when is there ever certainty) and got off the corporate ladder that it would mean putting a definite and maybe even permanent hold on the ‘maybe house’, ‘maybe kids’ and or occasional travel.⁠

But what would any of those structures in my life mean if they weren’t framed around a life I wanted to be in?⁠

So in asking myself where exactly it was that I should be I tapped into the powers of the werewolf, a much-maligned creature, that often finds itself transforming when it’s less than ideal to do so. ⁠

How can the creative pursuit benefit from this?⁠
By becoming an ‘awarewolf’.

Deep down you know what really matters to you. If you let that awareness guide you, you’ll be less in the orbit of other deemed important planets, and far happier traipsing around howling at your own moon.⁠





Reason #5 not to pursue your creative path: Am I wasting my life?

Having “wasted time” or worse “wasted your life” pursuing something that might never become anything more is a real thing.⁠

We often feel this way – if things don’t progress in a chronological upward curve (who’s curve btw?) then it was a “waste of time”.
But the Grim Reaper will tell you the true death of your life was in the time you spent putting off pursuing your creative curiosities and carries the ultimate penance – regret. And that’s grim indeed.⁠

Besides, as John Lennon says it (and I’m paraphrasing here) time you’ve enjoyed “wasting”, is not wasted time after all.⁠ 



Reason #4 not to pursue your creative path: What if I have no potential?

Bumping up against a wall (or multiple granite plinths) of self-doubt and/or realisations of being potentially potential-less can halt anyone’s creativity in their tracks.⁠

What sounds like self-pity to an outsider can be a crippling thing to face if you have ‘perfection’ tendencies. The worst part is – the more you repeat it to yourself – the bigger and more real a fear becomes.⁠

You know who else makes good use of repetitive phrases? Witches. While folklore may attribute their magic to potionary of sorts – witches are in truth a very literal and sometimes exaggerated manifestation of individuals who aren’t afraid of using their powers; powers of persuasion that is. ⁠

So instead of casting yourself some dooming spells, repeat good magic phrases to yourself – again and again until you believe them.⁠

I went with “With every day you’ll be better than you were yesterday.” That way I was reminding myself that ⁠
1) in order to improve I have to start⁠
2) the only person I’m comparing myself to is myself⁠

This kind of repetition quickly turns insurmountable granite plinths of self-trepidation, that you think someone else put there (but really it was you) into granite pillars of self-worth realisation.

You’re doing your thing for only you. And You Can. You can. You can. 



Reason #3 not to pursue your creative path: What will I miss out on?

Having to say ‘no’ to all the social life stuff (and the hidden sub reason – not actually having the discipline to control your fomo)⁠ does sneak into the mix.

This is probably not so much a scary reason or legitimate internal creative fear as a vapid reason your ego manufactures as a reason because the previous reasons are too scary to deal with.⁠

Luckily the daily implementation of pursuing your creative path will, in a weird way, solve this hesitation one for you. You soon won’t have the funds to splurge on your social life.⁠ (ha!)

And no bucks in the bank essentially forces you to have the self discipline to say no. 

You quickly realise what’s essential.

But there’s no way around it – pursuing your creative path can be a fairly lonely road to walk.

Don’t think of it as killing off your social life – you’re just mummifying yourself for a while.

At some point, you’ll be able to unravel your cocoon again. The hibernating internal transformation will all have been worthwhile. And true friends will understand. 


Reason #2 not to pursue your creative path: What if I Fail Miserably?

What if I can’t pull it off and somehow fail miserably and publicly at that?⁠ A definite concern, especially if you’re posting your challenge daily on Instagram (like I did)

First off – define failing for yourself. For me it wasn’t not posting a painting a day – my commitment and self-determination levels to do a thing, once decided upon, are pretty intense. ⁠

For me failing meant posting a painting that I did not think met any standards of ‘good’. I have stupid AF standards of perfection – crippling at times. Those are hard for me to accept, but also good for me to practice kindness to myself over.⁠

Here’s what I realised. If I or you should ‘fail’ and in the case of something like a public daily challenge, fail in front of other people, reality’s response would be different to the fear in my head.⁠

Fear in my head says hundreds of humans are going to point and laugh and ridicule your pathetic attempt. (awful but sound familiar?)⁠

Reality is by far more awesome.⁠

In reality, if you ‘fail’ or just decide to stop because it’s no longer for you (which is also hella cool and hella brave), then hundreds of people will have seen you try something.⁠

We all just want to be loved and acknowledged and recognised for who we are.

You sitting up to do your creative thing – no matter how far you get or how it unfolds, will not ever lead to public failure. It will lead to public truth.

You sharing your journey of creative pursuit will cultivate a two way street of inspiration – and it really will not matter which branches fall off in the process. ⁠


Reason #1 not to pursue your creative path: What if the tedium kills me?
This might sound like a strange one at first, but let me share 2 quick things about me that will help you understand where this fear came from.

1. I overthink things to a very deep level – and thus I can sort of envision or live quite far into a scenario before any of it has actually happened.2. I get bored very easily. Not in the ‘there’s nothing to do sense’ – there is ALWAYS so much that could be done. Rather in the ‘once I’ve gotten a sense of something or figured it out’ I want to move onto the next challenge.

So I foresaw the pockets of time where it would just be a matter of sticking to it and plodding along, itchy feet be damned. And that was scary for me – not being able to bolt in another direction.

But tedium doesn’t kill. Dracula does a lot of waiting around, also in a fairly confined box. But you know what does kill him? A stake through the heart. The stake being the less fulfilling job you stay in wishing you were in the box of your craft. Because even when you’re dealing with some tedium at least its a tedium of your choosing.The super macabre analogy that gets you through it is drinking up the blood that is your creative life force. I think that’s kind of cool – you keep you alive. You doing you keeps your heart beating.

And that’s it – those are my 7 halloween inspired reasons not to pursue your creative path and how to overcome and learn from these scary buggers instead!

Go do your creative thing! Do a 10 day challenge, a 30-day challenge or heck – go all in and do a 365 challenge.

The trick is doing you daily. Everything else is just boogiemonsters under your bed!

Header Image Photo by Johannes Plenio on Unsplash

Art Print Packaging Tips | The 2 Most Important Things To Consider In My Book

Art Print Packaging Tips | The 2 Most Important Things To Consider In My Book

Art Prints Packaging | The  Two Most Important Considerations in My Book

Packaging is quite a thing for me, hey.⁠

I spent the longest time grappling with not wanting to do prints of my art because I felt like it would loose all heart and sentimentality. How I finally came around to doing the prints is a story for another time.

Now, when I get stuck into an aspect like packaging I have only 2 concerns:⁠

1. Can I make it beautiful?⁠
2. Can I make it kind?⁠


1. What makes your packaging beautiful?

By beautiful, I mean it must be lovely to look at and to unwrap. I’m talking tactile, soft and crisp to the touch. But it must also be a pleasure for me to package.⁠ (a lot of consideration – and dare I say unnecessary bucks – go into the ‘customer experience’ – and I’m all for that stuff for the most part. However since the customer will experience what I experienced while creating or wrapping the item – the makers energy transfers – why not make the work beautiful for ourselves as far as we can first and foremost?)

2. What makes your packaging kind?

For kindness, I consider the cost – the cost for the environment and then the cost for my budget. So all my options for aesthetic choices come down to asking, “how did this item/ string/ ribbon/ paper get here and where will it go?⁠


These are some of the environmental kindness questions I ask myself:

  • Were toxic chemicals used in the dying or printing of this?
  • Is there a film, veneer or a wax or a glue on it that makes it non-recyclable?
  • Is it essential? (even if all your bits and bobs are on eco paper and eco ink and eco stickers – it’s still using resources at the place of creation, like water and electricity⁠)

The truth is, it doesn’t matter how beautiful you make your packaging, for the most part it will probably be disposed of.⁠ I have found in the past that when there’s so much really expensive boxing and packaging, I feel guilty throwing it away and force myself to find a purpose for it. But that’s not a burden I want to place on my art buyers.


art print packaging

My art print packaging choices

Here’s what I chose in terms of product and process. I hope they help and inspire you to make the best considerations for your product.

1. Hand written thank you stickers

At this point I’ve chosen not to go the bulk-branding-stickers route just yet. Bulk stationary is higher in cost and likely higher in secondary resources and at this point I’m still small enough to get by, by being scrappy and hands-on.

Being tiny has its perks and I’m enjoying giving my stationary a handwritten attention to detail⁠.
⁠The stickers have a water soluble glue on them and they’re necessary to hold the paper wrapping together. I write the ‘thank you’ in a silver pen, and I’m okay with each one looking a little different.


2. Better plastic

Art prints need to be sold in such a way that the print itself doesn’t get tarnished or stained. I sell mine in compostable clear Good for The Ground sleeves. How lucky are we to be living in an emerging time were better options other than PET plastics are becoming available? Good for the Ground sleeves are made from PLA (Polylactic Acid), a polymer derived from starch.


3. Upcycled backingboard

Prints also need to be supported against something firm so that they don’t bend before being framed. I didn’t want to buy cardboard that would literally be tossed once it arrived at it’s home. I’ve gone the up-cycled route. The framing store The Framery, where I have some of my frames made, keep their off-cut pieces for me (they would ordinarily be discarded and recycled). Luckily my art is miniature so I can go this route.

So, all my prints that go out have varying colours backing board. I go with whatever I get. Some are grey, some rust red, some white, some plain brown. I also get some upcycled backboard from photographers who are tossing out their damaged board. I trim the water-damaged edges and bob’s your uncle.

Sure, in an ideal, aesthetics-only world, they’d all be black, I guess, if I wanted it to match my branding.

But I’ve chosen to release my brand’s identity from over-curation.

I like that my growing brand has room to breathe beyond the confines of colours and font and can define itself by its intention too.

4. Simple wrapping

For presentation and wrapping, I’ve gone with unbleached, white tissue paper (so yes, again the white leans off-white rather than crisp, which visually I would prefer but this falls into the above thinking). No bleaching, no inks, can be recycled or composted.

When all is said and done environmental kindness is the coolest colour.


5. Eco twine

I use eco twine to wrap the tissue paper. I almost went with black raffia but I decided that the length of twine, being long enough to be repurposed, would be more useful to the buyer if it was also sturdier. Twine can tie a great many things, curtains, plants, hair, dried herbs and flowers to name but a few and if not, I know it will definitely decompose.


6. Handwritten thank you notes on recycled paper

My little thank you note, along with the miniNature header on it, is handwritten on recycled paper. It takes a bit more time than if the headers were already printed, but each one feels like a practice in gratitude. Doing things the slower way is also part of my brand story now.

I hope that when you buy a miniNature print, you enjoy all these little eco aspects as much as I enjoyed putting my heart and thought into them.⁠

And I also hope that you feel inspired to give love and thought to every aspect of what you make, even if that is ‘just the packaging’.

As I said before, for the longest time I felt like selling prints would lack authenticity, but I now see that I can put as much of myself into all these other aspects too.

In the end, Le Corbusier was right, form should always follow function first. The function of packaging is to keep the item safe, add a little beauty and then to slip quietly and kindly out of our lives, not, I believe, to do all the leg work of making your brand look and feel impressive.

Let your actual art do that.


Beautiful header image from Helena Hertz on Unsplash

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Instagram numbers affecting your creative enthusiasm? This mindset will help.

Creative Challenges

Instagram numbers crushing your creative vibe? Here’s how to change that.

I stumbled upon a mindset that helped me detach my creative motivation from those pesky Instagram numbers – the follower growth on IG that plagues any digital endeavour. Since this is a challenge that many artists who begin sharing their work publicly deal with, I wanted to share this analogy with you in hopes that it may shift you into an ‘appreciation of’ mindset over a ‘validated because’ mindset.



“While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.”

Top Pic by Anna King on Unsplash

Left pic by Georgia de Lotz on Unsplash


The beginning of that toxic relationship with Instagram number

When I began my journey of painting daily, I watched eagerly as the numbers of people following my work climbed. I remember wanting to check my account first thing in the morning to see if the painting I had posted the day before had gained me new followers. It was a dirty little addiction and I didn’t enjoy the way it felt.

For many artists, myself included, there have been periods where, if the climb wasn’t happening rapidly enough, the motivation to paint just wasn’t there. The ‘who cares anyway’ thought would come to lurk on my shoulder.

I call this a ‘validation because’ mindset.

I would only feel motivated to paint because the external validation was pulling me to do so.

Why a commitment to self helps break the cycle of IG numbers feeding creativity

It was the decision to paint daily no matter what  that eventually helped break my addiction to validation. My commitment to my own challenge was more important than whether many followers latched on or not. Instead of stopping to paint, because of the unsatisfactory follower count, I pushed myself to paint through the feeling, paint in spite of the apparent low validation.

Then things shifted.

With daily work, the momentum of the art snowball takes on a life of its own. Once that happens the numbers stop mattering.

Your mindset shifts too.

I call this stage the ‘appreciation of’ mindset

Here’s the analogy I tap into to explain how daily work will break your attachment to the social media numbers:

With daily painting, that looming number on Instagram, the people following your account (ie your creative work), begin to appear like whether it’s raining outside or not.

While you’re still building your art house it seems like the rain matters more because you feel like it affects your progress to build.

Light rain or no rain (no new followers) = “eh, I can take it easy for a day, I can build slower. There’s no urgency to build the house because no one is coming inside. No one cares.”

Now, if you keep making despite light rain, hard rain or sunshine then suddenly you have a house to keep painting in and you care not for nought about the numbers. They’re just there. Pitter pattering on the window panes of your creative palace.


Now, about that shallow self-talk, when we feel like the numbers matter

 I don’t believe that in the heart of an artist, the numbers matter. That’s not initially why you sat down to paint, or to undertake a creative challenge. (and if it is, honestly, I’d suggest asking yourself if you really want to be an artist or if you just want recognition somewhere)

 When creatives look at the numbers, we think they matter, because we think high numbers = you’re a good artist.

 But what you’re really looking for is not approval, it’s signs of growth. 

That’s WHY you started painting. Somewhere deep inside, you, like me, are hungry for growth of self. We’re all just hungry for inner expansion and connection to our purpose. 

Here’s a beautiful Hopi Creation Story about the magic we can only find hidden inside

But it’s in the continuation of painting that we begin to see where the visible growth is happening. It’s in us. And it’s on that canvas or paper.

Stay committed to your creativity.

Before you know it, the numbers won’t matter.

What will matter is your art. And it will matter most to you.

Header image credits:




1. Decide why you want to paint.

2. Commit to painting daily.

3. Painting daily switches your mindset around Instagram number growth from ‘validation because’ to ‘appreciation of’

4. Through painting daily you create a momentum and accountability to self.

5. The growth you’re looking for in the ‘Instagram follower increase’ is really a growth of self.

If you liked this post, please share it with a friend who could use some creative inspiration. I’d be grateful and I’m sure, so would your friend. x

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Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change

Lessons from the Dandelion: How to navigate change


Lessons from the dandelion: How to navigate change

I have a feeling that conventionally we view ‘change’ as the BIG unknown and ‘acceptance’ as this little thing we eventually have to give into in order to make the change less uncomfortable.⁠

But what if there’s a different way of looking at it?⁠

What if ‘change’ is this really little unknown and ‘acceptance is the BIG known we can reach to every time a possible change of direction arises?⁠

Change is happening all around us on micro levels. Our hair is growing. The plants are blooming. The leaves are going brown. You meet a new person you didn’t know yesterday. You hear a new song that shifts things for you. ⁠

It’s not that change is the divergence from the consistent ‘normal’ routine. It’s that we tend not to notice the little changes, give them that little nod hello.⁠

I made some sense from it by observing and painting this dandelion.

Here’s how you could view Change
many unknowable little things you can’t control like the seeds of a dandelion⁠

Here’s how you could view Acceptance
one consistently available thing you can tap into to smooth your experience of the ride, like the warm breeze all around you⁠

Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land. ⁠
Puts a whole new perspective on having an ‘Easy Breezy’ nature, hey?⁠


“Every time I see a dandelion – I’m reminded of this ability to focus on the warm winds carrying the seeds rather than focusing (and trying to control) where all the little seeds will land.”

Leave me a comment if viewing change this way could help your art process, or other perspectives and thoughts you might have on change.

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