How to: Use mock-up and flat-lay photos with YOUR artwork & calligraphy

Feather Park | How to use mock-up photos with your own art & calligraphy!

Every month I create a flat-lay mock-up photo for my email subscribers. Have you ever wondered HOW to use them or WHAT to do with them?

I like to use mock-up photos for consistency in my Instagram feed. Taking one or two photos and being able to use them again and again for my posts helps me keep my feed aesthetically pleasing (for myself and others). But, I live in the Midwest/Plains where the weather can change in an instant (thanks clouds). I also don't have the best lighting in my house. Taking photos of my work always left me struggling with bad and inconsistent lighting. The inconsistency and changes in photo edits frustrated me and over the past few years, I've tried various techniques and tutorials to use mock-up photos and I've found a really easy and fun way to use these photos. 

So, I'm going to share how I use mock-up photos to create my Instagram posts with the hope that it might help you know what and how to create things using the mock-ups that you get from me every month (if you're a subscriber ;-) hint hint: Sign up! I send out coupons too!) By no means am I an expert, and this is just how I do it. I'm sure there are plenty of alternatives but I hope learning my method is helpful.

I use an iPad Pro with the Procreate app - but this can also be done using an app called Union - the process is a bit different but the idea is the same.

Let's get started!

Open Procreate and select a blank square canvas. I use square for posting on Instagram. If you're doing something else, you can use a different size.

Click on the + "Add" button and choose "Insert a Photo". This is where you will browse to where your photo is saved. If you haven't saved your flat-lay to your device, do that now. :)

Pick your photo from your library. I send out square images so it should automatically fill the canvas. If it doesn't you can click the "Fit to Canvas" button at the bottom of the screen when you import the photo.

Once your photo is imported, open the layers tab and add a new layer. You want your photo to be separate from your art so you can edit them independently. Click the + sign to add a new layer.

Now your layers palette should look like this:

Next we are going to add the art you want to use on the image. If you are adding a photo, Procreate automatically imports the photo of your art on to a new layer so you can skip that step. I like to create a new layer anyway, just to make sure I'm never editing my background image.

You can browse to your photo of the artwork you'd like to add. I edit my photos using the free version of Lightroom. I've tried a lot of programs and this one is my favorite. Once you click on the photo of the art you want to import, your canvas should look like this:

With the current layer being your newly added art layer, you will select the selection tool and create a "freehand selection". Like this:

Draw a line around the part of your art you want to isolate. In my example I wanted to separate the starfish that I painted. You can do this part quickly. Your line does not need to be precise. You can also see that your photography skills do not need to be excellent to do this. I took a photo of my painting outside on my deck, really quickly because the natural light works better in my opinion.

The part of your artwork you want to isolate should now be selected. The next thing you want to do is click the "Duplicate" button below the selection bar.

This creates a new layer with only your selected art on it. You can turn off the photo of your art at this point if you need to.

Make sure you are on this new layer for the next step.

You will click the selection tool again, but this time you're going to change it from "Freehand" to "Automatic".

Tap in the area surrounding your artwork (mine is a small sliver of watercolor paper that I want to remove). Slide your apple pencil/stylus to the right to increase the area selected or to the left to decrease it if it starts to select too much of your artwork. This is common with art that is a similar color as the area you are trying to select.

The next thing you will need to do is a "3 finger swipe" DOWN. Touch your iPad screen with 3 fingers all at once and slide down. This should pop up the "Copy and Paste" box.

Now you can tap "Cut" and the border is removed, leaving only your art! Sometimes it's necessary to use the eraser tool to clean up the edge a bit.

Your layer palette should look like this:

You can add a new layer now to add your lettering. You can also move/resize your art isolated art at this point.

I added my lettering but I drew over the top of my flowers in the photo! Oops! This is the beauty of keeping your layers separate. You can just move that layer out of the way!

As you can see below, I've repeated the process so far on another shell and I've moved my lettering so it doesn't overlap the flowers.

Depending on the background, sometimes I like to change the blend mode to "Multiply" to show a bit of the watercolor paper texture from the flat-lay into my art to make it look more like it was actually painted this way.

To change the blend mode just click the little "N" on each of your art layers. Try out different modes and see what you like best!

You can continue adding text or art at this point and arranging it as you like. Once you're happy with it, you can click the "Share" button in your "Actions" menu (the wrench icon), like this:

Now your image is ready to send or share however you like!

I hope this tutorial was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions. I'd love to hear if this helped you. Feel free to sign up for my mailing list to get your own freebie flower flat-lays!