Most Fridays on ARHtistic License, I post a little feature I call In the Meme Time, featuring a picture with a saying. At first, I shared memes I’d found on Facebook or Twitter, but then I began to feel guilty that I might be trampling on someone’s rights. Sometimes a meme bears the name or website of its creator; other times there’s no way to give credit to the designer due to the number of times it’s circulated through social media. I’ve stopped sharing anonymous memes on the blog.
I thought I should learn how to make my own. I tried using a free online meme generator, but it was a little clunky to use. Here’s the first meme I ever made:
When my HP Pavillion Notebook outlived its usefulness, I replaced it with a MacBook Air, and I discovered that the Preview application (for viewing downloaded images) has nice editing capabilities, including cropping and adding text—perfect for creating memes.
Around this time, I realized I really liked some of the comments I made on other people’s tweets—they were well-crafted little sayings in their own rights. So I created a Word document titled “Make a Meme out of This,” and I started saving my favorite comments in that file.
Here is my process for creating memes:
- Come up with a saying you want to illustrate. You can use your own words or a quote (if you use a quote, you must credit the author).
- Take or locate a digital photo which goes well with the words. (See Good Sources for Free Images.) Save it on your computer in a special folder (I call mine “Photos for Memes”)—give the photo a name that will help you identify it (like “Dock”).
- Click on the photo in the folder. It should pop up in Preview.
- See the little toolbox icon next to the Search window? (Or it may look like a pen point.) Click on that. The toolbox menu will appear.
- If you want to cut something out of the picture (for example, the out-of-focus people), click on the left-most icon that looks like a dotted-line square. It will give you some shape options. Choose the shape you’d like the finished image to be, and use the cursor to enclose the parts of the picture you want to keep. While you’re working, a button that says “Crop” will appear. Press it when you’re satisfied with the image you’ve got. (I didn’t, because the picture was fine as-is for my purpose.) WARNING: IF YOU SAVE YOUR MEME BEFORE YOU ARE FINISHED FINE-TUNING IT, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO FURTHER EDIT IT.
- Press the T icon, and a text box will appear in the center of the picture. Click within the text box, and type in your saying.
- Click elsewhere on the picture (not within the text box), and then you can drag the words to wherever you want them to appear.
- Click within the text box again, and then press command and the a key on your keyboard at the same time. This will highlight all your text. Now click the A icon. This will give you all your text options, like font, size, color, and justification. Experiment until you get it the way you want it.
- Repeat steps 6-8 if you want to add your name or your website to the bottom of the image (highly recommended). It could help drive a new visitor to you blog—even if someone else shares your meme.
- Sometimes your words just won’t show up against the background of your photo. Changing the color of the words might help, but if it doesn’t, you can color the background of your text box. You see the square icon to the left of the A icon? After clicking within your text box, click the square icon and choose a background color, preferably one which blends in with the surrounding colors.
Here are some of the other memes I’ve made.
Update on September 20, 2019: Since people continue to read this article, I want to add one more thing. I like to vary the font on my memes. These are the fonts I like best:
Was this article helpful to you? Do you have suggestions for making memes on a PC? Please share in the comments below.