Teacher Using Canva For Lesson Content
Teacher Using Canva

Using Canva To Create Quick Lesson Illustrations

Canva is a great, free online drawing program with lots of powerful features and royalty-free content you can embed.

You can use it to help you create images and illustrations for your course lessons or course resource materials.

It’s super easy and not overly complex like Photoshop, Illustrator, or Inkscape.

Finally, it’s totally free for most of the essential features and sample content.

Video Overview

Lesson Graphics

If you use Powerpoint or Google sheets decks to teach your course, you know that your diagrams are limited with what you can make out of a couple of basic shapes and lines.

If this is your case, you can start using external tools like Canva to create powerful graphics that you drop into your lesson decks.

Also if you teach primarily using 1:1 videos, Canva can help you create supporting full-screen graphics, side-bar information, or even overlay graphics.

Resource Materials

Canva lets you make full multi-page guides and checklist documents.

But I prefer to use tools like Google Sheets & Word to create my vertical PDFs, but I then drop in custom graphics that I made in a design program like Canva, Photoshop/Paint.net, Illustrator/InkScape.

These extra visuals could be content for a title page, a cute footer, or informative support graphics to the main text on a page.

When to Use Canva

I like to use Canva when I have a design that may be too difficult for me to do in a high-end graphics application, but also too complex for a simple shapes tool in google sheets or word doc.

It’s smart with lots of great defaults and only has the most essential options, unlike other programs that may have 6 or more options per feature. And the sad part is when you don’t even understand which options to use…

Canva is my Goldilocks, the perfect tool when I need to create an intermediate picture that is not too simple and not too hard.

Key Tools

The key tools in Canva are made up of:

  • Template – an example layout with a bunch of elements that you can modify
  • Background – A background picture for your layout
  • Text – Text that you can style and position anywhere
  • Elements – A giant library of pictures and shapes that you can put
  • Uploads – Your assets like your logo and custom backgrounds
  • Toolbar – Tools to modify the current item like color, font, position, delete

This app also includes all those cool drag-drop, placement, and positioning features. Like when you drag an item, you get to see all those dynamic grid lines to help you drop the item at exactly the right spot – like in the middle, on the left side with padding, aligned to the other thing, etc.

Pro Stuff

Just so you know, there is a pro version of Canva. If you’ve tried free Canva and it works for you, and need the extra features, it’s very affordable.

Here are some of the things in the pro version:

  • More pre-made templates
  • More image resources that you can drop in
  • Output PNG files with transparent backgrounds
  • Better resizing of outputs
  • Customize and add your own brand fonts

Oh, and the pro features include better team support for sharing and collaborating on designs.

Wrap Up

Canva is free, powerful, smart, and has a bunch of royalty-free layouts and content that can help you create a stylish supporting graphic in about 15 minutes.

And I didn’t even mention a whole bunch of video features since I wanted to focus on creating helper images for course content.

Next time you need to make a quick illustration, take 30 seconds to think about the actual job that needs to get done. And if it’s mid-level complexity and you are at low/mid-level design skills, then start with Canva.

Get Canva

To start using Canva to create your course illustrations, visit Canva.com to create a free account and start mocking up designs in minutes.

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