This is just a basic tutorial to show you how to create avatars and icons to use in forums, as link buttons, or for whatever you like. This tutorial will show you examples of avatar styles, but the finished icons are up to you. You might like to try some of my other tutorials first, and create a small background using patterns, brushes or something or get a copyright-free photo from the web to work with. This page will give you some inspiration, but the rest is up to your creativity.

Step 1

Open up the image you want to make into an avatar/icon.

Step 2

Check what size you want to make your avatar, as social networking sites, forums and so on usually have restrictions. Mine is going to be 150 x 150 pxiels.

Step 3

Open up a new, transparent image the same size as your old one.

Step 4

Now click Draw and if the ‘Tool Options’ box isn’t up, right click Draw and choose ‘Tool Options’.

Step 5

In the ‘Tool Options’ box, make sure the ‘Type’ is ‘Single Line’ and the ‘Width’ is one. Now choose black as your foreground colour in the ‘Colour Palette’:

Paint Shop Pro Avatar and Icon Tutorial

Step 6

Now draw lines around the outside edges of the transparent image to create a border. You can draw simply one line around the edges, or do a pattern. It’s totally up to you, be creative as you like. You may need to go to ‘Image’ > ‘Zoom’ to help make your strokes more accurate.
This is my very boring one:

Paint Shop Pro Avatar and Icon Tutorial

Step 7

Now paste your frame over your original avatar image and position it so it looks perfect. This is the time to make any extra additions you like, for example on mine I’m going to colour in the frame pink using the pencil tool.

Paint Shop Pro Avatar and Icon Tutorial

Step 8

Finally, add your text. People generally get a bit sloppy about this, but remember that it can ruin your avatar very easily so don’t just slap it on. Have a look at some of my other tutorials for ways to make your text more interesting. If you want the same text effect as me, try my Outlining and Shadow Text tutorials.

Step 9

Check your avatar is exactly how you want it to look, then save! Here are some of mine:

150 x 150 pixels

Paint Shop Pro Avatar and Icon Tutorial

100 x 100 pixels

Paint Shop Pro Avatar and Icon Tutorial
Paint Shop Pro Avatar and Icon Tutorial