• Carrie McFerron

Lesson 05 - Grab Your Smart Phone!

In Lesson 5, I encourage you to bravely stick your toe in the digital technology ocean, just to see what’s there. You may be surprised at how creative you can be with just a little technology!



This week, as the leader, you won't need to provide anything, but you may want to remind everyone to bring their smart phone or tablet.

Below, I’ve given you some lists of websites and apps to help you explore your creative options.

I've given you several apps to try below. You may want to take a look at my Pinterest board, Downloadable Images for Memory Prompts, to see the many apps you can use to give your photo an "artsy" look.

My Instagram feed gives you examples of many of these same images after I have added the verse. In the Instagram posts, I specify the apps I used to create the image, as well as the app I used to add Bible verse.

Give these instructions to your group:

Take a photo or select a photo that is already on your phone and use an app to add an artistic style to the photo. Then, use an app to add text.

You might want to work in pairs to help each other with any apps you are unfamiliar with.

Apps for a Creativity Boost

If you need a creativity boost, try coloring. You can also use the designs you color as memory prompts.

Here are a few of the top-rated coloring apps. Most of them require a minimal fee for the images or the color palettes.

  • Lake Coloring – Available on iTunes – This app is one of my favorites for boosting creativity! It has an option that makes it much easier to color within the lines, and it has several brushes so that you can vary the texture and color depth. The artists who design images for this app are the most popular illustrators on Instagram. There are a limited number of images right now, and some of them are rather odd, but the app has new artwork and new artists added regularly. I use this app to practice shading techniques and to experiment with using different textures and color combinations, but it is pricey. An annual subscription is about $40. 

  • Color Therapy – Available on iTunes – This app has a wide variety of images to choose from, and all the images are free! You pay for extra color palettes, but you can purchase all the color palettes for less than $10. 

  • ColorMe Coloring Book – Available on iTunes and Google Play – This is one of several free coloring apps for Androids. As with most of these apps, there are in-app purchase options to give you more choices.

  • Colorfy – Available on iTunes, Amazon Underground, and Google Play – This app is one of the most highly-rated by reviewers. It is free, but has in-app purchases. It has lots of designs to choose from and enough colors that you can easily shade the images.

Websites/Apps for Inspiration

  • Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ - Instagram isn’t just for posting a photo of your most recent meal at your favorite restaurant. Artists and photographers are now sharing their masterpieces on this app/website. So, if you find artists whose work you admire, you can follow them and be inspired by their work!

  • Twitter – https://twitter.com - Although not as widely used by artists as Instagram, Twitter is another app/website that artists use to promote their art.



This option focuses on using a computer, rather than a smart phone or tablet. The purpose of this exercise is to show members of the group how to find and modify public domain images from the Internet to create memory prompts. This method is especially effective if you plan to use common software, such as PowerPoint.

For this option, if your group is small enough, you can use a notebook computer to walk everyone through the websites I recommend for creating memory prompts. If you have access to a few computers, members of the group should probably work in pairs. Then, those who want to create memory prompts using a computer will be able to do so at home after the meeting.

Websites for Editing Images

There are many more free editing tools available than what is listed here, but these sites may help you get started:

  • Clipping Magic – https://clippingmagic.com/ - This website enables you, for a small fee, to remove the background from any jpeg image. It’s user-friendly, with a drag and drop option for uploading the image and downloading the competed png file. There are several phone apps and software programs that can remove a background, but this website has the one that, I think, is the easiest to use.

  • Ipiccy – https://ipiccy.com/ - This is a free online photo editor that allows you to crop, enhance, remove the background from, and even draw on an image.

  • Inkscape – https://inkscape.org/en/ - Inkscape is a free, open-source downloadable software that provides a user with a variety of drawing tools and file format compatibility. I use it to remove everything but the pen strokes from a line drawing to create a transparent image for some of my collages. (See the first prompt for 1 Peter 1:17 in Chapter 6 as an example.)

Websites for Finding Images

I’ve listed two categories of websites for finding online images below.

I use quite a bit of vintage illustrations because I like they way they look, but also because I want to be respectful of artists and artist’s estates whose works are still copyright protected.

You can find free images, created by artists, who invite you to use their stuff, and there are also artists who will give you permission to use their images for a small fee. Creative Market, listed below, is just one of such sites.

Websites That Provide (Mostly) Free Images

When I’m trying to come up with a difficult memory hook, I’ve discovered that, in looking for a particular type of image, I often get another, better idea for my hook. Here are some websites to help you formulate ideas and find images for your memory prompts.

  • Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/ - Pinterest is a great source for inspiration because you can follow other users’ boards who have similar design tastes to yours. So, when they discover something new, you’re notified. You can also save images you think you may use in the future. When I create digital collages, I like to use a lot of art nouveau designs. So, I follow a few Pinterest users who collect those images.

  • Flickr – https://www.flickr.com/ - Flickr is a website that serves as an archive for vintage photographs and artwork, as well as to provide a way for current artists to promote their art.

  • The Graphics Fairy – http://thegraphicsfairy.com/ - This website has tons of free, public domain, vintage jpeg images for you to download. It also has a premium membership for about $10 per month that gives you access to a large selection of themed jpeg and png image bundles. A new set of images is added each week. You can download as many of the bundles as you want, and you can cancel the premium membership at any time.

  • Creative Market – https://creativemarket.com/ - This website caters more to graphic artists than to hobbyists, but it has plenty of stuff that you may enjoy using. Each week, a set of free images and fonts, as well as tools for web designers or graphic artists, is released. There are also many, many images and fonts for sale by the artists who created them. I think of this website as a kind of Etsy for graphic designers. So, if you want to buy a bundle of images, you can probably find something you like in almost any price range. Just be sure the files you purchase are the right format, which will usually be either jpeg or png.

  • Internet Archive – https://archive.org/details/texts - Internet Archive is an online repository for anything (audio, video, text, anything) someone wants to upload to it. Libraries upload all sorts of interesting out-of-print books to this site. I’ve used this resource to find dozens of wonderful images from old magazines, botanical prints, catalogues, even ancient manuscripts. I select the “Text” collection, and then search for a particular theme, artist, or genre. When I find a promising book or magazine, I click on it, select the “full-screen” option, and scroll through the book until I find an image I like. To download the image to my computer, I simply right click and select “Save Image As.” I have a folder on my desktop that has several sub-folders where I save these images by category. The material on Internet Archive is supposed to be public domain only, but I tend to avoid images that are newer than 1923, just to make sure. (If you’re not planning to make a profit from an image, you aren’t violating any copyright laws by downloading images that aren’t in the public domain, but I try to be respectful of artists by giving them credit for their work.)

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