All righty, I've been getting this question a LOT lately! How do you make a template? You need two things for this tutorial, an image program and a dash of creativity. So, let's get going!

First you'll want to open your image program. Make a new image that is 100x100 and white. Give it four black borders like so.

Now, stare at it....honest! Stare at your square......now look around your work area. Do you see any patterns that stand out to you? A small doodle, a magazine ad, anything really. Perhaps another icon has inspired you? It doesn't matter, just find your muse. Today I picked my watch.

My watch is round so we want to change our square into a circle.

Ok. So, I really like my watch, it only has four numbers on it and a bunch of little arrows. So we need to add those in. In order to get the numbers in the right place I shall use paint shop pro's grid function to see the dimensions of the icon. If you don't have that, you can just draw your own guidelines in and they can be erased later.

So now that I have a good idea of the center and sides of my circle I can start adding numbers and arrows.

Now from here I have a lot of choices. Obviously I can put the hands on the watch and point them to whatever time I wish. Also there is that nice, yet complicated pattern on the face of the watch. I could attempt to duplicate it, but keep in mind that we are attempting to make an icon template. Anything I place in the middle has the potential to block or obscure much of the icon. The thing to remember is that you need to leave space for people to manuever. The point of a template is to have an outline that people can fill in and get creative with. Two watch hands are easy because picture watches will have them and it adds to the overall effect of it. Therefore I shall pass up the pattern in favor of putting hands on my watch. I don't want my hands to be stuck in the same position, like 6:30 or 12:00, so I'm going to pick a time when they are positioned apart from each other. Since it's currently 5:45, that's the time I'll go with ^_^ Put a nice big dot in the middle of your watch face and then get out your line tool to make the initial lines. Remember, one hand is shorter than the other.

Well, it's looking pretty good. Now here you can make a decision. How to save your template. I save mine as black and white gifs. You can make certain parts of them transparent for your users, but in the end they will be changing transparencies and things as they wish so it's really a personal preference. I find the gif format the easiest way to save them because it is a very simple format and it doesn't blur the lines as jpeg format often does. You may also save them as paint shop or photoshop files and have them as downloads. However you do it, next is the real test. You have to try it out. so get out a picture and let's test it!

If you forgot how, here are instructions on How to use a Template. Otherwise, let's move on! I picked this base to test it on.

Apply the template and erase the unneeded stuff.

Wow, looks pretty good to me! Add a bit of transparency in there and I've got a nice icon and a pretty cool template to boot!
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So that, my friends, it how you make a template! Remember, there are so many different things you can do. There are straight lines, curvey lines, dots, hearts, stars. Let your imagination run wild!

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