Okay, now that you know how to resize and crop your images, we’re going to do a little thing involving both of those: make an avatar for your shop!

In the jargon of the internet, an avatar is a little graphic or symbol that represents you. On Etsy, your avatar is a small square picture. It’s stuck to all of your Forum posts and Storque comments, it pops up on the bottom panel of Chatrooms that you visit, and in the Virtual Labs you can move your avatar around the room and people throw hearts and stuff at it. (If you haven’t tried that, do so. It’s fun.) If you don’t upload a custom avatar of your own to Etsy, your avatar will just be a white square with the first letter of your username.

The most eyecatching avatars, in my humble opinion, are the ones that show products. A picture of your face might look friendly, but your interactions on Etsy aren’t just social. You want to use all the space you’re given to attract people to your shop.

Choose one of your photographs and open it up in GIMP. Remember that Rectangle Select button from last time? Click that, and look at the lower half of the left-hand control panel. There will be a tickbox there that says Fixed: and a pulldown menu that says aspect ratio (if it doesn’t already say that, click it and choose it), and a white bar where you can type.

Tick the box, and type 1:1 in the text bar. You’ll be selecting an area with an aspect ratio of 1:1, which means the horizontal sides will be the same length as the vertical sides — in other words, it’ll be a square. (If you typed 2:1, you’d get a box that was twice as wide as it was tall; if you typed 1:2 you’d get a box twice as tall as it was wide. Get the idea?)

Now click on the image and drag, and you’ll see that dotted outline drawing a square around part of your image. When you’re holding down the mouse button and dragging it, the size of your selected area will display at the bottom of the screen. Since you’re going to be resizing this image to 50×50 pixels (which is the size Etsy wants for avatars), you want to select an area that’s bigger than 50×50. If you select an area that’s smaller, resizing to 50×50 will make it larger, and you’ll lose image quality.

If you don’t like the area you’ve selected, hit Ctrl+z to undo it, and try again until you have a square containing the image you want to have in your avatar. Then click Image -> Crop to Selection, and everything outside the square will go away.

To make it the right size, click Image -> Scale Image, and type 50 in the box where it says Width. Click in the box that says Height and it should automatically change that to 50 as well. Click OK, and your square image will be resized to 50×50 pixels. Click File -> Save As… to choose a file type and filename for it, and you’re ready to upload it to Etsy!

Next time: the elusive shop banner, made from the best of your product images!