Gravatars: Customize Your On-line Presence.

October 29, 2008 / Updated: October 29, 2008 / Lena Shore

Have you ever been reading comments on a blog, and notice that some people have little pictures next to their name and their comments? Ever wondered what those pictures are, how they got there, and how you can get one that you chose?

What is an Avatar?

Avatars are icons that represent you in the world of the internet. They are usually small images, but can be whatever you’d like. Some systems will let you upload your custom avatar or pick from a list. They will help identify your posts on web forms, or blogs.

What if I don’t have an avatar?

If you don’t have a custom avatar set up, my blog will create a generic one for you based on your email address. So, each time you comment on an article, you’ll get the same avatar. This way, other viewers can identify you easier.

What if I don’t like my default avatar and want a custom one?

See examples below of a default avatar and a couple of custom ones (Custom avatar art below by Illustrator, Kevin Pettway). 

You can use all kinds of things for avatars: your logo, your photo, picture of your dog, snapshot of your grandchild. Some avatars can even be animated if the site supports it! There are plenty of places to find free art and photos on the internet, and many artists are happy to give you permission. Read on to find out how to get yours to work!

What is Gravatar?

A gravatar is a globally recognized avatar. It is quite simply an avatar image that follows you from weblog to weblog appearing beside your name when you comment on gravatar enabled sites. I have “gravatars” enabled on this site as do many, many other people that participate in blogging.

If you’d like your own custom “gravatar” it’s easy and free. Go to: and sign up! Once you have, follow the instructions for uploading a picture from your own computer, or choosing from one available there. You may have to resize an uploaded image to meet the requirements of the site.

Now when you comment on blogs, (provided the owner has it enabled) your custom avatar will show up all by itself. 

Happy commenting!

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Lena Shore

Lena is a full-time freelancer and nerd that specializes in web development, graphic design, and illustration. She enjoys building things, learning new things, pursuing creative endeavors, and giving free advice.


  1. Richard Robertson on November 5, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I am checking to see if my avatar will display … Cool!!!!

  2. Lena on October 29, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    It’s built into WordPress (not sure what version), LiveJournal, and Blogger. I’m sure there are others.

  3. Robbin K Tungett on October 29, 2008 at 4:23 pm

    Cool! So that will follow me where I go as long as the blog owner has something set up to find it? I guess I need to see how to set that up on my blog.

  4. Lena on October 29, 2008 at 4:20 pm

    I can see your new avatar! Congratulations! It’s possible the cache was keeping it from displaying or maybe it takes Gravatar a minute to catch up.

  5. Lena on October 29, 2008 at 4:16 pm

    It should! That’s where mine is pulling from.

  6. Robbin K Tungett on October 29, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    Great idea! Okay, so I created a gravatar and it should now show up here? Let’s see if it works…

    nope, not yet – maybe it takes a few minutes to take effect.

  7. Lena on October 29, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    You inspired me to add an extra paragraph about finding icons for usage.

  8. Robbin K Tungett on October 29, 2008 at 3:40 pm

    Aha! My avatar on here looked like an alien. Guess I need to find a good illustrator to make me a nice, custom avatar! 🙂

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