Clipart has come a long away from the standard issues we were used to when using Word for the first time. No longer are we restricted to a cartoony image with jagged edges squashed into the margin. Clipart can be beautiful and it's versatile too - use them as building blocks in your designs.
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The World of Clipart
So if clipart has developed so much, how come we usually use it as an afterthought to add a bit of interest to a page once we are finished with the main design? A lot of this is due to the bad rep clipart has, so we start our guide with some of the best places to get your hands on the good stuff. But adding these images just to jazz up a page is only one way in which they can be used.
Did you know that you can actually change a lot of the qualities of clipart to suit your needs? You can also incorporate them into your own backgrounds and page layouts. Why not try to make your own clipart -- it's not as difficult as you might think.
One important thing to note here is that clipart is not just limited to those cartoony images, clipart can also be photos that have had elements taken from them, such as a single rose for example -- in essence, art that has been clipped.
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Where to Find the Good Stuff - Resources for Clipart
There are so many places that offer top-notch clipart images nowadays, and the majority of these are free (it always pays to check the usage agreement though -- see our Technical Section at the end). There are so many in fact that we could fill several articles just with the resources and collections we have pulled together in other Bright Hub guides, but we've narrowed it down to just a small selection. We begin with some general places to start looking, and then cover a range of different types -- these cover a fair range of projects but please feel free to search right here on Bright Hub for clipart specific to your occasion.
Not finding exactly what you are looking for? If you have a particular image in mind, but are having trouble tracking it down, then why not create your own clipart. There are several routes to this, from using a photograph to create a basic silhouette, to using a dingbat font and converting it into a clipart image. Of course you could also start from scratch by using some free software and draw up your own image.
On the other hand, if you have some clipart but it's just not quite right for your particular project there are ways to manipulate and modify it to suit your needs. There are basic things you can do such as alter the color and add shadows, but you can also make nifty alterations such as making the background transparent, or converting them to vector images so you can scale them up without becoming blurry.
If you want your page to make an impact, but aren't satisfied with just adding a few clipart images here and there, then use some of these techniques to incorporate your image in different ways. Make backgrounds, incorporate them seamlessly into your layout, or make your own digital stamps or scrapbook paper for digital scrapbooking.
Depending on your project, you may need to take notice of the usage agreement from any clipart images you download -- obviously there is a difference here between using them for a personal purpose you won't make any money from than using these images for a commercial purpose as part of your business. We take a look at when to use custom images against using stock images, as well as a bit of an overview on using creative commons licenses.
We then finish up with a couple of articles on the technical side of using clipart, such as page layout principles and whether vector or raster images are best for you -- if this all sounds like gobbledygook, then don't worry; the articles explain it all perfectly.