More Free Graphics Tools for Authors: OpenClipArt

Free stuff for authorsOver the course of my three years with Indies Unlimited (yep, three years!), I’ve written quite a few posts on free author tools and resources, enough so that K.S. Brooks created a resource page here. All these years later, I’m still compiling a list of sites I find helpful for authors on a budget. Behold the following free graphics resource:

OpenClipArt has hundreds of free graphics available in a variety of formats: PNG, SVG, PDF, WMF.  I use graphics in all sorts of author-related projects:  bookmarks, title pages, fancy page and section dividers, etc. Not only do they offer free graphics, but also they have a really cool feature that allows you to edit graphics. For example, I needed a cat to insert on a title page to jazz it up. I went to OpenClipArt, searched for “cat,” and found the following (see below).

Cat-image-1
Click any image to enlarge

If you scroll down on the page, you see this:

Cat-image-2Click on any of the green bars to select the type of file you want to download. But look at the red arrow above, beside Edit Clipart. This is a really cool feature I haven’t even had time to fully explore, but if you click that bar, you get taken to a page like this:

Cat-image-3How cool is that? Look over on the left and you’ll see you can add stickers, shapes, and logos. If you click on any of those, you get dozens of options. You can rotate and flip the image, add layers and text, change colors – the possibilities are endless. And there’s more. If you click on the Facebook bar on the left and allow it to access your account, you can edit and add to your Facebook pictures, as well.

As a test, I imported a picture of some of my books from Facebook (see below). I clicked to add a logo, then chose Emboss from the choices on the left (blue arrow below). Once I did that, a menu box popped up (orange arrow below) that allowed me to enter my text and change size, color, or style. When I was finished playing around with it, I clicked Save (green arrow below) to see what would happen.

My-books-image-1I’m cynical, so I halfway expected it to tell me to buy a monthly subscription before I could download, but instead I got this (see below). I entered the title, clicked the dropdown menu to select JPEG (red arrow below), and it saved immediately to my computer as a JPEG file.

My-books-image-2I know I keep saying this, but how cool is that? Out of curiosity, after taking my screen shots I went back to the site to see if I could also upload photos from my computer to edit. Whaddaya know? I can! In the image above, the one in which I’m saving my Cedar Hollow graphic, look up in the very top left. See “File” up there? Click that and you can open files from your own computer to edit.

Just in case you’re worried about licensing and copyrights (I always am), check out the OpenClipArt license:

OpenClipArt licenseAgain, this resource is very new to me, so I’m sure there are plenty of things I don’t yet know about it, but from what I’m seeing, it may just turn out to be an excellent tool for authors to add to the toolbox.

Author: Melinda Clayton

Melinda Clayton is the author of the Cedar Hollow series, as well as a self-publishing guide. Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado. Lear more about Melinda at her Amazon author page

18 thoughts on “More Free Graphics Tools for Authors: OpenClipArt”

  1. We are all (I hope) becoming more sensitive to the problems with just grabbing any old image (which probably belongs to someone else) off the web and inserting it in our posts and other graphics. And all the “free” sites you look up seem to lead to ones that cost. Knowing of another legitimately free site is great.
    Pixabay is another one I have been using lately, on the recommendation of K S Brooks of Indies Unlimited (thanks, Kat).

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