You can make sure your illustrations are locally relevant and avoid copyright
problems by making clip art from your own drawings, photographs and slides. (If you use
someone else's pictures, make sure you have their permission.)
- Photocopy a photograph to the desired size and trace it. Include only
necessary details. For instance, you can omit a confusing background or change the style
of clothing to suit your audience's needs. Sometimes photocopying the photocopy can get
rid of unwanted detail. Try playing with the contrast settings on the photocopier until
you get the effect you want.
- If you start off with a drawing, use scissors and typist's correction
fluid to cut out the parts you don't want. Draw in additional details, or cut and paste
from several drawings to make a composite scene. Finally, photocopy the resulting mosaic.
- To turn a slide into clip art, pin a piece of paper to the wall,
project the slide onto it, and trace the image. This technique also works with an overhead
projector: simply put the slide on the projector stage, and trace the image on some paper
taped to the wall.
- If you have a scanner, scan a photo as "line art" (rather
than as a halftone), edit it if necessary in the computer, and incorporate it into your
desktop published document. Or print it out and paste it into the document in the
Start with a Scan (Janet Ashford and John Odam, Peachpit Press, 1996) is a
book that tells you how to transform scanned photos and objects into high-quality art and
design. Click for more details,
or order from Amazon.com.
- Adapt existing clip art in your image editor. You can change
resize and combine images, and add backgrounds very easily. The icon on the right started
out as CorelDraw symbols.
- Don't have ANY clip art? Try this: open Windows Paintbrush, type in a
few characters in the Wingdings font (choose a large font size), and colour them in using
the Fill With Colour (paintcan) tool. Select the image you want, and Copy To a new file.
Wingdings and Zapf Dingbats have good images too. The icons to the right started life as
If you have a lot of art, organizing and finding it can get to be a pain.
- Store artwork in a separate directory (called "Graphics" or
something similar) so you can find it easily. Make subdirectories for different topics
(eg, people, places, objects, animals...), types of image (photos, black-and-white
drawings, colour graphics) or file formats (JPEG, GIF, TIFF, etc.)
- Get a graphics browser such as Compupic or Kudo to view
and manage your graphics files. Some of these browsers come with clip-art CD-ROMs: you can
install them on your computer and use them to catalogue other images too.
- Rename files so they tell you what's in them. A filename called
"logo" isn't very informative. "UNDPlogo" is.
- Graphics can take up a lot of disk space. Convert graphics to the
format you will use it (eg, TIFF for publications, JPEG or GIF for websites). Reduce the
image size to minimize the number of kilobytes used. Get a 100 MB Iomega Zip drive to store your pictures
so you don't have to keep them on your hard drive. Compress TIFF files. It may even be
worth writing your own CD-ROM. Keep one copy of each image in a non-lossy format (such as
TIFF), and convert to other formats only when you need to.
- Having said that, store the largest file size you think you will need.
You can always reduce from this to get a smaller size. But if you enlarge from a small
image, you'll end up with ugly "jaggies".
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visitors since 16 April 1999