Some sources of artwork

creative commonsAt some stage most writers (and bloggers) will need to get some artwork. This might be to illustrate a blog post or it might be to produce a book cover. There are several ways that this can be done but in general they boil down to a) steal it; b) produce your own; c) pay someone; or d) use some free stuff.

In this post I chat about all of these and have some ideas around options b) to d).

Steal it

Not recommended at all. Copyright and fair use are complicated and vary country to country. My advice is only use artwork (or anything else) that you are entitled to use.

Produce it

If you are a natural artist then good luck and you don’t even need to read a post like this. As to those of use whose creative skills lie elsewhere we can still produce the odd piece of simple art such as with Power Point. I produce all the simpler art work on this blog with Power Point which is an easy out for straightforward ideas.

Buy it

Why not buy it? If you are a professional author (indie in this case) then you are aiming to make money why not pay for the raw materials. This is a topic I am going to post on later. There are plenty of people who will create or sell art at a whole range of prices. You could strike up a relationship with an artist and promote their work in exchange for a discount. You could try a shared profit model – pay a modest amount for a book cover then pay them more based on sales. Get creative!

Free stuff

There is lots of stuff readily available though you must check the licenses. The typical choices are:

  • Use what you want how you want
  • Use stuff as is and link back / credit the creator
  • Use what you want how you want but credit back.

This need not be too arduous – one of my cover mock-ups in Choice: Help me pick a cover. Please uses a glorious picture of Poulnabrone Dolmen at sunrise and I will credit them in the kindle copy if I go with that cover. My current list of sites to check for art is:

Do check before you use and watch out – many sites actually also show you paid for art as well from places like Shutterstock.

You can use Google which has tools available under Image search. I’ll show you how in this example where I am looking for a picture of Mars for my next Eli Trew adventure.

Google Mars Images
First search for Mars in Google. Select to view Images then click on the Search Tools button (1 above). Once there pick the dropdown that shows all the license options (2 above). I pick Labeled for reuse with modification as a first port of call. Still check once you find an image you like on the actual site in every case.

Where do you look for images? Let me know!

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