A picture is worth a thousand words.
Ugh, what a clichÃ©.
ClichÃ© or not, it’s true, which means including images in your blog can be a good way to up your post appeal. If you’re like me, though, you hate to look for clip art. I love looking at the images, but I’ve experienced that most free clip art sites are torture to navigate. A clip art hunting session usually involves wading through endless sites that have little art and plenty of ads. This more often than not exhausts me before I even find what I need.
But for you, dear readers, I have braved the clip art jungle in an effort to find the best free resources. The result is the list below, which contains sites that not only have quality free images but also are easy to navigate (with one exception, noted below). I’ve also included several sites that charge a nominal amount for clip art, in case you can’t find what you need at the free sites.
This free e-book is free to download and contains links to thousands of free contemporary and vintage clip art images, photos, craft templates, paper dolls and many other types of images. All the clip art at each link is completely free!
This free American flag clip art will come in handy on so many occasions: for Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day or any time you just want to show a little patriotism. There are different types of flags, including flat, waving, on poles and with stars.
These iconic clip art images are perfect for engagement announcements, bridal shower invitations and decorations and wedding favors.
Dover produces high-end clip art, which is available in over 120 books and a few CDs. Fortunately for us, they also offer free samples, which are sent in a link every Wednesday by e-mail. (Make sure to download the weekly images quickly, because the access is only for a limited time.) If you’re looking for classy images, Dover is a good place to start. Click here to receive Dover’s free weekly samples.
This resource is close to my heart because it’s WordPlay’s sister blog. I created it because I had such a hard time finding free vintage images online and assumed others were having the same problem. So I bought my own collection of antique postcards and photos and am in the process of posting them. If you’re looking for authentic antique art, you’ll like this collection.
This site doesn’t have a huge inventory, but what they have is good. You do, however, have to provide a link to them in return for using their free clip art. (Read their clip art usage rights for details.) They provide art in two formats: .wmf and .gif. Use the .wmf format for printing and use the .gif image for blogs, Web sites, e-mail newsletters, etc.
Barry’s specializes in colorful illustrations that cover a wide variety of topics. To use this site, click the link above and choose a topic. To expedite your search through the large collection, click on the Clip art button whenever you’d like to return to the topics page.
If you want images from a simpler time, Old Time Clip Art offers images from the 1800s to 1928. The Old Time Clip Art CD, which is a bargain at $10.90 for U.S. customers and $11.99 for customers outside the U.S., contains more than 1,600 images. Only 128 of them are available online, but each one is a high-quality original.
This site has an uneven mix of image types and drawing quality, but many of the images are worth using. This wouldn’t be my first choice because there are so many ads and the navigation is clunky, but if you can’t find images elsewhere, give this site a try.
Although we all like getting things free when we can, sometimes you have to pay to get what you want. The following sources provide quality images, yet aren’t too expensive.
At 6.2 million images and counting, iCLIPART has an amazing collection. Their art is of uniform high quality, which is unusual among clip art sites. For the subscription fee (one year is by far the best deal), you also can access photos, fonts, sounds and Web graphics. This site would be particularly useful for people who want all their images to have the same “vibe,” because although there are some variations, most of the clip art is in the same style.
This is the least expensive paid site on the list. There’s only a small, one-time charge of $9.99, which includes unlimited downloads for life. The site is small now but they add new clip art every week, so it should get bigger in a hurry. Also, members can request specific clip art if they don’t find what they’re looking for. It’s a great opportunity to get custom clip art for an extremely affordable price.
This site is so affordable, it’s almost free. For only $9.95 per month, you get unlimited access to one million clip art images, animations, Web graphics, fonts and photos. They also have a $59.95 plan, which gives you a full year of downloads.
Clipart.com has over seven million downloadable images (including photos), most of which are of good quality. There are some clunkers, but you can usually find a decent image to illustrate just about any topic. You can download as many images as you want once you’ve paid one of the subscription fees, which start at $14.95 for one week. The site allows you to search for images without paying, so you can find what you’re looking for before you spend any money.
RetroArt is a great resource when you want a retro look and nothing else will do. There’s no neo-retro art on this site; all the images were originally created in the 40’s and 50’s. The drawings are priced individually and range from $4.95 to $14.95, and quantity discounts are available.___
If you want access to an assortment of quality animations, Animation Factory offers them at a reasonable price. For only $59.95 a year, you can download as many of their 400,000 animated elements as you want.
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