Working with Clip Art – Guide, Part One

These series will give the basics of what programs to use and what you can do with clip art. Lets start!

In this post I will expand on what programs to use and how to resize clip art images.

Programs

Clip art images can be used with any graphic editing program. If you are looking for professional results for your projects, Photoshop is the best choice. However, it is quite pricey and if you don’t need all the features, Photoshop Elements is a good alternative. For Mac users there are some very affordable applications which have similar functionality to Photoshop, like Pixelmator. For your personal projects, free programs like Gimp are very suitable. In case you don’t want to bother with graphic editing programs, Microsoft Word can do for simple projects.

Resizing

Very often you need to resize clip art images to better suit your needs. The most important thing to remember is resize always smaller not larger! When you scale up images they lose their quality, become pixelated and your work will look very unprofessional at the end. It is always best to only scale down images. The Ink Nest clip art includes very large images which fit almost all purposes and need to only to be resized smaller.

How to open and resize clip art images?

- Microsoft Word:
This can vary from version to version and from the operation system but the most common path is Insert > Picture > From File > navigate to the folder with clip art and open an image. To resize the image, simply drag the corner.

- Photoshop and Photoshop Elements, Pixelmator:
The most common pathway is File > Open > navigate to the folder with clip art images and choose an image to open. To resize the image, the best results are achieved by choosing from the menu Image > Image Size > type the size you need and click OK. In Photoshop Elements the pathway is Image >Resize > Image size. You can also just drag the corner of the image to resize it (keep pressed the Shift key while resizing to have constant proportions of the image  ).

Notice that the image has a background of gray and white squares. This is how a transparent background often looks in Photoshop.

- Gimp:
Open clip art images in Gimp from the program menu – File > Open > navigate to the clip art folder and choose an image. To resize an image, choose from the menu Image > Canvas Size > type the size you need. You can also use the Scale Tool and drag the corner of the image to resize it.

Useful Links:

- Download Gimp for:
Mac
Windows

- More free graphic editing programs:
Paint.NET
Inkscape
Artweaver

- Mac users – you are lucky there are some pretty good and affordable programs:
Pixelmator

- Find more about Photoshop and Photoshop Elements