Openclipart: A library of public domain images

In the past five years, I’ve contributed more than 300 clip art graphics to There were some works I liked more than others, of course, but I believe sticking with it is important.

All of the clip art on the site is public domain, so there are no rights reserved. And, you can use the images however you want—even for commercial purposes—with no need to acknowledge the original creator (though I always appreciate it when someone does that for me).

Openclipart’s site encourages remixing with features like commenting, collections, and links to derivative works and original material. It’s exciting to see another person latch on to an idea from one of my clips and make it their own.

Of course, having your image downloaded isn’t a guarantee it will be used. However, a download implies intent to use the clip, credited or not. Making a clip available is the point—and, it’s all the better if it gets used.

Yesterday I noticed my clip art, in total, has been downloaded over 300,000 times. Wow. For a pastime/hobby, that feels pretty great. So, I call the effort a success, for sure.

Getting started

I got started making clip art with Inkscape, a free software vector graphics program. Máirín Duffy recommended it to me along with a tutorial she developed for Girl Scout digital media courses. There are hundreds of other Inkscape tutorials on the Web, along with some fantastic documentation.

Tips for success

Don’t let perfectionism stand in the way of progress. To succeed, you have to take the first steps. Be prepared to throw aside some work, but let it guide your next effort. A failure really isn’t a failure unless it makes you stop.

Find creative opportunities, whether or not they involve clip art or Inkscape. Make your first project. And, don’t be dismayed if it looks totally lame or far too basic to be worth doing. This bandage, one of my first Openclipart submissions, has been downloaded 2,745 times since November 2010:

Adhesive bandage clip art
Five years on, I’m still at it and enjoying the effort.

Share your work! releases all works submitted to the site to the public domain.

Each artist at Openclipart releases all rights to the images they share at Openclipart. The reason is so that there is no friction in using and sharing images authors make available at this website so that each artist might also receive the same benefit in using other artists clipart totally for any possible reason.

If you’re using Inkscape, there is a metadata section where you can add this information. Several fields are available, including a CC0 public domain dedication. You may also choose from several other open licenses, including the popular Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) which requires each reuse of the work give attribution to the author/creator.

To encourage attribution of your work, make it as clear as you can for the user. If you publish your work to the Web, state your license expectations on the page, including a link to the official license information page.

Reposted with updates permission from

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Original article posted under CC-BY-SA with full credit going to the original author

Algot Runeman
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