Sunday, January 24, 2016

TPT Tip Series: Clipart!

I remember when I was a new teacher in California, searching anywhere and everywhere for ways to improve my classroom teaching. In the discount bin of my local school supply store I found two huge CD Rom packs (yep, that's right, CD Roms) labeled "10,000 Clipart Images" and "10,000 Fonts." So of course I bought them. And proceeded to dazzle my students with Halloween-themed fonts, fun headers, etc. Putting together handouts was so much more fun with good graphics, and as a visual learner myself, I felt like I was giving my students a gift by presenting the information in an attractive way.

Fast-forward ten years and one of the first pieces of advice I read for new TPT sellers was to "invest in good clipart." Pshaw, I thought, there's gotta be a go-round. And there was. Pixabay. I developed my initial products with fun free clips from Pixabay, searching for whatever theme I came up with.

But Pixabay, though free, had its limits. I began to shop around TPT looking for clipart freebies. And I found quite a few. You will too, if you look. That's when it's time to start a "Graphics By" section on your advertising page at the end of your product. Wait, you don't have an advertising page? Get one! I put this page at the end of all my products, just adjusting the graphics section to feature whoever's clipart I am using. This is a great way to share your social media information with other teachers, and to give them an idea of what else is in your store, as well as to show who is designing your art and give them credit. Just design a powerpoint with a basic title page at the front that you can redesign for any product, some blank pages in the middle, and this at the end and save it "TPT Template" on your desktop. Then you don't have to redo everything every time you start a new product.

After a while though, even clipart freebies and Pixabay weren't enough for me. I wanted to find some lovely clipart that I could use in a range of situations for older kids. After a lot of searching, I did. My favorite artist by far is Paula Kim Studio, so I'm going to go ahead and give her a shout out here. She makes beautiful designs, and she doesn't even demand a certain way of citing her in your products. Once you buy them, it's up to you whether or not to cite her store in your final page. 

Combining freebies, Pixabay, the small variety of fonts and colors available in Powerpoint, and several packages from Paula Kim and a few other clipart designers, has allowed me a great deal of graphic design freedom in my store, though I've probably only spent about $30 on clipart. You don't need a new package of clipart for every product you make. Just invest in some nice borders, papers, labels, and banners. Voila! Professional looking cover pages and lovely internal art. You can see my style by visiting my Spark Creativity Pinterest page where I put up all my products. 

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