Posted by: nancyisanders | November 10, 2014

Writing Opportunity: Searching for Images and Creating Art

Over my writing career, I’ve had to work extensively with finding images for publishers to use in my books.

For two of my nonfiction books, I had to find, acquire, (and pay for) all the images in the books! Here are my books I’ve done that for:





Needless to say, I figured out FAST how I can get the most free images I could use.


This experience has come in handy as I have also self-published some teacher resources in my store on the site Teachers Pay Teachers.


Here are some tips on how you can find images that you can use, too.


1. Sometimes I take photographs that I can use. (I don’t have a high-quality camera. But it’s digital and not just a cell-phone.) I always take a ton of photos and hope that at least one isn’t fuzzy or out of focus.

1.A. If it’s in a public place such as a wheel on a wagon or a tree, usually you don’t need to get permission to use it. Here’s a photograph I took of a wagon wheel and put it in a word file for a read-aloud play on the gold rush that my husband Jeff wrote: CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH.


1.B. If it’s inside a museum or belongs to someone OR if it has an identifiable person in the photo, you do need to get written permission to use it. Hopefully, they’ll let you use it for free. Many of the images I used in FREDERICK DOUGLASS FOR KIDS were from museums that let me use the photographs I took for free.


2. Another way to use photographs or images is to get them from free sites.

2.A. Here’s a link I posted about using Creative Commons on Flickr.


2.B. And here is an amazing resource Laura Purdie Salas put up with tons of links for royalty-free images. (Thank you, Laura!!!!)


3. Of course, you can always pay for images to use. I’ve had to do that, too, for the two books that I mentioned above. Here’s a blog post I wrote with some info about that.


And here’s another post on photo research as well.

4. And sometimes I use Inkscape, a free drawing program to create my own clipart. It takes me awhile to do it and it’s not very good, but if you like to do this, it’s definitely an option. Here’s a product I sell in my store at Teacher’s Pay Teachers where you can see some clipart I’ve made.

Here’s one of my favorite clipart I created:


pirate frog hopping green





If you have any questions about all this, just let me know!




  1. Great info to know. Thanks for sharing, Nancy!

    • You’re welcome, Tina! I forgot to mention I used a portion of my advances to purchase the images I needed to pay for.

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