Hello, joyful art journaling friends! I love incorporating collage into my art journals, don’t you? I have loads of images and papers I’ve purchased and/or accumulated over the years (and I’m guessing you do, too!) But sometimes you need something specific. Or maybe you’re still building up your stash.
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Either way, I’ve found several places where you can get free images for your art journal.
In fact, I have lots of ideas about where to get free images for your art journal, including some right here online, and some offline too (and yes, still for free!) It really depends on your needs and wants for a particular spread. For instance, do you need one certain image right now? Well, searching online is going to be your best bet! But if you want a bunch of images in a variety of subjects and colors, printing them all out could be costly, so finding already printed materials (still for free) will be your best bet.
Online sources for free images for your art journal:
Unsplash – Unsplash offers free, beautiful photos that you can search by subject, color, and more. They are my favorite free photo spot on the internet.
Flickr Commons – This site’s goal “is to share hidden treasures from the world’s public photography archives.”
oldbookillustrations.com – Looking for that “storybook” or printmaking feel? This is the site for you! You can search by artist, subject and more.
British Library – If you search Flickr Commons for free images for your art journal, you’ll likely find that some of the results come from the British Library. But you can also just go directly there, if you prefer.
Pexels – Pexels also has a wide variety of (more modern/contemporary) images for you to search from, but you do have to give them your name and email if you want to download any of the photos.
Pixabay – From their site: “Pixabay is a vibrant community of creatives, sharing copyright free images and videos. All contents are released under Creative Commons CC0, which makes them safe to use without asking for permission or giving credit to the artist – even for commercial purposes.”
The Smithsonian – The Smithsonian is a great resource for free images, especially if you’re looking for historical people or moments, or even photos of space!
If you’re willing to spend a little cash, I really like the selection of art journal images you can find on Etsy and Creative Market (they also offer a new set of free goodies every Monday, so be sure to check back there!). But I promised you free images for your art journal, so below you’ll find my other suggestions and hacks!
Offline sources for free images for your art journal:
One of the easiest ways I’ve found for getting free images for my art journal is by asking my friends and family for their old magazines (as well as keeping my own, of course!) I know some people save their magazines, but most will just end up in the recycle bin. I find people are more than happy to share their old magazines when they know they are going to a good cause – like your creative hobby! 😉
One of my favorite tricks: When you’re at the airport (or any tourist-y spot!), check out the free tourist magazines and brochures. I know I’ve found some really high-quality images to use! From travel scenes Iike beaches, rivers, lakes, mountains, flowers, forests, to shopping and dining images, art and historical museum images, and so much more.
You can also save old cards, gift bags, shopping bags, wrapping paper, etc. that have a nice color, pattern and/or images. I tend to cut out a small section – or just the most interesting parts. That way my stash isn’t just filled with excess paper I won’t actually use. If you subscribe to catalogs, you can use images from those in your art journals, too.
You can also check your local libraries. Sometimes they will give away old magazines or books they no longer need or use. If they don’t offer them for free, they might charge a nominal fee. A library where I used to live sold their old magazines for .10 cents each and books for a quarter. So while that isn’t free, it’s very close!
There you have it: some ways to get free images for your art journal! Did I miss any ideas? If so, please let us know in the comments below!
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