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.
I may earn commissions from the links in this post. See my full Affiliate Disclosure here.
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: 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.”
Burst – From the people at Shopify (where they make it super easy to set up your own online shop) comes Burst: Popular collections of royalty-free images.
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: 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!
I also have to add… while they’re not free, I do have a bunch of books with tons of vintage ephemera for you to cut out and use in your art journals, junk journals, collage, scrapbooks, mixed media art, and more! Again, they aren’t free, but to print the same amount and quality of images at home might actually cost more than one of the books, with ink prices being so high! So I thought I’d mention my books.
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Thanks my creative friend!
Yay, another art blogger, thank you for visiting my blog. Love the look of your blog too, plenty of half term reading for me. I have shared this on Pinterest. I have a group board for Creative Bloggers, off to add you on Pinterest and will invite you to the board xx
Oh how exciting! Thanks, Kerrymay!
Inked your ideas – all the last ones I already do. Sometimes I think I enjoy looking fir images and cutt8ngbthem out more than using them! But I really appreciate the list of internet sites to check out. Thanx!!
Junk mail. I get a lot of great stuff in my junk mail. Especially people in election stuff. Also product packaging.
Many of the top museums have a section online for free images. If you go to The Public Domain Review – https://publicdomainreview.org/ – they have posts that give the links to many of them.
Thank you for this!!
Hi! Thank you for the helpful resources! I’m just getting into bullet and art journaling. I have so many pretty images saved to my Pinterest that I’d love to put in a journal and make pretty, for my own personal use, to look at and enjoy creating.
I can’t find much information on the legality of this. Obviously I really respect artist’s hard work on their images, but if I save something from Pinterest, print it off and put it in my journal, is this really an issue? Just wanted some more info as I guess most people wouldn’t think this deep into it, but I feel morally obligated to seek out info on it.
Otherwise one would have to scour “free” images to find one they like to journal with, it seems limiting. Any advice? Thanks! Maddy