Illustration

How to Find Images When Creating a Digital Collage

Learn about different sources of royalty-free pictures and learn to search by color or resolution

Israel G. Vargas (@israelgevargas) is a Mexican designer and visual communicator who graduated from the UNAM Faculty of Arts and Design. As an editorial designer, he has worked for different Mexican magazines, including Picnic, where he was a graphic editor for seven years.

Israel is also an illustrator whose work has been featured in various international magazines and brands such as Wired, Texas Monthly, Atlanta, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, The Atlantic, Adidas, Tbrand Studio from The New York Times and Metaleap Creative, as well as in Mexican publications such as Tierra Adentro, Expansión, Accent, and Chilango.

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Israel García Vargas

Here are some of his tips to help you learn what to consider when searching for images to create digital collages for editorial publications.

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Israel García Vargas

What kind of images should you look for?

When working on a collage project for print media, Israel often uses three types of images:

Stock images

Although usage rights must be purchased, these images always have a very acceptable quality that allows textures to be maintained and edits to be applied more freely. If you take into account that the minimum print quality is 300 pixels per inch, this option will always be useful.

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Example of stock images
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Example of stock images

Scans of magazines and other media in the public domain

Israel suggests scanning at the highest possible resolution, so you can cut out more easily and use the images in larger formats. In these cases, you should always check if the images are free of copyright and if there is any limitation that applies to commercial uses.

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Scan example
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Scan example

Internet images

Quality can vary, but you must ensure that the resolution is enough for your work. Typically, these are useful for complements in your collage, but never for the main element.

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Scan example

Royalty-Free Images

Images you will use in a collage will always have particular usage rights that may prevent using them inside of new art. Currently, the legislation dictates that you must pay each of the rights to the images on the final work or use images in the public domain. Therefore, when you work for high impact print media, it is always good to ask if they already have an account in a royalty-free image bank to download the material you will be working with.

The image banks that Israel uses most frequently are:

- Getty Images
- iStock

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Getty Images
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iStock

If you use images from a royalty-free image bank, you should always make sure you know the usage rights of that specific platform (some, for example, will ask you to give credit to the website or the creators).

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Creative Commons
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Rawpixel

If you want to learn more about Israel's experience and how to compose striking digital collages, sign up for the Digital Collage for Editorials course, in which you will learn how to create dynamic illustrations for magazines, newspapers, and other publications.

You may also like:

- 13 Free Photography Resources
- What is Collage, And How Has It Evolved?
- 7 Tools to Spark Your Inner Creativity

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