Advanced Search Options Help You Find Your Way Around Clipart Sites

Clipart image of a businessman looking through a magnifying glassIt doesn't come without its problems but among the more positive aspects of the internet, when used wisely and with good intent,  is the fact that it allows us to find things — from people and places to information and pictures.

While taken at face value,  it can be somewhat off-putting to realize anyone can track us down on the world-wide web if they want. However, the discovery of long-lost friends, I can attest to personally, is a real gift. I have re-connected through social media with chums from elementary school as well as from other aspects of my past life and established even stronger ties as an adult.

We can find our way with Google maps, etc. We get answers to questions that in the moment really feel must be answered. Of course, in doing so, we hopefully exercise the necessary due diligence to ensure what we have read is accurate, through further research on reputable websites to confirm it.

It's the picture part I mentioned earlier, though, that I'm going to focus on a bit more. Primarily because that is the industry in which I work.  Finding images for projects, whether they are for professional use as in presentations and worksheets or for personal projects such as scrapbooking, embroidery, invitations, etc., has never been so easy thanks to the internet. However, while free is tempting, it is advised that you be cautious when looking for images. For example, many 'free' ones  will carry a headsup  in tiny print warning that the image you're using could be subject to copyright.

The best way to find high-quality, virus-free content, that will also not lead you into a copyright issue, is to purchase them from a reputable site such as, or You can buy a subscription or individual image to use in projects, royalty-free. There are no additional fees or credits.

The other benefit is the diversity of the massive content available. With millions of images in the inventories, there should be something for every need, style or taste.  Typically, a simple keyword search will help you find exactly what you want.

However, the Advanced Search options are wonderful tools to help you narrow the field when necessary.  Regardless of what website you choose,  check for them and see what they offer. For the sake of example we're going to take a little stroll through the options on
Let's assume that I want a simple colour illustration of an ordinary guy, just standing still. Sometimes it's best to try a lot of keywords, but you want to be careful too not to limit yourself too much. I've opted for our purposes here to start simply. Using just the word 'man' in the search box to begin with I knew would bring oodles of results, 124,505 to be exact.

Eliminating 'Santa', 'Christmas', 'hockey', 'sports', 'player', 'band', 'music', 'entertainment', 'cop', 'woman' and 'occupations' based on some of the images I saw that I knew I didn't want, as well as 'animal' and 'monkey',  because there are occasionally  random examples,  significantly decreased the choices.

Clicking off the B&W option also dropped the selections by thousands.

Next I selected the category 'People' which again make a significant difference in the number of results.  However, there were still plenty to wade through so I thought I would add the word stand to the initial keyword of man, which then brought me to 611 results.  Which included the winner – right in the top row.
Keywording is a human science and therefore open to interpretation as well as human error. It is, therefore,  prudent to try a few options when searching. As mentioned, sometimes the path is through a single word; other times as the best thing is to use as many keywords as you can consider.  Just remember that the Advanced Search options are well worth the extra steps and can eliminate any sense of being overwhelmed by what you see.


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