Easy Ways to Modify Clip Art

Make stock images work for you

B&W clip art of a man's head.

 Sudowoodo / Getty Images

Although you can't always find exactly the clip art you need, but you can modify it in several easy ways. You can use clip art in the software it came with, or you can copy and paste it into another program.

First, determine the format of the clip art you want to use, so you can choose the correct software to alter it. Clip art comes in vector and raster (bitmap) formats. You edit vector art in Adobe Illustrator and similar vector software; raster art is the domain of Photoshop and similar image-editing programs.

Flip It

flip clip art
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An otherwise perfect piece of clip art that is facing the wrong direction might need nothing more than a flip. This is easy to do in any graphics software program. Just be careful of flipping images that contain text or images that don't make sense when rendered backward.

Resize It

resize clip art
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Images seldom come in just the right size to fit everyone's needs. However, resizing clip art isn't difficult. In most cases, you can enlarge the art in the program you are using it in.

You can enlarge vector art infinitely without affecting the quality of the art, but rasterized art will become pixelated if enlarged too much.

Rotate, Stretch, Skew, or Distort It

Stretch Skew Distort Clip Art
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You can rotate clip art to the left or right to the exact orientation you need.

Rotating an image maintains its original dimensions; stretching and skewing do not. Create special effects with the stretch, skew, distort, warp, or perspective tools in your software.

Crop It

Crop Clip Art
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You can crop out parts of the image you don't want quite easily. Cropping can help create focus on important parts of the image, simplify it, or change its meaning.

You can also take apart the clip art and use its bits and pieces. This is easier to do with vector images, but with careful use of selection and cropping tools, you can make complex adjustments to bitmap images, too.

Colorizing Grayscale Art and Vice Versa

Convert Clip Art to Grayscale
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Sometimes, colorizing a piece of clip art is better than using it in its original color scheme You can add just the right colors in the right places to suit your purposes.

You don't have to start with a colorless graphics, though. You can make color changes to both vector and raster clip art using the appropriate software.

Converting an image to a grayscale bitmap renders the colors in shades of gray and increases the usefulness of any clip art collection. This makes it easy to colorize or add selective color.

Combine Clip Art Elements

Combine Clip Art Images
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If two pieces of clip art aren't quite right, try putting them together. Create a new image by combining several pieces of clip art or by deleting portions of each and combining the remaining elements.