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What is CLIPART? The Complete 411 Guide

So… let’s talk CLIPART – what is it?! How do you get it?! What can you do with it?!

digital art graphics design - large clipart library of png files

What is Clipart?

Clipart is essentially a digital image file that is used to add visuals when imported to a document or program. You can find clipart all over the internet in many different forms. Some basic clipart images are royalty free, some are not. (Please take care to note the proper usage guidelines when you purchase and download clip art from any website! More on that later in this post!)

Over time, clipart has evolved from basic images of planes, balloons, and other generic objects (think Microsoft Word documents from back in the day) to more modern, hand drawn, illustrated, and styled images. Etsy and Creative Market are two platforms that have TONS of different clipart bundles for sale in all types of styles and for all sorts of uses. Just type “Clipart” into the Etsy search box and you’ll see right away the vast array of options out there!

For TWG Designs, I design clipart in a more hand illustrated style and create themed bundles of different elements that you can download together from one listing. They often have coordinating color palettes and can be mixed and matched together to create unique scenes or flatlays (more info on HOW to use clip art later in this post as well!)


How does the clipart purchase work?

If you aren’t familiar with the world of clipart and it’s uses, you may have ran into some Instagram posts or shop listings that look something like this:

clipart png graphics from our clipart library

digital drawing graphics using clipart png files

… and you may be wondering: What are these illustrations even used for? What do I actually receive once I purchase them?

When you purchase a clipart listing and payment is cleared, the files will be available for download directly from the checkout page. You will also receive an email with a direct link to download the files.

All TWG Design’s files come in .ZIP folders, so you’ll need to unzip them once you have them downloaded onto your computer to access the individual clip art files. 

So in other words, this listing:

coffee clipart collection of digital graphics

... becomes this folder on your computer:

digital art graphics in png files folder on mac

How to use clipart?

Soooo… what in the world do you DO now that you have all these clipart files chilling on your computer?!


There are so many different creative uses for clipart. But before we dive into project ideas, it’s important to understand the technicalities first.

Clipart images are PNG files (Portable Network Graphics). This type of file is ideal for clipart because it allows for a completely transparent background, which lets you overlay the images over any background or other graphics without that ugly white border that is typically found in JPEG files. PNGs are also advantageous because they have what’s called “lossless” compression, meaning they can be opened and saved multiple times without any loss in quality and keep their high-contrast colors and details intact.

Here is an example of a PNG image on the left VS a JPEG image on the right:

jpeg and png clipart digital graphics

All TWG Design’s clipart are high resolution – created at 300 DPI (dots per inch) – and can be resized considerably without any loss of quality or detail. I also make sure to use colors that translate well for both digital and print projects since I know these illustrations may end up on many different types of products/projects.

There are several ways to use clipart to create different types of products. You can use Adobe programs (Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.) to import the files and work with layers to create your own scenes and compositions. If you don’t have the Adobe programs, you can also use an online platform, like Canva, to import the files and create your designs there. If you are creating a specific niche product like stickers, you can also use programs like Cricut or Silhouette to import the clipart for design work!

Here is an example...

I used various elements from different clipart collections to create this instagram post:

coffee clipart instagram post for TWG Designs

And my Photoshop workspace looked like this:

 photoshop document working with coffee clipart png files

Note all the layers used to create this IG graphic, and the way each element is placed over each other to create a totally unique composition.

Other products and project ideas for clipart:

– Greeting/Thank you cards
– Planner stickers 
– Invitations
– Stationery
– Scrapbooking materials
– Party supplies
– Blog/Website backgrounds
– Web icons
– Magnets
– Bookmarks
– Washi Tape
– Wrapping paper
– Printables
– and the list goes on!

Selling a product using clipart? Mind the T&C for proper usage

If you are planning on purchasing and using clipart to create your own products for sale, PLEASE make sure to pay close attention to the shop’s Terms & Conditions. Some shops allow different levels of commercial use, offer additional licenses for purchase, and have other specific rules (ie, altering the colors of the clip art, selling digital items, etc.)

To avoid legal issues, you must abide by each shop’s rules when using their clipart to sell your own final product(s). Most shops will have a specific “terms & conditions” page, information about licensing, and other details listed somewhere in their product descriptions, websites, or even included in the download as a PDF file. If you are still unsure about the usage rights of a specific clipart set, send the shop owner a direct message or email and ask! Never assume that you are able to create and sell a product using clipart that you’ve purchased. It is up to you as a business owner to be aware of the proper usage rights, prior to making any money off a product that features someone else’s artwork.

At TWG Designs, we include the option to purchase a commercial license for clipart collection within each product listing. Simply select your licensing option from the dropdown menu, add to cart, and leave a note with the required business info at checkout.

We currently offer the following three tiers of licensing:

Personal / Small Commercial: use the artwork for personal projects and/or create and sell up to 100 units of end product. 

Commercial: use the artwork to create and sell up to 500 units of end product. 

Extended Commercial: use the artwork to create and sell up to 1,000 units of end product. 

If you intend to sell MORE than 1,000 units of end product using the artwork, please contact us for additional licensing options.

NOTE: You are strictly prohibited from reselling or distributing the artwork as-is. The artwork must be incorporated into a new design to be considered an end product for sale.

Click HERE to learn more about TWG Designs licensing.

For a complete look at all of our original hand illustrated collections, check out the CLIPART LIBRARY here.

Do you have any other questions about clip art?! Drop me a comment below!

Xx Laura



the complete clipart and digital graphics guide

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