August 2015 | Teaching in the Tongass

Monday, August 24, 2015

finding commercial use clipart

I often see new Teachers Pay Teachers sellers wondering how to get some great commercial use clipart. The great thing is, you need to look no further than TpT! The clipart sellers on TpT often have hassle-free Terms of Use and don't often have a commercial use limit (some sellers on Etsy limit use to a certain amount of resources sold--so be sure to check first!).  And if you're lucky, you find teacher clipartists (clipartists that have been or still are classroom teachers) that know what you're looking for and create things with your needs in mind! 

First, you'll need to think of the various key words that the clipart you are searching for might be named. For instance, if you're looking for clipart of "planets," you might want to search for "space" or "outerspace" clipart. Typing in "clipart" usually helps with searching as well.

Now, I guarantee that all 1,538 of those aren't clipart. So, you'll need to use the "Top Resource Types" feature to narrow it down a bit. Click on "Clip Art."
Now that you've changed the resource type, you should have fewer "hits." We went from over 1500 to about 300 by doing that. And even these 293 products will have some non-clipart items based on their descriptions that might have related products or if someone accidentally checked "clipart" as their resource type.
Now, your results are default sorted by "Relevance" to what you searched for.  
Let's talk about that price thing for a second before you sort by it (I saw you eyeballin' that option because that's how I roll too!). Lots of artists offer free clipart on TpT!!! However, I will say that if you're looking for your product to stand out a bit, you shouldn't limit yourself by price.  Clipart is definitely an investment. You can claim is at a deductible for your TpT business. Yep, that's right. Plus, if it's something you really like, you can use it on more than one product.  Find a style that fits your needs and invest in some clipart you can get a lot of mileage out of (bundles that include color and black/white versions for instance).  Most sellers tend to stick with just a few artists so that they can sort of build their "brand" with a certain look and use that style of clipart in multiple products, which comes in handy when you have been doing it for awhile.  You certainly don't have to follow this method to be successful, but it's something to think about when making your first few purchases.  
You can even buy larger bundles of clipart and save when there is a sitewide sale (typically in August, November, February and May you can save 28% off during a sale). 
If you are new to TpT and are concerned about spending a lot of money before you're making a lot, you can always sort your results by "Price, Rating or Bestseller" However, this is what sometimes happens. You can end up seeing some great clipart by mistake, but not exactly what you're looking for. 
Another great way to search for something specific is by searching within an actual store. For instance, let's say you're looking for "leprechaun" clipart. There is a search bar in every TpT store, and it's pretty handy if you know what you're looking for. Granted, it all pends on whether or not the seller used that particular word in their title or description, and the results vary depending on whether or not that word was used in other clipart descriptions. But, it's another way to find clipart, so it can't hurt!

Now, onto the not-so-fun part. Terms of Use (or TOU as some clipartists call them). These are the guidelines you accept when you use clipart. Some stores have them as individual downloads in their store so you can look at them BEFORE purchasing, like I do:
If it's not in the clipartist's store, it may be on their blog or in a freebie you download. You need to make the effort to find it. I highly recommend you actually find it and then READ IT before purchasing. That's in ALL CAPS because I know many established sellers don't make a point to read the TOU of the clipart they buy (and some are my dear friends that tell me they don't--hi friends!), and if you use it and break the TOU, it might be a big headache you don't want to deal with later.  Trust me. You wouldn't want to buy clipart only to discover that it can't be used to create something you specifically bought it for (for instance, my clipart cannot be used for creating your store logo/banner/blog design). It's awkward for both a seller and a clipartist to deal with (we often see our TOU not being followed and have to send a Q/A or email--just like a seller would if they found their resource being shared in a Facebook group, district website or something similar--we feel the same emotional stress when it happens!). Also, if you don't understand the wording or are unsure about something, just ask the seller!  Go straight to the source like the respectable professional you are. Leave a Question in their Q and A section of their store or email them privately! You will feel at ease knowing you did and you might even get the answer you hoped for. 
 If you're using clipart to make a free resource that is on your blog or in your store, that is still considered commercial-use. I come across a few sellers that think they don't need to include a credit logo because they made their product a freebie. Or only put the credit in the product description or somewhere written in a blog post. This is not the correct method for providing credit for many of your favorite clipartists on TpT (similar to how an illustrator has their name on a book, not in the Amazon description of the book). Again, read the clipart TOU to find out as I am not speaking for all clipartists. If you make sure to put your own ©copyright on your resource, chances are you need to credit the clipart as well.  

Once you do find an artist who's style is something you like and who's TOU you can agree to, you can "Follow" them by clicking the little star under their name in their store. Once you do that, you'll be able to see when they upload new products (along with anyone else you follow) by receiving an email from TpT (not an email when each seller uploads a product...that would be a little excessive!).  
And anytime you come back to the homepage, you'll also see new products anyone you follow has just uploaded.
*Ahem, shameless self-promotion (it is my own blog, right?)--I recently made this catalog with clickable links that you might like to check out:
If you found this tutorial helpful, you might also like to check out more tutorials here:


Sunday, August 23, 2015

yeah...but is it secure?

From time to time I see people discussing how to secure files they create for Teachers Pay Teachers. Everyone that makes resources for TpT has a different way of doing things, but here is a tutorial about how I secure my own files. If you have downloaded ANY of my clipart (free or paid), you are required to do more than change it to a PDF (please read my Terms of Use--really, actually read it). 

First, I'm gonna tell you a couple of things. I am not an expert. I don't work for tech support. I'm a teacher, a real actual person and a mom behind this computer screen. So, if something on your computer doesn't look like the post below, please be kind and don't come at me like a spider monkey (all jacked up on Mountain Dew).  You might leave a comment asking a question, but again, I'm not tech support. So, to sum nice and if you don't find what you're looking for, try my best friend, Mr. Google. He's amazeballs and 99% of the time, he answers my questions. What a guy. 

First and foremost, if you don't already create in Powerpoint, and this is your first time reading that you should, TRUST ME. You won't regret moving away from your ol' familiar Word. You can duplicate slides that have the same formatting (copying and pasting in Word doesn't always keep things neat and tidy). It's just easy. I promise. 

So, after you create your document (and pat yourself on the back for finishing that beast! hurray!), you need to save it as a PDF. Here's how I do it. 

First, go to File-->Print. 
 When your print window comes up, check out the lower left corner where it says PDF. Click the dropdown menu.
 Then click "Save as PDF."
 Save it! I prefer to save things to my desktop so I can find them easily. Remember where you saved it!
 Click "Use .pdf"
Now, you can open your PDF you just created. If you are creating for Teachers Pay Teachers and you don't have Adobe Pro, YOU NEED TO BUY IT. Simply saving as a PDF does not secure the clipart you downloaded, or even the text you wrote (yes, people out there WILL take advantage of you and copy/paste entire documents--yes, even teachers like you!). Securing the clipart protects it from being stolen (yes, it happens) and if you don't want others taking what you paid for and you respect the time/money/energy of any clipartist, you must do your part in protecting it.  As a clipartist and a teacher, I often am amazed when I open a file I download on TpT that isn't secure. If it has my own clipart, I usually go back to the store and notify the seller (yes, I know this is probably annoying and it's extremely embarrassing for both parties, but so is stolen the battle together and crossing my fingers you don't think of me as a you-know-what). If you have ever found your own resources unsecured on a wiki, district page or someone else's blog, you likely know how it feels when your own TOU are disregarded. So, this is where Adobe Pro comes in. Seriously, it's an investment, a tax deductible (yes, here in the US you need to pay taxes on the money you make, no matter the amount--or get audited and go to jail/get fined for tax fraud), and you won't regret it once you do. Look for a deal around Cyber Tuesday...I bought mine on Best Buy for around $100.  Here's my Amazon affiliate link if you're ready to make a purchase (the small percentage I get as an affiliate allows me to continue writing helpful posts like this one). Check it out here (make sure you select either Windows or Mac).

If you want to try a FREE 30 day trial, click below:

So, now that you've taken my advice or someone else's and you've purchased Adobe Pro and are ready to read how to use it, open up your file.
On the left side, you'll see a little icon with pages (thumbnails). Click it and you'll see your pages appear on the left side.
 Scroll to the bottom of your document.
 Open up the window that has your EXISTING credit page(s) PDF. You don't need to open the files. I like to arrange my windows so I can see both easily. My credit pages are visible on the right. I have them saved as PDFs in both Landscape and Portrait sizes to use whenever I am working with that dimension.  Drag the file icon to the bottom of the Page Thumbnail window until it "pops" into your document.
 Yay! It's in there!
 Now, you're ready to add the ever important security to your document. On the right side, you'll see the option "Tools" with "Protection" and a dropdown menu. Click "More Protection" and then "Security Properties."
 Now you should see this window. Make sure you're on the "Security" tab. Click "Password Security" and "Ok."
 This window will pop up. Click the checkbox "Restrict editing...." and in the "Printing Allowed" options, select "High Resolution" or your buyers won't be able to print your files the way you intend them to.  Make sure the "Enable copying of text, images and other content" is NOT CLICKED. Type a password in the password box (you should probably type something you will remember or something you use already for your TpT business). Click OK.
 You'll need to retype the password.
 Don't let this next window fool you. It says that these things are all "Allowed" only because you haven't SAVED yet. Just click OK.
 Now, "File" and "Save."
 At the very top where your file name is, you should see the word (SECURED). If you don't see that, it's not secured and you probably haven't saved it yet. If you do, congratulations!

Edited to add:
If you want to be able to quickly secure future documents, you can save those security settings and make it even quicker.
Under the Protection menu, click Encrypt-->Manage Security Policies.
Then select the Encrypt with Password option and the Edit option on the top. Create and save your security settings.
From now on, you can just click Encrypt and Encrypt with Password (don't forget to save it though or it won't actually be secure!).
If you found this tutorial helpful, you might also like to check out more tutorials here:


linking your credit page

So, you made a document and you're ready for it to be uploaded to Teachers Pay Teachers. But wait! There's more! No, this isn't an informercial. It's just another tech tip :) If you've ever downloaded anything on TpT, you may have noticed something most resources have in common. Credit pages. If you're creating your own resources, read on!
A credit (some people refer to it as a Terms of Use page as well) page(s) serves 2 purposes really. It thanks your buyers and gives them info on you and what you will or won't allow them to do with your resource (for instance, upload to their class website or share in the copyroom with their friends), as well as credits the clipartist/font designers for their hard work in making your resource look as fabulous as it does. Some people use 1 page for info on them and their Terms, and another for the graphic designer credits, while others put it all on 1 page. It really doesn't matter, as long as it's appealing and has the info you want your buyers to see. Here is how I set mine up.

The first step is to create your page. If you haven't already started using Powerpoint, DO IT NOW. Most sellers include a thank you, some terms of use and ways you can follow them on social media and email address. As you can see, I created a landscape and portrait version. That way, I can easily use them for the orientation I am working with. You'll want to make sure you detail what is/isn't allowed the best you can (my very first sentence I think makes it pretty clear what the paragraph under it is all about).
Here are a couple of fabulous examples of credit pages from some sellers who were nice enough to share what theirs look like (thank you ladies!). Lots of people create a template with all clipartists they use so they aren't forgetting to credit their work, regardless if it's in the product or not. This is a pretty fool proof way to avoid that problem and most clipartists are perfectly fine with it (including myself).
So, now that you've created your document, you need to save it as a PDF. Go to "File---->Save As." From the bottom drop down menu, select "PDF" as your file type.
Name it. Remember where you're saving it. I prefer to save everything to my desktop so I can find it there later. I have a pretty clean desktop though, so use what works for you.

Now, you have a PDF of your credit page! Here's the tricky part. If you don't have ADOBE Pro, I'm not sure how you're going to follow the rest of this tutorial. And truthfully, if you're creating freebies or paid products using clipart, simply using a PDF is NOT securing your work, or the clipart. So, to protect yourself and the clipart you purchased, I suggest you make the investment NOW rather than later.  If you are ready to make your purchase, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link here, as the small percentage of sales I receive allows me to continue writing helpful tutorials like this! 

If you want to try a FREE 30 day trial, click below:

Open up your PDF. On the right side, you'll see the TOOLS tab. Click it.
A sidebar menu will open up. Now click "Content Editing" and "Add or Edit Link."

Now your mouse will change into a screenshot sort of option. You'll need to mark the area where you want your buyers to be able to click on to go to the link. Here I've selected the area around the image of my shopping cart to direct people to my store. Make your settings like this:
Now add the link that you want people to be able to go to (for instance, your own TpT store or the clipart/font store you are crediting--check their Terms of Use to see if it's required--most require a credit logo like I do).
You might want to create links for all of your social media places or related products, especially if it's a free product that is part of a bigger product.
File---> Save.  

After you've created your product PDF, you can just "pop" this page into it! Open the "Page Thumbnails" viewer on the left side. DRAG your file into the other sidebar where your resource is and you're set! It already includes the links so you don't have to add them EVER AGAIN! Hooray!!! High five for saving time and working smarter, not harder!

If you found this tutorial helpful, you might also like to check out these tutorials:


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