I love collecting old vintage illustrations and photographs from days long gone. One of my favorite things to do is to use them in my Photoshop collage artwork. Luckily there are millions of Public Domain images that are free to use in anything, both personally and commercially.
Here is an example of one of my pieces of artwork that uses public domain images. The woman is a starlet from the 1920s. The background is a lot of different layers of public domain textures and images that were manipulated with Photoshop filters to create a beautiful background. The butterfly wings are from Dover Publications. They take public domain images and package them into books and CDs, and resell them to the public. You can use any of the images from their books, you just can’t take the whole book or CD-rom of images and resell that product.
Although the artwork of the woman is in the public domain, this piece of artwork is not. That’s because I took that public domain image and created something new from it. Yay for public domain artwork! We just don’t photograph women the way we used to. Look at the gorgeous lighting on her. Beautiful!
Free public domain images for download
Below are some public domain illustrations for you to use in your own Photoshop collage art. The backgrounds have been cut out so all you have to do is select the background with the magic wand tool, hit “inverse” (which will select the head instead of the background), and paste it into your artwork. Have fun!
The Photoshop Shapes Tools is one of the coolest tools in the Photoshop tool box. It looks pretty standard, and even boring, until you get to the “custom” shapes. Then it starts getting very exciting and creative.
The Shapes Tool allows you to make all kinds of shapes from many different sources. It lets you add borders, color fills, gradients, and dotted and lined borders, among other things. It has become one of my favorite tools because of its creativity and ease of use. And when it comes to creating digital collage sheet banners, it can’t be beat.
The Adobe Photoshop Text Tool is probably the most recognizable Photoshop tool. It stands out clearly from all the other tools in that it is the only tool that deals specifically with text.
Although Photoshop is about editing photographs and creating amazing artwork, it is also used by thousands of people for graphic design work BECAUSE of the text tool. Brochures, posters, flyers and plenty of other marketing materials are created using Photoshop.
The text tool does a lot more then just let you lay out text. It has lots of extra features that let you turn text into art and design elements. I would personally never use it to create graphic design work because it is still limited in its layout capabilities. As someone who uses QuarkXpress and Adobe Indesign (true graphic design software), it just falls short in that area. But for artwork, I love it.