Stock Illustration guidelines

1. Introduction

If you can imagine it, you can draw it. Illustrations clarify complicated concepts or objects that are difficult to describe textually and can add humor to advertising. Kraasimages illustrators remain unshackled by real-world considerations and every stroke; every line brings you one step closer to seeing your wildest dreams become reality. Apply as an illustrator today to share your imagination with us and with the world.

2. Account Information

The personal information that you enter into your account profile must be full and accurate in order to upload files to Kraasimages. Ensure that your full first and last name are correct. Mailing address should be complete and current (in order to deliver royalty payments). If this information is incomplete or incorrect, your application will be declined. Kraasimages also requires one piece of government issued ID (i.e., drivers license or passport) in order to confirm your identity. Kraasimages respects the privacy and the integrity of any information that you provide us as a member of this site. We will not sell or rent your personal information to any other party. We employ reasonable managerial and technical measures to ensure that your information is secure. For example, all personally identifiable information is maintained behind a firewall. If you are a Minor in the country, province or state in which you live, then you can only use this site with the approval of a parent or guardian. You may correct your account information at any time by contacting Support.

3. Application Evaluation

We all have to start somewhere, but before you begin building your Kraasimages portfolio, you must complete the application process. After reading through the guidelines, download our Contributurs Agreement, sign and return to info@kraasimages.com. Submit 5-10 original samples of your work through to be reviewed. These should be accurate representations of your best work, and show us the style(s) that you aim to achieve. The more variety you submit in terms of style and subject matter, the easier it will be for us to determine your potential as a contributor. Your samples are required to meet the same standards as the illustrations approved to the Kraasimages library:

  • All samples must be saved in our required vector file format.
  • All samples must be cleanly built, easy to edit vector files.
  • All samples must be clearly named with the correct file extensions.

To ensure your illustrations meet our standards, please keep reading.

4. Submission Requirements

There's more to uploading an illustration to Kraasimages than just sending in a vector file. We expect all vector submissions to work in as many different programs as possible, so make sure you review our submission requirements carefully and double check that your files are saved in the correct version and file format. You will also be required to provide us with information such as an image title, a short description of your file, and a list of keywords you feel will help people find your images once they've been uploaded. This information is just as important as your actual vector file, otherwise no one will be able to find it in our library.

i. File Formats

Vector submissions consist of 1 vector EPS file (Adobe Illustrator 10-compatible), and a separate RGB JPEG preview of your illustration, sized to 800 x 600 pixels (minimum). You are also welcome to include alternate file formats or alternate-color versions in a separate ZIP folder if you wish, although this is not required.

Vector EPS File
The AI10 compatible EPS file is critical to your file's acceptance: without it we can't review your submission.

JPEG Preview
It's critical that your JPEG preview match your illustration, so double-check that you're uploading the correct preview with your vector EPS. The color, subject matter and composition of your JPEG must accurately reflect your EPS, or your illustration will be declined. Your JPEG should be a minimum of 800 x 600 pixels. Please note, we ask that contributors NOT add captions, close-up views or descriptive text to their preview JPEGs, as this text cannot be translated into different languages. Please use the "Title" and "Description" fields to describe your image.

Alternate Files (optional)
You may upload alternate file formats (such as AI, FH, Corel or PDF files), or alternate-color versions of your illustration if you choose. Your alternate files must be placed in a ZIP folder, which is uploaded separately from your AI10 EPS and preview image. Please note, the ZIP folder is optional and you are not required to include other file formats if you don't wish to. Please do not include personalized text messages or other items not related to your illustration in your alternate file folder. ZIP folders containing additional messages or anything unrelated to your illustration will be declined.

DO

  • Save your vector file as an Adobe Illustrator 10-compatible EPS file.
  • Create a separate JPEG thumbnail of your file, sized 800 x 600 pixels (minimum).
  • Submit alternate file formats and/or alternate-color versions of your illustration in a separate ZIP folder if you wish (optional).

DO NOT

  • Upload AICS+ vector EPS files: These files cannot be opened into some vector software programs.
  • Include personalized notes or other unrelated files in your ZIP folder.
  • Add captions, titles, or descriptive text to your preview JPEGs: This text cannot be translated into different languages.

ii. File Extensions and Naming

All of the files that you submit must end in the proper extensions. For example, your AI10 EPS will end with ".eps", and your JPEG will end in ".jpg" or ".jpeg". Any file submissions without proper file extensions will be declined. When naming your files, it is important to name them appropriately. For example, if you have drawn a woman shopping, your EPS file might be named "Woman_Shopping.eps" or "WomanShopping.eps". Try to avoid naming your file using numbers or other personal naming systems. If you're including a separate ZIP folder (optional) containing additional file formats (such as AI, FH, Corel or PDF files), please ensure all files end with the proper extensions and are named clearly. This is especially important if you're including multiple color versions of the same illustration, as it can be confusing trying to find the right image.

DO

  • Add the appropriate file extension to any files you upload
  • Name your files based on the subject matter of your illustration

DO NOT

  • Submit images without file extensions
  • Submit files named with a personal naming system (example: icon_043845.eps)

iii. Metadata

When you upload an illustration to Kraasimages, you will be responsible for adding 3 levels of 'metadata' to your file: an Image Title, an Image Description, and the keywords you assign to your file. Each of these metadata levels serves a different purpose on our website, and all are required. Without the correct metadata, we can't accept your file.

Titles
When giving your image a title, it's very important that you don't title your files with leading characters (such as A1, A, AAA, 1, 111, 1A, etc., as in 'A Five Cricket Ball' or '1 Five Cricket Ball'.
Manipulating your uploads to appear first in search results by starting every image with 'A' or '1' is not allowed. Your image titles should accurately reflect the subject. Periodic reviews of member accounts occur regularly. Keep your titles short and sweet and try to avoid personalized naming or numbering systems that don't directly reflect what your illustration depicts.

Descriptions
Please provide us with a good, focused description of your image. The information you provide may help us decide if we can approve your file, and provide the client with additional information. Please provide a verbal description of the illustration, subject, location and any interesting or valuable information regarding your image such as the software you used, whether or not you've included alternate file formats, and anything else pertaining to your submission.

Keywords:
How well you keyword an image determines how often the search engine remembers it while searching. The trick is to appear in relevant searches; getting in front of the right eyes makes or breaks an image. Bloating up your image tags to squeeze into searches where you don't belong will only irritate members who want to find something specific. With over a million members searching every day, someone wants to find your image. Here's how to help them.

What Is It?:
Describe the subject of your image. You have 50 words to describe all the pertinent details, and the more specific you are, the more likely your image is to be found by the right searches. What is it? Is it a forklift, in a warehouse, moving crates? Two red hibiscuses, close up, beaded with water? A young, energetic, black woman, in a business suit, talking on a cell phone, against a white background? Then be sure to tell the search engine.

Describe Everything, Be Specific:
Be very specific about the subject. For images of people, include physical characteristics, ages, ethnicity, emotion, and mood. Is the woman grumpy? Is the police officer overweight, or even obese? Is the model brawny?
Use a few of your keywords for everything happening in your image; each of the primary subjects, the background, the action. Your image is like a sentence; be sure to include each of the nouns (the things in the image) and each of the verbs (what they're doing) as well as the situation. Asking questions about the scene, and answer, who, what, how, why, when and where.

Be General:
No one thinks alike, and no one visualizes in the same terms. Exact details are great, but without general terms, overly specific words can keep your image away from less detailed searches. Someone may search for "ackee and saltfish", but are just as likely to search for "breakfast", or even "meal". Include them all. Start with your specific description, and then expand to something more general. And know when to stop.

Synonyms:
There are no hard and fast rules for adding synonyms to your keywords. On one hand, you want to broaden the possible range of searches that will find your image. On the other hand, you need to remain specific enough that the description is accurate. Padding out your 50 available words with every entry in the thesaurus may bring you more results, but increases your chances of being irrelevant to many of them.

  • Include a few synonyms for each of the most important parts of the image. Be creative but realistic.
  • Try to imagine all the different words a person might use to describe the same thing. For example: bait, equipment, fishhook, fishing, hook, lure.

What Does it Mean?:
Often people search for words that don't correspond to specific things. They want to illustrate a concept and need an image that says it perfectly. Describe the emotion, feeling, or idea represented in an image.

Conceptual Keywords:
escape, exotic, paradise, relaxation, sexy, thirst, tropical Conceptual keywords are the most likely to stray from relevancy. Decide which theme or concept is best expressed in the image, and pick the best words to describe it.

How Was It Done?:
Be sure to use a few words to describe particular technical or compositional aspects of the image. Members often use modifiers to find particular kinds of images: horizontal, vertical or square orientation, isolated objects, the dominant colors within the file, and so on. You may also wish to include your image style (lifestyle, panorama, crowd, candid, abstract).

5. Quality Standards

Kraasimages welcomes all experience levels of illustrators, but reserves the right to decline files based on the following criteria:

  • Incorrect File Formats
  • Missing File Extensions
  • Innacurate Metadata
  • Lack of Editability
  • Duplicate Uploads
  • Derivative Artwork
  • Autotraces
  • Use of Fonts or Dingbats as Primary Subjects
  • Unconverted Fonts
  • Stray Points and Shapes
  • Open Shapes
  • Unconverted Custom Fills and Strokes
  • Copyright
  • Overly Simplistic Renderings

i. - Editability

The vector file you submit must be fully editable, meaning your file must contain only vector elements. All shapes in your image should be moveable and modifiable, and the colors should be easy to change. We can't accept any illustration that is not saved as an editable vector EPS, was created in a raster program (like Photoshop), or which contains raster elements (such as a linked photograph or sketch).

By "editable" we also mean the file must be reasonably easy to modify for a downloader. Remember, not everyone who purchases your illustrations are vector geniuses like you. Build your files with the end user in mind, and keep your images as simple and easy to edit as you can. The shapes you use should be clean and well constructed, without a lot of fancy effects, extra layers, additional color swatches, and unnecessary extra shapes.

We recommend that you unlock your layers, delete any extra color swatches from your color palette, group related elements, don't mix RGB and CMYK color swatches, turn off your guide lines, delete invisible 'work' layers, and clearly label your layers. If your files are confusing and unnecessarily difficult to navigate your image may be rejected with a request to tidy things up before resubmitting.

DO

  • Create your images in vector editing software such as Illustrator, Freehand, Xara, or CorelDraw
  • Unlock your layers and turn off any guides you may have used
  • Delete unnecessary color swatches
  • Name your layers appropriately

DO NOT

  • Submit images that aren't editable in a vector software program
  • Submit raster files created in a raster program (such as Photoshop)
  • Submit images containing linked raster files (JPEGs, PDFs, TIFFs)
  • Export files from vector software in an "uneditable" vector format, check your save settings to make sure the file can be modified once you've saved your EPS

ii. Duplicate Uploads

One of the reasons vector files are so useful is that anyone can change the colors of an image with the click of a mouse, and move elements around to create a new composition. As such, we ask that you not submit multiple versions of the same file with only minor color and compositional changes.

You are welcome to reuse elements from one illustration in another, but we ask that each of your submissions be noticeably different in terms of composition and color use. If you wish to submit different coloured versions of the same file, please upload them in ZIP folder separately from your AI8 EPS and JPEG preview image (optional).

DO

  • Submit compositionally unique files that visibly differ from others you have uploaded.
  • Include alternate-colour versions within your ZIP folder if you wish (optional)
  • Re-use elements from your other images in new and unique compositions

DO NOT

  • Submit multiple versions of the same vector file with only minor color and compositional changes

iii. Derivative Artwork and Autotraces

We appreciate the art of tracing, but keep derivative (ie "derived" from another source) images for your own viewing pleasure or personal portfolio, unless you created the source image. If you require a foundation to plot your points in Illustrator, ensure you are the original creator of the artwork/photograph/sketch/render/scan that you base your work on. Any illustration found to be based on work from outside sources (i.e. found art, images found on the Internet, other artists' work, magazines, clip art, etc) could result in a suspension of upload privileges.

Please note that Kraasimages does not accept autotraced files. Autotraced files can be very difficult to edit: they add unnecessary points and shapes, create really weird colours, and can make detailed areas too simple. Please stick to the pen tool and use your eye to judge where points should go, rather than relying on a computer to do your work for you.

DO

  • Submit images derived from your own source material if needed
  • Hand-trace your own photography, sketches or 3D renders

DO NOT

  • Submit poorly autotraced images
  • Submit images derived from source material that you do not own the copyright of

iv. Fonts and Dingbats

Keep in mind; many fonts and dingbats are protected by copyright, so please ensure you research carefully to ensure you are not stepping on anyone's toes when you use existing fonts in your image. Illustrations containing the distinctive and recognizable characteristics of copyrighted fonts will be declined for copyright reasons.

If you are using a font as a minor element within your illustration, it's imperative that you convert the font to paths before submission. Not everyone is guaranteed to have that exact font file in his or her font library. If you don't convert your font it could default to a system font when opened on another computer. Submissions containing unconverted fonts will be declined.

DO

  • Convert all fonts to paths/outlines before submission

DO NOT

  • Attempt to sell fonts or dingbats as stock if you are not the copyright holder
  • Leave unconverted text boxes in your file

v. Stray Points and Shapes

Every so often we throw in a shape or whatever into an illustration, then move it to the side and forget about its existence. Unfortunately, extra shapes outside of your artboard can cause an unnecessarily skewed image size when your file is rasterized or imported into a page layout program. When you've finished drawing make sure you zoom out and delete any extra shapes floating outside of your artboard.

You should also check your image closely to make sure you haven't left any hidden layers in your file, or forgotten any unnecessary shapes in the background of your composition. Please check your file in preview (also called "outline" or "keyline") view to ensure your illustration contains only the elements you want it to. Unnecessary shapes and/or points hanging around on your pasteboard or in the background of your illustration will likely result in your submission being declined.

DO

  • Check your image carefully in preview or outline view for any unnecessary shapes or points
  • Zoom out of your image to ensure you haven't left any extra shapes in the pasteboard area

DO NOT

  • Submit images containing extra shapes in the background or contained in hidden/invisible layers
  • Submit images with stray paths or points outside of your artboard

vi. Open Shapes

Open shapes can be a printer's nightmare. Please make sure that you are properly closing each shape as you're drawing. The standard shapes in vector software (squares, circles, etc) will automatically be closed for you, but you'll need to pay attention when you're drawing your own objects. Check your images carefully in outline (also called "preview" or "keyline") view to ensure that every shape is closed, with no breaks, holes or gaps in the outline.

DO

  • Close all shapes as you are drawing
  • Check your file closely in outline/preview view to make sure all your shapes meet up at the end points

DO NOT

  • Submit shapes or lines with fill colors if they're unclosed

vii. Custom Fills and Strokes`

You can download a wide variety of custom brushes and custom fill swatches from the Internet. The tricky thing is, their creators copyright most of these effects, which means you can't resell them as stock.

Please ensure you research any custom pattern swatches, grunge brushes, stroke effects, etc you've used in your file before submission. If you're submitting files containing effects you didn't create you may need to obtain a signed property release from the copyright owner. Images containing copyrighted fill or stroke effects will be declined as derivative artwork. However, you're more than welcome to create your own original effects. When submitting fill patterns and stroke effects we ask that you expand these before submission. For example, let's say you've drawn a girl wearing a plaid skirt and have created an original plaid pattern swatch for the effect.

If you've correctly expanded the pattern fill you will see the plaid shapes clearly in outline view. An unexpanded pattern fill will only appear as an outline, not a plaid pattern. Files using unexpanded custom strokes and fills will be declined.

DO

  • Expand the appearance of any custom pattern fills, custom brushes and custom strokes you've used
  • Submit images containing your own original fill and stroke effects

DO NOT

  • Submit shapes containing custom fills and strokes without expanding the shapes
  • Submit images containing effects that you did not create

6. Pricing

Vector illustrations can be very difficult to price and value. Please refer to the pricing guide below for more information on how your file will be valued.

Please Note:
  • Exceptions may be made in pricing for illustrations that demonstrate originality, attention to detail, concept, composition and style
  • Pricing adjustments for files currently online occur regularly in order to keep our library consistent
US$20- US$50 (Basic)
  • 1 silhouette
  • 1 simple object or icon
  • Simple patterns and backgrounds
US$50- US$80 (Moderate)
  • 2-5 silhouettes or simple objects
  • 2-3 moderately detailed objects or icons
  • Moderately detailed patterns and backgrounds
US$80- US$110 (Detailed)
  • 6+ silhouettes or simple objects
  • 4+ moderately detailed objects or icons
  • Complex patterns and backgrounds
  • Creative and stylized imagery
US$110- US$150 (Complex)
  • Complete compositions
  • Highly detailed objects
  • Originality and uniqueness
  • Consistency of style and execution
US$150- US$300 (Elaborate)
  • Complete and highly detailed compositions
  • Accomplished artistic renderings
  • Consistency of style and execution
  • Originality and uniqueness
  • Attention to detail

7. Legal Requirements

Kraasimages makes every effort to conform to the Copyright Act within Jamaica and any international copyright treaties that are applicable. Kraasimages also uses contracted provisions to attempt to protect the rights of our illustrators and image users.

Uploading any of the following is strictly prohibited, and may result in a lifetime ban or legal action:

  • Illustrations traced or derived from images you do not own the copyright to (such as images found on the Internet, images scanned from books or magazines, other artists' work, etc)
  • Illustrations containing recognizable faces or property without a signed release
  • Illustrations containing embedded copyright notices, personal signatures or watermarks
  • Illustrations containing copyrighted/trademarked/patented products
  • Maps and globes traced from copyrighted sources
  • Illustrations containing logos and trademarks

While we do have an inspection process that helps us flag potential copyright issues, ultimately you are responsible for the content of your images. As such, it is very important that you take the time to research the images that you submit, and ensure that you keep any reference material on hand in case of a dispute regarding the ownership of your images. If you're not sure about the legality of reference material you did not create, please Contact Support

i. Derivative Artwork

Derivative illustrations are images that have been based on photographs, scans, clipart, 3D renders, graphics found on the Internet, sketches, etc. If you could not have created your illustration without referring to another image, your final file would likely be considered a derivative work of art.

You are welcome to use your own imagery as a base for your submissions, however uploading illustrations derived from someone else's photography or artwork is strictly prohibited and a violation of the Kraasimages membership agreement. You may not use any image you did not create as reference for your illustrations, regardless of whether the reference is a sketch, 3D render, photograph, image found on the Internet, or a scan from a book or magazine.

When uploading illustrations derived from your own source image, it is important that you include your reference file for the inspection team to investigate. If your image appears to be a derivative artwork, your file will be declined.

Continued uploading of illustrations derived from imagery you don't own the copyright to will result in the closure of your account.

* Please note a model release is required for any illustration containing a recognizable face.

ii. Copyright, Trademark and Trade Dress

Logos and Trademarks
Kraasimages will ALWAYS reject any readable company name, logo, element or design that represents or could identify a company or its product.

Trade Dress / Protected Design
Generally, identifiable 'product' style illustrations* should be handled with extreme care (for trade dress - the protection of design). If the inspection team feels that the product design represented as the main subject of a clip is protected, it will be rejected unless accompanied by a property release.

* Illustrations where the product is the main and primary subject.

How to use a product in your composition:

A modern product should be avoided as the primary composition where its potential use could endorse another product, company, business or corporation. A product should be used as an accompaniment to the overall concept of composition.

Protected Designs: Maps & Globes
The creator and/or the company that commissioned the artist own the design of a map and/or globe. Map and/or globes as part of a composition should NEVER be clearly identifiable. We do accept 'generic' map designs such as silhouettes.

When submitting a map illustration, you must include the following information in your image description:

  • The source of the map you have used for reference (URL or ISBN number if the map is derived from a book or atlas)
  • The software you have used to create your file
  • The date your file was created

Public Buildings
Every public building has different requirements for illustrators to access and record land, structures, contents, interiors and exteriors. Check with the security office and obtain consent, if possible. Some buildings may have information about commercial photography posted on their web site. (Exception: Any building (with logos removed) as part of a cityscape is acceptable as part of an illustration. Under no exception is a reference photo of a private building taken from within the property acceptable without a property release).

Identifiable Information
Information that may identify an object or property requires the identifying mark or text to be removed or a property release to be obtained. Identifying marks include: license plates, airplane call letters, boat names, addresses, identification, credit cards, etc.

Privacy and Residential Homes
In accordance with privacy rights, residential homes (as clearly recognizable in the illustration) will ALWAYS require a property release, irrelevant if the home number is visible in the illustration.

Sports and Sporting Events
Sport figures, uniforms, team insignia and professional athletes will NOT be accepted unless accompanied by a property release. Professional sporting events are strictly protected by the venue and NOT allowed in the use of royalty-free stock illustration.

Statues
Only statues dating older than 75 years of age (with exception to private ownership) are acceptable as part of an illustration. Sculptures, figurines, installations, modern art any object in a museum, any object in an art gallery including public sculpture, some architecture, and advertisements are likely protected and should be accompanied by a property release for use in royalty-free stock illustrations.

Vintage Photography
Using vintage photography as reference material is only acceptable if the photo has been inherited from the original creator (family member), passing down copyright ownership. Illustrations based on vintage photography must always be accompanied by a property release (and model release where appropriate).

iii. Model Releases

All illustrations where an identifiable human face is present require a model release. There are no exceptions. This includes illustrations based on photography or sketches of people as well as drawing from a real-life model. In some cases a release may be required even if the face is not identifiable.

If the illustration is of a minor (a child under the age of 18), a model release must be signed by a parent or legal guardian.

If the illustration is of the artist (a self portrait), a model release is still required.

A model release must be uploaded with each file. If you're uploading successive illustrations based on the same model, the model release should be uploaded with each submission.

A valid witness signature must appear on the model release. Generally, it should be someone other than the illustrator.

Note: Kraasimages does not accept digitally created or digitally signed model releases (this includes using script fonts as signatures, e-signatures and scanning signatures and then pasting into the model release).

Click here to download Kraasimages standard Model Release form.

iv. Property Releases

The requirement for a property release isn't as clear-cut as for a model release, because there is no specific right of privacy that attaches to property, as it does to people. Having said that, there are at least two reasons for obtaining property releases:

  • on the theory that a person's identity might be connected to the property in question (such as where a person's property is used in a manner that might defame the person as owner)
  • on the basis that to use someone's property for commercial gain without their consent may amount to an offense called "conversion".

Also, if you go onto someone's private property to take a picture of him or her or his or her property, it could amount to trespass.

Kraasimages recommends that a Property Release be obtained when the image contains identifiable property wherever possible. This isn't just for houses; it could apply to pets, cars, artwork and other personal property. The more recognizable and unique the property (and the more the owner's identity might be connected to or determined from the property) the greater the need for a property release.

The legal and beneficial owner(s) of the property, or their authorized agent must sign the Property Release. Many of the same formalities apply as for Model Releases.

Note: Kraasimages does not accept digitally created or digitally signed property releases (this includes using script fonts as signatures, e-signatures and scanning signatures and then pasting into the model release).

Click here to download Kraasimages standard Property Release form.

8. Submission Checklist

  1. Make sure your EPS submission is Adobe Illustrator 10 compatible.
  2. Check your file carefully for stray points, open shapes, unused color swatches, locked layers and unnecessary objects.
  3. Don't be scared to zoom in very closely and tidy up any rough lines or shapes that don't quite meet up at the edges. 5 minutes of cleanup on an illustration can often mean the difference between an acceptance and a rejection.
  4. If your file is derived from your own imagery (photo, sketch, 3D render, etc) make sure you've saved an RGB JPEG of your source material to upload.
  5. Just to be safe, re-open your AI10 EPS file to make sure everything looks the way you want it to.
  6. Save an RGB JPEG preview of your image at at least 800 x 600 pixels (minimum).
  7. Include any alternate file formats (AI, FH, Corel, PDF, etc), and/or alternate-color versions of your file in a separate ZIP folder if you wish (optional).

Now you're ready to go! We're looking forward to seeing the best your imagination has to offer.