Skip to main content


How to Use Clipart Properly for Commercial Purposes

By January 22, 2021February 17th, 2021procreate, sell clipart

How to Use Clipart Properly for Commercial Purposes – A Photoshop and Procreate Tutorial

Hey there. I’m Kris. So glad you made it today. I get asked a lot about commercial licensing and how to use Clipart or illustrations for commercial use. So today, I’m gonna show you how to do that. This video, I’ll describe how to use the illustrations correctly so you don’t get in trouble when you’re using Clipart on products that you wanna sell. So just to be clear, I’ll be going over my licensing terms for Pretty Little Lines and all of my illustrations that I sell.

They are pretty standard across the industry, but just be really careful that when you go and purchase Clipart or illustrations or anything else for that matter from other artists or other market places that you do check their licensing terms. They may be a little bit different than mine.

So again, this is specific to me, but I have made them pretty standard, so this should give you a good idea across the board. But yeah, just go and double-check. There might be something a little bit different, but hopefully, this gives you a good overview of how to use the Clipart for commercial purposes. So hopefully, this gave you some clarity. I know it can be a little tricky, but once you get it, it should make sense.


It’s Not As Difficult As It Seems

I know the legal language can be all kind of… I don’t know, just nonsensical sometimes. So hopefully, this helps you out. I’ll be giving you examples in both Photoshop and Procreate, so that should give you some ideas on how to use a pack from start to finish. So let’s get to it!

Before we begin, I’m just gonna do a quick overview of my commercial license, so you’re good to go for up to 5,000 units of the end product sold using the graphics or the resources. So for this, a lot of people’s might be a different number. For mine at this time of this video is 5,000 for commercial license, and if you’re using my brushes, then it’s unlimited sales because of course, you’re using that brush to create something new, so it’s a different type of license. But again, yeah, check on other people’s numbers on that for sure. And then next, this is the things we’re gonna cover the most today.

Always just being really careful of how you use the licensed asset. So with the graphics, you must create a new original design that are significantly different from the original graphics purchase and use them in a wider design. So to do this, you wanna combine elements, backgrounds, text, textures, and other designs into your new creation.

You Can’t Just Put It On A Colored Background And Call It Done

So this is what the original asset looks like, it is just these two bunnies. You can’t just put it on a colored background and call it done, that’s just using one element. You must combine multiple elements to create something new. You have to think like a graphic designer and use these elements to create something that requires some time and effort and thought and creativity.

So you can use text, you can use backgrounds, like I said, using multiple things from the pack. Making your own is always a great way to go as well, or incorporating things from other packs or other designs that you’ve purchased. So that’s what we’re gonna cover mostly today. Also, if you’re making products that are digital products, you have to be really, really careful with the digital products because you have to make sure that what you’re doing, you cannot extract any of the elements.

You must bake it in. I like to use that term, “it must be baked in” so that anything that is the original can’t be extracted in any way, shape or form, so that’s really, really important when you’re doing anything for digital work. The patterns, I’m not gonna go over major league patterns today, but it’s pretty simple, you can’t just use the pattern on its own, you have to use it as part of your wider design.

Never Ever  Sub-License

And lastly, of course, you never ever want to sub-license, resell, redistribute, provide access to, gift, share or transfer any of the resources that would be anything that you purchase or download from my site, not even for free.

So you’re not allowed to do that, of course, and you’re not allowed to claim copyright of the artwork that has my artwork in it. So hopefully, that… Not very fun.  Hopefully, that is clear. And this again, is part of my FAQ section on my site that you can have a look at for more details. So let’s get to the fun part. Okay, so let’s start from the very beginning.

You’ve gone on to my site or a site like mine and find an illustration Clipart pack that you would like to purchase. Today, let’s just use this cute little Valentine’s day one, since it’s coming up soon as our example. So we can go and on my site, you would click on here and you either would choose commercial license, extended commercial, or personal use.

So since we’re talking about commercial licensing, we’ll select that one, and then you add it to cart and purchase it and get your download link. Once you click on that download link, it will download onto your computer or your device, so it’ll most likely go into your downloads folder, so you’re just gonna find that here, that’s where mine goes, and you’ll see the love some bunny zip files.

Making A New Creation

So on the Mac, gonna double-click, I believe on a PC, you do as well. Otherwise, you have to use something like WinRAR or something like that.

So we’re just gonna double click and it’ll extract the files, and then you’ll have this folder here. So let’s open that up, and you have arrangements, bunnies, hearts, individual elements, love letters, tree branch, and of course, your commercial license.

So I’m gonna just look in the bunnies here, and we have cupid bunnies and laying bunnies. So every single thing that is in one of these folders is called a licensed asset or a resource, or of course, your graphic or illustration, but when I refer to the license assets or resource in the legal terms, that’s what it is, is each single one of these files.

So that’s what that is, and I’m going to open up Photoshop. And in it, I have already this prepared here. This is my… I’m gonna make a card today, so this is just a mock-up, and it is… The size is four and a quarter by five and a half inches and 300 dpi, So let’s use that as our template, and I’m gonna grab these two cute little bunnies sitting together, and pull down option and just resize them a little bit. Okay.

The New Design Must Consist Of More Than One Asset

So, of course we cannot leave it like this. One of the main stipulations of a commercial license like mine is that the new design must consist of more than one asset. So this, as you can see is just one asset. So that would be not allowed. So a big part of the commercial license is that you are creating a wider original design.

So that’s where your purchased resources are not used as standalone, but they’re combined with other resources, artwork or original design work. So you can add other things from the pack, other things from other packs or places that you’ve purchased. And of course, your own design work, which is very encouraged as well as texts, and textures, borders, anything like that. So you’re just trying to create something new. Okay, so that’s what we mean by original wider design.

So I’m gonna go and grab something else from the pack. I’m gonna go back and find in the arrangements and the wreaths, I’m gonna grab… Let’s see, which one shall I choose today? Maybe this one. Okay. So I’m just gonna again hold option just to keep that in the center and resize that a bit. Hit enter, gonna bring that wreath below and displace these guys a little bit better.

Two Things Isn’t Quite Enough

Okay, so already we have two things, but this still really isn’t quite enough. So I’m gonna go add a string, use the pink, tuck it in there. That’s probably good. Okay. So like I said before, a really great way to personalize this, make this an original design is by adding some text, that’s always a really easy one.

I’m just gonna make this… Actually, I’m gonna make this… Maybe this color. Let’s see how that goes. So I’m just gonna add some text. So I’m gonna say “I love you!” ’cause it is Valentine’s Day. And I’m gonna put that there. Maybe I’ll put it in the heart. I wonder if that’ll look okay, let’s see. Sure. Why not? I’m just gonna command T to resize.

Okay. Now of course with fonts, just side note, it’s the same thing, you need to have a commercial license to use fonts. I’m using Little Bee today, and I do have a commercial license for that font. There’s also a ton of other fonts that have commercial free licenses, which you can just download for free or they already come installed in your computer that are free to use for commercial use. So you just gotta double check on that as well. But already, we have this more personalized, right?

It Looks Different

It looks very different or somewhat different from just having this guy, right? Okay, so we’re making something new.

So I’m gonna go to the bottom. I’m just gonna delete that. I’m just gonna go to the bottom. And again, like I said, you can use other pieces from other packs or things that you have designed. So let’s say that you have made just a splash of paint, you can bring that in and put it behind as well. So there we’re already giving it something unique.

I’m just gonna adjust this color a little bit. So I’m gonna go to image adjustments, hue and saturation, and just make this pink a touch cooler, it’s a little bit warm. Compared to that. And I’m gonna just knock back the opacity a touch. Okay, that’s good. So what you are trying to accomplish with the original wider design is that it does require time, effort and skill to produce.

So this is what we’re doing right now. We are thinking, we’re designing; being graphic designers. We are creating something with the assets that is new to us. So that is really important. And we can keep going by… I’m gonna grab the shape tool, the rectangle tool, and I’m just on my bottom layer here, I’m just gonna add… I’m gonna add a border. And, so I’m gonna click on my stroke thing here. Just losing my mind.

Almost There

I’m gonna click on the stroke and change the color, and it’s gonna select this color, this pink, and bump up the width.

Let’s see. Okay, I think that’s good. Okay. Okay, then we can go and grab a paper texture also to add to this, I just have this watercolor paper texture I can add over top as well, it’s another way of making it unique and I’m just gonna put it on the very top, click on my blending mode and change it to multiply.

So then we have that texture on there. So that’s good, actually, I don’t really like where this I love you is. So I’m gonna change it.  I’m just gonna lock that layer and I’m gonna make this bigger. And I see that it’s still black, I forget what this… Just this font, it doesn’t allow you to change the color, you have to do a color overlay.

Which is fine, we can do that. And I just want it a little bit more brown. Okay. Good stuff. Okay, so I think that works. So we have a few elements in it, we’ve done an original text element or of course, if you’re good at hand lettering, I’m very jealous  jealous that you can do that. We’ve added something we’ve made by the watercolor splash and you have other elements.

Multiple Things Can Come From The Same Pack

I’m not saying that you have to have all of them. Just have some of them. And again, multiple things can come from the same pack or other things you’ve purchased, just you understand that it does take some effort, skill, time to produce.

You’re not just taking an image and putting it on a mug, you can’t. That’s just not part of the commercial license, unless, like I said, you have a special enhanced license. So for the commercial license, the assets should be used to facilitate your creative ideas that result in a new creation, different from the original asset that you’ve purchased. So you just can’t put a big bunny on it and call it done.

Okay, so let’s look at how this looks on our little mock-up here, I’m just gonna save it, and click over here, and there you go, so now you’ve made a card that is original design that complies with the commercial license, so next, let’s jump over to Procreate and I’ll show you another example there.


So you’ve downloaded the link onto your iPads, now we’re gonna go find it, you’re gonna look for the folder, and mine’s gonna be my Dropbox, yours is probably gonna be in the download.

So just ’cause that’s where I put it. I’m just gonna go find it and I’m actually gonna drag it into on my iPad just to keep this organized, and I’m just gonna click on it and it should unzip for us, into a nice little folder. Here we go, and open it up and here are all the files, so that’s good. So now I’m just gonna go out of here, I’m gonna jump into Procreate, and my canvas is just gonna be the same size, it’s gonna be four and a quarter by five and a half inches, we’re just gonna make a little invitation, so let’s get to it.

So I’m gonna go to my wrench and say add, insert file, just click on the hop into spring and let’s go grab our characters, so I’m gonna start with a girl, the girl in the swing, just bring her in here. I’m just gonna resize her down actually, I’m gonna flip her this way, so I’m gonna be on uniform and flip horizontal, and I’m just gonna make it a little bit smaller there, and I’m gonna go back to the wrench, insert file, and let’s find some bunnies.


So I think I’m gonna get this little one, and again, just resizing that. I’m gonna have her pushing her on the swing. Back to the wrench, and let’s get this little lazy guy over here. I’m gonna resize him and flip him horizontally. Put him around there, and insert file. That’s probably good for our characters, why don’t we get the tree?

Let’s get the birch tree here and put that in there. Okay, and so now we can move around our little guys here. We should be there. So one will be out there. About there, I think. Okay, I don’t really like how this line is right here, so I’m just gonna make this guy a little bit bigger so that makes more sense.

Okay, but now I gotta move the bunny down, ’cause she’s just floating. Okay, perfect. Right, so let’s go get some picnic stuff, so I’m just gonna go to layer one, just so all this goes behind and go to… Actually, while I’m here, I’m just gonna grab some of these little grass here, and just put it there and maybe a few flowers. Just arranging. That’s all we gotta do. Flip it. Maybe… Let’s go over here. Actually, I’m gonna bring this in front of the tree, just moving it up and just resize that guy there.


Perfect. Okay, I think that’s good. Now, I’m gonna go and get some stuff for the picnic, so I’m just gonna navigate back here and go into extras, and I’m gonna grab the picnic, start with the blanket. Just resize that. And like I said, I wanted this behind. There. And I might just make it a little touch bigger.

Okay. And add file and get the open basket. Let’s see… Oops. Maybe that grass is not the right spot for that. That was crazy. Maybe I’ll just put it over there for now, I might not need it. We’ll see.

Okay, so just rearrange this. I don’t know if I want to have his head in the way there, so let’s just move the bunny this way, but… Okay, and now let’s go behind the basket, so that when we put stuff in it, they come behind, I’m gonna grab the baguette, and just size and rotate. Just till we get what we want here. Let’s see… Oops.

Let’s see, okay, some jam. And what else? Cheese, and let’s go with an apple. That looks good. Maybe one more thing for the front here. Let’s put this in front of the basket. Great, and maybe we can bring that grass back, here we go, let’s just bring him back. Oh, keep resizing it, let’s just bring it back over here, maybe that will be good.


Be somewhere like that. Okay, perfect, I like that. Okay. So I’m gonna just go and grab some text since this a… It’s an invitation card, so I’m gonna… I did my text already in Photoshop before, ’cause I just prefer to use text that way, so if you’re again a hand letterer or just getting your fonts here, then we can just bring them in or do them actually in Procreate as well.

Okay, so I think that’s probably good. And lastly, I think lastly, we can go add some original stuff as well because we’re in Procreate, so it’s really simple to do. I’m just gonna put a layer down below, and I’m just going to… Let’s see, just gonna select this little blue color here and just bump it up a little bit, and with my Spectra brush at about 50, let’s just add some color, add some background and it’ll be kind of painted, and then we can go and add another layer. Grab the white, I’m gonna get the gouache, set at about 10.

I’m gonna add little clouds, this is really simple, you don’t have to do much, but just adding a few little extras here and there just really makes it original, which is nice too.


Here we go, and I think I’m gonna change the color of this hop into spring. Let’s see, I’m just gonna put a layer over top, click on that clipping mask and let’s make it maybe… Let’s start with this pink. It’s not dark enough, let’s try again. Let’s just make it this pink, I need it darker though. That’s probably okay.

Maybe a little bit more saturated than that. Let’s try that. Okay, I think that should be alright. And then what else can we do? I mean, you can make those clouds look a little bit more interesting, it’s just the point is that you’re having fun making something new, adding something different, you can make a few curlies here.

Make it sort of interesting. Okay, there, so that’s just a really simple way to make a cute little invitation using Clipart, so this is totally fine for commercial use, you’ve added things together, you’ve made it in your own design, and it’s something original, so… And everything is baked in, like I like to say, you can’t extract any of the images, so that’s also how to do it as well, and just to note, any of the graphics that I used today, I will put in a link down below. If you like them, you can grab them there.

To Sum It Up

So I hope this has been helpful. And next, let’s just do a review. Let’s just recap how to use Clipart for commercial use.

First, and most importantly, the design must consist of more than one asset, so the design must not derive its primary value from the asset itself. So you’re gonna have to use multiple things to create a wider original design. So what is a wider original design? It is where either purchase resource is not used stand-alone, but combined with other resources, artwork or original design work.

So to do this, you can combine other elements, backgrounds, text, textures and other designs into your new creation. That can be multiple things from the pack as well as other things from other people’s designs or your own. So get creative there, and this design must require time, effort and skill to produce, just like our example today, the new design must be significantly different from the original license asset, the license asset should be used to facilitate your creative ideas that result in a new creation different from the original asset that you purchase.


Make sure that your designs are baked in and the original artwork can not be extracted by a third party, never share or redistribute, resell or sub-license any of the resources. Even if it’s for free, you have to be in control of the resources, your customer cannot edit them in any way.

So just to note on sub-licensing, sub-licensing is when you sell to a customer that is going to sell a product, so that’s not allowed, so what you wanna do is, your customer, it needs to end with them, so that’s what I mean by an end product. So for example, if you sell templates, let’s say embroidery templates, and you sell them to a customer who’s then going to make a line of clothing and is going to sell that clothing, that would be sub-licensing.

So you have to be really careful about that. Some designers, you can talk to them about sub-licensing sometimes, there are contracts and deals you can do, so that would be a total exception, and that would be something that you’d wanna talk to them separately about.


Alright. Well, that’s it for today, guys, I hope you found that information useful and it was really clear and you know what, you can always send me stuff and just, you know, if you’ve made a wider design and you kinda wanna see if you’ve done it right, by all means just throw it over in an email, I’m happy to check it out for you if you have any questions, and again, you can check out my website, I have a whole FAQ section there.

I’m sure it’ll be growing as I get more questions, I’m just trying to answer those regularly asked questions, so you can check it out there. I think it’s pretty straightforward. I have visual examples which I always like. So hopefully that helps you and yeah, don’t forget to check out the description below. There’s some free goodies for you if you wanna check those out. And again, thank you so much for watching. I love you guys. And I’ll see you in the next one.