Illustrations add a different aspect to a Guide Entry that consists only of text. They help readers to understand what the Entry is about and also get attention on the Entry when it is on the Front Page.
But how do you make illustrations for Entries? This guide is intended to help writers who want to make pictures for their own Entries, but also Community Artists who are new to the whole subject.
All pictures have to have a good quality. Peer Review ensures that only good Entries get into the guide and so the illustrations should not lessen the work of the writer. The illustrations have to fit to the Entry, so if you have not written it yourself please read it carefully before you start making a picture. (If you want to make a picture for an Entry that is not your own please contact the Community Artists, we are very happy about photos of places where we can't get ourselves.)
Of course all pictures also have to follow the House Rules and must not violate copyright. Getting a picture from google for instance is inacceptable.
The picture size used for Approved Entries is 300x400 px. You can use this size in portrait or landscape to best fit the subject of your illustration. If you are not able to crop the picture yourself please ask the Community Artists to do it f or you.
Please always remember that if your picture is used in the Guide it will also enable other people to use it on their PS, in Post Entries and any non-approved Entries. It may also be printed, cropped, enlarged or sent to Alpha Centauri.
For most people it may be easiest to make illustrations in form of a photo. This guide will assume that you have a digital camera, if you don't have one and still want to make a photo you also need an appropriate scanner to ensure a good picture quality. In most cases the scanned photo does not look as good as the original picture and will not be useable for the Guide.
If you want to make a photo for an Entry don't only make one, make a few from different perspective and with different settings and zoom factors.
If possible have a look at the pictures at your computer, see what looks good and what doesn't and then make more photos with improved settings. This may not be possible if you want to take pictures of a landscape, building or city, so be sure to make enough pictures there. Try making pictures from many different angles and don't be shy to climb on rocks and benches to get a good picture – just don't fall!
Keep in mind that not everything looks best when you take a photo while standing directly in front of it, also think about pretty views from side alleys, through doors, between two trees etc
Then sort your pictures. First delete all that are blurred or show your thumb. Now search for the best pictures. The ones where you didn't cut off half the cross at the top of the church. You will usually end up with more than one that is good in the end. If you are not sure which one is best ask other people. If you want you can ask the Community Artists. You may also want to first crop your pictures to 300x400 pixel to see which is best in the final size, because something that looks good on the original picture may not fit into this size.
If you can't crop your pictures yourself you can ask the Artists to do it for you. But there are free programs that you can use for cropping your pictures, which you can simply download from the Internet.
Drawing a picture
Of course you don't have to take a photo, you can also draw pictures by hand or with a computer program. If you want to draw by hand you need a good scanner or maybe camera, be sure about that before you start. We cannot take your picture if the picture quality we see online is too bad, even if your original work was great.
If you use a computer program you should not make your canvas size 300x400 px, but a multiplication of this. For instance 900x1200. This makes it easier for you to draw than on a very small canvas. When you are finished you can simply resize it. But always keep in mind that the finished picture will be smaller, so little details may not be visible.
When your picture is finished
And what to do when your picture is finished? You send it to the Arts Editors or the Guide Editors for approval. If they say your work is ok it will be attached to your Entry. If it isn't they will let you know and you can submit a different picture. If you don't have a different picture the Community Artists will try to take care of an illustration for your Entry.