The Community Artists

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Welcome to the Community Artist's homepage. This volunteer scheme creates pictures and illustrations for h2g2:

Approved Guide Entries

The h2g2 Front Page
The Post

Community-run Clubs and Societies

Audio-visual content

Since 2011 the Community Artists have been expanded to embrace also the former h2g2 Photographers.

Volunteer to be a Community Artist

The Community Artists are entrusted with the task of illustrating the Approved Guide and other areas of h2g2. You don't need much experience of this sort of thing - it would be great to hear from you anyway. However, as with all volunteering designing illustrations will take up some of your free time on a fairly regular basis.

How to Join the Community Artists

Register your interest by starting a new Conversation below. Please give us details of your h2g2 Researcher number and your h2g2 nickname in the title so that we can find your details quickly.

We would like to get an impression of your skills, so please share some of your existing work with us by sending us a link to your homepage, blog, online picture album, youtube account or wherever you share your work. After having a look at your work we will decide whether you are ready to join the Artists.

What You Will Need as an Artist

There are a number of requirements essential to becoming a Community Artist. These include:

At least a couple of hours of free time every month.

Some artistic ability.

Access to a computer of some sort.

Some kind of computer art package, for example Photoshop, Paintshop Pro or Gimp if you want to do digital art and photo manipulations. Paint will not be enough.

A digital camera or other device that can make digital photos of a good quality and a software to crop pictures to the right size, if you want to submit photos.

Software to make and edit films and/or audio files and the ability to use it if you want to produce AV content.

Please be aware that as a member of the Artists group you will have to listen to the critique* of your fellow Artists and the Guide Editors (when making pictures for Entries) and probably have to revise your pictures accordingly.

Communicating With Other Artists And The Editorial Team

At the moment the Community Artists – like other volunteer groups – have a group on Trello(it is only visible to registered members who are manually given access). We hope to be able to do all our work directly on h2g2 in the future. Everyone who signs up as a Community Artist has to give us their email address so we can invite them to Trello and occassionally send emails to all Community Artists.

On Trello we can share pictures without showing them directly on h2g2 and talk about them within the group before anything is published. We also talk about new ideas that we don’t want to share with wider h2g2 yet – or never will, because we drop them in the end.

Because of the Community Artist’s work for the Approved Guide, we have to work closely with the Editorial volunteers to provide illustrations for new Entries. The leader of the Editorial and Community teams have access to the Artist’s Trello group to directly post requests for new artwork and comment.

As a Community Artist you should check Trello at least once per week and subscribe to the Arts Editor's journal on h2g2, so you are informed about all news and always know which Entries currently need artwork.

The Community Artists' Code

Community Artists are under no obligation to design a specific number of illustrations in any specific period of time. All we ask is that you are committed to the project and that you let us know if you want to take a break. This means that continuous contributions are expected of all members and if you do not contribute or send us a message with a reason why you do not contribute (illness, holidays, etc) your name will be removed from the members list.

Likewise, if at some point in the future you decide that you no longer wish to be a part of the project, then please let us know.

Very few of the Community Artists are professional designers or photographers. Nevertheless, all illustrations must be of a fairly high standard. It is therefore important that Community Artists: have a willingness to learn and are prepared to accept feedback from the other members of the volunteer group and members of the editorial team.
Every work goes through a review process within the Community Artists group. If you submit a picture be prepared to make revisions. It may also be that more than one Artist submit pictures for the same topic, in this case the best picture will be chosen in the end. Just like not every submitted Entry gets into the Approved Guide, not every submitted picture will be published.

Additionally all Community Artists have to agree to the h2g2 Volunteer Code of Conduct before they can join the team.


All discussions about pictures should stay on Trello, do not discuss things onsite.

Any designs or smileys that we ask you to do are also confidential.
Anyone who leaks confidential information will obviously be asked to leave the scheme.

Basic Terms and Conditions of h2g2

This section is just a reminder of the terms you have already agreed to on h2g2, and points out that the same terms apply to the forums and email associated with the volunteer schemes. We're not asking you to agree to anything new.

Everyone who participates in h2g2 is bound by the House Rules of the site. The same rules apply to volunteers' participation in the volunteer forums. Anyone being deliberately offensive will be warned and, if necessary, will be removed from the scheme.

General Guidelines for Community Artists

All artwork, photos and AV content you submit must be made by yourself.

All pictures have to be of a good artistic quality as well as a good picture quality (meaning they should not be blurred for instance).

The Approved Guide

Graphics intended for the Edited Guide should be representative of the topic of the Entry, and should match it in tone – so always read the Entry before you start making a picture. An Entry about a serious topic should not have a graphic that appears to be making fun of it, and graphics should always be suitable for a family audience as they'll most likely be appearing on the Front Page at some point.

Technical Specifications: Illustrations for Edited Guide Entries are 300 x 400 pixels, portrait or landscape – whatever fits best, the maximum file size is 100k. Pictures for the Front Page of h2g2 have a size of 625x350 pixels.

The Post

Some Researchers write regular columns for the h2g2 Community-run newspaper, The Post. Established columnists can request a logo or banner to be displayed at the top of each entry.

Though The Post's cartoonists are sometimes Community Artists as well, it's not a requirement. If you would like to submit a cartoon to The Post, contact the Post Team to discuss technical specifications, deadlines, and other details.

Technical Specifications: Banners should be 500 pixels wide and 100 pixels high. Remember that banners will have to look good on all skins!

Clubs and Societies

Club Logos and Badges: As with the Post, Researchers with established and well-run clubs and societies can apply for a club logo and/or banner. The dimensions and other technical specifications are the same as those of banners bound for The Post.

Technical Specifications: If a membership badge is required for clubs, they should not exceed 100 x 100 pixels. The image can be free-standing (ie, it doesn't have to be rectangular) so long as it fits into this frame.

Note: While we will try to treat each request on its own merit, due to limited resources and other potential restrictions, we cannot promise that every request will be met.

Audio-visual content

The AViators were a separate volunteer group that worked on projects like the Guidecast and the Beeblecast. To encourage collaborative work this is now a sub-group of the Community Artists.


h2g2 smileys are very well known around the site, and used more than any other images. Occasionally it is decided to launch new smileys. When it is clear which smileys should be added to the site, the Community Artists can start to come up with designs. Please note that it is not or not only the Community Artist’s choice which smileys are added to h2g2.

Smileys need to follow a rather specific set of technical specifications in order to be used on the site:

Smileys must be no higher than 16 pixels, because if they were any higher they would interfere with the text in conversations. There is no specific maximum width. Our longest is currently 67 pixels across; try not to exceed that.

Although we understand everyone has a style of their own, for smileys we'd like to stick to the established 'House Style' where we can. That includes anti-aliasing to smooth the edges rather than leaving them in a pixelated style.

Any image that is not rectangular will need to be anti-aliased to the two background colours and then saved in 'gif89a' format with the background colour set to 'transparent'. The background colours used are blue (HEX number 000066) for the Classic (Goo) skin and white (HEX number FFFFFF) for the Alabaster and Brunel skins and Pliny.

We'll need two files in gif format for each smiley, one for the blue background named b_smileyname.gif, and one for the white background named w_smileyname.gif, where 'smileyname' is, obviously, the name of the smiley.

Smileys must be optimised to make the files as small as possible, otherwise they increase the download time for conversation pages too much.

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