How to illustrate an Entry

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If you have never illustrated an Entry you may not know how to start or what is expected of you. We hope that this Entry will help you.

All pictures also have to follow the House Rules and must not violate copyright. If you find a picture online, you must also get permission from the copyright holder.

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 might also be printed, cropped, enlarged or sent to Alpha Centauri.

Who can illustrate an Entry?

Community Artists: the Community Artists volunteer group is mostly working on illustrating the Edited Guide. Their priority lies on Entries that have recently been picked from Peer Review, although they also illustrate old Entries whenever they get a chance. The Community Artists aim to illustrate every new Entry it is likely that they already work on pictures for Entries that have left Peer Review and will soon be published on the Front Page.
Writers and Researchers: Researchers who have written an Entry and can provide a picture for it are very welcome to send in their suggestions to the Arts Editors. Researchers who happen to have a good illustration for an already Edited/Approved Entry are also welcome to send picture/s to the Arts Editors. Submit your picture by sending an email to artists at h2g2 dot com. Please add your U-number, h2g2 name and the title and A-number of the Entry in question. Otherwise it will be very difficult to add your picture to the correct Entry. The Arts Editors may come back to you with suggestions or requests for changes.

How to start

The first and most important thing you have to do is very simple: read the Entry you want to illustrate - unless you have written it yourself. The illustrations have to fit to the Entry. Stay within the subject of the Entry and keep your picture on topic. Also stay within the tone of the Entry, a serious Entry should not get a funny picture for instance.

A good illustration should give the readers information that the written words can't get across so easily and therefore be helpful to the understanding of an Entry.


For most people, photography may be easiest way to make illustrations. This guide will assume that you have a digital camera, but you can also use an appropriate scanner to ensure a good picture quality. In most cases, however, the scanned photo does not look as good as the original picture and will not be useable for the Guide. Make several photos from different perspectives 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. If you want to take pictures of a landscape, building or city, 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. 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. If you can't decide on the best one ask friends or 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 your picture is for a new Entry it will also need a picture for the Front Page. This picture should be 625x350 px (landscape) and must be cropped from your original picture. Do not use the small 300x400 version and enlarge, because the quality will be bad. If your picture has portrait dimensions you don't have to worry about this, we will take care of it for you.

If you can't crop your pictures yourself you can ask the Artists to do it for you. Or simply download free programs from the internet that you can use for cropping your pictures.


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 publish 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 to draw than on a very small canvas. When finished you can simply resize it. But keep in mind that the finished picture will be smaller, so little details may not be visible.

If you draw by hand also keep the dimensions of 300x400 px in mind. This means the proportions of your picture should stay roughly 3:4. Deviations from these proportions will have to be cropped off in the end. Also keep in mind that 300x400 px is in fact quite small and that your picture has to look good at this size. You can crop your pictures yourself or leave it to the Arts Editors. If your picture has landscape dimensions and you want to crop it yourself please also submit a version of 625x350 pixels (landscape) for the Front Page. For a good quality this must be cropped from your original picture and not from the small 300x400 px version.

What happens next?

Once you have submitted your picture, the Arts Editors will have a look at it to see quality is alright. Then your picture is cropped (if you have not done this yourself) and uploaded to the Artists Trello board. The Arts Editors may also choose to fiddle with the contrast or lighting of your picture to improve it.

If you are a Community Artist please crop the picture and upload it to Trello yourself.

On Trello your picture can be reviewed by all Community Artists and some of the Guide Editors. Again the picture quality will be checked, but also the motif and how it fits to the Entry as well as violations of the House Rules of h2g2, copyright or UK laws as far as can be seen immediately. You may be asked to alter your picture at any time during this process if this is necessary and seems possible for you to do. Only in rare cases pictures are a completely rejected.

Once it is agreed that a picture is good enough an Editor uploads it to h2g2. Then a Guide Editor can attach it to the Entry.

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