One option is to design your own images. There are a few different programs you can use (some are listed here) to make your own maps and images. There are some online tools that allow you to create maps for your adventures. Always be sure to check the licensing information of resources you use.
- Jalopy Design: Cleaning up Public Domain Art by David Schirduan (Technical Grimoire) does another fantastic entry that goes through how to edit and leverage Public Domain Art in your works.
- ZiMo 22 Workshop Series: Intro to Zine Art w/AmandaLee is a ZineMonth 2022 workshop put on by the amazing Amanda Lee Franck and hosted by Plus One Exp. It goes over how to create your own art (using public domain images) as well as how to commission art from artists.
If you are like me and not the most visual creative oriented, luckily there is a robust group of talented designers and artists out there. Often you will see them advertising that their commissions are open. Have a clear concept in mind as well as your budget range. Understand that commissioning work is a collaborative process between professionals and requires respect and clear communication.
There are many artists that provide options to commerically license their art. Some use a flat purchase (on itch or another platform) while others provide licensing to those who subscribe to their patreon. Here are few that I have found:
- Creative Comrades Licensed Art by JN Butler Art is a collection of art that is able to be licensed for commercial use under the stipulations of the Creative Comrades License.
- Evelyn Moreu has a Patreon that contains some of the best art that she allows you to use commercially in your zines (if you subscribe).
- Perplexing Ruins also has a patreon that provides access to images that can be commercially licensed through a subscription.
- Andy’s Inventory Art Pak #1 by Andrew White is a collection of 81 random inventory items that can purchased to use uder a CC BY 4.0.
- Tiny Zine of Faces #1 as well as Tiny Zine of Faces #2 by Chema (Punkpadour) contain some fantastic portraits and images that can be purchased to be used commercally.
- Feral Indie Studio sells themed art packs that can be used commerically.
- Fantasy Art 01 by Hairic Lilred is a collection of fantasy art assets that can be used commerically.
- Map Pieces by Map Crow includes different pieces that can be used to make maps (and are Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licesed).
Here are some great resources to help you create maps for your games.
- watabou generators by Watabou is a collection of map generators (neighborhood, one page dungeon, mansions, medieval fantasy city generator, pixel dungeon, village, city, fantasy region) that can be used commercially in your work.
- Perplexing Ruins Hex Map Tile Set! by Perlexing Ruins is a fantastic tile set that is made available for use through donations. It provides assets for Hex Kit Software
- Dungeon Scrawl by ProbableTrain is a map making software that supports you in creating CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.
For those of us who are not artists, or don’t have a budget to commission art for our work, public domain images are what we use to add artwork to our games. These are images that are able to be used in commercial work (either because their copyright has lapsed, they are not copyrightable, or they were released under an open license from the start). Here are some places you can find art for your games.
- Public Domain Art List by Yochai Gal is an extensive list of public domain images and the different places you find public domain art.
- A flickr collection of curated Public Domain Images by Guilherme Gontijo.
- unsplash is a collection of freely usable photos.
- pixabay is a collection of freely usable images. While it includes photos like unsplash, it is better known for its vectors and illustrations.
- Public Domain Review showcases interesting ad unusual out-of copyright works.
- Artvee collection that has high-resolution public domain art.