Picture It! Free Art for Therapy Materials

By Judith Maginnis Kuster

Many of today's clinicians may not remember the days of cutting and pasting pictures from magazines and Golden Book dictionaries to create treatment materials. It used to be the method of choice for those of us not blessed with artistic abilities. Although commercial companies now produce an abundance of resources, the materials available may not fit the needs of a particular client, or clinicians may find satisfaction in creating some of their own materials.

Little pictures called "clip art" are available commercially. Programs such as Hyperstudio, Power Point, Adobe Photo Deluxe and recent versions of most word processing software also have clip art files that you can use to develop your own materials. With those programs you simply "insert" the clip art into your page.

The Internet is another important resource for clip art, and it is free! Using clip art, or any picture from the Internet, requires you to be able to do three things‹find the pictures, download them to your computer, and insert them into a Word document to print out.

Note that icon collections each have their own conditions of useage. Typically there is no problem if you are using the icons for non-commercial, personal purposes, such as making therapy materials for clients in your caseload. Look for useage information and restrictions on the various icon sites under links such as "terms of use" or "copyright and use information." If you have specific questions, contact the site manager. I have always had positive responses to inquiries about using icons for non-commercial purposes.

  • Finding the Pictures One helpful resource for finding specific images is the "image" or "picture search" on some search engines such as I have even found pictures of some of my ancestors using these resources. For example, type in "Aaron Payne" (my great-great-great-great uncle) in Google or Fast. Although you may find some other Aaron Paynes, too, my relative is the "old guy."

    There are at least two search engines dedicated to finding pictures.

    There are also several Internet sites that are repositories of free clip art. Downloading to Your Computer The name of the images on the Internet typically ends with .jpeg, .jpg, or .gif. It doesn't matter which. They will all work. To copy an image from the internet if you are using a PC
    1. Place the cursor over the image you want and right-click your mouse.
    2. Select "save image as" from the menu bar that appears.
    3. Select a destination to save the image on your hard drive or on a disk.
    4. 4. Click "save."
    To copy an image from the internet if you are using a Mac
    1. Place the cursor over the image and hold down on the mouse until the menu window opens.
    2. Select "save this image as."
    3. Select where you want the image saved.
    Inserting the Pictures Into a Word Document

    To insert the image into a word document use the "insert" command in your Word program and choose "picture." Select the name and location of the file you saved. The picture will then be inserted. Some Word programs will allow you to adjust the size of the image after you have inserted it.

    It is also possible to combine these last two steps instead of downloading several images to your computer, by selecting "copy" (instead of "save image as"), opening the program where you want to insert the picture, and selecting "edit paste." Since you are using word processing, you will also be able to add text to your materials. Consult the manual of your word processing program for instructions.

    Judith Kuster is in the department of speech, hearing, and rehabilitation services at Minnesota State University, Mankato. Contact her by email at judith.kuster@mnsu.edu. All of Kuster’s Internet columns are on the ASHA Web site in HTML format with active links http://professional.asha.org/news/news.cfm, although URLs change and there is no guarantee that links from previous articles are still functional.


    Kuster, JM, Picture It! Free Art for Therapy Materials, ASHA Leader, May 13, 2003, p. 14