Are you a graphic artist who’s new to creating vector illustrations for microstock? If so, take a minute to review the list below to help make your illustrations microstock-ready. These steps will help you identify and fix issues that could potentially cause them to be rejected by your micro stock site. They’ll also make them easier for customers to use.
1. Use A Common Document Size
When you’re first planning your illustration, select a document size that’s based on a standard print size, such as letter size (11” x 8.5”) or postcard / greeting card size ( 5” x 7” or 4” x 6”). While not a requirement, these sizes are easiest for customers to work with and incorporate into their project.
2. Close Open Paths
Not all sites require that all paths be closed, but it’s a good practice to get into anyway. If you’re using Adobe Illustrator, a quick way to identify open paths is to change to Outline view. You can do this by selecting View → Outline. You can then see them much more easily. Either close the open path, or delete it if it isn’t needed.
3. Remove Excess Shapes
Any shapes that fall outside of your artboard should be trimmed to the bounds of the the artboard. To do this, draw a new shape that covers the overflow that you want to remove. Select this new shape together with the shape that needs trimming. Select ‘subtract from shape area’, and the unwanted excess is trimmed away.
4. Make Layers User-Friendly
- Name each layer so it explains which elements of the illustrations it contains. For example, “sky”, “trees”, “beach”, and so on.
- Unlock all layers by selecting Unlock All Layers from the Layers palette drop-down menu.
- Delete Empty Layers. When complete, remove layers that don’t have anything in them. To check if a layer contains any shapes, click on the little round icon on the right hand side of the layers palette. This will select all the objects on that layer. If nothing is selected, then the layer is empty and should be deleted.
5. Resize Your Artboard
When you create your JPG preview, it will include your entire artboard. So you want to make sure that your artboard is the size of your desired JPG, without too much extra space all around your subject. Or, if your subject is on a white background, you want to be sure it is not be too tightly cropped when you create the JPG preview.
The easiest way to get just the size you want is to draw your desired area with the rectangle tool. Then select the rectangle and select Object -> Artboards -> Fit To Artwork Bounds. This will resize your artboard to the size of the rectangle. If you don’t want to change the size of your artboard, you can create a new artboard by selectimg the Artboard tool, and holding the shift key down while drawing the rectangle area you want. Then when you create your jpg preview,make sure that “Use Artboard” in the lower left of the dialog is checked, and specify the number of the new artboard.
The specific format requirements for upload vary from site to site. Most accept the illustration in EPS10 format. Many request an accompanying JPG preview image, and the size of that preview varies. And some sites require these files to be Zipped. You’ll want to check the guidelines at your specific site to fully understand their unique upload requirements.
If you follow these steps, not only will you improve the chances that your illustration will be accepted, but it will also make them easier for customers to use. And that will make them more likely to come back to your portfolio for more.