How to Use Clip Art to Make Your Projects Better

Mona Lisa getting ClippedBefore I start, let’s just get one thing straight: clip art is meant for teens. I mean, who else would use clip art?

Adults have no need; they are not graded down for not including relevant pictures in their business report (which is, ironically, entitled “The use of media in the workspace”). Children definitely have no need; Teachers these days are still surprised that 3rd graders already know how to type when it comes time to start ‘All the Right Type’ (or the learn-typing program of choice). And all the 3rd graders know that if they did include clip art, their teachers would be so astounded that they might try to get on Facebook and tell other teachers. This is a bad thing, because it takes teachers like this upwards of 7 or 8 hours just to figure out how to log in to Facebook, not to mention actually communicate with it.

If you don’t know what clip art is, then I’ll tell you. If you do know what it is, you can skip the next paragraph, but you might miss the funniest joke in the whole wide world (then again, you might not. It all depends on if your last name is Gates).

Clip art is a term that refers to the gallery of pictures of Bill Gates’ friends that Bill Gates decided to include in Microsoft word when creating the program. Since this was back before Mr. Gates was incredibly wealthy, he had very few friends, like most computer nerds. Therefore, most pictures featured poorly drawn caricatures of humans, or symbolic sepia photographs of household objects.

But just because these pictures would be considered laughable if they appeared in an art gallery/spray painted on a wall/tattooed to the arm of an NBA star, that does not mean that you should shun your clip art gallery. In fact, you should embrace it as you would an electric eel in front of a group of fellow teens, knowing that it may be hard to get over the shock and pain of stooping so low but also knowing that it appears impressive to the person(s) evaluating you.

And so, the question now becomes, don’t you think that Phil uses too many rhetorical questions in his posts? The answer is: yes, I did up until about three seconds ago, when I started thinking that it was even weirder Phil had started to referring to himself in third person.

No, sorry, the question actually becomes: when and where should you use clip art? That depends.

If your teacher doesn’t actually grade assignments, but just looks at their length, you should use as much clip art as possible. You can print the whole gallery out, frankly, and then just attach those 20 pages to the end of every assignment you submit. Plus, this is also “green,” because rather than having unique assignments, you save paper by just submitting much of the same content.

Sure, this might get you detention/suspended/expelled/thrown off the Grand Canyon (depending on the strictness of your school, ranging on a scale of Hogwarts – where they don’t block social network websites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Fireplaces – to your school, where you could probably be burnt at the stake just for reading this blog), but “Clip art gallery over-submission” looks less bad on your transcript than “Doesn’t turn in homework.”

Another way to use clip art is in PowerPoint presentations. Let’s say you need x number of slides, but you only have x-5 slides. Simply put clip art montages on 5 slides, along with semi-relevant captions such as “This pixelated symbol represents the feelings of ‘unknown’ that Lewis and Clark experienced at times, because neither you nor I know what this symbol is supposed to be.”

A third way to make clip art work for you is to have “technical difficulties” and cover the less-intelligent parts of your paper. For example, if you’re writing about the importance of the printing press, and, after listing all your facts/evidence, have no idea what the importance is, use a relevant piece of clip art (I’d recommend the boy pulling a wagon filled with books, because books=need printing press) to obscure the part that says “…printing press, therefore, destroyed human culture, as it contributed to the creation of Twilight…”

Finally, you can use clip art to release anger or stress that teens usually accumulate (and the less-angry you will create better projects). Simply print out full-size paper clip art pictures, tape them to a bulletin board, and throw darts/pencils/gum/other clip art at them, providing much-needed entertainment.

Last year at this time, we published our first-ever illustrated post, entitled “Future Career Options.” I can’t say enough good things about it, so instead of trying, you should just go read it.

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  1. Wow hahaha. I actually almost forgot clip art existed on Microsoft Word. I only use pictures from the Internet now, since the only ones I can find on clip art are like the recycling sign and that weird ginger baby. That’s the old version of Word though… whatever. It’s still kind of creepy. That baby is sooo creepy. And oh, when you started talking in third person, for a second I thought this was a post by Ted and he was talking about you, and I was like “Oh… HI TED…” but no. It was just you talking in third person. Haha. Really funny post!!

    • Thanks, Natalia. Although between the sign and the baby, and the possible combinations, you should have every theme needed already covered. I guess your teacher might not see it that way, though.


    • I will. Sorry for the delay. I’ve got some good excuses, but I hate making excuses. I’ve got a post for today. Thanks for your concern.

  3. vilite246 says:

    One time, I put a picture of a beaver in a spaceship in my power point for an Algebra project (Yes. I know. Project. It took me a week to just read the entire problem. Then again, there were the various distractions: video games, gum, food, gum, blogs, gum, television, gum, mass murderers, gum…the list goes on.). The teacher thought it was off topic, since the problem was what was the shortest length of time it would take a rocket to blast off into space, touch the moon, come back, once all the variables were factored in (such as gasoline, oxygen, engine power, angle of takeoff, random alien life forms). I had to argue that the beaver was an example of a variable: weight of passengers. It also promoted Justin Bieber (I had to say that because my teacher’s like 15, so she loves JB. Ew, did I just call him JB? Ugh.) and boosted morale of animal astronauts. Mmhmm. I got 15 points for creativity.

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