Avoid Copyright Issues by Empowering Students to be Creative

Lately I’ve noticed two topics mentioned over and over in my Twitter feed as well as in some educational articles. It seems both copyright issues and how to engage students with being creative are hot topics. Sorry for this old cliche but, “Why not kill two birds with one stone?

Understanding copyrights along with the Teacher’s Act and Fair Use is complicated due to the internet and public sharing. The question keeps arising what is meant by “Within the Four Walls of a Classroom”? In this post I’m not going to talk about the issue itself. Instead I’m going to suggest supporting the students creative thinking skills by showing them how to use Google Drawing to create clipart. This way one can avoid the whole copyright issue by supporting the students creativity.

  • Go to Google Drive
    • Click New
    • Scroll down to more
    • Then click on Google Drawings

Open Google Drawing-2

  • Layer shapes to Create Images
    • Insert a shape
    • Change the color
    • Adjust the border
    • Create a second shape
    • Move to back

Create clipart

  • Keep repeating above steps until the clipart is finished


Create Clip Art Creativity

  • Download Google Drawing as a png or jpeg to use clip art with computer or web based programs

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 11.27.22 AM


  • You can use the Scribble Tool to draw freehand style

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 11.10.30 AM

  • Don’t forget about using the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+D or CMD+D for duplicating shapes


Having Fun Manipulating Clipart Color

I like using the Google Drawing and Presentation Slides image options tool.  This tool allows the user to change the color of the clipart from a wide variety of choices. It also lets the user adjust the brightness, contrast, and transparency.

Changing Color of Clipart

I especially like the transparency feature. The transparency feature allows me to place a textured clipart layer behind a solid colored shape. This creates an interesting effect.  Here is a shape with a textured underlay.

Changing Color of Clipart-2

NOTE:  The above shape was made from these two shapes:

  • The underlay shape

Changing Color of Clipart-3

  • Top layer shape

Changing Color of ClipartTIPS:

  • To use a solid shape you created in Google Drawing download the image as a .png and then re-upload it as an inserted image. This will allow you manipulate the solid colored shape with the image option tool.
  • When using clipart found in an internet search make sure is okay to reuse and manipulate the image. Most Creative Commons and Open Clipart Sources will state if the creator permits the clipart to be used in this manner. The sites generally provide guides on how to attribute the source.