Public Domain Game Art Resources

2015-08-11T00:32:47.226+0900

This page is a continuous work in progress; suggestions are appreciated.

When working on games for jams, I often want something better than colored squares to work with. While there are resources like Open Game Art that provide art under various open licenses, I thought it'd be nice to have a list of public domain resources to turn to.

For an example of a commercial game that makes good use of public domain art, take a look at Aviary Attorney.

The Internet Archive Flickr stream has mixed quality, but it's big enough there's a bit of everything, and searches are rather effective. Some selections:

The British Library Flickr stream is much smaller (though still larger than anyone could ever need), but the scans and images are generally higher quality and the search quality is as at least as good as the Internet Archive.

Google Books can be searched by century and whether the complete document is available, but poor annotations and some enormously long documents make the search kind of noisy. Unfortunately scan quality also can be hit and miss for images. That said, costume books like Character Suitable for Fancy Costume Balls or Male Character Costumes can be useful.

For location art old books on architecture can be valuable. Palladio's Four Books are available in high quality from the Library of Congress, the second book in particular has a lot of facades.

Paper theatres were a historically popular kind of toy for a while; 50 Watts has a series that provides some excellent material to work with.

The Internet Archive's Guide for Drawing the Acanthus is excellent for decorative flourishes.

Abandonauts is a small set of public domain pixel art by Adam Atomic suitable for a sci-fi sidescroller.

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