Pro - Finding Graphics
Graphics are very easy to come by, the only catch is you can't always get exactly what you're looking for, so the trick is to improvise with what you do find. Here are links to some promising sources:
1. Image search engines - in order of sophistication:
- http://www.live.com (the image search option)
2. Free stock photos
- http://www.photoshopsupport.com/resources/stock-photos.html#Aarin-free-stock-photos (a superb directory full of different stock photo sources)
3. Free blog/website skins and templates
- http://www.blogskins.com/ (click on the "Skins of the Day" link and flip through previous months to see older skins)
4. Free Fonts
Like I said, you won't always find what you want, so you have to learn to improvise. All I have to work with is Paint, so what I do is I find pictures, backgrounds or fonts that I like and put them together to get a passable version of what I had in mind to begin with.
Sometimes you will find a great picture on a website, and usually all you have to do is right-click it and use the "Save Picture As" option to add it to your collection, but that doesn't always work – either because the website's developers have disabled that option or because it's just part of the background, so what I do is press the "Print Screen SysRq" button on my keyboard (next to the Scroll Lock button), open Paint, click "paste" (which will paste the image of the entire screen as it was when you pressed the button), cut out the bit that I want and fit it in a new paint window to create a clean separate picture.
I know, it's not a very nice thing to do – copyright issues and all that - but I never use such pics for commercial purposes, so *shrugs* :p In your case though, Pro, you might want to rethink using this technique lest you wake the copyright advocates :-/ But that basically gives you an idea of how you can accumulate interesting graphics :) It's all about improvising and trying out different things.
Also, in the case of free blog skins, what you usually get when you download the skin is the html code, so just search though that until you find URLs in there, paste them in browser windows and see where they take you. They usually lead to clean/uncluttered versions of the background and extra graphics that have been used in the blog template, so you can save those directly without the added text that they have in the complete template.
Well, that's pretty much it. Hope it's been useful. There are loads of other graphics resources on the net, so rummage around and you'll find invaluable treasure troves with time :)