Lookbooks and pitch documents need to set a certain tone for readers. But what if your tone is a time gone by, a period piece or you just don't know how to find images to support it? 

Well, look no further than this free database of over 4000 images from Old Book Illustrations

The dedicated team behind it has sourced thousands of images that are in the public domain. All are sortable by artist, name and subject matter in an easily searchable format. 

Click to download them here


Download Free Images and Illustrations from 19th Century Books

When I'm struggling to describe a scene or to find staging for something I'm shooting, I often turn to paintings and illustrations. I like seeing how artists have put characters together or conveyed drama in static form. They also help me build lookbooks and I even include them in treatments to set a mood for the story I'm pushing forward. 

While there's no need for the images inside lookbooks to be copyright free, we do need those open-source materials in anything we shoot on set or in movies. Otherwise, we have to pay for expensive licensing. 

Every time a new batch of open-sourced images comes online, I take a minute to scroll through. Not only do they help brainstorm ideas but I frequently use them as insert images when I have characters reading a book or researching something. 


The collection contains images used to illustrate popular authors like Jules Verne and Edgar Allan Poe. It covers the golden era of illustrating with some of its most famous artists like ohn Tenniel, Beatrix Potter, Arthur Rackham and Aubrey Beardsley.

Perhaps these pairings will help you find ideas to adapt or venture out into your own imagination. So get writing. 

What's next? Learn more about the Public Domain

If you’re like me, you’ve heard the words, “it’s in the public domain,” and wondered...but what is public domain? What qualifies as being a public domain idea? We go through all the info and show you how to get free ideas. 

Click for more