Tips and Tricks – Protecting yourself and your artwork using Google Image Search


A friend introduced me to a neat way you can utilize Google to search the web easily for your images.

In this day and age we as artists have to be vigilant in keeping an eye open on the web for our artwork to show up in places we didn’t give permission for it to be.  Largely to be sure our work isn’t being sold or misappropriated in any way. (It happens quite a bit.)

The tool Google offers is a search engine that doesn’t use keywords but instead uses images. Nifty huh!

Let me give you a quick walkthrough of how you use the tool!

Please note you can see larger versions of the images by clicking them!

1. Find a place online where you are hosting an image of the artwork you want to search. (You can also drag and drop an image from your desktop. Thanks Tanja!!) Most likely your web page or online gallery of some sort. You will need to copy the image location. To be sure you are getting the address for the image itself and not the web page it is on, right click with your mouse over the image. You’ll get a list of options one of which should be “View Image”. Select this and your image should show up alone in a new tab or window. Copy the address of this image from your address bar. (At top of page.)


2. Pull up your normal Google search at  You can also use this link to get to Google Images. But for this walk through we’ll be describing how to use this utility using Google normally.



3. Paste the address of the image into the Google search bar. (Not the search bar at the top of the page. The one on the actual google site page.) Hit Search.



4.  You will get normal search results but there should be a line of type at the top that reads like this, “For matching images, try search by image“. Select this option.



5. Now Google will have searched and found images that are visually similar to the image you were searching and will have most likely found any pf the places that image appears on the web. From this point if you notice your image in any place that isn’t familiar to you, you can properly investigate.

This tool also comes in handy when trying to find the origin of an image you are trying to track down the owner of. I know there are other useful applications for this tool, but for artists it is definitely handy in policing the web for our images!

Be sure to check out the following link for more ways to utilize the Google Image function. (Thanks again Tanja!)

Good luck!


  1. Wilson Williams – You can use Google Image Search to Protect Yourself and Your Images Online | Illustration and Art News for Illustrators and Artists

    […] External Link: Wilson Williams – You can use Google Image Search to Protect Yourself and Your Images Online […]

  2. Wilson Williams – You can use Google Image Search to Protect Yourself and Your Images Online | Uber Patrol - The Definitive Cool Guide

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  3. Janet Gane

    Love all the information you post.

    I want to join the Illustrators group but don’t know in which category.

    If your main work is not in illustration alone, it seems you join as a friend. However, it doesn’t say if “friend” can apply for entry of work.

    Can you be of further help to me in this regard?
    Janet Gane

    PS: Also, did you create your own website? It’s lovely.

    • WilsonWJr

      Hey Janet,

      Thanks so much for your appreciation of the info we post. If you could be more specific as to what illustration group you are speaking of we may be able to help you more. We are members of many groups on Linked In and Facebook. Some of them have subgroups on LinkedIn. Are you speaking of Society of Illustrators? If so you’ll need to address your question to them at one of these phone numbers or e-mails,
      Tel: (212) 838-2560
      Fax: (212) 838-2561

      Thanks for the compliments on our web design. We are actually in the process of redesigning and relaunching it! Stay Tuned!! 🙂

      Wilson W, Jr.

  4. Bernie

    Thank you for reposting this Janet! I assume you originally got this from Wilson Williams? In that case I want to extend my thanks to Wilson as well. This was really eye-opening. Suffice to say I have some work ahead of me to follow up with several web sites that have “borrowed” images. I did a search on one image and saw that two other businesses were using it on top of the company I had originally sold the image to. I will also rethink how I handle copyright issues moving forward. This was incredibly valuable!

  5. China Carnella

    I found a gal in Russia who posted *all* of my images in one of her blog postings. Don’t ask me what I did about it, because – even though the copyrights are all registered – I did nothing. She didn’t appear to be making money off of them.

    Another thing I wanted to mention was that I read recently about how someone / a company (in the country of China) had REVERSED the image and was selling that. It was hard for the owner of this image to find it because Google looks for exact duplicates and similar images, and somehow the reverse of her original image got overlooked by this wonderful (and I’m not being facetious) tool from Google.

    • WilsonWJr

      Thanks China! That’s definitely something to consider when searching for your images. I imagine you can reverse your image in photoshop, save it that way and search. Those folks stealing things are crafty aren’t they! WOW!! Thanks for the additional information and another clever trick to look out for!


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