iStock - Stock Illustration Training Manual

5.3 - Derivative Artwork and Autotraces

We appreciate the art of tracing, but keep derivative (ie "derived" from another source) images for your own viewing pleasure or personal portfolio, unless you created the source image. iStock keeps a close eye on derivative artwork.

If you require a foundation to plot your points in Illustrator, ensure you are the original creator of the artwork/photograph/sketch/render/scan that you base your work on. Any illustration found to be based on work from outside sources (i.e. found art, images found on the Internet, other artists’ work, magazines, clip art, etc) can result in a suspension of upload privileges.

For more information on derivative artwork and copyright, please refer to the ‘Legal Requirements’ section of this manual.

Please note that iStock does not accept autotraced files. Autotraced files can be very difficult to edit: they add unnecessary points and shapes, create really weird colors, and can make detailed areas too simple. Please stick to the pen tool and use your eye to judge where points should go, rather than relying on a computer to do your work for you.


  • Submit images derived from your own source material if needed
  • Hand-trace your own photography, sketches or 3D renders


  • Submit poorly autotraced images
  • Submit images derived from source material that you do not own the copyright of

Example of a poorly autotraced image:


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