I add my own graphic embellishments here and there, and hope eventually to provide a different look for each page. Im not much of an artist, but its fun. The graphics are pure decoration; one accessibility commitment is that none convey content, except insofar as the page specifically comments on the graphics.
All the graphics, except for a few photographs, are my own drawings. When I consciously imitate something (say, a book illustration) I add a note crediting the idea, but any drawing that appears here is mine. It might be painstakingly imitated, with rapt attention to the model, but it is not machine-copied, scanned, clipped, traced, or otherwise mechanically extracted from anyone elses work.
For the most part, graphics are kept small. The largest non-photograph graphic file (a tartan pattern) is under 12 KB. Over 90% are under 4 KB.
My personal fondness for repeating geometric patterns might be apparent. For example, the backgrounds on all the index and introductory pages, and some others, are subsets of the one on this page. You can view the whole set, all together, here.
For consistency of approach, I also took the photographs and prepared them for Web use myself. Large-file photos are on auxiliary pages, with thumbnail versions serving as links.
Although one of its major selling points is the creation of animated GIFs with ease and precise control, the user interface also allows easy color manipulation (including transparencies) and file-size reduction. With a bit of thought, some of the animation features can also be adapted to building repeating backgrounds; thats been a time-saver.
To manage the graphics references HTML, I also use a Perl-generated report. A sample is linked from the page data page.
Background graphic copyright © 2004 by Hal Keen