Guide to Images

Written by TJ Trewin and Amy Winters-Voss
A picture is worth a thousand words.
  It's true! An image can help to visually describe things to a reader or audience to help them understand things in your world at a deeper level. Pictures also help break up large sections of text to enhance readability.   This guide will show you how to upload an image and place it in your article, how to create image galleries, how to find images for your world, how to credit an artist and also a bit about why we use this system on World Anvil and not direct linking.    

How to upload an image

Go to your dashboard and click the 'Images and Files' button. This can be found in the left sidebar (see the screenshot in the right) or in the green power hammer button at the bottom right corner of the screen. You can also access the 'Images and Files' page via this link:   From here you will be able to drag and drop or browse to select an image to upload, as well as add a title, description, tags and credits. The drag and drop/click box is at the bottom of the page.
A handy trick for when you have many images in a gallery folder. If you have an 'End' button on your keyboard, it will take you to the bottom of the page.
images upload - drag and drop box.png
  You can upload any of the following image file types: JPG, JPEG, PNG, GIF   Free accounts: Maximum file size is 1.0 MB   Guild members: Maximum file size is 10.0 MB
Images and Files manager location.png

Editing the Name and Attributes of Your Image

In the 'Images and Files' manager, if you click on an image it will appear on the right sidebar. There you can click on the attributes you wish to change, and the changes will be automatically applied. For example if you change the file name, a popup will appear that the file name has been changed.   To add the file to your 'Favorites', click on the yellow star by the file name. When it's solid yellow, it's in your favorites.   Remember to credit the artist for your images!   Adding the image to a gallery folder is as easy as clicking the green '+ Add to gallery' button and selecting which gallery folder you want. Images can be in more than one gallery folder.   To replace the file with another, click on the pink 'Replace File' button. This will take you to another screen where you can browse for the replacement image and click save to swap the old image with the new.   When you wish to delete a file, click on the red 'Delete File' button and click the green confirmation check button. (This secondary check, should help avoid accidental deletion.)

Image manager - Editing the image name and attributes.gif


How to add an image to your article

There are two options to get the image BBCode.   1) Once you have uploaded your image and filled in any extra information you need. Click on the pink clipboard icon and number under the image nameto copy the the BBCode for this image.
Image manager - image bbcode copy.png
  2) You can also grab the BBCode of any of your images by visiting your 'Images and Files' manager and clicking the clipboard icon with the image number on the image.
Image manager - image bbcode copy on image thumb.png
  Once you have the image BBcode, paste it into your articles.  

How to assign a character portrait

add character portrait.gif
Once you have uploaded the image you want to use, you will need to go and edit your character article.   The article must be using the character template for this to work officially, but you can get around this by putting the image bbcode in the Sidebar: Over panel content in the Design tab of your article when editing. Note that this method will not appear in RPG campaigns.   If you are using the character template, there will be a text box in the top sidebar panel (as shown in the GIF). Type the name of the portrait in the box and choose the image you uploaded. And that's it! To delete the portrait, simply click the red delete button in the top right corner of the portrait.  

Finding Your Image in the 'Images and Files' Manager

There are two ways to find the image you need for your articles.   1) Use the search bar, located at the top of the 'Images and Files' manager. Just type in at least 3 characters of the file name. The results will show up under the search bar.
Image manager - search bar.png
  2) Use the navigation panel on the left of the 'Images and Files' manager.
Image manager - navigation panel.png
The 'Images and Files' manager opens to view recently uploaded images. From there you can search through the recents, your favorites (for more info, read 'Organizing Your Images' below), or click on a world to view its images and organization structure/galleries. In the example below, the yellow box shows the world name and the red box shows the gallery folder name.
Image manager - navigation panel in use.png
  Once you find the image you want to use, copy the image ID to the clipboard as described above in How to Add and Image to Your Article.  

Working with Galleries

Galleries are like folders for images. To create a new gallery, go to the Image manager and select the world you want to create the gallery in. At the bottom of left gallery, you will see a text box to create a gallery:  

apollo gallery creation.gif


Organize your files

  We have multiple ways to organize our files.   1) In the 'Images and Files' manager, you can drag the image to the desired gallery folder. Images can be dragged to more than one gallery.
Image manager - drag to gallery.png
  2) In the image attributes panel on the right, if you scroll to the bottom of the panel you'll see a green button that says '+ Add to Gallery'. If you click on it, you'll see a menu of the galleries available. Click on the gallery you want and it will be added under the 'Galleries' title. If you accidentally picked the wrong one, click the red 'x' next to it and remove it from the gallery.
Image manager - gallery add button.png
    In your article, Once you've created an image gallery and added some images to it, go to the Design tab of your article. Select the image gallery and click save changes. When you view the article, the images will display in a gallery at the bottom of the article (just like this one)!   To retrieve the gallery carousel BBCode, navigate the the gallery in the navigation panel on the left, then click on the clipboard icon.
Image manager - gallery clipboard icon.png
Paste the BBcode where needed to get a carousel that you can navigate through with the arrows on the sides.
Image manager - carousel.png

How to Find Images to Use in Your World

If you want to use other people's images on your world, you can - but be mindful of using images with the correct Creative Commons Licence and always give credit to the artist or creator in the image info.   Read more about why this is important regarding copyright in this upcoming section.   Here are some super useful guides that explain how you can find free, CC0 images to use in your world:  

How to credit an artist

Make sure you've read the guides in the section above to check if you're allowed to use the image, and then go ahead and upload it. Once you've uploaded it you can fill in all of the sections such as title, description and tags. Under this there is a section for crediting the original creator or artists, the URL to the original (if applicable).   This information will display discreetly underneath the image to let people know that you are crediting the artist. Here is an example of this in action:    

Why do I have to upload the image?

The reason we do not allow direct linking to images and have the upload system is due to copyright.   If an artist, photographer or creator discovers that you have used one of their images unlawfully or without permission - they may contact Dimitris, the developer, and ask him to remove the image.   Thanks to the upload system, Dimitris can target the problematic image and remove it without having to delete the entirety of every article it was used on.


Image BBCode Examples

In this section are examples of the different BBCode that you can apply to images.
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What it does:
Adds the image to the page at an automatic scale. You can click on the image to go to the image's page for more information.
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What it does:
Makes the image unclickable, meaning you can use it as a purely decorative element.
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What it does:
An image with nolink allows you to give it a custom link with the url BBCode.
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What it does:
Floats the image to the left.
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What it does:
Floats the image to the right.

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What it does:
Aligns the image to the center.
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What it does:
Sets the image width to 50. Change this number to whatever you like!  
Please note there is a specific order the input options need to be put in.
[img:(number)|alignment (left,right,center)|width in pixels|nolink]

Quick image linking

Quick linking is a Guild feature!
If you want to make use of this feature, consider supporting World Anvil.
  Guild members can use the mention system to link to other kinds of content —including images. Simply type [ followed by the first characters of the image name. A drop-down will appear with all non-article elements with names matching your input. Simply select the image you want to inser and the standard BBCode img tag will be pasted in.


How many images can I use in an article? As many as you like! But be careful not to add LOADS as it can make your article look cluttered or load slowly!
What's my upload limit overall? This is viewable in your Image List! Free members have 100 MB storage, with 1MB Max uploads and 3.5MB Max uploads for Maps. Guild members have significantly higher storage levels which you can check out here!
How do I change my world's background image and appearance? This is one of the many perks of being a guildmember! You can achieve this with custom CSS in your world configuration menu. Check out the Guide to CSS Formatting for more info.
Can I put the image BBCode anywhere on the site? Absolutely! You can even put it in map pins, timeline excerpts and your world vignette!
How do I move an image to another world? Go to the Images & Files page and click on the image you want to move. Then, in the right sidebar, find the World field it and use its drop-down to move the image.

Competition Information

Going forward it will now be a mandatory requirement that you credit the artists whose images you use- even if you yourself are the artist who created the image; don't credit your artists? Your article can no longer be featured- and will no longer be eligible to win competitions!

Using the blue button

If you are a Guild member, you can use the blue button (bottom right corner) to mass upload images from any page on your world, even while you are writing an article. Check out the Guide to the Quick Buttons for more details.  

External Images

Warning, Using External Images comes with a risk! If you use an externally linked image to your articles, and the image is reported (under copyright), there is a chance that your article will be deleted in whole!
  • You will have no issues if that is a private world.
  • You will have 24 hours after the DMCA is submitted
Also this feature is still under review, and may be removed. So use sparingly.  
Example use [img:]
Note: Width in pixels, left, center, right still work


Author's Notes

If you have any extra questions about images, leave a comment below and we will add it to the guide!

Please Login in order to comment!
Forgemaster Dimitris
Dimitris Havlidis
22 Jul, 2018 20:13

Absolutely amazing guide!

20 Feb, 2019 17:08

Would it be possible to have image-embedded bbcode images? IE: you would still have to add the image via the upload/gallery, and use the bbcode link to link it to the article, but the bbcode is using the original image host rather than hosting the file on your servers itself.   The system already functions by using bbcodes to reference a URL. When you upload an image, it gives you an option to include the original URL. If you included the feature for images to be added without uploading files, and for images with custom url's to embed THAT url instead of the local url. ex. src="/uploads/images/" vs "if bbcode has customurl, src="customurl"" This would still make it easy to locate and delete violating images by deleting the bbcode img, but would reduce the amount of data the server would need to host, and permit more content w/ less data.

16 Sep, 2018 16:27

A world anvil article tutorial using a world anvil article, my mind has been blown. great advice!

20 Nov, 2018 22:43

How do I wrap text around an image within an article?

21 Nov, 2018 15:20

You would use the [img:82765|left] example! It should look something like this:  

WA default avatar
Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Phasellus id metus at nisi pulvinar tempor. Mauris ac risus sit amet libero suscipit mattis quis vitae libero. Mauris hendrerit urna libero, nec porta justo vulputate id. Curabitur vitae viverra odio, ac placerat ex. Sed ultrices mattis justo, ac faucibus nunc condimentum nec.

Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
25 Jan, 2019 01:47

Is there a way to say... import 50 pictures at once?   I have many characters and have a picture by them to remind me of speech patterns, mannerisms etc, and really would rather not do them one by one...

20 Feb, 2019 17:02

Would it be possible to have image-embedded bbcode images? IE: you would still have to add the image via the upload/gallery, and use the bbcode link to link it to the article, but the bbcode is using the original image host rather than hosting the file on your servers itself.

20 Feb, 2019 17:08

The system already functions by using bbcodes to reference a URL. When you upload an image, it gives you an option to include the original URL. If you included the feature for images to be added without uploading files, and for images with custom url's to embed THAT url instead of the local url. ex. src="/uploads/images/" vs "if bbcode has customurl, src="customurl""   This would still make it easy to locate and delete violating images by deleting the bbcode img, but would reduce the amount of data the server would need to host, and permit more content w/ less data.

20 Feb, 2019 17:24

Sounds like a neat feature! Can you put in a feature request to our dev? Click on the link right at the very bottom of World Anvil that says Suggest a Feature to do so :)

Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
5 May, 2019 13:56

Is there any way to insert multiple images on the same row? As in, to not have images appear like this

but instead more like this?

5 May, 2019 14:15

Try using the rows and columns bbcode
  [row] [col][img:123][/col] [col][img:123][/col] [/row] [row] [col][img:123][/col] [col][img:123][/col] [/row]

Creator of the dark fantasy world of Melior
5 May, 2019 14:32

It only lets you create up to 3 columns, it won't work if I want to have 4 or 5 images in a row, which is a thing I'm actually in need of.

4 Jun, 2019 19:17

Firstly, let me say thank you for the article....I reference it almost daily. Secondly, do you know how to make the artist credit bar match the image size? For example, if I do [ img: 12 3 4 5|left|200 ] And it has the credits of 'Artpiece by Aevri' the image will be smaller, but the bottom grey bar with the credits will still be the same size as if the image were full size.   Thanks again for writing this!

27 Jul, 2019 00:20

Is it possible to upload just a photo to the "Prose" section? I want to make a comic, but I don't know if I should just make a link to it or include it on this website. I want to make sure it's obviously separate from the background information Thank you!

27 Oct, 2019 23:01

Is there any way to move or delete a large number of images at a time? I know how to upload a bunch at a time, but I foolishly uploaded around 100 pictures before making a gallery and now I have a ton of un-categorized pictures I want put in a single gallery

18 Nov, 2019 02:36

Hopefully someone will see my question and respond. I am still pretty new to WorldAnvil and I have become unhappy with one of my current worlds, so instead of deleting it and starting over, I am just going to get rid of all the messy stuff I made and sort of restart it. However, I added a couple images and galleries, could someone please tell me how I could get rid of BOTH of these.

Master Cota
4 Dec, 2019 03:54

For deleting just go to the first option on the left menu, click the arrow "<" to open the world menu, go to configuration and the button to delete your world should appear, if your images are uploaded on the world you want to delete, probably they will be deleted too.   In case you have your images in another world, just go to the same world menu, but this time you select images instead of configuration. Unfortunately I don't know how to delete multiple images at once, it would be helpful a select option, witch can mark all images to be deleted.

14 Dec, 2019 21:52

How do you delete a gallery? I have two galleries with the same name because I didn't think it created properly the first time.

12 Feb, 2020 01:34

What size of image would you need in order for it to be clear? I have used many images in my world, but they all come out grainy.

12 Feb, 2020 17:39

Greetings. I have an issue and I'm running Firefox in case that makes a difference.   There is no "Gallery" button to be found on the page with my photos. I'd like to organize my pictures but the option doesn't exist. Am I required to use Explorer/Edge or Chrome?   I hope not . . .

28 Feb, 2020 19:14

I'm having this same issue on Chrome. I don't see a "Gallery" button anywhere and I don't see anywhere to create folders for images. Hopefully answers you soon!

2 Jul, 2020 00:05

I was having the same problem earlier today... figured out that the "create gallery" option doesn't pop up until you click on the world you want to make the gallery for. i.e. when in the "Images & Files" window, there will be a list of your worlds on the left of the screen. Click on the world you want and the gallery option should appear.   Hope this helps!

17 Mar, 2020 19:08

I'm new here and trying to see how things work. I've found a few problems and have a question. First: How do I create a gallery? I've read the information above but I have no button to press. I've looked and re-read numerous times. Second: I select "Images and Files" from the menu on the left and I see the images that I've uploaded of each character. I've run into three problems: 1) The delete button does nothing. 2) The replace button takes me to a 404 error page. 3) I can drag an image into the drag / drop zone and something seems to happen. But in the end nothing happens. I can't seem to get these image files moved from the drag/drop zone to the images section.

17 Mar, 2020 19:39

Update: I just discovered that galleries only show up when a world is created. The delete button only works in the gallery. I was trying to delete from "Recent". My comments above concern the "Recent" folder.

16 Apr, 2020 17:22

I have a small problem with the order in which gallery images are displayed. In the middle of creating a set of serially linked story articles with header images I realised I needed to change the naming scheme of the articles. After doing this I noticed that the images had retained the old names and were shown in the wrong order in the gallery maintenance function, which appears to show things in alphabetical name order. To correct this, I removed and re-added the images, after which they had a consistent naming scheme and appeared in the correct order in the gallery editor. Unfortunately on the site page they are presented in a different order which appears to be image ID order, over which I have no control. By adding them again I broke this ordering. Is there anything I am missing that can control the display order in both places? One possible work around would be for me to delete ALL the images in the gallery again and re-add them in the order I want them shown. This would work because the naming scheme on my articles is in alphabetical order and they'd be allocated IDs in order as well so everything would then be aligned. It's a bit painful though (I have more than 30 images in this case), so if there is some better way of controlling the gallery display order (and it shows the same in both the file editor and on the site view) that would be super useful!

16 Apr, 2020 18:23

My suggested workaround did work and wasn't TOO painful, although I still think some kind of gallery order attribute is needed for images added to a gallery.

18 Apr, 2020 07:29

I paste the BBCode on one of my species image tabs which said ID but it's not pasting the image.

1 May, 2020 00:47

Is there any way to insert videos in the sidebars of your articles?

1 May, 2020 14:01

Of course! Just use the youtube bbcode tag, it works in any bbcode-enabled field. The sidebar fields are in the "Sections" tab of the article editing page. More information on bbcode commends here.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
18 May, 2020 06:00

The link for How to find images for your world under heading HOW TO FIND IMAGES TO USE IN YOUR WORLD returns a 404, the article no longer exists at the URL provided (there's also no credit to the author, but that doesn't quite matter when the article doesn't exist).

18 May, 2020 09:20

Good catch! Thanks for pointing that out. The link has been removed after confirming with its author that it hasn't been moved elsewhere.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
19 May, 2020 21:41

How do you change the portrait art for an NPC? When I am editing them and I change it, the in-world image remains the same.   Thanks,   Ryan

20 May, 2020 21:21

If the NPC is synced with a world character article, you will probably have to change the character portrait from the character article editing page. It's right under the seeds text box.   Not sure if this is what you're asking, so feel free to ask follow-up questions!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
24 May, 2020 19:59

I don't understand the difference between creating NPCs under the Campaign tab and creating characters under the World tab, let alone how to link them. Let's start at the beginning. When I create an NPC under the Campaign section, I assign them a name and an image. After that I go to Articles & Categories and click the edit button for the NPC I just created. In the editing page I click View and that brings up another "in-world" tab in my browser window. From there I click View Character Profile which opens another tab. I now have 3 tabs open for my NPC, the editing one, the in-world one, and the Character Profile. I go back to the editing tab and look at the Character Portrait section under the Generic tab. It's blank, and if I change it to a new image and click save, the in-world image and the image in the Character Profile do not change. I have to delete the original image form the Images & Files Manager for the in-world image to change to the new Character Portrait. After that, the image in the Character Profile goes blank. Sorry for the long winded speech, but I am very confused about the number of ways to create and edit characters.

24 May, 2020 22:17

I see the confusion! Let's clear up the differences first and once you understand them, maybe it will be easier to help you with the image issue.   World Anvil is a campaign manager, but it's also a worldbuilding toolset that is not necessarily used for RPGs. The worldbuilding side of WA has several article types (templates) such as settlement, organization, and tradition. One of these templates is the character template, used to talk about characters that are not necessarily part of RPG worlds.   Then there's the campaign part. When you create an NPC, you are specifically creating a character for a campaign, so you do so from the campaign interface. However, when you create an NPC, a character article (in the "worldbuilding side") is also created automatically and synced with the NPC (anything in the NPC's extended profile should also appear in the article). This is so that the character can feel more integrated to the world as a whole.   Does that make sense? I suggest you read the getting started guide too (you can find it with the search bar on top of this page).

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
1 Jun, 2020 03:54

I'm noticing an issue trying to follow the image with a custom url example.   Setting the url tag with destination and then image "url= - img:82765|nolink - /url" (pretend the braces are there, just wanted to keep it from rendering)   When I hit save the article reloads to show "url= - - /url" with the second destination just being plane text, no bbcode tag   Has anyone else seen this? Or am I doing something wrong? Wanted to ask before submitting a bug.

1 Jun, 2020 03:55

Basically, after saving the img tag is replaced with the destination as plain text, so saving again obviously removes the image from the article.

1 Jun, 2020 15:20

I tried it in a test world to make sure this hadn't been changed recently, and it works for me. Are you using the WYSIWYG editor? If so, click the ">_" button to switch to the code editor, you can use BBCode tags in there.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
1 Jun, 2020 23:05

Yeah I was editing in source. It works the first time and the page renders fine, but once I go back to edit, the image tag was removed for some reason.

1 Jun, 2020 23:20   That gif doesn't really do it justice since it condensed it, but trying to show the code with image and then it replaces it with the destination.   I have a col tag, then the url tag, then the image tag, close url tag, close col tag

3 Jun, 2020 09:20

This is most likely a bug with this editor, I used Euclid (the advanced code one) and I don't have this issue. You can report that using the bug tracker, which you can access from the "need help?" link in the site footer (or with this link). You'll need to create a separate account, because it's a third-party service.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
8 Jun, 2020 00:52

Gonna be honest... I didn't even see there were multiple ones. Oops. But yeah, I can submit a ticket for the "Plato" editor.

21 Jun, 2020 08:25

Is there a way to add a caption under an image in an article?

21 Jun, 2020 17:24

No, but I use this BBCode code for captions:   [center][small][i]CAPTION HERE[/i][/small][/center]   Place it under the [ing] tag, although it will only work if the image is in the article sidebar, in a column, or if it takes the full width of the article.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
1 Jul, 2020 16:06

When I insert images into an article, they don't show up. Is there something I am doing incorrectly?

1 Jul, 2020 20:20

Are you sure you're using the correct BBCode tag? Using the full URL is a frequent error.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
2 Jul, 2020 00:10

Yes, I am using the BBCode tag. I am using Firefox, could that be the problem?

2 Jul, 2020 00:17

Just figured it out! Turns out, even though I could upload the image, it was too large to insert into an article.

2 Jul, 2020 09:29

I see! Glad you could figure it out :)

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
4 Jul, 2020 23:06

How would I go about adjusting the size of an image to make it smaller for a particular article without editing and uploading a second file?

5 Jul, 2020 15:41

You can specify the size in pixels as a parameter. For example, [img:82765|left|50] will force the image to be 50px wide. Note that if you include the pixels, you also have to include the alignment (can be right, center, or left).

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
5 Jul, 2020 17:20

Thank you! I actually noticed the BBC examples guide on the right of the page right after asking for help, like a dork.

5 Jul, 2020 18:14

No worries! Happy to help :)

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
20 Jul, 2020 23:45

I am not an artist by any stretch, and I often glean inspiration from pinterest as its easiest for me to use on my phone. Unfortunately, Pinterest doesnt always have image credits or the proper linkbacks.   Is there a way that I can use a mass disclaimer to make it known that none of the images on my world? Say like, under every image i have a link embedded that takes them to a disclaimer article where I state that I do not own any of the images, etc.   My worldbuild is pretty much private and I have zero interest in using it or its images for any kind of purposes other than my personal inspiration references.   Or do I have to forgo images altogether?

21 Jul, 2020 09:58

Hi! Crediting the artist is highly encouraged (and compulsory for challenge entries). As a freeman your articles have to be public, so keep in mind that if the artist sends in a take-down request, Dimitris (the developer) will have to comply. Only the image would be removed though, not the whole article (that's why we don't allow URL image embedding).   You can often find the original artist using a google reverse image search. I encourage you try to do it!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
19 Aug, 2020 02:24

Hello there! Thank you for the helpful article. I have a question. When using an artist's work as a cover image, the credits don't appear underneath it. Is there a workaround to this? I've filled out all the appropriate tags and the credits seem to be working just fine when viewing the image by itself, but not as a cover. You can find an example of this ( when compared to ( Please help! I'd hate to see my articles disqualified due to my ignorance. Many thanks in advanced!

19 Aug, 2020 11:14

Hi! Not to worry, cover credits appear in the article footer! You can find "Cover image: Dark Pond by Skvor" under the like/follow buttons.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
19 Aug, 2020 15:30

I've been trying to add new crests/logos to new Organization articles I'm making, but I can't find the option anymore. It used to be under the Generic tab, beneath the "motto / slogan / axiom" field, but now I can't find it again. Uploading to Image Gallery works fine, but how do I get that image into the sidebar above the other sidebar data?

19 Aug, 2020 17:07

Hi! You should find a text field in the top right panel, before the preview and view buttons! Just type the image name and you'll see a list of suggestions -> click the one you want.   Tip: you can upload the image using the blue button while editing the article, no need to refresh the page for the image to appear in the suggested ones!

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
19 Aug, 2020 17:37

That works. Thank you.

24 Sep, 2020 01:51

If I choose to upload an image that I created, how should I refer to myself when writing the credits for it? Would my World Anvil username suffice or would I need to use my real name?

24 Sep, 2020 10:54

Feel free to use your World Anvil name! And in the "author link" field you can link to your WA profile to clarify.

Creator of Black Light, a science-fantasy universe.
25 Sep, 2020 20:30

Cool. Thanks.