Hidden Pictures™ Guidelines


To submit a Hidden Pictures® puzzle, go to Highlights.submittable.com and choose "Hidden Pictures puzzles." After creating an account, you'll be guided through the submission process.

HIDDEN PICTURES® Specifications

Puzzles Geared to Children Ages 4-6

Puzzles Geared to Children Ages 6-12

General Information

Why Highlights Hidden Pictures®?

Highlights Hidden Pictures® puzzles have been engaging, entertaining, and challenging children for more than 65 years. Highlights Hidden Pictures® puzzles are unique, both in the unmatched quality of the illustrations and in the educational expertise that goes into each one. From idea to execution, our Hidden Pictures® puzzles are thoughtfully designed to give children a satisfying puzzling experience, exposure to a wide variety of the best contemporary illustration styles, and hours and hours of searching fun.

What makes a good Hidden Pictures® illustration?

● It’s engaging and fun, with a subject of high interest to kids.

● It looks contemporary and fresh rather than nostalgic.

● It contains a variety of recognizable, well-hidden objects.

● It contains an extra something—a visual joke, a silly twist, a bit of emotion—that tells a story.

We know that kids are studying each illustration carefully as they search for crescent moons, sailboats, and slices of pie. But we want each illustration to be more than just a find-the-objects puzzle. By creating a little vignette, we give kids a chance to also find an extra story element hidden in the picture.

Examples with kid subjects

  • Three kids in a driveway are playing basketball. The ball is stuck high against the rim (this happens) and they are looking up, puzzled. A fourth kid in the background is running into the frame carrying a broom.
  • Two kids on the beach are excitedly staring at some animal tracks in the sand. The trail of the tracks loops around to a seagull who is standing right behind the kids watching them.

Examples with animal subjects

  • A dog who is an artist in his studio. Scattered about are the canvases he has painted—all still life pictures of bones.
  • A hippo and snake at an amusement park looking at themselves in side-by-side fun house mirrors. In the mirrors the hippo is shaped like the snake and the snake like the hippo.)

What makes a good hidden object?

● The object is an optical illusion. An object may take its shape from the negative space between forms in the scene or from part of one form and part of an adjacent form/space in the scene.

The object is hidden in an unexpected orientation, such as upside down or sideways, so that puzzlers will turn the drawing to look for it.

● The object is a simple item recognizable to puzzlers.

The Hidden Pictures® submissions process

● All artwork for Hidden Pictures® puzzles is work for hire.

● Each submission should include the following:

1. A pencil sketch (The line work should be detailed enough to suggest how the objects will be hidden.)

2. A copy of the sketch showing the hidden objects highlighted and labeled.

● Your name and contact information must appear on both the illustration and the answer key as well as a label of SKETCH, REVISION, or FINAL.

● Your final illustration may be submitted as either vector art saved as an .AI file or raster art saved as a .PSD or .TIF file. Black-and-white raster art should be a 1200 dpi bitmap. The answer key may be submitted at low resolution.

● You may submit your final as reflective art, if you prefer.