Selling your Art on POD Websites – RedBubble Edition

Selling your art on POD websites Redbubble edition

Hello fellow starving artists!  Today I am sharing some info about selling your art on POD (print on demand) websites, specifically Redbubble.

Some of you may have seen my past post about selling your art on POD websites where I compared the pros and cons of using Zazzle and Society6 to sell art online.

In this post I will be giving a review of my experiences with Redbubble where I have been selling my art for almost a year now!

So read on to learn more about selling your art on Redbubble!

Store Front

My first impressions when landing on the Rebubble homepage is that they are artist focused, cater to a trendy audience and have a sense of humour.

Their website layout is sleek and relatively easy to navigate. There are rotating featured artists and art works that are updated daily.

Individual store fronts are easily customized with a background, profile photo, bio, optional journal entries, and collections.  Your latest art works are also shown on the landing page.

On the design pages there are tabs which show which products are available with that design, reviews (of the product, not your art) and also comments.  Pro tip – leaving comments is a great way to connect with other Redbubble artists!

You can also “like” other people’s designs and “follow” other artists, which I definitely recommend doing.

Products

In terms of products, the range is similar to Society6, and includes apparel, various electronics cases, and home decor items. The price points are about on par with other online POD stores and they often offer 20% off or other promotions.

Redbubble offers some unique products that are not on Zazzle or Society6, such as mini skirts, dresses and scarves among others.

Below is a picture of a scarf I purchased of my Blue and Gold Mandala Pattern.

scarf from redbubble

I love this scarf, the print turned out beautiful and the fabric is really nice and soft. I find it is well made.

I have also purchased a hoody, t-shirt and stickers of my own designs.  All are good quality and I have had no issues, however I did find the t-shirt a tad large for a size small.

pencil_skirtx1055front-bgf8f8f8-2u2

A really popular product on Redbubble are stickers.  I usually sell a few every day, mostly of my Rose Gold Mandala design.  Below is a picture of several stickers I have purchased of my designs. They are super cute, and cheap too!

giveaway stickers

Ease of Upload

Redbubble’s uploading tool is by far my favourite out of all the POD sites I’ve tried.

I find it quite efficient because you can upload your main design and then resize it straight in the browser for each product type, rather than having to resize and upload your image multiple times.  There are also 2 tiling options, or you can replace the image entirely if neither of those options work.

You can also change the background colour straight in the browser too, which can be very handy when working with designs that have transparent backgrounds.

Earnings and Payment

It took about a month after opening my store before I saw any sales, but since then I have been getting relatively small but consistent earnings every month.  (I should note here that I was lucky enough to have a design featured on the front page which boosted my sales a lot.)

It’s not going to replace my day job any time soon, but any amount of extra cash is always welcome!

You can adjust the markup for individual products (in Account Settings), but it is automatically set to a generous 20%, which is better than some of the other sites I’ve found.

Earnings are paid out automatically around the 15th of every month (to Paypal, or direct deposit), and there is no minimum threshold so you are paid whatever you made in the previous month.

I don’t believe that Redbubble has an affiliate program like some of the others do.

Marketing

The folks at Redbubble are pros at marketing themselves and driving traffic to their website (through Instagram and Facebook ads, etc), so it’s just a matter of getting your own designs out there (which is easier said than done).

Check out my post on Social Media Marketing Tips for Artists to learn more about how to do that.

If you’re lucky and get featured on their front page, then you’re golden.

You can also find some nice promotional tools on the Redbubble blog, for example, fun marketing templates like this one:

doughnut pillow mock upShipping

Redbubble has headquarters located in San Francisco (U.S.) and Melbourne (Australia) so the products are shipped from one of those areas depending on your location.

I have found they offer reasonable shipping costs to Canada, and even more reasonable within the U.S.  The shipping is generally pretty quick, and you can choose a faster shipping method if required.

Also, you get a free random sticker with every purchase! 

Summary

In sum, I highly recommend Redbubble for selling your art online!

If you have any questions, or if you want to share your own experiences with Redbubble please feel free to leave a comment below.  I hope you have found some useful information here!

Cheers!  Have a great week.

 

Julie

 

Social Media Marketing Tips For Artists

social media marketing tips for artists

Are you an artist trying to figure out how to market yourself on social media?  I was too, just a few years ago!

Since then, I’ve learned a lot and wanted to share some tips with you guys!

Please note: I am not an expert on this matter, and I don’t have thousands and thousands of followers. But I have managed to triple my stats on a few key social networks over the past year, and slowly but surely grown my online presence since creating the Julie Erin Designs brand.

To illustrate this, below is a screenshot of my Wordpress stats since starting this blog in 2013, and as you can see, it has gone up steadily each year.

stats

By the way, I do have a full time job and other life commitments outside of this endeavor, so I am only able to dedicate a few hours per week to creating and marketing my designs.

This leads me into my first tip which is: Dedicate just 5-10 minutes a day to your social media game.

  • Start by taking on just one task on one of your social accounts.
  • Some examples include: Tweet an image of your latest work (don’t forget to include relevant hashtags). Like and/or follow some new users on Instagram.
  • Don’t feel overwhelmed.  You should be able to do this during your coffee or lunch break, on the way home from work on the bus, after dinner, or whenever you have an idle moment.

Focus on just a few social media platforms.

  • Try out different platforms but then hone it down to just a few, and then focus on content and growing your followers.  My top 3 are Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. I dabble on others but I get the most engagement for my time on those 3.

Set up a social media calendar, so you can easily plan and see what you need to do for the week.

  • Don’t overwhelm yourself with an over-loaded calendar.  Start with just one task per day that can be completed within a few minutes.
  • Create a visual calendar using your computer, a planner, or you can find lots of downloadable worksheets online.
  • Do what works for you and your schedule.
  • Learn the etiquette for your chosen social media app.  On Twitter you can share multiple times per day, but on Facebook you may only want to share something every few days.
  • Example: Monday: Tweet about your latest design, tweet 2 sold items.  Tuesday: Share a new design on Instagram.  Wednesday: Blog post about new design, and post to Facebook page.  Friday: Tweet new blog post.

Have a blog.

  • Use it to showcase your art work, items for sale, share art tips, supplies you use, your sketchbook, whatever you can think of.
  • Connect with other art bloggers. Follow/like/comment on their posts.
  • Pro tip: Don’t forget to link to your blog from your social media profiles.

Use (free) apps to make your life easier.

  • Buffer or Hootsuite.  Use one of these apps (or something similar) to schedule a few posts to your social media accounts for the day. This could even be your one task of the day, if that’s all you have time for.
  • Crowdfire or similar apps which help you track followers and unfollowers.  You can also search for people who follow similar accounts and then like/follow them.
  • Photo editing apps such as Canva and Photogrid. There are several out there, so find one that you like. Use it to create and edit images of your designs and products right on your phone.  While you could also just make these images in Photoshop on your PC, being able to make promo images on the go makes it so much easier to get it done when you have a spare moment.
  • Example of an advertisement I created using the Photogrid app:

mandala rainbow pastel leggings yoga workout pants

Keep a list of content ideas.

  • Keep a list on your phone or somewhere, so you never run out of ideas for fresh content!
  • Examples: Sold items, new designs, WIP’s and sketchbook shots.
  • Check out my Twitter and Instagram feeds for more content ideas!

Make use of hashtags (important for Twitter and Instagram especially).

  • Use relevant hashtags so that people can find your work.
  • …but don’t overdo it. Figure out what works on which platforms.
  • Monitor those hashtags and like/follow others who are posting to that hashtag.

Make use of tagging (Instagram and Twitter).

  • Sometimes, when appropriate, you may want to actually tag another user (such Zazzle or Redbubble for example) on Twitter or Instagram, if you are showcasing their product. You may get lucky and they might even re-tweet or feature your product!
  • Go through their tagged feeds to find similar users to like and follow.

Engage with similar users.

  • Connect with other bloggers, as mentioned above.
  • I sell my art work on POD websites such as Zazzle, Redbubble and Society6, so I try to engage with others who sell on those sites as well.  I do this by either liking their work directly on those sites, on social media, through forums or Facebook groups.

To learn more about selling your art on POD websites, check out my detailed post on the subject!

Post to shopping websites.

  • If this is appropriate to your style of art work, you may consider posting your products on shopping websites such as Pinterest, Polyvore, and Wanelo.

If you have the opportunity to do so, take a social media marketing course at your local college or university.

  • I took a short course which was very informative and turned me on to some new apps and strategies.
  • Think of it as an investment in your business.
  • One important thing I learned in the course is to have a Google + page – whether you like it or not.  Apparently this is very important for your SEO (it is Google!). You can easily post content to it using the Buffer app.

Speaking of SEO (search engine optimization)use it!

  • Do a quick search and learn some SEO basics which is especially important for your blog.

Other resources you may find helpful:

Where to sell your Art Online

Selling Your Art on POD Websites: Zazzle vs Society6 Pt. 1

Selling Your Art on POD Websites: Zazzle vs. Society6 Pt. 2

Blogging for your Art Business

Creative Apps for Adults

10 Ways to Get over Artist’s Blocks

Tips and Tools for Creative Entrepreneurs (Pinterest board)

I hope you guys have found some useful information here, and don’t forget to follow my blog to get more tips like these in the future!

 

Feel free to share some of your own social media marketing tips below!

 

Cheers,

 

Julie

 

My Design Process: Creating Line Art using Photoshop and Illustrator

creating line art in photoshop illustrator

Hello friends!

Today I wanted to share with you guys my design process, specifically one of the ways I like to create artwork for my POD webstores such as Redbubble, Zazzle, Society6, etc.

This is just one of many ways I create designs, and a technique you can use to turn black and white drawings into digital line art — which you can then use any way you choose.

  •  I usually start out with some ideas in my sketchbook, and sometimes make a short list of designs I would like to try.  I often look online for inspiration and have a few things in mind before I get started.

sketchbook

  • Once I have a design I like, I re-draw it lightly on a clean page (8.5″ x 11″) in pencil.
  • I go over the pencil drawing with a black Sharpie or another fine black ink pen, to get something like this:

sketches black and white

  • I scan each design separately into Photoshop.

line drawing in photoshop

  • I clean up the image as much as possible using tools such as desaturate, Brightness/Contrast, Curves, and erase to clean up any little black dots or dust bits that are showing.  I use colour selection tool to select the black line only, then create a new layer and fill in with black. Once I am finished with this step, I save the file as a .PSD.

live trace in illustrator

  • The result of this process is that you get much smoother lines than if you don’t use Image Trace in Illustrator.  This is important if you are having the designs printed, especially in large sizes.
  • Save the image as a .PNG (using Save for Web) and make sure it’s a large size (at least 6000 x 6000 pixels).  I believe you can also just save it as an Illustrator file and open it up in Photoshop.
  • Open up the .PNG image in Photoshop and fill or colour it in however you desire.  I like to use layers, fill with gradients and use layer settings (ex. Screen) or just paint on another layer using a drawing tablet.  There is basically an endless variety of ways you can use your line art.
  • Save your finished design as the correct file type and size(s) for the POD site you are creating for.  I always save a .PSD file as well (with all my layers in tact) so I can open it again later and use the same design multiple times.

Here are some examples of work that I have used this technique for:

tangled black and white yin yang mandala live trace illustrator pot head teapot live trace illustrator tutorialtangled rainbow world map illustrator live trace

And there you have it!  Hopefully you now have a little bit of insight into how I create my designs for sale, and maybe even learned a new technique to try out for yourself.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments about this process in the comments section below.

Have a great week everyone!

Cheers,

Julie

Where to Sell Your Art Online

where to sell art online

Hey guys!

I wanted to kick off a batch of more informational posts with a list of some great websites where you can sell your own art online!

This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but these are sites that I actually have experience with and that I know to be legitimate.  I also know that they provide good quality products and customer service, which is definitely important if you want to have happy, repeat customers.

Not all websites are created equal and some are straight up scams so be careful out there, and start with one or more of the ones on this list before venturing into unknown territory!

Pro Tip: Generally speaking, avoid Chinese based websites.  All these ones listed below are US based companies.

 

Zazzle 

Zazzle is where I first started my journey of selling my art online.  It is known as a POD website, which means “Print on Demand”, ie. a product is printed and shipped only after it has been sold.

It’s free to open a store, multiple stores in fact, and upload unlimited designs. There is also a helpful forum with supportive members which is a great place to show off your designs and get tips and feedback.

I have had minor success so far on Zazzle, with nearly 1000 products in my catalog to date.  They carry a huge range of products to design on, but it can sometimes be overwhelming and cumbersome to upload each design individually.

Read more about creating on Zazzle in my post, Selling your art on POD websites: Zazzle vs Society6.

 

Society6

Society6 was the second website I uploaded my artwork to.  It’s also a POD site like Zazzle, but they have a smaller range of products.  However, their products are high quality and the look of the website is more like an artist’s portfolio.

It’s free to upload unlimited designs to Society6, and the only downside, in my opinion, is the lack of a forum to connect with other sellers. (However there are groups on Facebook for this).

It took a good while for me to start seeing sales on Society6 (compared to Zazzle) but lately it seems to be gaining momentum.  My advice is to just keep at it.  It’s fairly easy to upload and add new designs to Society6 so I generally upload my newest designs here first.

Read more detailed info and my full review of selling on Society6 here: Selling your art on POD websites: Zazzle vs Society6.

 

Redbubble

I just started selling my work on Redbubble this year (2016).  It’s another POD website but they have a few different kinds of products than the others.  Scarves, dresses and mini skirts to name a few!

I find Redbubble to be quite artist focused, and they do a lot of advertising for you.

It’s free to upload unlimited designs, and they have a forum full of supportive members.

I got lucky so far on Redbubble and had one of my designs “featured” so I got several sales out of that!  It was this design.

 

Fine Art America

I have had a store on Fine Art America for some time now but have sold absolutely nothing!

Don’t let that deter you though, I think it is more fine art based, so if your art style is more based around painting or photography then you might do well on there. You can also sell original art works which is pretty cool.

It’s free to open a store and to upload your first 25 designs.

They also have a lot of opportunities to enter contests and other ways to participate in the community which is great for exposure.

 

Design By Humans

I only just recently opened up a shop on here.  I only have a couple of designs so far, and no sales yet.

To me it seems to be fairly similar to Redbubble, and they have a small range of good quality products.

It’s free to open a store and upload up to 500 designs.  I think it will take me a good long time to get to 500 products anyway so I don’t think it’s limiting.  It seems pretty easy to upload designs.  I noticed you can choose a model for each category which is kind of fun way to customize your store.

They also have a forum, and contests which I have yet to check out but should be great for exposure!

 

Etsy

I have sold on Etsy in the past but I do not have any products on there currently.

This is not a POD site but it is the most well known website for selling hand made goods.  You can also sell download-able graphics or print-ables.

This is a great place to post your work especially if you are into selling hand made clothing, accessories, paintings, jewelry etc.

There is a small fee to upload, 20 cents per listing I believe, but you do get 20 free listings to start off with.

 

CafePress

CafePress is another well known POD website, similar to the ones mentioned above.  They have a large range of products, like Zazzle. I don’t have much experience with it yet but I know it is legit, and I plan to open a shop here soon.

Once I have some more experience with it I’ll update here!

 

Casetify

This is another legit POD website, focused on customize-able electronics cases and iWatch bands.  I also plan to sell my designs here in the near future.  Again, I will update with more info once I have more experience with selling on here.

 

That’s all I have for now!

If you stuck around this long, I applaud and thank you for taking the time to read all this information I’ve compiled for you.  I hope you have found something useful here and I wish you the best of luck with selling your art online!

If you have any questions or comments feel free to leave them below 🙂

 

Cheers,

 

Julie

Blogging for your Art Business

blogging for art business

So, you’re an artist (or some sort of creative), and you want to start selling your work online.  Where do you start?

Maybe you already have a website, so-and-so’s-art.com, but have yet to see much traffic on it and are struggling to get noticed.

What do you do now?  Well I  think the answer is… start a blog!

 

Why should you blog for your art business?

Why shouldn’t you?  What’s the worst that can happen?  Just do it!

It is one of the best and easiest ways to get your artwork out there and seen by potential fans and buyers.

I know that I am not the most popular blogger ever, but way more people have seen my artwork now than if I never started blogging.  Now I have a couple of years under my belt and have learned a ton in the process, so I can share some of that experience with you!

Why should you blog for your art business? To build a community of supporters and like-minded individuals.  I think this is the main point of starting a blog for your art business (or any business), besides just getting your images out there and seen by as many people as possible.

As time goes by and people start following your blog you will find fans of your work, and connect with other bloggers to create a supportive community for your art business!  Not only does this drive traffic to your blog but it will boost your confidence and allow you to blossom into the creative entrepreneur you want to be!

 

How do you blog for your art business?

First of all you need to choose a platform that works for you.  I like WordPress.com (where this blog is hosted) because it comes with a built-in audience. If you tag your post with the word “art” then it will show up on anyone’s reader feed who follows the “art” tag.  Since art blogs are not as popular as blogs about, say, blogging, recipes, or health/beauty for example,  I think it’s important to take advantage of this potential readership.

You could also consider blogging on Tumblr, Blogger, or another blogging platform of your choice.  You can even self-host your site if you have the knowledge and funds to set it up.

Since you are showing off your artwork, when you are writing your posts you want to use pictures, NICE pictures. Art is a visual communication and, especially if your work is a hand made drawing or painting, you want the image to reflect your work as truly as possible.  Try to make it true to colour, and as clear as possible.  Show off your best work!

Write a little bit about your art – what inspired this particular piece?  How did you make it?  What materials did you use?  What exactly is it?  You don’t have to write a super long essay since you want the main focus to be your art, but just a couple of paragraphs will do.

Use alt tags when uploading your images – keywords describing your art piece – so it will show up on Google image search!  This is very important and could be a key driver of traffic to your art blog.  When you add an image to your post there should be a section to add alt tags, if not then click on the image and hit edit to bring up the area to add them in (if you are using WordPress.com).  Google “how to add alt tags on (your blogging platform here)” if you are having trouble finding it.

Connect with other bloggers.  Follow the “art” tab and other tabs that interest you and start liking, following and reading other blogs!  Eventually some of them will come check out yours too.  You might even find other artists to collaborate with on future projects!

Here are some sample posts from my own blog to give you some inspiration:

My Sketchbook

Henna Elephant

Blooms Painting

Free Coloring Page

 

SHARE TO SOCIAL MEDIA!

Now that you’ve written a blog post about your art, what do you do next?

Share it!  If you don’t already have a business Facebook page, Twitter, and/or Instagram account, start one now!  Share your art and blog posts to each of these, and any others you enjoy using.

Other great drivers of traffic to your blog:

StumbleUpon – Add your post to StumbleUpon (make sure you Stumble and share other pages too though) and your post could go viral, driving huge amounts of traffic to your site!

Pinterest – Pinterest is mainly an image-based sharing website, which is great for artists, and can be another big driver of traffic to your blog. Pin to your own boards and try to join group boards for even more potential readers.

Add your social media and blog addresses to your profiles, on social media and any other websites where you post your art.

 

Monetize your Blog: Sell your artwork online!

If you’re an artist then one of yours goals is probably to sell your artwork.

Get started by checking out my detailed posts here and here about selling on POD websites Zazzle and Society6 and see if that might work for you.

Then you can show off all your designs on your sparkly new blog!

I currently sell my work on the following Print on Demand websites:

Zazzle

Society6

Fine Art America

and I also sell printable colouring pages on Etsy.

Check them out and see what works for you.  Otherwise, there are a ton of other ways to make money from your artwork and you can use your blog to promote these endeavors!

 

Conclusion

I hope this blog post has convinced you of the benefits starting a blog can have for your art business, and given you some tips to get started!

Feel free to add any other benefits of blogging for your business that I might have missed, ask any questions or post any comments in the section below, and be sure to follow my blog for more art blogging tips in the future!

Cheers,

Julie

 

Further reading and resources:

Tips and Tools for Creative Entrepeneurs (My Pinterest board with tons of articles about blogging especially for creatives)

Selling Your Art on POD Websites: Zazzle vs Society6 Pt. 1

Selling Your Art on POD Websites: Zazzle vs Society6 Pt. 2

10 Ways to Get Over Artist’s Block

A Great Zazzle Promotional Tool

The Abundant Artist website

A Great Zazzle Promotional Tool! Create Pretty Pin-able Images with Ease

zazzle zendoodle gift ideas fashion accessories

Check out this awesome website for creating share-able images, optimized for Pinterest and more! Created by Colleen Michele of “Pretty Wedding Paper”.

You can use either a link to a Zazzle “Collection” or a single product to create an image.

If you choose to use a collection you can select from the topmost 18 products in your collection and just check off which ones you want to include.

There are also options for different background and decoration options, or you can upload your own images to use!  You can also choose the size of each individual image, how many columns of products you want to have, and whether you want a horizontal or vertical layout.

Generally, if you are going to pin to Pinterest I think vertical is best.

Rainbow gift ideas fashion apparel zazzle

You can pin your image directly to Pinterest from Colleen Michele’s website, just make sure to add a link with your own referral code under Pin URL.  Otherwise you can download the image to use later!

j'aime paris home decor gifts zazzle

As you can see I’ve already had some fun creating images from my own collections!

I think this is a lovely, simple tool and the images look much nicer than my own attempts for Holiday Gift Guides and such, which is another thing these images could be used for!

If you think this could be useful for promoting your own Zazzle products make sure to check out the website!  You can also donate to the creator of this tool on the page if you’re so inclined 🙂

For more tips about selling on POD websites, or if you just want to follow along with my own artistic journey, then subscribe to my blog!  See you around 🙂

 

Cheers,

 

Julie