Ah tax forms, one of those annoying administrative tasks we have to do to sell artwork online through Print on Demand websites.
Many U.S. based Print on Demand companies, like Zazzle, require a W-8BEN tax form to be filled out and submitted in order for payments to be processed. This form can be confusing, and if you don’t submit it or fill it out properly your royalties can be subject to a whopping 30% withholding tax!
As long as you live in a country that has an income tax treaty with the U.S. (such as Canada) you do not need to pay this withholding tax, or may have to pay a reduced withholding tax. Here is a short list of countries with tax treaties with the U.S. and their withholding amounts. A more comprehensive list can be found on the IRS website.
To get started, you will have to download the W-8BEN form from the IRS website.
Below I have provided an example of how to fill out the form as a Canadian.
Things to note:
- The SIN number (Line 6) is the same as a U.S. Social Security Number. I am assuming most countries have an equivalent personal identification number for tax purposes.
- The ____% rate of withholding (Line 10) may differ depending on the withholding tax rate of your resident country. This is where you will use the list provided at the link above.
I hope this guide will be helpful to those of you who are getting started selling your art through Print on Demand websites and are required to submit this form.
Let me know your thoughts or questions be leaving a comment below.
Looking for more information about selling your art through Print on Demand sites? Check out these posts!
If you’re just starting out selling art and designs on Print on Demand websites it can be overwhelming! How do you decide what kinds of designs to make? How can you optimize your artwork for all the different Print on Demand sites?
Below I’ve compiled a list of tips to make it easier for you. I’ve been selling my art through Print on Demand websites for over 4 years now, and I’ve learned a few things in that time. I use Photoshop and Illustrator mainly, but these tips can work with whatever software you use.
So, read on if you need help with designing and optimizing your artwork for sale on Print on Demand sites such as Society6, Redbubble, Zazzle, Teepublic and others!
(Here is a list of 10 print on demand websites I recommend)
Designing for Print on Demand Best Practices
- Research trends. Use Pinterest or a search engine to see what kind of art is currently trending, then use this for inspiration to create something in your own style.
- Start with a large file size (10,000 pixels covers most products).
- Keep your designs in layers to easily make changes or re-use elements later on.
- Design with the products you want to sell in mind. For example, most Print on Demand sites offer products like t-shirts, throw pillows and cell phone cases. Keep these products in mind while you create your designs.
- Keep images crisp (300 DPI), and colours relatively saturated (more saturated colors tend to look better when printed on fabric).
- For drawings, use a scanner if possible (rather than photographs) and use the available settings to scan a large, high DPI image file.
- For line drawings or black and white drawings, use Illustrator to make your lines crisp. Check out my tutorial here for instructions.
- Don’t up-size your artwork if possible, this leads to a pixelated fuzzy look on the final product (this is why you start with a large file size in the first place).
- Depending on what kind of artwork you make, you may need to adjust the size or medium you use in order for them to look good on the computer. Play around.
- Don’t use copyrighted images, text, logos or anything else, or you risk the image being taken down, or even your account being suspended. Some sites allow “fan art” but make sure you follow all the rules.
Now that you have some designs to work with…
Optimizing your Designs for Print on Demand
- Each website has it’s own file size and type requirements so make sure to check that before you start uploading.
- Curate designs for each platform. Some designs might work better in different stores depending on their audience.
- Save layers separately if you sell on Zazzle because you can layer different images and text on that particular POD site.
- Create the same design in different colors and variations, especially once you have an idea of which designs are popular with your audience.
- Adjust designs for individual product types. For example, use a transparent background for a t-shirt or sticker, use coloured background or make the design into a pattern for tapestries and pillows, remove text for leggings and apparel where it doesn’t work, etc.
Here are some more posts to help you sell your art online:
Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. If you have any other ideas or questions feel free to post in the comments below!
This speed drawing video I created shows the making of my latest design “Mountain Mandala”!
After drawing the mandala I scanned and edited it using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop (not shown in the video).
I’ve started creating these videos to work on my recording and editing skills. It’s also just a fun creative project to work on.
The video was recorded on my phone, which is funny because I tried using my old digital camera but it was worse quality than my bottom-of-the-line smartphone! It’s crazy how quickly technology improves.
To position the phone above the drawing surface I used a flexible holding arm I bought from Amazon. To edit the video I used Adobe Premiere Pro.
Mountain Mandala has been uploaded to my various stores, check out some product samples below! I think it looks pretty good on the black background actually.
Mountain Mandala Throw Blanket from Society6
Mountain Mandala Mug from Redbubble
Mountain Mandala Tank Top from Society6
Mountain Mandala Sticker from Redbubble
Mountain Mandala Wall Tapestry from Society6
Feel free to check out some of my other videos and/or follow my Youtube Channel to see more videos in the future. I’ve been thinking about doing some tutorials for mandalas and things like that so if you’re interested in that make sure to hit that subscribe button!
If you have any questions about my process feel free to ask below!
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.
- 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:
- I scan each design separately into 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.
- 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:
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!