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Hey guys! So a question that I get asked a lot is how I feel about print-on-demand services like society6 and RedBubble; if I think that they are a viable income source for artists, if I think they’re worth putting your time into and if I think that they can be used in lieu of having your own storefront or website. This site is sponsored by my friends over at Skillshare, but for now I thought I would just start off by explaining what I’m talking about when I say print on demand services. So these are places, these are websites, where an artist can upload their original artwork- high-quality scans of their work- and then a shopper can buy a print of that artwork and the website or company will do the printing and shipping and sending, so all the artist really has to do is upload their work and then everything else is taken care of for them; even like complaints or returns if that happens to come up.
And as well as doing art prints, these sites will also print on things like mugs, phone cases, soft furnishings. . . shower curtains. . . all sorts. And there is more than just society6 and Redbubble, although those are probably the most popular ones. I recently saw on ‘Dragons Den’, there was a guy that had a card company where someone looking for a greetings card could buy one that’s not on the market and has been made by an artist and then the artist that uploaded that artwork would get a commission on that without having to set up their own card-printing business. So on paper, it’s a great way to take the business side out of being an artist. You get to do what you do best which is create art and then the rest of it is all taken care of by a middleman somewhere else. Also opening you up to the opportunity of having your art printed on merch that you otherwise wouldn’t have the access or funds to do; as I said, with clothes, with mugs and anything else of that nature that would just cost a bit too much to invest in right off the bat yourself. Now I personally think the premise of these sites is great in that sense. I have personally used society6 pretty much since I started selling my art. I no longer I’m active on society6 just because they right now only pay out through PayPal and I no longer use PayPal. So I have recently overhauled everything over to Redbubble, I’ve got a lot of new stuff on there as well so if you’re interested in checking out some stuff that I don’t have in my shop, some stickers and things, I will leave the link to my Redbubble below! (yay! gimme money please!) But that’s one of the areas that it’s great for; I make my own prints but I don’t necessarily want to make prints for everything, I’m dipping my toe into the world of making stickers and- rather than investing in all the kits and things I would need to make stickers, or the cost of bulk buying a load of stickers from an outsourced sticker maker- I can put the designs up on this website and see if it’s popular, see if it’s something that people want. And I say that it’s one of the areas that this is great for because I think as an artist or anyone that is pursuing a career in any kind of creative endeavor, we all know that you cannot put all your eggs in one basket. You cannot rely on just one source of income. So while these sites are a great side hustle, they can’t necessarily be your main source of income. Now in the long run, once you do have the money to invest in making things yourself, you are going to profit more from cutting out the middleman. That’s standard, that makes sense in any different industry. So like with me for example, testing out stickers at the moment, right now- as I said- I’m just dipping my toe in and seeing if it will work. I’m not losing anything which is great. I haven’t made any major investment in sticker-making gear but if there is a profit to be made from it, if it’s popular, then in the long run I’m not making as much as I potentially could if I invest in doing all the steps myself. Another downside of using these sites is that you cannot rely on them to market you on their websites. There are tons of artists that use these sites and it’s very hard to reach the front page so you need to have your own marketing strategies behind you, your own following that you can direct to that site and link them directly to your profile on there. And even in that case, if you do have a large following that you can direct there, you can’t always guarantee the stability of that website, of that company, you can’t put all your trust in them. Because the company could go bust, their website could go down, and if that’s your only stream of income, that leaves you completely snookered. And another thing- that is more I guess a personal thing- I think it’s nice to be able to build a relationship with your customers. To have someone buying your art, to have that in their homes, that’s quite a personal thing and I really appreciate being able to leave a personal note with each order or just wrap it up nicely and even just seeing the same names popping up in my shop here and there knowing that person is building their own little collection. Like it it’s not something that you can replace and I think it’s a really important part of being an artist and having your art out there. So to sum it up, if you are looking to make a passive income from your art- by a passive income I mean something where you do your initial piece of work and then continue to profit from it into the future (i. e. do one drawing and upload it on this website and then make money in dribs and drabs every time someone buys a print of it)- I think that these sites are a great way to go. They are really an invaluable resource for artists, it’s a great place to start at least because you are making a minimal to no investment at all and you’re being given a great opportunity to test your marketing skills, to test different products and see which pieces of your art are more popular than others, which bits will get more attention, what is a more viable option to make your own prints of and sell, and what aren’t people interested in. It’s almost like doing your own market research. Also if you do have a demand for your work in print but you don’t have the time or the money or the means to fulfill that right now, it’s a great way to get that demand met just as a starting point. Now if you are interested in learning more about selling on society6 or any services like this, if you want some advice on designs and designs that’ll sell and just how it all works behind the scenes I could really really really recommend a class that I took on Skillshare quite a while back.
It was actually listed within my recommendations for 2018 in my 2018 art goals site. If you are interested in more of the classes I recommended, they are in the comment under that site which I’ll have a linked below. But yeah it’s basically taught by a brilliant illustrator; Cat Coquillette I think her name was, and she just really talks you through everything and anything you might want to know about print on demand services and getting your work out there. I think the class is actually called ‘creating art that sells’. So if that is something you’re interested in, I would really recommend it. As I’ve said a million million times; Skillshare is literally my like go-to one-stop shop for anything that I want to learn about and they were kind enough to sponsor this site. So just to say a little bit about them, I’m sure you know by now, it’s a website with a huge huge huge collection of classes on all sorts of things they have up to 17,000 lessons on there now taught by professionals, taught by experts, taught by people like me, and people like you. Just anyone that knows anything and wants to really share that knowledge with the people; it’s like a hub for learning and teaching. So I’ve now used it to learn about watercolours, to learn about composition in art, obviously to learn about marketing and also site editing. Just all sorts of things. If you are interested in checking them out, I will have a link below to a coupon code where you can get two months of Premium Membership for 99 cents. I think it’s just for the first 500 people that click that link so if you are interested please check it out now. Otherwise premium membership annually is $10 a month which is really affordable, especially comparatively to similar sites like this and overall I- you know, I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t really believe in it so I would love you to check it out. I’ve loved hearing from you guys which classes you’ve taken and things you’ve learnt as well. But thank you Skillshare for sponsoring this site, thank you guys so much for reading. If you have any other questions, anything else you want me to cover in a site let me know! But for now I will see you in the next one! Bye!.