not my circus, indeed

 

More random doodles, another WIP pattern, and a finished typographic poster with a phrase suggested by one of my coworkers.

I honestly can’t keep up with myself lately; I am slowly updating my shops with new designs, but it takes a while…and if I’m honest, I’d rather focus on the making things part. Business is not my strong suit. I guess I’ll keep my day job. ūüėÄ

fanfic is forever

fanficisforever2

Fanfic keeps our favorite characters and worlds alive long after the series/book/movie ends. I speak from experience, being in love with a television show that has “ended” multiple times over.

I do love playing with type and different illustrated type styles; it’s something I’d like to get better (and faster) at.

repetition and failure

I have a tendency to overthink when it comes to making art. I like to believe, as a left-brained creature of habit, that I can rationalize my way to successful creative outcomes, but it doesn’t work that way.

Regular meditation has helped me to understand that the creative spark is always present, but I have to show up and do the thing. Waiting for the muse to strike is just procrastination. True creation is about repetition and failure, and the latter rubs my logical brain the wrong way.

So I’m sharing everything–even the failures–to remind myself that creativity doesn’t happen out of thought, it happens out of action.

caroline.blog gets a facelift

Wow, it’s been a while since I worked on a theme — any theme, but especially one that was just for me. Caroline.blog has used the same theme for the last, uh, four years? Maybe more?

This design started as a Codepen experiment with CSS Grid, then before I knew it, I was downloading Underscores to bring it to life. I wanted a simple design to bring the focus to my illustration portfolio — no widgets, no extras, just the content, big images, and a li’l navigation menu.

It all came together in about a day. I’m still fine-tuning things (I will forever be fine-tuning things) but I’m happy with it!

evolution of a doodle

I’m craving sushi, and had it in my head to do this pop-art sushi squares print.

My process has evolved a bit; I used to draw in color from the start, filling in shapes as soon as I’d outlined them. Now I tend to draw outlines and fill in with color later. I’ve found that makes it easier to try on multiple color schemes (especially for patterns) and helps me focus on the shapes and composition. Sometimes I also like the black and white version enough to save it as a separate version.

It starts out like this; a really, really rough sketch:

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 11.21.45 AM

Unfortunately I forgot to screenshot the semi-finished outline this time. It looks something like this, but much less polished:

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 12.40.00 PM

Once I have the general composition down, I start playing around with colors, stroke widths, shapes, and opacity:

Screen Shot 2019-04-02 at 10.29.38 PM

Then comes the part where I tweak everything for hours. ūüėõ Lots of smoothing out rough curves and joining endpoints. In this case, I didn’t like the lack of detail in the wasabi, so I redrew it. I also swapped a couple blocks around for visual interest. And here’s the finished version:

Screen Shot 2019-04-03 at 12.13.40 PM

silver linings

I am two iron infusions down, and starting to feel a bit better, if not exactly energetic. It will probably be a couple months before I’m back to “normal”, but the lightheadedness and general wooziness is fading, my heart rate seems to have calmed a bit, and I can do simple chores around the house without feeling like I’m going to collapse. Small wins!

To make things really interesting, I caught a cold last weekend, and by Monday it had morphed into the sinus infection from hell. Talk about adding insult to injury. I’ve been reduced to a lump on the couch for the last three weeks, and I’m sick and tired of being, well, sick and tired.

But I have plenty of time to draw! I’d fallen out of the habit last year while I figured out how to navigate changes in my career. It’s nice to turn my attention back to making things in my spare time, and I promise to post more screenshots and works in progress here.

I’m really into patterns and vaguely floral designs at the moment. This weekend’s doodles so far:

Summer Doodles

After looking at everything I accomplished during summer sabbatical ,it’s fair to say the majority of my time was spent drawing and working on my shops.

I’d set a goal to draw three things per week, but the final tally shows more than twice that! For all this work, I still feel quite slow as an illustrator, and not very prolific. But I’m proud of what I finished and learned along the way.

Here is a sample of the work, not including the (many) drawings I didn’t finish. Everything is posted at Calobee Doodles if you want to follow along!

Redbubble, Society6, TeePublic, and Threadless

I’ve had a shop on Etsy since 2007, but I’m new to the print-on-demand thing. I’ve opened shops for my illustrations at¬†each of the following services, and I wanted to do a brief review of my experiences so far.

None of these services require payment or fees upfront, which makes them low-risk endeavors; the only thing lost is time putting everything out there.

So here goes; a comparison of all four services in list format:

Redbubble

  • Average product selection; stickers are a¬†big seller because they weren’t¬†offered elsewhere until recently.
  • You set the price per product.
  • You set product defaults.
  • Easy tools for centering your art and repeating patterns. Fast editing experience overall.
  • Supports¬†full-bleed, repeating patterns.
  • Upload different images for each¬†product.
  • You can add some branding to your shop (avatar, banner image), but¬†still includes Redbubble¬†branding.
  • Supports Google Analytics and basic view counts, favorites, and comments.

Society6

  • Wide product selection (Floor pillows! Curtains!)
  • You set the price per product (for prints only).
  • Can’t set product defaults; your shop displays products in your shop at random.
  • No tools for centering art on each product; you edit placement manually.¬†Product editing is slow; each one has to be individually enabled and customized. The interface is slow and buggy in Chrome for Mac.
  • Supports full-bleed, repeating patterns (but you have to create them manually in a graphics program).
  • Upload different images for each¬†product.
  • You can add some branding to your shop (avatar, banner image), but¬†still includes Society6 branding.
  • Supports favorites and comments.

Teepublic

  • Narrower product selection, with a focus on t-shirts.
  • They set the price per product.
  • You set product defaults.
  • Easy tools for centering your art.
  • Full-bleed, repeating patterns for some products.
  • Upload one¬†image for all products.
  • You can add some branding to your shop (avatar, banner image), but¬†still includes TeePublic branding.
  • Supports Google Analytics and Disqus comments.

Threadless

  • Wide product selection, with a focus on clothing.
  • You set the price per product.
  • You set product defaults.
  • No editing art placement per¬†product, but their algorithm¬†is smart¬†about it.
  • No full-bleed/repeating patterns.
  • Upload different images for each¬†product.
  • Shop design is customizable (colors, fonts, layout) and branded for you.
  • Supports Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel.

So far, it seems Teepublic and Redbubble get the most traffic (and the most sales).¬†They also do more to feature individual designs and artists on their front pages, whereas Society6 is a bit of a black hole unless you’re driving traffic to your shop. Threadless has design challenges alongside their artist shops, which makes for more community interaction (their shops feature is relatively new), but they also emphasize the need for self-promotion, and I haven’t made a huge effort there.

In terms of what sells, most of my sales on Redbubble are stickers (“Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down” is popular), and most of my sales on Teepublic are tees.

How much have I made? Let’s just say I’m not quitting my day job by far, but these services are helping save a little for a family vacation. I’ve also donated about 25% of my earnings to Planned Parenthood, and I’ve been inspired to make art, which in some ways is payment enough.

I hope this has been helpful to anyone looking to start up a print-on-demand shop of their own!