Thursday, January 7, 2010

Comissions, prints-on-demand, questions for readers

In the spirit of making a honest living, I've been considering making a little side-store to the blog where I could sell prints or do commission work and I wondered if there'd be any interest in that. A big 'problem' is that most of my art is black and white so I don't know how much people would care about that. Commissions could either be digitally-made and e-mailed or hand-drawn and shipped through old-fashioned snail-mail, according to demand. How does that sound? Hell, I could even make a YUS bird t-shirt or two (but no coffee mugs, I hate coffee mugs!).

Give me your thoughts, give me your thoughts NOW.

There's nothing worthwhile below the jump.

Well, besides the space-rending upside-down space dogs, that is.

- Helm


Markus Rosse said...

I guess this dogs-from-outer-space illustration shows how much you like cats - because the more you butcher something, the more you love the opposite - kinda, heh.

I think commissions are a nice extra income (but often way too cheap -> DeviantArt). Personally, I'd totally wear a YUS T-Shirt, so please, let me give you money to become a YUS-oholic.

Helm said...

I love dogs a lot as well! Upsidedown dogs are just funny.

What does Deviantart do with commissions?

James said...

A YUS bird shirt seems like it would be money in the bank. Prints and commissions are always cool, and i'd definitely put some money down on a hand-drawn commission of some sort if the price is reasonable enough (in the range of $100 US).

Helm said...

Thanks for your input. Yeah about commissions I was thinking 25$-50$-100$ in relevance to size or detail of piece, really.

I'd be fun to make a vector YUS bird illustration. Does anyone know if I should go with some print-t-shirts-on-demand internet service or another? I remember the brand 'cafepress' but I'm not certain if they're good.

Markus Rosse said...

With deviantArt I meant that there are a lot of users which do commissions for 5$ to 20$, quite cheap for full fledged illustrations.

But heck, what do I know, heh. I'm not an expert in economics or even marketing, so I have no idea how much you should charge. It's the internet I mean, but if you had posted twice as much I wouldn't be outraged. But I think it's more about even getting a commission than getting money? No idea, meh :)

Helm said...

I wonder about these questions also. I do not expect to live off of commissions or anything, but I am trying to take positive steps towards... well... something. It's a resolution I've made.

What this blog needs really is PR, but I'm not very good at it. It has ~50 readers a day after a year and some months and the people that visit it mostly found it through the internet communities I frequent, namely Pixelation,, Rock Paper Shotgun and whatever other blogs I might occasionally leave messages to.

Here are some stats, in fact:

9,986 people visited this site
26,030 Visits
67,282 Pageviews
2.58 Average Pageviews
00:03:17 Time on Site
59.18% Bounce Rate
38.31% New Visits

I don't like marketing very much (I'd actually say I hate it and it's one of the few things I'd use that word for) so I don't want to stoop low with getting the word out. Besides word of mouth I don't really know what my other means would be to get some word out there about the existence of this blog in a non-dehumanizing manner.

I think more interface with readers with commissions or whatnot might help raise the profile slightly. What would also help is to finish my comic and try to get it published abroad, but one step at a time.

Corinne said...

Hello Helm,

Hi! I've been reading your blog for awhile now and I really enjoy your work! I'm a member at Pixelation and PixelJoin so I'm especially familiar with your pixel art.

If I had extra money to spend I'd buy artist work (including yours) but I'm poor and an aspiring artist as well. Hmm...

As far as marketing goes, one suggestion I have is to buy a domain for this blog. Then, there's networking to be done. Are you fond of social media services like Twitter or Facebook? I'm not too crazy about them but they seem to help a lot and will use them for my freelancing business.

Here's an article written by a blogger who's a designer. It might help you when it comes to driving more traffic to your site.

Hope that helps a little!

Helm said...

Isn't the blogspot doman fine? I could get something like but I don't see how that'd help a lot. Am I missing something?

"Are you fond of social media services like Twitter or Facebook?"

Not at all. I realize this might be a problem but I am unprepared to change my views on such services.

But thanks a lot about the link to that article, I will study up.

Anonymous said...

Buying your own domain shows more professionalism in general (to make it short) but that really depends on your goals.

Since DeviantArt was already mentioned why not try there too? I mean they already have payment and shipment set up?

My personal contribution to your thoughts:

I would by hand drawn art. I would by a digital print. I am not sure I would buy a digital copy to print on my own though... Not sure why ;)

The tee is a good idea ;)

James said...

Buying your own domain is more money out of your pocket as well as requiring additional promotion, so doesn't it seem like a drawback at this point? I haven't seen much proof of people's perception of professionalism being bolstered with a domain name since plenty of people I know have been getting big jobs based on their blogspot pages.

I doubt that you'd find a supportive crowd in DeviantArt since it seems to be a haven for various forms of fan-fiction and not much else. The website itself doesn't offer much in the way of services for artists either, only a clumsy automated printing system where you only end up getting a couple of dollars for a $20 print.

I tried using Cafepress a few years ago and the shirts came out terribly, seeming to be inkjet printed with the printing streaks and everything. People seem to like Zazzle but come on man, just make a couple of silk-screened shirts. A low-quality silkscreen is at least on par with one of these inkjet-to-garment shirts at their best quality. It also seems to belie any sense of professionalism or honesty if you use these sort of services since you have absolutely no quality control over your work, nor do you have any contact with anyone who buys them, nor do you get much money out of it. But you have to weigh the option of putting down money and getting your full asking price when someone buys a print/shirt/non-mug or putting down no money and getting three dollars for the same item, seeing which is best for your situation.

Helm said...

I appreciate the information, James.

art said...

Cool! Will you draw a B+W furry picture for 20 $ US? Like this but with better textured?

Helm said...

e-mail me at

warcod said...

Helm, first time reading this post. love the store idea. i want to buy a YUS or ZX shirt. do have any left at this point in time?