Illustration Artist new to Zazzle 2 pages: [1] 2
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 5:07:03 AM
I have been a illustration artist since the 80’s and studied traditional pencil, air-brush and silk screening in Univeristy and in the past 5 or 6 years have blended my photography and illustration together to create unique fishing illustrations that I hand draw in vector on ipad pro. I was using a cintiq for years but quickly migrated over to ipad when I could sit at the beach or coffe shop drawing!

So here is why I just started up on Zazzle, many of my friends and followers on social media have asked to purchase my work on T-shirts etc. I have contacts from all over the world so I figured Zazzle was the best solution as it would be the easiest for customer interaction no matter where they live.

Is there any recomendations, cautionary tails or pit-falls I should watch out for while setting up shop in zazzle?


Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 5:47:00 AM
Read the "New to Zazzle" forum. Especially the "Top ten mistakes Zazzler's Make". Lots of good advise there. THe only advice I have besides that is to be patient. Sometimes it takes a long time for your work to be found and purchased. Have fun.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 6:16:20 AM
Lovely rainbow trout design.

randysgrandma wrote:
Read the "New to Zazzle" forum. Especially the "Top ten mistakes Zazzler's Make". Lots of good advise there. THe only advice I have besides that is to be patient. Sometimes it takes a long time for your work to be found and purchased. Have fun.


Patients is not his problem, he comes with a fan base. Love
Many recommendations in this file don't apply.
With a fan base less can be more. You don't compete with the millions of products and you don't have to cross the threshold to get noticed through sheer numbers. Actually too much can water down the brand.



Zazzle can be overwhelming with the sheer volume of options.

I find collections very helpful, they can easily communicated and showcase the design / illustration on different products.

Another way is to spread products or designs /illustrations over several stores to keep the the store inventory at a number that customers can handle.

You have three routes to organize your products:
• Stores,
• collections cross stores and
• categories within the store.

I recommend to browse a few of the successful stores to weigh your options on how to organize and which visual design options you want to subscribe to. You can learn the ropes and experiment in a store set to private before you go live with your main store.

Since I don't have a fan base my strategy relies on the Zazzle marketplace and store management has a lower priority since my individual products will have to make their way through a different line of channels.



Quick create
I don't use quick create, since I only live once and I can't imagine spending my time with slapping illustrations and designs on products and slave through product descriptions all day long.


Since you have to integrate Zazzle into your work schedule you will have to make the choice of if and how to integrate quick create in order to streamline you work process.

I personally prefer a set of favorite items. Since you have a fan base you can work out the best set of items with them.

I find quick create takes out a lot of creating the best possible design for the individual item, which is another reason why I don't use it.



My favorite routes to new products / collections

I like two fairly new links on the product page. Create from scratch and transfer to new product. Simply because I have my favorite products already in my collections and it is faster than using the link on the the top "create a new ... " and walk down trees or go via search.

I open one of my products and pick either start from scratch or transfer depending if I use a new design on the same product or the same or derivative design on a different product.



File formats

Pixel (PNG / JPG)
In order to have full range none of my images is less than 6000px on the long side these days.

PDF with Vectors
With a PDF and vector you have full scalability without the color option.

SVG
New to zazzle is the possibility to use SVG and give customers the options to choose their own color combinations. With SVG the vector gives full scalability. Several colors need to be in separate files.

EPS
Embroidery with vector based designs - something to consider when the design is for business uniforms and have to survive a lot of washing in idustrial washing machines.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 7:17:01 AM
Thanks for the tips and information... lots of good stuff in this one.
I do lots of other illustration and design work for clothing companies, print, magazines and etc. So this is just a way to get some of my personal illustration stuff out to followers/fans that have requested to purchase some of my artwork on different items. People finding me on zazzle will not be an issue ;)
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 8:13:50 AM
Hello, your walleye is really impressive. One can tell a professional illustrator by clean and precise lines of their artwork Smile I would recommend the following:

- Find products your designs (illustrations) work best on. Like, the walleye illustration works great on many horizontal rectangle products like bath mats, floor mats, throw blankets, not to mention posters and other wall art pieces. Dig in Zazzleblanks to find and try products, and you can have a very good product line for each design you upload.

- Look for ways to adapt a design to a product. Like, I just rotated your walleye on the t-shirt and got it more visible



(it may or may not be the best way to show the design on the t-shirt but my point is, there is a room for experimenting so you can find the best way to make a design work on an every given product; also if you like how the design looks being rotated, feel free to republish it this way Smile

- Use Show Me forum and Affiliate Design Request forum to show off your work. I am sure, many affiliate would like to promote your work, so you can make more money here (and also get more exposure). Actually, I would like to promote the walleye myself, but I need more products to choose from (I would want a poster, maybe a shower curtain or bath mat or something else).

Also, a question if you don't mind, what app do you use on iPad to create in vector? And what file type do you usually export? Thanks!
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 8:42:57 AM
WittyBetty wrote:


- Find products your designs (illustrations) work best on. Like, the walleye illustration works great on many horizontal rectangle products like bath mats, floor mats, throw blankets, not to mention posters and other wall art pieces. Dig in Zazzle-blanks to find and try products, and you can have a very good product line for each design you upload.


All it takes is a frame or as with the t-shirt isolate the key elements from the background and you can add it to any product. Grin

I would focus on my fan base rather than the shape of my design to slap on products my fan base couldn't care less. Whatever my fan base is looking for and make my design cater form and function instead of vice versa. With the shapes and lines in the zazzle tool you can redirect any design from horizontal to vertical or balanced in either direction.

Apparently I'm not so current on the fishes. Laughing Nice Walleye.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 10:07:50 AM
My somewhat self-contradicting two cents:

1. Choose products carefully. You're perhaps in a better position than many other newbies, since you already have an established clientele and presumably they've mentioned what types of products would be of interest to them. When that isn't the case, it's crucial to ask ourselves who will buy our work, and which products are likely to appeal to them.

Even though the art may fill the printable space well and look nice on many products, that doesn't necessarily mean they will sell. There is a grain of truth to the idea that we can't always know which offerings will be winners and which ones duds, but that doesn't exempt us from the need to make careful choices in the pairing of art and product. Throwing things against the wall to see what sticks isn't necessarily the best strategy, as it can come back to haunt you down the road when non-performers become a drag on your ranking, and especially if their abundance ends up making store management more of a chore than it needs to be. (This I know from the experience of cleaning up a store that used to have 15,000 products, most of them non-performers.)

It's an issue that can be compounded by the use of 'Quick Create', which can be used thoughtfully, but too often isn't. I'm not saying don't use it, just cautioning against being in a rush if you do. Think quality, not quantity.

2. Engage in thoughtful experimentation. You've already heard from other designers with good tips on other products that can expand your offerings.

While I've cautioned under topic #1 about making careful product choices, that doesn't mean you always have to stick to the "tried and true". It's a status that only comes from having tried something new in the first place - right? So don't be afraid to experiment with additional product lines. It's really easy to get stuck in a routine with the same type of art on the same types of products, resulting in missed opportunities to expand your offerings, and/or grow as an artist.

So, how do you experiment thoughtfully? By taking a little time to learn about the product you're thinking of designing. You can start by reading its description for clues. Look up the new product announcement in the forum if you can, along with its partner thread having tips and tricks for designing. Look at what other designers are doing with that product. Maybe that tells you what works well; but this doesn't mean you have to do what everyone else does - maybe you'll discover that there's an under-represented niche market that would find your work appealing on that product.

Think about how the product material or it's size may impose limitations on what works - some items may not play so well with intricate art or fancy fonts.

And lastly, think beyond the obvious. For example: Something music-themed on a guitar pick is an obvious choice. But you might be surprised what other types of art sell on them.

I hope this is helpful to you! I find that there's always something new to learn.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 10:23:22 AM
With regard to affiliates, you can also post in the sticky thread in the Show Me forum for those seeking affiliate promotion.

Please do read and follow the instructions in the opening post. Far too many people say nothing about their work, post images to the thread, or make multiple posts to it instead of updating their original entry.

Think about what will be helpful to an affiliate if you choose to post an entry there.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 10:31:57 AM
Hmm, a search of the thread seems to indicate we haven't mentioned the importance of templates for providing customers' the ability to personalize items. While not all works lend themselves to this, it also shouldn't be neglected when they do. Some products really need templates to be fully functional. (ETA: Yes, I know it's in the "top mistakes" thread, but since Zazzle is all about customization/personalization, it bears repeating.)
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 10:55:14 AM
I just looked at your store and it took me back to the "olden" days when I first started. I have learned so much and have come so far. I wish you the best of luck!
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 11:35:45 AM
Thanks for all the advice so far...
I noticed that each item may have a different layout, square vs horizontal etc. Best part of being a vector illustrator is all my elements in a drawing are on separate layers and it easy fo me to take an image and lay it out in a different composition in a few seconds ;)

I will also look into templates as I know a few of my followers have asked for that in the past and it is great the Zazzle offers this feature so I can focus on drawing not adding text for people who want "My Grandpa is the best angler"

I missed the Christmas season at this point but it easy for me to draw a fish chasing a candy cane coloured bait or add a santa hat to the fish for the season - so I have added this to my list for next year to prepare drawings for holidays.
Thanks again and it has been great looking at everyones stores and pages that have offered up suggestions!
-s
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 11:40:01 AM
Fuzzy Felosarix wrote:
Hmm, a search of the thread seems to indicate we haven't mentioned the importance of templates for providing customers' the ability to personalize items. While not all works lend themselves to this, it also shouldn't be neglected when they do. Some products really need templates to be fully functional. (ETA: Yes, I know it's in the "top mistakes" thread, but since Zazzle is all about customization/personalization, it bears repeating.)


Fuzzy is absolutely right.

There are two types of zazzlers. Those who can't bear the thought of customers messing up the design and those who can deal with it/actually enjoy the possibilities for customers.

You can lock your designs completely, so customers can't alter it or you can offer various degrees of template-options most prominent and most common to offer catch phrases initials and names and define them as a template object. Using text on products always bears the risk of trademark issues, esp. the T-shirt market has become somewhat treacherous. Especially the short and common text phrases you better check with the trademark database.

Another very common template feature is offering family picture templates to be replaced with personal images by the customers. From what you wrote it is probably not in your focus yet or will ever be, but it is fairly popular among zazzle customers.

Zazzle makes more money with templates (personalized items) than with non templates.

My guess, it isn't as important for your shop concept as it is for PoD designers, who work the zazzle marketplace. I still would experiment with personalization and see what works better. In case of journals a name as a template is always the better option than a journal with just the illustration.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 11:41:52 AM
Sheldon Hatch wrote:
Thanks for all the advice so far...
I noticed that each item may have a different layout, square vs horizontal etc. Best part of being a vector illustrator is all my elements in a drawing are on separate layers and it easy fo me to take an image and lay it out in a different composition in a few seconds ;)

I will also look into templates as I know a few of my followers have asked for that in the past and it is great the Zazzle offers this feature so I can focus on drawing not adding text for people who want "My Grandpa is the best angler"

I missed the Christmas season at this point but it easy for me to draw a fish chasing a candy cane coloured bait or add a santa hat to the fish for the season - so I have added this to my list for next year to prepare drawings for holidays.
Thanks again and it has been great looking at everyones stores and pages that have offered up suggestions!
-s


You can also compose the design directly on the product and reuse design elements. On that note you might want to think about how to organize your zazzle image library. It took me hours to organize mine after a few years not caring about how I organized my images.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 11:58:38 AM
WittyBetty - I draw all my vector art with Adobe Draw app and the Affinity Designer app on the ipad pro 12" with a apple pencil. I use to work with a Cintiq 24" tablet and adobe illustrator, but it just collects dust now in my studio, as the ipad is with me when ever I travel or decide to sit-down and draw (Just like the days when I use to carry a sketch pad everywhere). Other options you can look at that I have also used in the past is Windows Surface running adobe illustrator - is was great while it lasted but I never fell in love with the stylus and often struggled to get the look I wanted...

- edit -
I forgot to mention file types, the reason most illustrators work in vector is we can export to any file format at any size with no loss from vector (.eps .svg ) to raster formats (.jpeg .png. tiff)
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 12:06:47 PM
vivendulies wrote:

You can also compose the design directly on the product and reuse design elements. On that note you might want to think about how to organize your zazzle image library. It took me hours to organize mine after a few years not caring about how I organized my images.


Thanks for this one as I already can see how this would get out of hand quickly, also a naming convention may help also.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 12:15:40 PM
Sheldon Hatch wrote:
vivendulies wrote:

You can also compose the design directly on the product and reuse design elements. On that note you might want to think about how to organize your zazzle image library. It took me hours to organize mine after a few years not caring about how I organized my images.


Thanks for this one as I already can see how this would get out of hand quickly, also a naming convention may help also.


You can keep promo images like banners out of the search with underscores instead of gaps. My collection banner look like this 'the_title_banner.jpg' and design 'the title or keyword.*'. This way title and keywords are search-able and the banners don't clutter the result.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 12:28:23 PM
Nice work!

one thing I noticed and this may or may not affect you since you do already have a clientele but with your product descriptions you have a long (and interesting) introduction of yourself which would be better placed in the about section of your store so that you can focus more on a description of the actual design on the product page.

As one with no formal training I am not qualified to give you any design advice but as a Zazzler of 3 years I can tell you what products I would add to if Fishing was my niche.

mugs, keychains, hats, money clips, aprons, playing cards, are just a few that come to mind.

Best wishes for much Zazzle success!
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 1:02:54 PM
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
Nice work!

one thing I noticed and this may or may not affect you since you do already have a clientele but with your product descriptions you have a long (and interesting) introduction of yourself which would be better placed in the about section of your store so that you can focus more on a description of the actual design on the product page.


Yah, have not worked that one out yet and was just pasting text in about my drawing background - not sure how you explain an ipad cover design to someone. I will investigate this further to see what others do to describe the product design.

Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 1:13:37 PM
Sheldon Hatch wrote:
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
Nice work!

one thing I noticed and this may or may not affect you since you do already have a clientele but with your product descriptions you have a long (and interesting) introduction of yourself which would be better placed in the about section of your store so that you can focus more on a description of the actual design on the product page.


Yah, have not worked that one out yet and was just pasting text in about my drawing background - not sure how you explain an ipad cover design to someone. I will investigate this further to see what others do to describe the product design.



Tell about what kind of fish it is, colors, feelings it evokes, even why you created it... this is partly for SEO and partly to engage a potential buyer. And yes, definitely check out how others use the descriptions and tags! that is a great way to learn!
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 1:29:16 PM
In title, description and tags you address the design itself and put in the essential keywords in all three. You also address the buyer and stroke their egos and desires. Your title, description and tags are equally written for the mechanics of search algorithms as they address the emotions and comprehension of humans.

It is not enough to simply list the keywords. I'm bad at creeping into other peoples egos and desires, so my descriptions are lacking the subtle finesse and focus on the more or less objective description of the design.

I highly recommend not to follow my example and do better. Smile

But the objective description in title, description and keyword is the very basic.



You only have 10 keywords (tags) but you can combine keywords with up to five keywords "keyword1+keyword2+...+keyword5". In most cases that is enough. The keyword field understands various syntax like space and separation by comma or combining several keywords with quotes or combining them with a plus sign.



If you are prone to longer descriptions apply journalistic rules and open with a teaser which contains the meat of the story and follow up with details later.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 1:48:44 PM
adding to Viv's info, when adding tags try to think of what a buyer might enter into the search bar if they are looking for a design like yours.


I draw a real blank trying to think of fishing search terms for examples so I will spare you my lame ideas...Laughing
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 1:58:47 PM
vivendulies wrote:
I'm bad at creeping into other peoples egos and desires, so my descriptions are lacking the subtle finesse and focus on the more or less objective description of the design.

I highly recommend not to follow my example and do better. Smile

Laughing Same here!
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 2:11:08 PM
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
adding to Viv's info, when adding tags try to think of what a buyer might enter into the search bar if they are looking for a design like yours.


I draw a real blank trying to think of fishing search terms for examples so I will spare you my lame ideas...Laughing


Whenever I pick a subject foreign to me I visit the sites of fans and experts and they provide me with the necessary keywords. I didn't know that the blue chicken hen is a mascot of Delaware and actually have chicken in a battle cry. When I decided to do all the 50 states I looked up their slogans and jokes as an inspiration. Finding keywords is not so hard. Finding keywords that narrow down the search results down to visibility and popularity is a science in itself and hard to achieve.
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 2:14:05 PM
vivendulies wrote:
Shelli Fitzpatrick wrote:
adding to Viv's info, when adding tags try to think of what a buyer might enter into the search bar if they are looking for a design like yours.


I draw a real blank trying to think of fishing search terms for examples so I will spare you my lame ideas...Laughing


Whenever I pick a subject foreign to me I visit the sites of fans and experts and they provide me with the necessary keywords. I didn't know that th blue chicken hen is a mascot of Delaware. When I decided to do all the 50 states I looked up their slogans and jokes as an inspiration. Finding keywords is not so heard. Finding keywords that narrow down the search results down to visibility and popularity is a science in itself and hard to achieve.


I learn a lot from you Viv! thanks for always sharingLove
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 3:14:47 PM
A few possible tags: hungry+fish rising+to+the+bait aquatic+theme cool+mood (this last one for the pillow and other decor items, as warm vs. cool colors may matter to decorators.) You could also tag with the dominant colors: shades+of+green blue+hues
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 3:40:31 PM
Fuzzy Felosarix wrote:
A few possible tags: hungry+fish rising+to+the+bait aquatic+theme cool+mood (this last one for the pillow and other decor items, as warm vs. cool colors may matter to decorators.) You could also tag with the dominant colors: shades+of+green blue+hues


Thanks that is a great sugestion as it seems like a rational way I would search for a simular product.
-s
Posted: Monday, December 17, 2018 10:36:05 PM
Sheldon Hatch wrote:
Fuzzy Felosarix wrote:
A few possible tags: hungry+fish rising+to+the+bait aquatic+theme cool+mood (this last one for the pillow and other decor items, as warm vs. cool colors may matter to decorators.) You could also tag with the dominant colors: shades+of+green blue+hues


Thanks that is a great sugestion as it seems like a rational way I would search for a simular product.
-s

A little more food for thought...

A well written description of the art/design is likely to contain keywords that you should use as tags.

Also of note: We've been told to try to come up with unique titles, descriptions, and tags for every item we offer - even those that share the same artwork. Titles and descriptions I can do. Trying to come up with unique tags for every instance of the same design being used - and still have them be something people will actually search on - just seems impossible to me. As with many things here, you'll have to judge for yourself what will work for you.

Uniqueness of title/description/tags can also make it harder to find all the products with a single design as your store grows. Some use codes in their titles or tags in order to be able to locate them via a search (though others have been know to voice strong opinions about such practices.) One thing you can try is creating collections that focus on a single artwork, capturing all the products using it. But there are drawbacks to this approach, too. (Large collections can be slow to load, for example.) Others create spreadsheets or databases to track things offline. It may behoove you to think about how you want to approach this early on.

I'll stop here, so as not to overwhelm you.

Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 6:25:03 AM
Fuzzy Felosarix wrote:

I'll stop here, so as not to overwhelm you.



OK after reading that... I need more coffee Laughing
Posted: Wednesday, December 19, 2018 2:30:23 PM
Welcome Sheldon, my fellow Canadian.


I have been reading everyone's replies and finding them helpful as reminders and refreshers for my own store, which I have been as conscientious with lately.

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2019 2:30:07 PM
welcome
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