Posted by kristen on 2018-05-23 18:22:16
I love making sticker designs but using a third party manufacture to make custom designs can be pricey. I've been trying to figure out how to make my own for quite a while now and I finally got a set up going. I only have two sticker packs currently, but if they sell well, I'm definitely going to make more.
The first pack is a bunch of cute reptiles. I noticed at SLComic Con last year that a lot of the people coming up to look at my animals with food series wanted something for their bearded dragon or leopard gecko. I think there's an untapped market for reptile merch cause there's a ton of dog/cat pet merch but you don't see a ball python plushie anywhere. In my experience reptile owners are just as passionate if not more so with their pets.
The second thing people kept asking for was bee stuff. I suppose I invited this since I named my business Burning Bee, and in hindsight I should have seen this coming. Well now I've got cute little bee stickers to stick on all your things. Although the designs I made were super hard to tetris onto the sticker sheet.
We got a Silhouette Cameo 3 cutter to cut them out because my carpal tunnel isn't going to let me cut all those stickers out myself. I'd rather ruin my wrist from drawing. (just kidding, do wrist stretches kids) Anyway, this thing works great, good for small batches. If you're just barely getting started in selling your art though you might want to save up for it later. I only got this because my husband really really wanted a vinyl cutter. It's not super expensive, around 300, you might find it cheaper on ebay, but it's still a fair chunk for a new small business. Plus you need a printer to print out the sticker sheets in the first place.
I really like the packaging I made for these stickers. They make me happy to look at, all neat and cute. I'm going to make a sticker display for cons and I'm starting to feel like a real business owner. It's easy to get imposter syndrome when you say you've started a business and everyone talks to you like you know what you're doing. But the secret is that no one knows what they're doing.
I also made a sticker out of my logo, I used Stickermule for those purely because I found an awesome sale on diecut stickers. If you have to use a third party look out for those deals, they'll save you buckets.
My first convention ever
Posted by kristen on 2017-09-28 16:15:08
Salt Lake Comic Con has come and gone and I couldn't be more relieved. Doing something for the first time is always the hardest one. I was so nervous and antsy about just getting there, I'm pretty sure I drove my husband batty with my worries. All of the planning paid off though and I was well prepared for the day. I felt professional and put together and although I made mistakes, they were things I couldn't correct at the con. The mistakes felt out of my hands and a problem for the future rather than a diaster I had to solve right then.
I know now that crossovers are a bad idea in general unless proven otherwise. My Steven Universe/ Pokemon series, which was a big hit to the people who knew both properties, wasn't at all popular. I over estimated how many people would be cross pollenated, most people either knew Pokemon or Steven, with little overlap. So that's a valuable lesson learned. Also it became glaringly obvious why so many artists do big single character portraits as soon as the con started. A big recognizeable face is so much easier to spot in the chaos of artist's alley than my subtle compositions. I still want to do complex compositions and illustrations, but now I know it would be prudent to have at least two or maybe three big eye catching things to reel people in.
My "Animals with Food" series saved me. They're straight forward compositions and stark white backgrounds stood out from what everyone else was doing and I don't think I would have come close to breaking even without them. I should have known cute animals with food would be a big hit in retrospect. My assumptions were backward, SU/Pokemon hardly sold at all and the Animals with Food I had to print more of. I have to admitt, having an original concept of mine be more popular than fanart is pretty cool.
I'm already planning on what products to focus on for the next con. I've got two pieces already seeded in my brain and about a dozen others to think about. I may not have earned back all my money (I didn't think I would), but I did make enough to reinvest into the business. Next I really really want to buy a printer. The overall cost for prints would go waaaay down and I could make stickers cheaply and sell at a reasonable price. It would be easier to "test out" prints I'm unsure of, see if they sell and if they do I can go home and make more without having to worry about a print shop's workload and speed. There are so many cute snake and lizard stickers I want to make. And sticker packs, I really want to make sticker packs.
The best part of doing a con is all the cool people you get to meet. There were so many artists and they were all so nice. At the end I did some art trades with a few and it was so FUN! I had no idea! I know we're trading products, but it feels like I'm getting art for free! I can fuel my obsession without killing my bank account!
All in all, I'm really excited about the future. I have a better grasp of what I'm doing and what direction I should go. I've always liked having a basic plan for my life and in recent years I kind of lost the thread. After college I drifted aimlessly, I was a typical college grad with no idea of what to do next. I still struggle with that depression, but now I have a purpose to fight it with. Here's to the future!
Salt Lake Comic Con here I come!
Posted by kristen on 2017-09-13 17:56:33
I'm headed off to Salt Lake Comic Con next weekend. This will be the very first convention I've ever tabled at and the first time I've ever sold my art in person to strangers. I'm super nervous and excited and a little bit nauesous. I've been planning this for months now, making sure I have all I need and watching every video on youtube about artist's alleys I can find. For an artist to build up the confidence to put a price tag on their work is a very big deal. You spend so many hours trying to "get good enough" and lot of the time you feel like you'll never reach that level. I'm very proud to have gotten this far and I hope this convention goes well. I'd love to make going to conventions a regular thing for me and I'm really excited to make new products to sell.
Posted by kristen on 2017-09-11 21:00:34
I particapated in SmAugust last month and it was a lot of fun! I didn't use any kind of prompts other than "draw a dragon", so sometimes it was hard to think of something every day. Challenges like these push you to make content no matter what, so not every day was a winner, but much like throwing spaghetti at a wall, I think I got a few noodles to stick. Here are my favorite dragons that I think have potential to be turned into a more detailed illustrations.