Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Would you do artwork for free?

I was reading in a Facebook group today about someone giving a "contest" for cover art for her to-be-released book. I clicked on the link to read very specific request for the book cover art. It has to be of a specific dimensions and it has to feature a specific object.  
The other requirements is that if you "win" the contest, you give complete right to use the image in any way the writer wants to in related to the book. What does the winner get? The winner gets a link and a credit for the artwork in the book. 

Personally I find it offensive that first it is called a contest. When there is a contest there should be a prize not a link on a blog and a credit for use!  
Second, since there is no mention on the site that the book will be released for free, I think it is offensive that there is no offer for payment of any kind for use of the image. How about $50 by PayPal? That would still be dirt cheap, and at least the artist could go out for a dinner and a movie for all the hard work required to make the kind of cover artwork that was requested.  Do you think several hours to several days of work is worth a book cover credit and a blog link or two? How sad you don't value your artwork.

I want to clarify that I understand that if someone has an EXISTING artwork and wants publicity, I think it could be acceptable.  I do not accept that you should have to make NEW artwork to match very specific requirements just for the possibility that your work will be selected for the cover of a book for a new writer who may not sell anything at all. 

What do you think?  Do you think cool work for free or like me are you upset and a little offended at the whole idea? 

Patience is a virtue when it comes to selling artwork online

I started selling visual art on the internet, uploading my photos to Imagekind. They weren't that great, but not so repulsive. We all start somewhere and we improve through practice any skill including photography or painting.  After getting a better camera (still point-and-shoot but 10.1 megapixels instead of 3.x), in 2008,  I thought that I'd start to get monthly sales.  I did, but not where I thought I would get them. I was really happy to see my second sale there this morning. Yes, second sale. Someone bought one each of the following so if you are looking for "best sellers" you should keep looking. I'm happy though and I wanted to share them.


I like Imagekind and I know they offer museum quality prints and they also offer cards and even prints on canvas however their image search doesn't work very well so having your artwork found at random isn't that likely. To succeed there and at Redbubble (which also offers T-shirts and Calendars), you need to promote your own artwork and refer people to make the purchase. 

White Iris. by Christopher Johnson
White Iris. by Christopher Johnson
This artwork is one of my first photos from 2007! You never know what will sell. You can see I wasn't that bad.

White Geraniums 4 by Christopher Johnson
White Geraniums 4 by Christopher Johnson
This one is from a long mixed color series I created in 2010.


Single White Oleander 1 by Christopher Johnson
Single White Oleander 1 by Christopher Johnson
This one is also from 2010 and also from a long series although most of them were pink.

I have had zero sales so far at Redbubble, but I started uploading there about a year later and I haven't uploaded everything because they require you to upload works one by one.

I make somewhat regular sales at Zazzle, but those sales are normally for cheap products so you need several sales to make a minimum payment. If you are interested in selling your artwork or graphic design online, I'd suggest uploading your work to several sites and see which work for you and be patient if you don't have the money to drive traffic to the sales site. No matter what, do NOT close a free shop or remove your work just because you don't have any sales at first.  It isn't like a physical gallery where space is limited!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Calla Lilies or World Domination?

Since I've made a few sales on Zazzle of artwork using Calla Lily photos I've taken, I decided a few weeks ago to do another series.   Don't get me wrong, I love to create artwork and I do like Calla lilies. I think they are quite elegant.
I did however make a little joke in Facebook that perhaps it would be great to really have many artworks from the 164 or so photos I took that time to have a strong presence for the keyword phrase calla lily at Zazzle. Of course I'd probably need a few hundred images to really make a dent not just a few dozen.

Yesterday, I bought a few more and some roses and I experimented taking photos of the two kinds of flowers together. I had never tried that before, but I like to experiment even if the results are less than spectacular You'll have to wait a while to see those new artworks since I'm still processing the previous photos, but I wanted to share a few of my favorites from the first batch of Calla Lily artwork.  Notice I say artwork not photo. These are finished works not just photos copied from the camera. 

Elegant Calla Lily Flowers 3 Modern by Christopher Johnson
Elegant Calla Lily Flowers 3 Modern by Christopher Johnson


Elegant Calla Lily Flowers 6 by Christopher Johnson
Elegant Calla Lily Flowers 6 by Christopher Johnson


Elegant Calla Lily Flowers 4 by Christopher Johnson
Elegant Calla Lily Flowers 4 by Christopher Johnson