This floral design is based on a drawing with markers and coloured pencils. You can see the original drawing here.
I am so glad to have found a way to combine my art activity with my Zazzle shop. Of course there’s still a time problem – the art piece has to be cleaned up and prepared for Zazzle. This one I intended to work as a design from the moment I did the sketching on a piece of paper. I also plan to create a pattern with the flower – three or four flowers arranged in an ornamental and decorative way in photoshop. But that’s a project for my vacation days…
Actually I stopped creating designs for my Zazzle shop three months or so ago. I sold the one or other item, but that happened without any activity from my side. I somehow thought that it was either art or Zazzle, and I definitely preferred art.
However I have been reading the posts of the zazzle group I am a member of, Zazzle family, and on one day I explained why I wasn’t doing any thing zazzlish. The answer was to go to Zazzle and have a look for art created with markers and coloured pencils. I would find loads of art used for designs. Indeed, I did.
Now I know: it is not an either – or thing. Doing art does not mean to give up creating products for my shop. Of course it takes additional time to prepare my art pieces for the design process. But on the other hand: Is it not a wonderful way to show my art to the public?
The fish on the mug above has been drawn with pen and ink and coloured with copic markers.
I have been avoiding to create invitations for a long time on Zazzle. There have been two reasons for that:
- I was not sure whether I would find the proper words.
- The design of an invitation is – at least for me – a whole lot more difficult than just putting a vector drawing or painting on a mug, keychain or sticker. You’ve got to create the background, arrange words and images, find the fitting fonts and the appropriate sizes for the wording.
Well, the first and most simple answer to that question would be: I am putting some designs which I have created first on products like mugs, mousepads, aprons and the like.
But that’s not what I have been asking myself lately. This week my shop on Zazzle is being featured by other shop owners, on their blogs and facebook pages and on twitter. I am a member of a lovely facebook group which – in addition to giving help and encouragement – features one shop owner every week, and I am honoured to be the second featured one.
Everyone is free to select items which he or she likes best; and it is very exciting for me to see which of my products are chosen. It made me also think about what kinds of design I am offering in my shop – what am I doing on Zazzle?
Well, there are 3 kinds of designs:
- Paintings and drawings and
- Graphic design.
I am still experimenting with Inkscape, the free alternative to Adobe Illustrator. One thing I learnt so far: Think in simple objects if you want to design a cartoon character. The rabbit above was created with circles and ellipses and then given a nice gradient brown.
The advantage of vector files is, that you can transform them without data loss: You can scale them, downsize or enlarge them in Photoshop.
In the example below I duplicated the brown rabbit, added a nice set of colourful Easter eggs and then put on the words in a suitable font. I added a style to the layer with the words on it, too. I didn’t chose a background, though, because I wanted to offer the opportunity to possible customers to select their own background.on Zazzle.
An alternative to this would be to provide a gradient background and to do the card without any words. That would make it possible for people interested in the card to add their own words, provided I would give them the opportunity to do so by inserting a textfield while creating the product online on the Zazzle platform.
Having created a rabbit in Inkscape gives me the opportunity to use the design on cards like this one, stickers, mugs or ornaments. I can combine rabbit(s) and eggs, or just take the rabbit as a cute cartoon on a t-shirt for toddlers for example.
Off I go now – Photoshop here I come!
This week you’ve seen me as an artist, a photographer and now I share my design workflow with you.
Usually I begin with doodling around in Inkscape. Inkscape is the open source alternative to Adobe Illustrator. It took me some time to get used to it and to find my way through it.
Inkscape has got a number of interesting filters with which you can produce awesome results. The 3 D looking bird was just a black form until I applied the filter. I am still not decided yet whether to use it for a Zazzle design or not or just leave it as a black form.
In the next step I save the image file in an eps format which makes it possible to change the size and form without loss of data.
Then I open a new file in Photoshop and the eps file also. I can now copy and paste either the single bird or the whole group.
And here is one result of this process:
Creating designs for Zazzle is part of my creative life. I will not discuss here the difference between art and design, because I think that you need to have a good eye for both, and a feeling for the beauty of life. I can look at a flower and see the beauty; I can look at a horse galloping across the pasture and I can see the beauty in the way it moves; I can look at a wine glass and I can see the beauty in its form. (Let me make it clear here that I speak of my way of seeing beauty in the world around me–you may see it not or see it where I won’t see it!)
At work we have a lot of binders, and my sense of beauty cries out whenever I look at them. I hate to file papers, and the way those binders look does not motivate me to change my feelings. At home I try to buy binders which look different – I’ve actually got a binder for my finances which has got some beautiful flowers on it.
So I asked myself why not begin to design binders for Zazzle? Again I took my heart into my hands and did something new. The binder you can see below is my third binder design. I dare to present it to the public, knowing that it is only one small step on the cobblestone road to some more binder designs. Binders, here I come!
It was March 2011 when I began to really create items for my Zazzle store. I can remember how I had to take my heart into my hands and jump – fighting against my inner critic who was telling me that my creations were far from being good enough to be presented to the world.
Well, one year later my inner critic is still grumbling and mumbling, especially when I try out new things like this bookplate.
For the first time I downloaded the guide file and directly worked on that, and I worked on it for the first time with the pen of my graphic tablet. All the other times I opened up a new file in Photoshop which I thought was big enough to cover the mugs, stickers, cards and whatever. Now I know that working with the guide files enables me much more to fit the design to the object in mind – this time a sticker which can be easily used as a bookplate.
I even can imagine myself to try to design a binder, doing it with the guide file. I myself love pretty binders (and I hate the ones we have in the office – just those plain white and black Leitz binders), so I think it could be really fun to have a go with them. So, off to new adventures then!
I love to read real books, and I love to put bookmarks between the pages. Bookshops offer wonderful bookmarks, but I wanted to design my own bookmarks, either for me or to give them away as a present.
Zazzle does not offer a proper bookmark template. Most of the people there use the rather tiny business card template, but I was not very happy with that. My favorite books are the big and heavy ones, and I could see the tiny bookmarks getti9ng lost in them.
So I asked some very experienced Zazzlers (a wonderful group of helpful and supportive people on Facebook) and I did a research on Zazzle’s marketplace (for non-Zazzlers: That’s the webpage where the products are shown) and I found three additional ways of creating a bookmark:
- Bookmarks based on the rack card template. They are big enough, but who wants 50 bookmarks at one time? And 50 bookmarks with the same design? Not me!
- Bookmarks based on the note card template. Well, you’ve got the two bookmarks on the front if you cut the front page, but what about the back page?
- Bookmarks based on the postcard template.
I decided to have a go with the postcard template, and here they are, my first bookmarks done this rather special way:
Yesterday I met a friend, and I showed this card to her. I just wanted to show her what I was doing on Zazzle. I was very pleased when she said that the card was beautiful and that she would like to have it –and some more!–for her cards collection. So I sold the card to her and will order some more.
Probably she would not have bought it online. She could take the card in her hand, feel the good quality of the paper and make sure that the colors were natural.
As a consequence I will order some of my cards from Zazzle in order to show them to people or even to sell them.