Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Microstock report for September 2009

shutterstock,istockphoto,microstock,isaac marzioli
Once again the highest earner in September was Shutterstock. It was down a little from the month previous, but I guess the new images didn't generate as much interest as we would have liked...I have a bunch of Halloween illustrations that I'm hoping generate interest, but not so far. But even without a popular image, the site still continues to impress with constant and steady downloads.

Istockphoto - is still impressing me. It's our BME (an abbv they always use meaning Best Month Ever) on this site...and we're also up to 55 images (they are very selective with what they approve as apposed to Shutterstock which will accept most anything...which is why the Shutterstock is almost at 500 and the istockphoto portfolio is only 55.) What's nice about Istockphoto is that while you'll get less downloads per month, each one is worth more...I expect Istockphoto to just continue to grow and I'm excited to see the numbers as the days go by...

Third up is (always) Dreamstime. It was such a disappointing month in August - so it's nice to see it rebound a bit with $34.52. The biggest problem is that Dreamstime was freezing my internet explorer whenever I tried to upload an image - I finally switched to Firefox and was able to get it to work.

Fourth was a surging
. We had tons of sales early (3 dollars here, 50 cents there) and then suddenly it dried up...still ended with $18.50 for the month, but the way it started made it look much more exciting than where it ended.

A big surprise this month was I had written this site off as well as Crestock because we weren't getting any downloads off of them at all. But suddenly this site shoots into 5th place with $13.51! I was quite surprised, but it got me to upload a lot more illustrations to their site. It would be nice if it continued...and if it continued to go up...

Fotolia has been quite a disappointment after a stellar start back in March. We did better this last month ($12.45) than the one previous ($4.55 in August)...but downloads are way down and few and far between. We're still dedicated to them because we're at 99 downloads currently (and when we reach 100, that's when a small pay increase kicks in).

Anyway - this month overall was better than the previous one. We made a total of $318.48 between all the stock sites we are on (9 total)...and I just uploaded some realistic baseball caps to each hopefully that one takes off and I can report BMEs in every one...see ya next month!

Monday, September 28, 2009

IF: Pattern part 2

I mentioned it in my last post - but this is my most successful piece on Shutterstock (a site where one can upload their illustrations and/or photographs and make money if anyone downloads them...):


And what one must do when they upload their work as stock imagery is have a variety of options (such as variation on shape and color and composition)

What follows are the original images I created with these dots that eventually led to the image above.  If I never continued to experiment on this theme, I would have never run across my most successful image ever:

I had 6 versions (some were really bad and weren't uploaded) before #7 (which is the good one up above).  Spurred on by the success of all of these files, I continued with these ones (the first one, is my second most successful dot pattern illustration):

The third image (just above) with the 3D looking dots was accomplished using the 3d effect in Adobe Illustrator and then applying a warp effect.
And finally I decided that I had jumped the shark when I finished with this image:
It's just really really really lame.  But I thought i was creating a really cool pattern with these tube dots.  Turns out that wasn't the case...and it hasn't had one download.  But I don't blame people, it's a horrible looking piece.
I did revisit the theme a couple of times more, with color changes (because I can't ever stop)...

So when I say I'm done with this theme, I really only mean that it's on hold until I can think of another way to apply the dot pattern in an interesting way.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

IF: Patterns on stock...

I've been uploading images to Shutterstock since March...and I've had my share of hits and misses.  One of my best pieces on Shutterstock is this dot pattern:

A smart way to go about working in stock illustration is to have a variety of options within a particular subject matter. I did several dot patterns that eventually led to the above illustration (which is our highest earner on Shutterstock). What follows are two more variations (although there ended up being quite a bit more...some sold well for a while, but nothing replicated the success of the original image...I still consider it worth while though as those new images did lead to more downloads).
This one was a combination of the original image, a quick change of color, and a 'grunge' pattern that I created. Apparently grunging up a picture is very hot on stock illustration, although I don't believe I've fully grasped the concept.
This image kept the color, but I attempted to change the dot pattern in an interesting way by having it do less of a waterfall look, and more of a swooping motion. I thought it added a lot more action to the piece.

Anyway - here's another way in which I expanded my Shutterstock portfolio:

I started with this quick image:
Obviously these are very (VERY) simple colored eggs. It sold a bit around Easter (which was when I created the image). At the same time I did a rose illustration that I turned into this seamless rose pattern background:

Then I took those roses and the eggs and combined them to create Easter Eggs with a very complicated rose painted on:I have a lot more illustrations on Shutterstock - you can search under my name - or sign up yourself and sell your own illustrations, just click on anywhere that I said Shutterstock (except for that one) or at this link -

Anyway - thanks for reading! And I'll try to do less of a stupid ad for the next Illustration Friday...but the topic of pattern led me to my stock work...

Friday, September 18, 2009

IF: music - the choir


I did this piece for Shutterstock. It's one in a number of illustrations that I put up on that Stock photography/illustration site. Well...I actually didn't put this particular piece up - there's this small piece here...

The giant infinite number of kids picture was actually too memory intensive for the stock it will only live on here...This drawing started out simply as single kid drawings:

These were variations on one prototype, then I turned them into angels singing on a cloud:

and then back into little kids who were just singing on stage. I think an important part of uploading stock imagery is to have a lot of variations on one theme - first because it allows a prospective client to have many choices, and secondly because if they like one, maybe they'll like another and download both...or because you never know which one will be the 'successful' one.

There's an abstract dot background that I did way back in April:


And this one was my 4th or 5th variation on the dots in perspective...but somehow and for whatever reason this one is the one that took off and has made over $100 all by itself on Shutterstock.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

IF: Welcome

Last week I did a picture of the Panda flexing (I'm thinking of calling him pepper, but I'm not sure yet because pepper panda is horrible...character names usually shouldn't start with the same letter as it's been quite played out).
Since then, I haven't really had time to do another illustration - but I modified this one to where his flexy arms are now welcoming arms and he's standing on a mat, waiting to be welcomed into your home (the mat even says welcome, just to hammer the point home).

And, I guess, this one has more of a background, but still maintains it's simplicity.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

IF: Strong - panda flex

So I just did a couple of quick photoshop sketches for this week's illustration friday topic.
This is my panda character flexing his little heart out.  All the ladies want to be him and all the, also want to be him...?  Anyhow - enjoy the muscles people...

I only wish this entry into this week's topic wasn't so late - I had this in my mind for a few days - and it would have been nice to redraw it in Illustrator and then revise it and clean it up again and paint it in photoshop for real...but time is least I got this out before the week was over...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

lil' girl on computer

This is another illustration I did really quick for Shutterstock. I liked this because I did a little bit of a brushstroke on it...sure I just used the default brushes that come with Illustrator, but I manipulated them in a way that worked for this illustration...and it brought a bit more interest to an otherwise simple drawing.

Now for those of you who don't know - Shutterstock is a stock illustration/photography site. You sign up (by uploading 10 pictures, which, when accepted means you can start selling stock images!) and you can upload any and/or all of the pictures you want. Shutterstock has the easiest approval rate of all the stock sites (with Istockphoto being the hardest)...and usually the most return. I've been signed up since February and even without uploading many pictures the last three months I'm still clearing $100 each month.

And while that doesn't sound like that much - a bunch of people can make quite a bit more - there's this one gal in Germany who's user name is AKaiser who frequently has 4 or 5 images in the top 50 (meaning that each image is selling at a minimum of 10 times a day or more) she probably pulls in over a grand each month. She's pretty great though - her images are always on the cusp of what's popular on stock (and usually she sets the standard that everyone else copies).

Anyway - there are levels that one can achieve with Stock - you can do it as a hobby or as a hard core enthusiast and either way it's a lot of fun (especially when your stuff is downloaded).

One last thing - during the first $500 you make on Shutterstock, each download is 25 cents. When you reach 500 (to 3000 dollars) each download is 33 cents (that's where I am right now).

Monday, September 07, 2009

IF: Strong...Puppy on Rug

I've been a part of stock illustration/photography sites such as Shutterstock. You make money when people download your pictures.

Recently I've been terribly busy elsewhere - and as such, my stock illustration submissions have been a little subpar. While not terrible, they just weren't as strong as they could be if I had given the pieces a little bit more time or attention.

Anyway - I'm working on strengthening my stock portfolio - and this is one of the firsts in that line...I'm going to try a bit of cartoon work.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Shutterstock illustrations...

Just a couple of little things I've put up on Shutterstock...hopefully they'll sell...

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Microstock report for August, 2009

stock,illustration,Isaac Marzioli

This month surged in some places and sunk to new lows in others. I finally had more time to do some stock images - I added over 20 images to Shutterstock (some good, some bad...some had pretty decent starts, but never ended up going anywhere).

Once again Shutterstock was tops.  I made $162 while uploading 20 or so new images.  I'd say quite a few of those 'new' images were reworkings of older images.  Total time spent on creating new images was still very low...and that lack of time and care might have kept those new images from reaching any substantial download totals.  What's nice to know is that if you upload new stuff to this site - it seems as if people will search through the rest of your portfolio and download other things (older illustrations that haven't had downloads in forever were suddenly getting multiple downloads).  And other illustrations that had a similar theme to newer ones were also getting downloaded.  So while it didn't seem to effect the totals of the other sites, Shutterstock really pays off to keep a constant flow of uploads...

It also helped that we had our first EL download on Shutterstock.  An EL is an Extended License agreement, and instead of the usual .33 cents per download, these are $28 downloads.  These types of downloads are rare in general, and even rarer for illustrations.  

Istockphoto wasn't nearly as good as last month ($52 as opposed to $65 in July), but the last two months have been the most successful months on this site...and I've got more images approved than ever before (I used to get denied 9 out of every 10 images I uploaded) I think I'm getting the hang of what they want and how to format my files appropriately.

One big disappointment was Dreamstime - the downloads happened every couple of days like they usually have on this site - but this time there were no big downloads (everything was .35 rather than a couple of bucks or 5 dollars here and there).  I also wasn't able to upload any of my new files because the uploading page kept freezing my internet.  I'm going to try again soon enough, and maybe the bigger downloads will start back up.  On an upside, I finally have my first referral that's actually uploading pictures!

The last one I'll talk about is Fotolia - They were an incredibly disappointment.  The worst thing is that they've got a new uploading process that's different from all the other sites (you have to have a higher res jpg zipped in a folder with the illustrator eps file).  This is very different from where they were 2 or 3 months ago where I only had to resave my eps file as a svg (a vector format that wasn't as popular as they first expected that was web friendly), and upload that - and it made it's own jpg preview.  On top of this, I uploaded almost as many files on this site as on Shutterstock, and yet I saw absolutely no uploads.  It's frustrating because it was one of my middle of the pack microstock sites, and it's just stalled.  I keep getting a ton of views for my pictures, but no downloads.

Anyhow - this month, except for Shutterstock, it was going to be hard to compete with the previous month or so because I got ELs on a few of the other sites (Dreamstime  in June for $28, Fotolia and StockXpert in July for $12 each).  So while this month made about 30 dollars less than the previous two months did (the last two months were in the $290's), my microstock sites still generated enough business to make it interesting and fun.  That's the biggest thing for me - as long as it's interesting (and it's mostly Shutterstock that's providing the most interest) I'll keep creating new illustrations.
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