Sunday, January 31, 2010

Microstock Report for January 2010

This month was a bit of a turn around from the last couple of months.  At least in December, what with all the holidays, it was a bit slow.
Shutterstock was once again the leader.  And we rallied quite hardily this started very slow - but about half way through we started uploading a lot of new files (33 to be exact) and some of them actually caught on a little while it started off looking like we wouldn't even break the $100 mark for the first time since we started (February of last year)...we had some of the biggest days in a few months.  All in all Shutterstock one again led the pack with almost 50% of the total earnings.  This coming month will be a full year selling stock illustrations, and we just crossed $2000 on Shutterstock.

Second, once again, was Istockphoto with $65.  I think this is one that will be pretty fantastic once we build up enough of a portfolio (currently it's at 71).  They have the hardest site to get accepted into and are the hardest on accepting files.  But we're getting close to breaking the first canister level (which is 250 total sales and comes with a slight pay increase).

Dreamstime is 3rd on the list...and while it hasn't performed terribly well the last few months - they are consistently third...and their contests are one big reason why I've had so many views on my blog recently (every month they do a contest like Illustration Friday, only they have monetary prizes...the only catch is that usually a photograph wins...but not always.  And it's a popularity contest...voted on by those that entered that month).  This month I've also had two people sign up as my referral (I have three total on this site, but only one that uploaded any files).  It took 7 people on Shutterstock before there was someone that actually uploaded files...but I'm hopeful.  My Shutterstock referral has made me just about $18.

Everything else was rather disappointing.  I'm still uploading a lot of files across all the sites and hoping that some of them will turn around.  Vectorstock had a best month ever with $8.75...but that's still pretty pedestrian.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

IF: Clumsy - Learning how to walk...

This is the finished illustration for the little girl learning how to walk.  It's for the stock illustration site Dreamstime.  I did a version of a little boy and a little girl with no background behind them and that was turned I had to revisit the drawing and make it better.  I believe I'll have to actually include a parent in there (I hope this one won't be denied, but it probably will be too) because I think the assignment/contest is for images of someone teaching someone else rather than learning by ones self.  But we'll see...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

IF: More Clumsy First Steps - Vector Illustration

This is another piece for the Dreamstime contest.  For those of you who don't know Dreamstime is a stock image agency.  You have to get approved and have a certain amount of images in your portfolio before you can start entering the monthly contest they have.  This month the contest subject is 'first steps' - which fits in well with Illustration Friday and their topic of clumsy.

This is my second piece for this contest - I originally was just going to do one baby, but since this was in illustrator it was easy to recolor it as a boy and a girl.

Friday, January 22, 2010

IF: Clumsy First Steps Vector Illustration

So this is the final version of this drawing.  I'm thinking of doing it as a digital painting in photoshop (so I can do a bit more texture and shading), but this is what it is for the stock image site Dreamstime.  As I said in my last post, Dreamstime does a contest with a particular theme (not unlike Illustration Friday) - only their contest runs for 3 weeks, they have a prize for the winner ($300), and every participant (who must be a member of Dreamstime) gets a perk (each picture that's accepted in the contest gets sold at a higher price point than a regular file that's uploaded).

Thursday, January 21, 2010

IF: Clumsy First Steps

I started off by doodling on my wacom tablet in Adobe Photoshop.  When I got a good enough rough pose (the left drawing) I pulled my cintiq over and continued to refine it. 

If you're drawing on the computer it's probably better to use a cintiq because you're drawing directly on the screen (whereas a wacom, you're drawing on a pad while looking at a computer screen) while I don't mind doing my roughs that way, when I want to tighten something up I would rather have the precision of a cintiq. 

Anyway - I use different colors just to set off the lines from the previous pass.  The drawing on the right is actually two layers over the rough.  The first layer was done in green to get add dimension, and the second layer was done in brown and was a more solidified line.  You can also see that I moved the kid over a little bit because he was too far away and his arms were getting a bit long.

The drawing below was from a printout.  When I get my rough done in the computer I always feel like I have to go over it with a real pencil (blue lead) and that's almost always how I get my final rough that's ready for clean-up.

I'm doing this illustration for Dreamstime.  It's one of the better stock image agencies (just behind Shutterstock and Istockphoto)...but what's unique about this site is that they do a monthly contest.  Usually illustrators don't win, but it's always nice to enter - not because of how much fun it is to play...but rather, the incentives.  On Dreamstime when you upload an image it has to sell 5 times to bump up to the next level and another 20 times to reach the next...and each level is means that it costs more and more each time it's downloaded.  When you enter a pic into the contest, however (and if it's accepted), it automatically jumps up to level 5 (which means if you didn't do the contest, you'd have to have it sell 100 times to reach that point).  In any case, it's a chance to showcase some work, as well as possibly create business by funneling people into your portfolio through that one picture.

The contest this month is First Steps.  I think my illustration is rather an obvious decision for the topic, but it's also something that might do well.  I just have to clean it up and color it (probably in Illustrator, as stock image sites usually prefer vector art).

And a small ps:
I don't know if anyone else has this sort of problem, but I can't seem to keep my counters.  I started one last year and it, and the website it came from, disappeared at the beginning of December with 23,000 or so views - so I had to start over...and the last counter I had (which started on December 3rd) just crossed the 8000 visitor mark before blinking out earlier this week...

And not that anyone cares, but this post marks the newest blog...and we'll see how high this one will climb before quitting on me...

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

IF: confined

I'm currently working on a project, but that means that most of the drawing that I've been doing the last few weeks are top secret...meaning that I can't post them on my blog.  Instead I kept going to Illustration Friday and since this week's topic is 'confined' I kept thinking of doing this drawing.  Today I finally had a chance.

It's just a simple photoshop rough.  But it was fun...and worth posting.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Christmas Ornaments - renewed challenges

Every Christmas at my work we have a little party for the crew. Each time the big attraction is the annual christmas tree decorations contest. I've been working there for the last 7 years, and have only started competing the last couple. I always sited a lack of time or interest...but usually I was just too lazy.

Last year my wife took an interest, even though she's not on the crew - and so she did an oranment:

It actually won first place in the contest...we won a fancy pancy foot massager.  It was quite nice.  And what's even better is that my wife did quite a fantastic ornament based on a new character that was about to debut on Fairly Odd Parents (the show I work on).

For this Christmas - we had to not only renew our efforts, but improve upon them.  We basically knew that everyone would be gunning for our trophy....and basing most of the ornaments on the new show we're creating called Tuff Puppy.  My wife, once again, pulled out all the stops and did this one (the character was created with Crayola clay):


Sadly, this year we only got 3rd place...there were, at least, 4 other Dudley Puppy ornaments (the winning one was plush and had a jar full of Christmas lights for a belly).  We'll either try harder next year or give up entirely...we haven't decided which yet.

By the way - I did this ornament based on the Fairly Odd Parent's baby Poof.  He's dressed this way because I based it on an episode that hasn't aired yet (we haven't even started designing it all far it's just been storyboarded):


This is the Poof ornament in the Christmas Tree

And because I wanted to overachieve (thinking it would bring us first place) I also did this ornament based on the panda character that I've been drawing all year long:


I took his Santa hat off because I didn't want it to fall off in the tree...and I wasn't sure if the arm and candy cane would be strong enough to hold all of it up...the last thing I wanted was the arm to rip off of his body - especially while the judges were looking.

Anyway - It was a lot of's incredibly challenging for me to do anything with clay.  It's so easy to draw something and make that work...but sculpting a character in real life is hard work.  The clay was so resistant to what I wanted it to do.  I could stick with it and eventually figure it out, but I'd rather stick with my pencil.
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