Friday, April 30, 2010

Microstock report for April 2010

Here's the chart!

It's no surprise that Shutterstock, once again, dominated the chart.  It ended up with less than either of the last two months (which have been quite strong compared to the more recent months)...but only because we had an EL (a big $28 sale) each of the last two months.  We did have more downloads this month than in February and we ended April with quite a big upswing as well as quite a few new uploads such as these ones:

And on Istockphoto - it was a little bit down, but with more images accepted this month and with many more ideas (still in my head) on the way, we're bound to see better results. Almost $100 in a month isn't so bad...but I would like it to be higher and will be pressing towards that goal and beyond.

Dreamstime was disappointing - especially considering I've been quite involved in the monthly contest. I feel like it should be driving my sales up quite a bit more...but at least the images from the contests are at a higher selling point and are selling, so the contest images have pushed Dreamstime over $30 for the month...but barely...

And then there's the rest - Fotolia once competed for the third spot with Dreamstime, but now we barely get any sales on that site...and it's angling to be the worst among our stock image sites.  And it's sad because it's the 3rd highest portfolio online (behind Shutterstock and Dreamstime).  Strange...

Anyhow - that's the stock report for this month.  It was a fun showing on Shutterstock and a decent one on Istockphoto - it continues to be interesting, and it's fun to try and create new images to speculate on.  Some of the more complex images (such as the little boy and little girl praying) didn't ignite like I expected them to, but that only really affects Shutterstock...the other stock sites tend to have a slow ramping up for an image and it could get hot even months after it was originally uploaded...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Getting a head or two or three...

This is a vector illustration for a variety of stock image sites. I wanted to do a drawing about the diversity of the world's children.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Wheat Field and getting ahead

I did these two illustrations for the monthly Dreamstime contest.  This is my third month in a row trying to upload images to the contest (I haven't won yet...but it's not about that...exposure is more important...until I do win, of course).  The wheat field background was originally going to be the field that the farmer was standing in...but I went a little too far with the detail and it kind of pushed the Farmer completely out.

Then I had to figure out a background for the farmer - and instead of detailed, I went very simple.

The result fits with the style I was working in.

The contest started this last thursday - it's important, if you're going to be in the contest to upload images at the beginning to give yourself a head start on the competition.  First of all you get more views...half way through and even at the end there are too many images and they tend to get lost.  And secondly, the longer they're featured on the front page (each image randomly shows up on the front page of Dreamstime to promote the contest), the more chances a person has of licensing that image.

And finally - I usually start with a circle when I draw a head.  And this time, since I was drawing an older fella, I thought I should change it up and went with a different shape.  I think it worked out quite nicely.  The circle head tends to make my characters look too young (which is fine when drawing a kid, but not as nice for older folk).

Friday, April 16, 2010

Lil' Girl Praying

This is a variation on the previous illustration - I wanted to do another kid kneeling and praying.  So, to get the effect of it being a completely different illustration I changed the boy into a girl and the shades of blue into pinks and purples.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Links to religion

I've been doing a series of 'spiritual/religious' illustrations for Dreamstime.  They have a month long contest that just ended...and I wasn't able to finish this one in time.  So instead of just posting it to Dreamstime (a contest entry means you have to have that image be exclusive with them), I'm going to upload it to all the stock sites I'm on.

This illustration has been in the works for the last two weeks.  I originally did a drawing of a little girl praying and got a lot of feedback about how kids are usually shown kneeling in front of their bed before bedtime.  So this illustration reflects that feedback.  I scanned in a pen drawing and cleaned it up and colored it in Adobe Illustrator.  I've only been able to upload it to one site so far (Shutterstock) because they take Illustrator 10 files and all the other sites only accept Illustrator 8.

I'm using Adobe Illustrator CS3, but because of the nature and slow evolution of the stock image market, they only accept illustrator 8 files - so I always have to back save it.  Shutterstock has taken a small step forward and (only in the last month or so) started accepting Illustrator 10 files.  That means that for all the sites you cannot use the new filters or effects (such as transparencies) or when it's reopened the file is corrupt or, at least, ruined.

Take, for example, the image above.  It's fine if saved as an Illustrator 10 file.  But if you save it as an Illustrator 8 file - all the blends I did to get the highlights on the kid turn from 2 circles (to get the effect) to 25 or so circles.  It ends up looking like a sloppy color job and raises the file's size.  And then the transparency to get the light effect rasterizes (which is death for vector files) as does the lens flares that went into making the light in the sky.

So - I spent the last two hours last night changing all the blend effects on the boy to gradients and changing the transparencies to a series of different shapes to fake the effect.  And I'm stuck on the light...I might have to completely redo that part.  But we'll see.  Stupid Illustrator 8.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Bedroom Background

Recently on Shutterstock we've been getting a lot of downloads on a bed line drawing I did for my Adelia children's book.  When we first signed up to these stock illustration sites I went through my entire library of illustrator (vector) drawings and pulled out all the characters (such as Adelia) that I wanted to protect (and not sell) and ended up with a bunch of background element illustrations.

So I thought I'd dust off this old illustration and redo it (my wife helped with the color) as a complete image.
Bedroom Background
media: Adobe Illustrator

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Holding up the World and Linking Hands

For this image I had to dip into my archive of stock images - the likes of which I've submitted to Shutterstock, Istockphoto, and Dreamstime.  Actually - Istockphoto turned it down because I used a map and they need copyright information on it, even though its my own drawing based on a map...So nuts to them.

But anyway - I did a series of earths last year - as circle globes, and as hearts...and then I did some as green worlds (capitalizing on the whole green fad...which I expect will fade soon enough...fade as the globe warms and we all dry out).  And about a month ago I drew a series of kids - a variety of boys and girls - just each individual little kid standing - and redrew them holding hands.  And voila...instantly a new image (I also took some grass that I had done as a set of gardening icons).

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Illuminated Spirituality

This is another image I've uploaded to Dreamstime for their monthly contest.  I wanted to create an illustration (in adobe illustrator) that fit the topic (religion and spirituality) that was also not specific so it's appeal could be more universal.  Of course those familiar with the three wisemen on their way to pay homage to the birth of Jesus are going to draw those parallels.  But it could also be a small group of pilgrims traveling towards a religious place...guided by a light.

My wife originally did a space illustration - and I wanted to use that as my sky (as I really liked the colors she put into the radial gradient that makes the light).  So I wanted to post this image (which we uploaded to all the stock illustration sites) to give her credit for her color choices (and illustrative skills).

Friday, April 02, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Goodness

This is an illustration for Shutterstock:

This was a collaborative effort by my wife and I.  She did all the realistic strawberry stuff and the choco drip down the wall, and I used a gradient mesh to make the chocolate on the strawberry.  It was done completely in Adobe Illustrator - using a lot of blends.
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