Thursday, June 17, 2010

Give a shark a hand.

So everyone knows just how tasty shark fins are...but it seems kinda rude to grab a shark and yank off a couple of fins and throw him back...the idea was batted around to improve the sharks with bionic parts...and that's how the 6 million dollar shark was born.

Sadly, after a promising pilot and speculation of a season pickup...all the smart studios passed on the bionic shark idea...because it was stupid.

But that left sharks flopping around on the bottom of the ocean floor.  So a new idea came to some people who had a surplus of puppies.

And since nothing is cuter than a three legged dog, it just made sense to do a bit of creative chopping and give those extra limbs to the sharks.  So while it's hard for them to be scary predators, they can at least doggy paddle over to a boat to beg for scraps...

The only thing that sucks is that after I finished this (horrible) drawing I realized that it was probably the back fin thing, not the swimmy fins that people are eating in soups and as jerky. 

Anyhow - viola - shark doggy paddle.

Monday, June 14, 2010

back of the postcard finished!

 This is the other half of the postcard:

And this is what it'll look like when it's printed (and stamped and labeled):

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Chased by Bees

Here's part of the finished illustration for 'chased by bees'.  It's half of the back of a postcard I'll be sending out to children's book publishers.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Chased by bees

This is a rough drawing that's part of the back of a new postcard I'm working on.

And here's the cleanup I did for it in Adobe Illustrator:
She's on the run with bees trailing behind her.

Soccer Family

This is a companion piece to the Tennis Family.  This was cleaned up and colored in Adobe Illustrator.  It's another contest piece for Dreamstime.  I didn't think I'd care for the topic this month of Family Sports...but just one week in and I've illustrated three pieces for it.

I thought it'd be okay to post to Illustration Friday because there is a trail - and it goes right by where this family is playing Soccer.  The previous illustration (Tennis Family) didn't have anything even remotely resembling the topic (unless I said something like the one team trailed the other)...but that would have been lame.  And this time, but only this time, I figured I'd only post something if it actually matched the topic.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Tennis Family

This is another illustration for the Dreamstime contest.  I originally did the basketball dad and son for the same contest, but decided against it because of how well I thought it turned out.  This one also turned out better than I originally expected (I was working with a style of character that was very stylized and that I hadn't done before).

I originally drew it without the girl in front - but I think she adds so much more dimension to the piece.  There's a lot of green in this picture, but I think it helps 'pop' the characters...and also, from the courts I've played on, the color scheme is very similar.  I drew each character separately in my sketchbook, and then cleaned them up in Adobe Illustrator and placed them on a tennis court I drew way back in 2006 (for a children's book that never went anywhere)...and I colored the entire thing in Adobe Illustrator (well, I did a first pass at color, then my wife took a pass, and then I finished it off by adding gradients).

And for those of you who don't know - Dreamstime is one of the big microstock sites - they hold a monthly contest where the top three prizes are hundreds in cash.  The contest is open to site uploaders (whether it be illustrations or photographs) with at least 50 images in their portfolio.  And even if your image doesn't win, it is still bumped up to a higher selling bracket...

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Basketball picture done!

I was inspired to do this illustration from one of the stock illustration sites that I upload to (Dreamstime).  They hold a monthly contest that I've been uploading images to...but when I drew this one (in Adobe Photoshop) I thought it looked too good to waste on one site.

I also know that I won't be winning the contest (as photographs are heavily favored), so having to exclusively upload it on the off chance it'll place in the contest seemed like a horrible fate for this illustration.

Anyway - I really like how it turned out - the kid's face is a little more cartoony than the dad's face...but that's just what happens in their world - the older you get, the more realistic you get...or something like that.

Oh - and a big deciding factor was that it felt like it could sell well on Istockphoto - and because of all the elements (two characters, action, a full background with depth) that it would sell for a lot more per download.  I just uploaded it to the site, so it'll take about a week to get approved...we'll see how well it does.

And finally - I did the original sketch in photoshop (like I said above), but then colored it completely in Adobe Illustrator.  My wife Tracey did a color pass (because she's better at color than I am) and then I added all the shadows and gradients to round out the illustration.

Microstock report for May of 2010

This month had a couple of upswings.  Shutterstock was once again the best microstock site of the month.  There were no ELs once again (after three months straight with EL is a $28 download), but it was a pretty consistent month.  And what's nice is that we're closing in on our next raise (from 33 cents for a regular download to 36 cents, and from $2.48 for On Demand downloads to $3.00).  And we should have our raise by July.

In second place for a year straight was Istockphoto.  They've been second since we got approved on the site, but this is the Best Month Ever for Istock.  Our previous high was back in October when the Chocolate Covered Strawberry sold as an EL).  With a sixth of the portfolio of Shutterstock, Istockphoto is really doing quite well with very little.  It's much harder to get a file on Istockphoto than it is on Shutterstock - the trade off is that you'll get more downloads per day on Shutterstock, but each download will earn more money on Istockphoto (which almost evens out the sites).  For example, this month we averaged about 13 downloads a day on Shutterstock and we averaged 1.6 downloads on Istockphoto.

Our regular third place finisher is, as always Dreamstime.  May turned out to be the second best month ever on always seems like we should be doing better on this site, but it tends to have stretches without any downloads.  What's nice is that Dreamstime has a monthly contest, (the illustrations I've contributed have to be exclusive to this site) and the images have been selling...slowly, but selling.  It's slower than the top two, but it's still worth contributing to.

The next in line was a bit of a surprise - BigStockPhoto came out of nowhere and reclaimed 4th place.  It has been pretty middling and, like Fotolia, threatened to compete for last place...but an EL on this site (which, for some reason, is only $16) helped pull it's numbers up.  I don't understand it though...this site, like Fotolia, continue to earn less than $20 a month (except for rare EL months) even though I continue to pump new files onto the site.  I figure it's just a matter of time when one (or hopefully more) of these files strike a cord with the site's customers.  In the meantime I'll just concentrate on the big three microstock sites (shutterstock, istockphoto, and dreamstime).

And to wrap things up - the rest of the show wasn't so bad.  Vectorstock is a site that a lot of Vector artists (people, like myself, who submit images created completely in Adobe Illustrator) warn against as they pay the least of any site (and have the most unrealistic raise goals)....and while I haven't uploaded my entire Shutterstock portfolio, I still have a pretty decent amount.  And each month it's getting better.  Last month was the first time I was able to request a payout (of $100) and it was also our Best Month Ever with $14.25.  It should take until August (at this pace) to finally reach the next level and get a raise (from 25 cents a download to 30 cents)...It's only taken a year and a half...
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