Saturday, July 31, 2010

Microstock Report for July 2010

It was a bit of an off month for microstock.  There were a couple of reasons though - most people agree that the summer months are very slim (just like the bit of time right after Christmas) it's to be expected to have a drop off from the spring numbers.  We made almost $400 last month (which was still a little bit down from the month before) and for July we only pulled in $323.

But I'm not terribly disappointed because the second reason is that we really didn't invest any time into uploading new images.  And you HAVE to upload new images consistently if you want to see your numbers go up.

Our number one site since we started this whole stock image venture is Shutterstock.  What's nice is that we've passed another 'raise' on this site - after you make a total of $500 lifetime on Shutterstock, you go from making 25 cents an image to 33 cents - and in July we crossed $3000 which means we now make 36 cents an image.  It doesn't sound like a lot - but it adds up since we average somewhere between 350-500 image downloads per month.

Second on the list, once again - is the powerhouse of Istockphoto.  It's a site that should be a bigger seller, but we just don't have enough images on it.  And I submitted several new images (the same ones I submitted to the other sites) and they were declined.  It's the struggle one goes through to work with Istockphoto...but its definitely worth it.

Dreamstime was our 3rd place finisher (yet again).  The top three seem to always fall in line.  What's nice is that Dreamstime finally had some life this month and recorded a respectable number for the first time in a few months.  $40 still isn't where I want it to be, but it's getting there.  As the portfolio grows, so will the numbers.

Fotolia surprised me with a 4th place finish - it's the second month in a row that recorded decent numbers (decent for Fotolia).  I used to be able to count on this site, but have been very disappointed in the last year or so.  And since this is where our second highest portfolio is (with almost 300 images), we should definitely be getting more downloads.

The rest of the field is pretty small potatoes.  Vectorstock looks like it'll regularly come in with double digits in earnings...but the rest is just too hit and miss.  I signed up for a new site called StockFresh - it's by the same people that created Stockxpert (which they then sold, and it was subsequently shut down) we'll see if anything happens there.  Oh - and I also signed up for Veer - they offered some duckets to just upload images, so I made about $11 putting about 40 images up on that site - and while there have been a couple hundred views, there has yet to be a sale...but the site just relaunched, so, while I don't know what to should sell something soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Marshmallow reality

I posted an image a few months ago of the dog and cat character in a trunk shaped plane flying towards the sun as they held their marshmallows out to be toasted.  The idea was that this ridiculous concept was their imagination - and the below illustration is the reality.  But while both drawings have the characters doing something silly, why wouldn't you want to go to a real source of heat (like the Sun) instead of using artificial means to achieve a tasty toasted marshmallow?

First off - here was the original drawing:

Then I cleaned it up in Adobe Illustrator:

And after that I imported the lines into Photoshop (pasting it so I could choose to keep the vector lines intact).  I colored the piece in Photoshop and when I finished I used 'edit content' to take the illustration back into Illustrator to self color the lines.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

IF: Double sided postcard in full color

So I finally finished with my next promotional postcard - I've been working on it on and off for the last three or four months. 

Each person that sends out a postcard does it a different way - I prefer to have illustrations on both sides, and in full color.

This is the front of the postcard:

And this is the back:

Sunday, July 25, 2010

IF: doubled flowers

So I was reading a couple of the best art magazines (Juxtapoz and Hi-Fructose)and it inspired me to try and do something a little outside of my usual parameters.  This is what I came up with:

It's really the first time I've drawn these characters, so they should develop a lot more as I work my way through them.  The original idea was that I wanted to do three characters using basic shapes to make them - the circle, the square and the triangle.  Then I wanted to put something weird on each one of their heads - and really was stumped after putting a toe on the circle's head.  So the triangle ended up getting eyeballs on antennas, and the square originally had the number 2 on top of his head, but that changed to green horns when I cleaned up the drawing.

I wanted to populate the grass with a lot of flowers and originally had one type of flower that I was going to duplicate over and over...but that didn't look as good as I thought it would - so instead I drew a series of strange flowers and then copied it and put it's double somewhere on the other side of the hill.

After coloring it in Photoshop I took the original lines (which I keep as vector, so I can continue to edit them if necessary) into Illustrator and self colored the lines.  What makes it really easy is to copy over the color into illustrator as well, and then change all the lines into shapes.  Then you can just select a line you want to color, eyedrop a color and darken it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

IF: Animals in eggs in double and triple!

So this started as a panda in an egg and then doubled into a fox in an egg and then finally it's third incarnation was the skunk in an egg.

I really liked these quick little sketches - so I figured I'd clean them up and see about painting them:

I really liked the skunk character the I decided to paint that one first (and by paint, I mean color in photoshop).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Stuck in Traffic

This is another illustration that's waiting to be approved for the Dreamstime contest.  It's completely out of my element to draw adults and to draw it's fun to participate in the contests as I get to practice my hand at things out of my comfort level.

This is the rough drawing:

I was all set to go ahead with this one when I was told that traffic doesn't flow in that direction.  So I had to flip the drawing to make it correct, but then the driver (in the lower left hand corner) was no longer behind the wheel (well...he was behind a wheel, but then it didn't make sense because he was on the wrong side of the car) I made him a passenger and had to draw in a driver.  But then it turned them into a carpool and everything was okay.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alternative to Traffic

I did this illustration for the Dreamstime contest this month.  The topic is everyday transportation.  It's been nice since we moved last year that I'm within walking distance of work.  And sometimes I actually take my legs up on the offer and walk (but usually I get a ride).

Oh, and I'm usually in shorts...not a suit.

And for those of you who don't know - Dreamstime is a stock image agency - the contest is for members with at least 50 images online (which isn't that hard if you draw a lot, or take a lot of professional quality photographs).  Vector images sell better than regular ones (this illustration was done in Adobe Illustrator and I used a variety of gradients and blends to help make the drawing a little more complex and well rounded).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

IF: Diary in full color!

I did a bunch of changes to the original drawing - now there's no rug, no stripes in the bed...and now it's in full color.

People shouldn't be so surprised that their diaries end up getting read.

From the original - I wasn't happy that the bed was one color...and the floor bothered me.  Also I drew something outside the window - I then went on a different layer and painted over it to make it look more abstract and window like.

And here's yet another revision (it's getting close to completion!):

IF: Diary

I was against the topic when I first saw it - but then instead of drawing a character having a quiet moment with their diary (and having to come up with something clever for them to say), I thought it would be more fun to have an illustration of a character being caught reading another's diary.

I'm just starting the color part of this drawing - so it has a bit to go.

And isn't that really the only point of having a diary?  So someone else can read it?  And isn't it a law that if you find someone else's diary, don't you have to take a gander?

Anyway - the line art was done in adobe illustrator and the color was started in photoshop (the kitten is done, now all I have to do is the background and the pup).

Thursday, July 08, 2010

IF: Giant Piano

I've been working on this throughout the week and didn't finish until the last day of the current topic on Illustration Friday.

It's a cute little Panda playing on a giant piano.

here are a couple of thumbnails I did to rough out this piece:

This is the final version:

I showed the piece to my illustration crit group and they suggested a couple of minor changes.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

IF: Giant and ready for popping

I don't know what it was that made me think of this - maybe all the people drawing giants for the theme 'giants'.  But I was trying to think of something that would fit the theme (unlike my previous entry) and would not be something that everyone was drawing...

Anyway - I illustrated it in Adobe Photoshop - and used a brush I usually don't use for the entire thing to give it a specific texture and unified look.  It started as a pimple...but I added a couple of hairs, so maybe it's a wart or mole.  It probably needs to be lanced, in any case.

Monday, July 05, 2010

IF: Giant leap of imagination

I decided to do a tonal study type of drawing based on this little thumbnail drawing I did:

I thought it would be a cute, but more importantly, easy illustration to finish.  And the next thing I know the weekend is gone and I just finished.  I think the problem was that since I did it in the computer (photoshop) I was able to noodle as much detail as I wanted to - and instead of just doing a straight silhouette, I ended up wanting to put some detail in the plane and characters.

Anyway - this is how it turned out:

Here's a slight revision (I changed the clouds and added highlights):

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Speaking of props - trunk train

I was working on my own project and this is one of the drawings to come out of it:

If nothing else it's good to practice prop design as well as character design.  You never know when you'll be called on to create something.

Friday, July 02, 2010

dirigible prop

If you work in animation - at some point or other (unless you're one of those jerks who's really really good at networking) you'll have to take a test for another position you want.  Whether it's color stylist (character and prop color), storyboards, revisionist, cleanup, character or prop design - there's a test for each position.

This is a dirigible that I recently did for a test...before this I hadn't even heard of the word before - but apparently it's a giant balloon...some people would call it a blimp - but, I guess, dirigible sounds more I drew a dirigible (not a blimp).

On a show where there's cg elements - the artist has to do the drawing from several angles so the cg modeler can build it easier in Maya.  So the test was to draw a dirigible, draw the same one from several views and also include sketches rough sketches of other dirigibles to show your thought process.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Microstock report for June, 2010

Shutterstock was the winner, once again - it was a nice month with another EL (a $28 dollar sale) helping to pull June above last month's total.  It looks like we added a bunch of images (a lot of them were variations on older designs), but we really didn't pay that much attention to the stock sites for the last couple of we've been busy with other projects.  It's nice to see them still getting downloads.

Istockphoto almost beat last month's BME (best month ever)...but lost by a buck and a half.  It's still a great site and as we add more images it produces more sales.  Baseball caps and candy - those are my two images (I illustrated the caps, my wife Tracey drew the candy) that are selling the most (each with over $100 worth of sales each lifetime on the site).

Dreamstime was third.  I had the second most downloads on this site ever, but yet half the total from the month while the site has a lot of action, it's for subscription downloads (35 cents) and not as many credit downloads.

Bigstockphoto was back to it's disappointing self...once again failing to break 10 dollars for the month.  The previous month had an EL, which is why it was so high - but with as many new images as I put on Shutterstock, it's rather annoying that nothing is picking up here.

And then there's the rest - I forgot to put them in order of earnings (like I usually do) - and Fotolia came through in a way that it hasn't since spring of last year - but it cleared 20 dollars!  And Vectorstock almost matched last month's BME for that site...and nice to see that while downloads are slow (it's still one of the smaller sites), they are growing.

Stockxpert closed in February, but all the images have been moved over to Thinkstock - only I can't access that site and all the earnings are reported on my stockxpert page.  Strange how they went about that - and unfortunate considering Stockxpert was my 4th highest earner and now Thinkstock brings in about $5 a month...Another thing that's annoying is that they record the previous month's earnings only once.  Every other site updates daily...but Stockxpert/Thinkstock do it once a month.

Crestock is definitely a site worth avoiding.  I've been having a hard time uploading images for the last three or four months (which is why the number stays at 99)...and the sales have suffered since the beginning of the year.  Last month I had zero sales...and this month only 2, which amounted to .50 cents.  But it's a site I'm going to start ignoring.

And finally - I also joined Veer last month because they were running a promotion where they'd pay you for every image they I uploaded about 60 illustrations and have half accepted and the other half still pending...So I made some sort of cash from the ones they approved, but the site doesn't seem to be very user friendly so it's difficult to figure out.  None of the files has yet to be downloaded, so it doesn't really matter's a new site (for me) and we'll see how it goes.
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