Sunday, July 31, 2011

What a square adoption

I was working on this illustration way back in February when my computer fell apart on me and I was left without Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop.  I had to wait until the computer came back from the shop and I could see whether or not any of my files were salvageable.

The computer decided it wasn't on it's last leg, and I upgraded to CS5...and then I forgot about this illustration.  I'm currently updating my website ( and I discovered it again while going through my files.  I didn't have a background on it, and while i originally was going to have them in front of a supermarket, I went with a more whimsical background.  I almost drew eyes in on the hills, but everyone is doing that these days, so I refrained.

I did the illustration to commemorate our adopting two little kittens from Forgotten Animals of LA.  They're a fantastic organization that goes in and rescues strays and finds homes for needy animals.  And what's nice is that they have huge hearts and really care about what they do.  They even take in sick animals that the owners have given up on and get them treated.

Our two cats are the ones in front - they're twins. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mario plays the Wii

I've been holding off buying a Wii because I knew I'd get addicted.  Sadly that resolve to stay away came to an end when I was offered one for free.  So what was I supposed to do but take it?  That was a month ago, and I've been playing Mario Kart ever since.  Its an obsession that just got worse this morning when I finally hooked the Wii up to the internet.

At work someone e-mailed us that there's an art gallery called "Super Iam8-bit" with artwork based on the old 80's video games.  So all of that inspired me to paint this.  I drew a rough in photoshop, cleaned it up on a separate layer, and then colored it.

Of course, I look more like this playing video games:

Monday, July 18, 2011

IF: Gesture

Originally I wasn't going to do a drawing for this week because all I could think of when I thought of the Illustration Friday topic of 'Gesture' was this:

And I couldn't have my cute little characters flipping the birds - although when I first started out my brother and I had a comic strip and something similar to this was our first gag - a penguin standing on an iceberg flipping off a flock of birds as they flew by.  Juvenile, but it cracked us up.

Anyway - I originally drew the hand, but decided it was better to 'blur' it we all know what she's doing.  And Adelia (the character above) is really too classy for such things.

I then thought about scanning in some old gesture drawings:
I still ended up quickly drawing this gesture drawing of a snooty waiter, but then it clicked and I started a revision of an old Adelia illustration:
I'm having to completely redraw Adelia as I want her to look younger and cuter (so I'm making the eyes bigger and lowering them on her face - and the squaremania characters went through a big change from where they started as her side kicks...But this, if finished, would make a better drawing for Illustration Friday - a kind gesture of cupcakes.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Dreamstime - I love living in the city

I think this is something that's nice about life in the city - those moments of peace and tranquility that parks can bring.  Because of all the people and traffic and noise, it's nice to be able to escape into these little oasis of nature.

I did this simple illustration for Dreamstime.  They're a microstock agency that holds a monthly contest.  This month it's "I love living in the city" - and all the images submitted relate to that in some way.  I wanted to do an illustration in photoshop and have it be a little rough and simple with bright colors.  I probably should have added a couple of cars, but I thought this was good enough.  I just submitted it, so we'll see if they think it's good enough to compete!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

IF: Stay

This week's Illustration Friday topic is "Stay."

This is a rough I did in Adobe Illustrator

Then I added a new layer and redrew and colored it:

I decided to do the entire drawing in Adobe Illustrator so I could upload it to the microstock sites I sell art on.

What are microstock sites?

Shutterstock is the best of the best - as far as return on the time invested.  I've been on the site for over 2 years now and I've always made more than $100 a month - and most months I don't even upload any new images!  You start by uploading 10 images for them to review (they have to be high quality photographs or vector art).  Once that's approved you can start uploading any and all images you want to sell!

Dreamstime: This site doesn't sell nearly as many images as Shutterstock, but what it lacks on volume it makes up for in the amount each sale is worth.  And they run monthly contests for illustrators and photographers, much like Illustration Friday, only instead of just showcasing your work, you can also potentially win money.

Istockphoto:  This site is one of the classiest sites, but since the sales have slowed in recent months, it's not at the top of my list.  Each sale is around $3 and they really scrutinize each illustration.  I have over 700 images on Shutterstock, but only 112 on Istockphoto (because the cheaper stuff gets turned down).  The other thing too is that Istockphoto doesn't have a referral program.  If you sign up by clicking on one of these links, I'll get a taste of your success - and it's not money that comes out of your royalties, but extra icing on top!  It's tasty for all involved.  Except Istockphoto.  They don't care about referrals or people.

There are many more sites, but those are the top three.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Dreamstime Illustration/photography Contest for July

I did this illustration for the Dreamstime contest this month:

It's a bit of a departure for the style I usually use...

The contest this month is about the 'love of the city'.  I thought it was a sarcastic contest topic at first, and all I could think of was people sitting in traffic, or pigeon filth and rats...but apparently there's some people out there that dig the big city...and they wanted images to prove it.  So I did a stylized cityscape in the background and filled it in with a bunch of stylized characters walking in the foreground.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Microstock report for June 2011

This last month I was able to work on a couple of new illustrations.  They were really quick and small, but it was nice to upload something after a few months with no new images.  Some of them sold on Shutterstock, but so far they really haven't taken (at least not yet):
 It was a series of variations on these two kids (smiling, arms open, handing each other gifts).  I thought they were cute.  When I have time, I'll probably try and draw some more with these characters.

Anyway - on to the report!

Shutterstock continues to pull in more than a hundred dollars a month.  In June we had our first EL of the year - that's an extended license and it sold for $28.  So while we had some microstock sites netting less, Shutterstock stays pretty consistent.  It helps also to have a referral who is currently more successful than our own site because we get 3 cents for every download he gets (we made $15.63 from that alone, which, if you think about it, means he had over 500 sales/downloads for the month while we had 286).

The EL was the entire sign language alphabet

A huge upset came in the form of Dreamstime which finally made more money than Istockphoto.  Sadly it means that Istock is losing steam these last few months and Dreamstime is staying fairly consistent.  Dreamstime also had two really big sales (one for $9 and another for 5.50) at the end which helped push it over $40 for the month.

All the other sites continued to make their pennies, but every bit counts!  And they're really just sitting around slowly collecting money, so I like to keep them around.  I have a couple of new files in the works, so we'll see if next month works out any better!

And if you want to start selling your own artwork on these sites - sign up through one of my links!  You have to upload a couple of files which they'll decide whether or not you're good enough, and then you can just start uploading to your heart's content!  It might sound daunting, but it's rather easy.  And vector files sell better than regular files, so warm up those illustrator skills!
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