So, you’ve been sharing your artwork online and you are starting to gain a following. In this day and age,it only goes to follow that people will already likely be asking you to put out some prints and other merchandise showcasing your works.
As an indie creator, make sure you keep these tips in mind when you start rolling out the goods:
Invest in a Good Printer
Whether you deem it lucrative enough for you to buy your own printer or find a print shop who can efficiently carry out your specifications, it’s important to make sure you are using the right machinery that will work best with your product. Look into using a high-quality eco-solvent printer, which works wonders for producing quality results in bulk.
Because of the components that are used in its ink, eco-solvent printing is great for producing multiple art prints. The way it breaks down its ink means that there is no weird or unpleasant ink smell produced when it’s done. Even if you are going to printdifferent works for commissions and such, it’s still a great option because it causes less corrosion and stress on ink cartridges, making it viable for the long run.
Of course, make sure you choose your printer based on the material or textile you plan to use, as certain inks don’t work as well on specific textures as opposed to others. In the end, choosing the one that comes up with higher quality and lost lasting end results will bring in more customers and prove to be a sounder investment than any quick print options.
Block Online Thieves
Unfortunately, stealing art is widely popular on the internet these days. Not only do other fake “artists” claim work that isn’t their own, but there are now bots specifically programmed to steal artwork from online creators. These bots work fast and take away both credit and a possible source of income for hardworking artists who simply want to share their stuff with other online users.
While it may be an almost impossible task to keep track of every thief and scam seller out there, you can protect yourself beyond placing watermarks on your posts. Users on social media have started flagging the phrase “I want that on a shirt” and anything similar as this has been confirmed to trigger bots to immediately steal the art on whatever post the comment pertains to and put up a short listing with the stolen art.
Set up a direct link to your own online store or just inform your audience that any merchandise requests should be done through private or direct messaging in order to block bots from tagging your stuff.
You can also set up a dummy post as bait, and when you see the sites that start putting up the art on their own bootleg merchandise, you can report the offenders and protect yourself as well as unaware buyers.
Pricing may feel like a slippery slope, but it’s always best to value your own output. After all, if people are interested and want to see you create more, they should be able to support you so that you can actually continue to do so. Map out a price point for each type of artwork that you create so that you have a consistent reference that you’re comfortable with. This is especially helpful when you have to deal with “friends” who demand a freebie. Remember that your art is worth it.