By Betty Mackey
Do you have a hard drive filled with photos taken over the years you’ve been a garden communicator? This resource can be used to create online art that will provide an additional source of income. With the holiday shopping season now here, that’s something worth thinking about.
A writer and independent publisher, I am now also a print-on-demand (POD) artist. My garden images are a resource for decorating products which I sell through online art sites. My portfolio includes both photography and digital paintings. Being a POD artist covers producing more than books and canvas prints. Pillows, fabrics, phone cases, leggings, shirts, dresses, scarves, mugs, and more can be ordered one at a time by consumers. I would love to see more work from my fellow garden communicators on POD sites.
POD sites offer work posted by users at various levels of proficiency. Sometimes artists publish photos or drawings without adequate descriptions. I recently saw a great macro photo of a dahlia but the image name was just “Yellow” and the description said only “pretty yellow flower.” This drives me nuts! If the description includes botanical and trade names search engines can more accurately locate and link to it, which brings buyers.
Some of you saw product examples at my Roundtable talk in Atlanta. On sites I use, artists and photographers retain copyright of their images. Of course there is a technical side involving the posting of large images, but if you are proficient with Photoshop or similar software you shouldn’t have problems.
I think of my participation in online art sites as a garden of investment. I plant a seed by posting a design or image. There is competition. It takes time to grow. Later, the image may sell. Many of the designs that sold in 2016 had been posted years earlier. Work posted this year may be purchased eventually.
For each sale there is a commission. It can be as little 25 cents for a sticker, or a few dollars for a pillow, tee shirt, or shopping bag. It can also be over $50 for a length of fabric or a large print on canvas. There is no limit to the number of times an image can be sold.
POD sites also have a social side, where artists and participants comment on each other’s
works. This brings more attention – and more sales. Here is where GWA could come in. We could find each other on these sites and comment. Perhaps GWA can have a place for links to our online shops. Comments posted on all forms of social media are also a help.
Digital printers can print on fabrics, plastic, or metals to create unique items. Millennials are big customers of this type of product. The online image of the dress, scarf, or throw pillow is just pixels until someone buys it, and the printer starts to roll. This print-on-demand movement is sure to grow. I hope GWA members will connect and participate as POD artists.
Free Online Art Sites I Use…
www.redbubble.com. Based in Australia, they offer “uncommon designs by independent artists everywhere.” The product quality is good. Paypal is available for payments. You can have products that are listed private or public. Their online wizard is a useful tool when making files for diverse products. I love their tops, dresses, and chiffon scarves.
www.society6.com. Based in Los Angeles, California, this company has new funding and advertises the products. Unfortunately, there is no setting for an artist’s private products. I mostly sell pillows and tech cases, but also occasionally sell other products, such as leggings and prints.
www.zazzle.com. Based in Redwood City, California, Zazzle is a great art site with over 350 products and millions of users. Getting seen is the challenge, but they help by advertising. You get your own storefront there.
Meet the Author
Betty Mackey is a garden writer, print-on-demand designer, publisher, and consultant. Her POD artwork can be found on these sites: Mackey Books, Zazzle, where her stores are ColorDiva and Beebalm, Society 6, and Red Bubble.