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The creative and buying process for artwork on this site

At some point in the evolution of this site I added the art I created for the purpose of selling it on t-shirts (small aside – here is the real purpose I create art). Anyway, this is not so straightforward as you can imagine and I have learned a lot but I am now making some changes. This post explains my approach to how I create and sell artwork (or you can buy it) and the changes I am making, i.e. in case you are a customer interested in how it works or it can help you if you have similar ideas. Skip intro and jump straight to sections using list headers below:

In the past, I was selling my artwork on t-shirts – the finished and complete product. And as much as the process has been simplified by dropshipping, I wanted to retain control of the fulfilment process as much as possible, as well as the sourcing and processing of the final products.

That meant finding a local supplier that could process orders fast and on an adhoc basis and that I could then ship to customers with a personalised message and packaging. It meant finding a supplier of quality t-shirts because not just any t-shirt will do. They also had to be sustainable. All a very big set of requirements.

I’ve decided to now move to just digital products.

So creating the artwork is still something I will do and get pleasure from and then make available for download from the site. But considering there are so many options out there for people to upload designs and have them printed on any different object of their choice, I thought I would leave this choice to the customer. Here are some I am aware of to get you started:

I still get to sell my art, don’t have the headache of fulfilment and just have to make sure my art is printable, i.e. sell artwork that is of sufficiently high quality. Here is the process I will now follow below:

The creative and buying process

How I create and make artwork ready

  • I use Paper by WeTransfer for rough and quick sketches which is prefect for early ideation. However, I found out early on that designs exported from Paper are not of sufficiently high quality for printing from. So I moved to Procreate for this reason.
  • Other than exporting in sufficiently high quality, I also moved to Procreate for final artwork because it has far greater capabilities.
  • I then export from Procreate once designs are complete, using the process described here: From Procreate to Print: Tips For Creating Print Ready Artwork – Mindzai Apparel. Mindzai are a company specialising in print work from designs and after doing a lot of homework, I felt this approach made most sense.
  • NOTE: Final artwork is delivered as a PNG file, not PDF as advised in the above article (although PNG is suggested as an alternative). That’s because Procreate does not export PDF files with a transparent background as I wanted – explained here. But rest assured, my PNG’s are of the highest quality and more than sufficient for printing on t-shirts, mugs, etc.

How I now enable and you can buy artwork

  • A big challenge I had was moving from variable products (how I used to sell) to simple products (what is needed for selling digital downloads) on WooCommerce, the engine I use. The alternatives going the other way round are good but not for what I wanted to do (some of the complexity explained here).
  • I thankfully did not have many products to change so no need to do it in bulk but basically I had to convert my variable products to simple and then make the product virtual and downloadable (options you must select when editing the product).
  • The way the product is handled from a download perspective is explained here: Digital/Downloadable Product Handling – WooCommerce
  • When viewing the product images in the product page, the visitor/buyer will see an image (the artwork) with a watermark and examples of it on a t-shirt and mug without any watermarks. That’s because the former could be downloaded and used without payment if the watermark doesn’t exist. On t-shirt and mug it doesn’t matter because they are of lesser quality and not standalone designs. I use Canva to apply watermarks and create the product images.
  • As soon as a design is purchased, the high quality design can be downloaded without a watermark and used as desired.

That’s it, hope the above was useful. Add a comment with any questions whether you are wanting to buy my artwork or want to sell your own artwork and have any questions about the process.

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