How to Design for Print On Demand Websites

how to design print on demand websites

If you’re just starting out selling art and designs on Print on Demand websites it can be overwhelming!  How do you decide what kinds of designs to make?  How can you optimize your artwork for all the different Print on Demand sites?

Below I’ve compiled a list of tips to make it easier for you.  I’ve been selling my art through Print on Demand websites for over 4 years now, and I’ve learned a few things in that time.  I use Photoshop and Illustrator mainly, but these tips can work with whatever software you use.

So, read on if you need help with designing and optimizing your artwork for sale on Print on Demand sites such as Society6, Redbubble, Zazzle, Teepublic and others!

(Here is a list of 10 print on demand websites I recommend)

Designing for Print on Demand Best Practices

  • Research trends. Use Pinterest or a search engine to see what kind of art is currently trending, then use this for inspiration to create something in your own style.
  • Start with a large file size (10,000 pixels covers most products).
  • Keep your designs in layers to easily make changes or re-use elements later on.
  • Design with the products you want to sell in mind.  For example, most Print on Demand sites offer products like t-shirts, throw pillows and cell phone cases.  Keep these products in mind while you create your designs.
  • Keep images crisp (300 DPI), and colours relatively saturated (more saturated colors tend to look better when printed on fabric).
  • For drawings, use a scanner if possible (rather than photographs) and use the available settings to scan a large, high DPI image file.
  • For line drawings or black and white drawings, use Illustrator to make your lines crisp.  Check out my tutorial here for instructions.
  • Don’t up-size your artwork if possible, this leads to a pixelated fuzzy look on the final product (this is why you start with a large file size in the first place).
  • Depending on what kind of artwork you make, you may need to adjust the size or medium you use in order for them to look good on the computer. Play around.
  • Don’t use copyrighted images, text, logos or anything else, or you risk the image being taken down, or even your account being suspended.  Some sites allow “fan art” but make sure you follow all the rules.

Now that you have some designs to work with…

Optimizing your Designs for Print on Demand

  • Each website has it’s own file size and type requirements so make sure to check that before you start uploading.
  • Curate designs for each platform. Some designs might work better in different stores depending on their audience.
  • Save layers separately if you sell on Zazzle because you can layer different images and text on that particular POD site.
  • Create the same design in different colors and variations, especially once you have an idea of which designs are popular with your audience.
  • Adjust designs for individual product types. For example, use a transparent background for a t-shirt or sticker, use coloured background or make the design into a pattern for tapestries and pillows, remove text for leggings and apparel where it doesn’t work, etc.

Extra

Here are some more posts to help you sell your art online:

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ve found these tips helpful.  If you have any other ideas or questions feel free to post in the comments below!

Cheers,

Julie

How to Sell Your Art Online in 5 Steps

5 steps to sell your art online

Step 1. Build your portfolio.

In order to start selling your art online, you should have a decent sized portfolio for potential customers to choose from. Aim for 10-25 artworks.

sketch book designs feathers pug painting watercolour

You can either make a bunch of new artwork, or dig up some old pieces that could work digitally or physically to sell.

Step 2: Decide where to sell your art.

Next, you’ll have to decide where to sell your art and that will depend on your medium, style, and goals as an artist.

Identify your audience and how you want to sell your art.

  • Are you going to sell primarily prints? (many avenues)
  • Are you going to sell physical work, such as paintings? (Etsy, or Fine Art America)
  • Do you create sculptures, jewelry or something else tangible? (Etsy)
  • Are you interested in designing t-shirts and/or home decor products? (Society6, Zazzle or Redbubble)

Check out my blog post about Where to Sell Your Art Online to help you decide.

For even more help on deciding where to sell your art online check out these posts:

Step 3. Optimize your artwork for sale

You’ll have to optimize your art digitally, or take a nice photo of it in order to sell it online.

  • Scan or photograph your artwork
  • Make it a large file size
  • Try to get sharp lines and true colors
  • Post process in a program like Photoshop to fix colors, or clean up scans.

Here is a an explanation of how I clean up my drawings using Photoshop and Illustrator

Step 4: Upload and enable as many products as possible

Upload your art to your chosen platform.

If you are going the Print On Demand route,  only add to products that look good and work with the design.

mermaid cell phone case example

Step 5: Market your products

This is where a lot of artists struggle because, well, we’re artists not business or marketing professionals!

  • Share your products and artwork on social media. 
    • Create an Instagram, Twitter, and/or Facebook page dedicated to your art.
    • Ideally, choose one you use frequently so it’s not a burden to learn or use daily.
  • You may consider building a website, which can be a hub if you sell on multiple platforms. It could be a blog or just a portfolio of your work.
  • Check out my pages for inspiration:
  • To dive deeper into marketing, watch tutorials on YouTube or try Skillshare to hone your business skills or even artistic skills as your business grows.

There is a lot to learn on the business side, but don’t neglect your art!

Consistently create new designs so you can figure out what works and what doesn’t, and go from there.

Consistency is key!

For more tips on selling your art online check out these posts:

Social Media Marketing Tips For Artists
Blogging for Your Art Business
How to Increase Your Sales on POD Websites

I hope you’ve found this guide to selling your art online useful.  Feel free to leave any additional tips or questions for me in the comments below!>

Cheers,

Julie

How to Increase Your Sales on POD Websites – 15 Tips

how to increase sales on print on demand websites 15 tips

Are you an artist trying to sell your work on Society6, Redbubble, Zazzle, or another POD (print on demand) website?

Well I’ve been doing it for a few years now and have some tips to help you get more sales!

If you’re just getting started or haven’t set up your store(s) yet, you may want to check out these posts first:

Read on to find out how to increase your sales on Society6 and Redbubble specifically, but many of these tips can be used across other POD platforms such as Zazzle, TeePublic, CafePress, Fine Art America and many others.

Tips to Increase your Sales on Print on Demand Websites

  1. Try to complete at least one business or social media related task per day. For example: one tweet, one Instagram post, one new design, one update to your website etc. If you can do more than one task that’s great, but just that one thing will help your business without being too overwhelming.
  2. Comment and like other artists’ work. This does not apply to all PODs but can be especially helpful on Society6 and Redbubble to get more eyes on your designs.
  3. Connect with other artists on social media (Facebook groups for example) or forums where available (Zazzle). Ask for feedback from them if you feel comfortable doing so!
  4. Upload as much high quality work as possible. The more designs you have, the more chances you have of making a sale.
  5. Research the latest trends and use them as inspiration to create new designs in your own style. You can use Pinterest or check the top selling designs on your chosen POD platform.
  6. Have social media pages, even just one or two and focus on them. Instagram and Twitter great for artists. On Facebook it’s challenging to get likes on your page, but it could get your real life friends interested. Try using new tools like Facebook or Instagram stories, or even Snapchat if you are adventurous.
  7. Don’t forget about your stores or leave them alone for long periods of time. Try to stay somewhat active and consistent on all of them (uploading new work, commenting/following etc.) I’ve definitely noticed an increase in sales/activity when I’m active. If you have too many stores to stay active, maybe pare it down to the few that you have been most successful on.
  8. Don’t stretch yourself too thin.  Going off the point above, if you have too many stores you might feel overwhelmed or too lazy to upload work to all of them, so I suggest deleting those ones you don’t like or don’t have much success with.
  9. Read up on other sellers tips especially top sellers if they have shared these tips online. CatCoq, for example, has shared some great information on her website. See what these top sellers are doing and figure out how you can get where they are. Use them as inspiration for your brand.
  10. Make different versions of the same designs that are well received. Different colour variations of a popular design or rework an element of that piece so it can have more mass appeal.
  11. Have a website or blog external to your social media, like this one! It helps with your visibility and to show up in Google searches.
  12. Tell your family, friends and coworkers about your stores and they might support you! You could even gift them stuff from your own stores for Christmas and birthdays etc. to get them excited about your work.
  13. Something I’m currently working on – Go back through your old designs and either delete ones that aren’t working for your brand or update titles, keywords etc.
  14. Always keep learning.  There are lots of great sources online for marketing your brand or honing and learning new skills.  Check out Skillshare for some free or paid courses in marketing, design and many other skills.
  15. Subscribe to my blog!  I’m always posting new content on selling your art on POD websites so make sure you don’t miss out.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve found this blog post helpful.  Let me know if you have any other tips to add in the comments below!

Cheers,

Julie

Check out these other posts for more information on selling your art on POD websites:

Complex Mandala Drawing Template

mandalas template sketchbook drawing

Hey guys! Considering the success of my Mandala Drawing Templates, I decided to create this new, more detailed version of the template so now you can draw even more complex mandala designs!

Just click on the template image below to open it up a new tab and then you can right click and choose “save image as” to download it to your computer.

complex mandala drawing template

Print the template off on an 8.5 x 11″ piece of paper and then use it as a guide underneath copy paper or even sketchbook paper to draw your mandala!

I find it works best to paperclip it on at least 2 sides to prevent it from moving around under the page while you draw.

You could also use this template as a layer in your digital painting program to help you draw digital mandalas.

Here is a mandala I drew using this template:

mandalas template diy art drawing

I hope you will find this mandala template useful!

Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below, and feel free to share your mandalas with me on Instagram by tagging me @julieerindesigns, or post a link to your drawing below!

If you’re new to drawing mandalas, or want something a little less complex, you might want to check out my other Mandala Drawing Templates here!

Have a great day everyone and have fun drawing those mandalas.
 
Cheers!
 
Julie

Mandala Drawing Templates

mandala worksheet templates

My friends, I have created some templates to help you draw mandalas more easily!  

Using these, you will no longer need to use a compass or random household objects to draw circles for your mandalas.

To download the templates: Click on the image of the template to open in full size, then right click and download or print straight from your browser.

Then, you can either draw straight on the print-out or place it underneath another sheet of paper to trace.

In person the lines underneath are more apparent, so it is very easy to see and trace them. I simply used a few paperclips to keep the 2 pieces of paper together, but you could use a bit of tape or something else you have handy.

mandala drawing templates

Note: The image above shows the template under printer paper so it may show through sketchbook paper slightly less, but should still be well enough to trace.

This second template with no cross lines works better if you are going for a more free-style of mandala design.

mandala templates work sheet

Here are a couple of mandalas I made with these templates:

mandala drawing template purple blue
black and white mandala

I used the first template to draw the coloured mandala by tracing it, and for the black and white mandala I drew it straight on the printed out template without the cross lines.

I hope you guys will find these templates useful, I know I will be using them!

No more drawing circles with cups and plates for me.

If you wind up using these templates feel free to link a photo your artwork in the comments section below!  Or tag me on Instagram @julierindesigns. I’d love to see your creations.

Ready to draw even more complex mandala designs? Check out my Complex Mandala Drawing Template here!
 
Cheers,
 
Julie
 

Cleaning up Line Art using Photoshop and Illustrator

cleaning up line art in photoshop illustrator

Hello friends! Today I would like to share with you my design process, specifically how I clean up my line art drawings using Photoshop and Illustrator.

Smoothing out your line art is especially important if you are selling artwork through Print on Demand stores like Redbubble, Zazzle, Society6, etc.

This is just one of many ways I create designs, and a technique you can use to turn black and white drawings into digital line art — which you can then use any way you choose.

How to Clean up Line Art using Photoshop and Illustrator

  •  Start out with some ideas in your sketchbook, and make a short list of designs to try drawing.  I often look online for inspiration and have a few things in mind before I get started.
sketchbook
  • Once you have a design you like, re-draw it lightly on a clean page in pencil.
  • Go over the pencil drawing with a black Sharpie or another fine black ink pen, to get something like this:
sketches black and white
  • Make sure you erase all pencil lines.
  • Scan each design separately into Photoshop.
line drawing in photoshop
  • Clean up the image as much as possible using tools such as desaturate, Brightness/Contrast, Curves, and erase to clean up any little black dots or dust bits that are showing.  
  • You can also use the colour selection tool to select the black line only, then create a new layer and fill it in with black. Once I am finished with this step, I save the file as a .PSD.
  • Next open the .PSD file in Illustrator, and use the Live Trace or Image Trace tool to turn your design into a nice smooth vector image. This is a great tutorial on using Live Trace in Illustrator that I often follow.
live trace in illustrator
  • The result of this process is that you get much smoother lines. This is important if you are having the designs printed, especially in large sizes.
  • Save the image as a .AI file.
  • Open up the file in Photoshop and set the pixel size to something large, like 10,000 x 10,000 pixels.
  • Fill or colour your line drawing however you like.  I like to use layers, fill with gradients and use layer settings (ex. Screen) or just paint on another layer using a drawing tablet.  There is basically an endless variety of ways you can use your line art.
  • Save your finished design as the correct file type and size(s) for the POD site you are creating for.  I always save a .PSD file as well (with all my layers in tact) so I can open it again later and use the same design multiple times.

Here are some examples of work that I have used this technique for:

tangled black and white yin yang mandala live trace illustrator
pot head teapot live trace illustrator tutorial

And there you have it!  Hopefully you now have a little bit of insight into how I create my designs for sale, and maybe even learned a new technique to try out for yourself.

Feel free to leave any questions or comments about this process in the comments section below.

Have a great week everyone!

Cheers,

Julie