My Thoughts On Print On Demand Services (+ ‘How To Make Art That Sells’) #ad


Hey guys! So a question that I get asked
a lot is how I feel about print-on-demand services like society6
and RedBubble; if I think that they are a viable income source for artists, if I
think they’re worth putting your time into and if I think that they can be used
in lieu of having your own storefront or website. This video is sponsored by my
friends over at Skillshare, but for now I thought I would just start off by
explaining what I’m talking about when I say print on demand services. So these
are places, these are websites, where an artist can upload their original artwork-
high-quality scans of their work- and then a shopper can buy a print of that
artwork and the website or company will do the printing and shipping and sending,
so all the artist really has to do is upload their work and then everything
else is taken care of for them; even like complaints or returns if that happens to
come up. And as well as doing art prints, these sites will also print on things
like mugs, phone cases, soft furnishings… shower curtains… all sorts. And there is
more than just society6 and Redbubble, although those are probably the most
popular ones. I recently saw on ‘Dragons Den’, there was a guy that had a card
company where someone looking for a greetings card could buy one that’s not
on the market and has been made by an artist and then the artist that uploaded
that artwork would get a commission on that without having to set up their own
card-printing business. So on paper, it’s a great way to take the business side
out of being an artist. You get to do what you do best which is create art and
then the rest of it is all taken care of by a middleman somewhere else. Also
opening you up to the opportunity of having your art printed on merch that you
otherwise wouldn’t have the access or funds to do; as I said, with clothes, with
mugs and anything else of that nature that would just cost a bit too much to
invest in right off the bat yourself. Now I personally think the premise of these
sites is great in that sense. I have personally used society6 pretty much
since I started selling my art. I no longer I’m active on society6 just
because they right now only pay out through PayPal and I no longer use
PayPal. So I have recently overhauled everything over to Redbubble, I’ve got a
lot of new stuff on there as well so if you’re interested in checking out some
stuff that I don’t have in my shop, some stickers and things,
I will leave the link to my Redbubble below! (yay! gimme money please!) But that’s one of the areas that
it’s great for; I make my own prints but I don’t necessarily want to make prints
for everything, I’m dipping my toe into the world of making stickers
and- rather than investing in all the kits and things I would need to make
stickers, or the cost of bulk buying a load of stickers from an outsourced
sticker maker- I can put the designs up on this website and see if
it’s popular, see if it’s something that people want. And I say that it’s one of
the areas that this is great for because I think as an artist or anyone that is
pursuing a career in any kind of creative endeavor, we all know
that you cannot put all your eggs in one basket. You cannot rely on just one
source of income. So while these sites are a great side hustle, they can’t
necessarily be your main source of income. Now in the long run, once you do
have the money to invest in making things yourself, you are going to profit
more from cutting out the middleman. That’s standard, that makes sense in any
different industry. So like with me for example, testing out stickers at the
moment, right now- as I said- I’m just dipping my toe in and seeing if it will
work. I’m not losing anything which is great. I haven’t made any major
investment in sticker-making gear but if there is a profit to be made from it,
if it’s popular, then in the long run I’m not making as much as I potentially
could if I invest in doing all the steps myself. Another downside of using these
sites is that you cannot rely on them to market you on their websites. There are
tons of artists that use these sites and it’s very hard to reach the front page
so you need to have your own marketing strategies behind you, your own following
that you can direct to that site and link them directly to your profile on
there. And even in that case, if you do have a large following that you can
direct there, you can’t always guarantee the stability of that website, of that
company, you can’t put all your trust in them. Because the company could go bust,
their website could go down, and if that’s your only stream of income, that
leaves you completely snookered. And another thing- that is more I guess a
personal thing- I think it’s nice to be able to build a relationship with your
customers. To have someone buying your art, to have that in their homes, that’s
quite a personal thing and I really appreciate being able to leave a
personal note with each order or just wrap it up nicely and even just seeing
the same names popping up in my shop here and there knowing
that person is building their own little collection. Like it it’s not something
that you can replace and I think it’s a really important part of being an artist
and having your art out there. So to sum it up, if you are looking to make a
passive income from your art- by a passive income I mean something where
you do your initial piece of work and then continue to profit from it into the
future (i.e. do one drawing and upload it on this website and then make money in
dribs and drabs every time someone buys a print of it)- I think that these sites
are a great way to go. They are really an invaluable resource for artists, it’s a
great place to start at least because you are making a minimal to no
investment at all and you’re being given a great opportunity to test your
marketing skills, to test different products and see which pieces of your
art are more popular than others, which bits will get more attention, what is a
more viable option to make your own prints of and sell, and what aren’t
people interested in. It’s almost like doing your own market research. Also if
you do have a demand for your work in print but you don’t have the time or the
money or the means to fulfill that right now, it’s a great way to get that demand
met just as a starting point. Now if you are interested in learning more about
selling on society6 or any services like this, if you want some advice on designs
and designs that’ll sell and just how it all works behind the scenes I could
really really really recommend a class that I took on Skillshare quite a while
back. It was actually listed within my recommendations for 2018 in my 2018
art goals video. If you are interested in more of the classes I recommended, they
are in the comment under that video which I’ll have a linked below.
But yeah it’s basically taught by a brilliant illustrator; Cat Coquillette I
think her name was, and she just really talks you through everything and
anything you might want to know about print on demand services and getting
your work out there. I think the class is actually called ‘creating art that sells’.
So if that is something you’re interested in, I would really recommend
it. As I’ve said a million million times; Skillshare is literally my like go-to
one-stop shop for anything that I want to learn about and they were kind enough
to sponsor this video. So just to say a little bit
about them, I’m sure you know by now, it’s a website with a huge huge huge
collection of classes on all sorts of things they have up to
17,000 lessons on there now taught by professionals, taught by experts, taught
by people like me, and people like you. Just anyone that knows anything and
wants to really share that knowledge with the people; it’s like a hub for
learning and teaching. So I’ve now used it to learn about watercolours, to learn
about composition in art, obviously to learn about marketing and also video
editing. Just all sorts of things. If you are interested in checking them out, I
will have a link below to a coupon code where you can get two months of Premium
Membership for 99 cents. I think it’s just for the first 500 people that click
that link so if you are interested please check it out now. Otherwise
premium membership annually is $10 a month which is really affordable,
especially comparatively to similar sites like this and overall I- you know, I
wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t really believe in it so I would love you to
check it out. I’ve loved hearing from you guys which classes you’ve taken
and things you’ve learnt as well. But thank you Skillshare for sponsoring this
video, thank you guys so much for watching. If you have any other questions,
anything else you want me to cover in a video let me know! But for now I will see
you in the next one! Bye!

100 Replies to “My Thoughts On Print On Demand Services (+ ‘How To Make Art That Sells’) #ad

  1. Thanks for this video, Minnie! I’m not planning on selling art any time soon but I just love when you upload chatty videos 😅

  2. Hi Minnie! First of all thank you for making this video. 🙂
    I'd like your personal opinion on something. I live in a country that really doesn't support artists very much (brazil). Selling prints and stuff around here is not easy and profitable unless you already have a big audience (and even well known artists struggle a lot with it). I made the decision to start a new art profile on instagram, and maybe a Youtube channel in the future. I don't know if I should start building my audience nationally or internationally. I don't live in the US or UK, so it's hard for me to open a shop because exportation is so expensive and bureaucratic that a simple 5×7 print that sells for $20 would turn into $70 including postage. It's ridiculous. That leaves me with print on demand services, which are a bit limiting in my opinion: I'd like to pack everything carefully, send gifts, include a nice card etc like everybody does on Etsy. I also consider a shop on CreativeMarket for passive income.
    As for the local audience, it would be easier to interact with them and build an audience but it's harder to sell products and get commissioned work. At the same time, if I work really hard and build a local audience, maybe in two years or so I can start selling stuff locally. *Maybe*.
    I see the same amount of pros and cons for each decision and I don't know which direction I should take. Should I do both? If so, how? I'm so frustrated!

  3. I've been debating this for the last month or so and lo and behold you upload a video on it! It was very helpful to hear your perspective on the topic, thank you!

  4. Thank you so much for making this video! I just started out on Redbubble a couple of days ago and felt quite disheartened by the fact that they take 80% of the profits, but your point about using the site to figure out what sells is a really great way of looking at it. Thank you!

  5. Great, informative video. I've been on S6 for few years now and have to agree, that it's a good option for making some passive income, as it doesn't take much time to upload new pieces.

    On the other note, super happy to see you uploading more vids!

  6. I honestly get so so happy every time you post! I find myself searching your channel so often just to calm me or make me feel happy! Your voice is so therapeutic, your art is incredible and your mindset is so refreshing! Been part of the semiskimmed family since day 1!

  7. I have a Red Bubble shop and the quality is very good. I love my own collage paintings on cushions they are a great talking point. I also bought loads of presents for the family at Christmas. Not earned anything yet but nearly ready to spread the word through social media. I also have a Folksy shop which is a British version of Etsy and really good but all of these you have to do the publicity yourself.

  8. When I feel anxiety creeping in – I come and listen to you, because your voice is SO consistent and calming and your talent is incredible x

  9. Hi! If you don't mind me asking, how did you make your own website? And how do you make prints of your art? I love your art and your voice is so soothing! Thank you for making videos!!!

  10. I was thinking about doing POD and saving the profits from prints to get a nice home printer and paper to do occassional limited run, signed/numbered prints… 🤔

  11. Thank you for this video, i'm an artist based in venezuela so i'm trying to find ways to earn (actual) money even if it's minimmal, i think i was able to learn something new about this plataforms thanks to you, also i really love your vidros and i've been a fan for a long time

  12. Thanks for making this video. It was very helpful and gave me some things to think about. I recently set up a redbubble shop at redbubble.com/people/llamaspit

  13. Finally bought one of your prints! So excited to put it up in my room,  hoping it inspires me as much as you and all of your youtube content does. Thank you for sharing so much with us, you're amazing!

  14. Ok, I feel bad for asking, but I’m more of a beginner, and it’s hard to get any real reliable feedback on paintings; so if anyone here is good at constructive criticism I would love some critiques and feedback on my work. https://pin.it/uamlu2dvdvl7c6 I put pretty much everything on my Pinterest… that’s a link to my board. I’m still learning, and I’m not super good yet but I would really appreciate opinions if anyone would be willing to give them!

  15. Hey Minnie, How is your Patreon going? Would you recommend it for smaller artists who don't have much of a following? x

  16. Do you have a video on what you use to scan and print your art work? Printer, program and paper? Or just tips? I’m using GIMP and your video has helped on just like basic clean up and stuff (THANK YOUUUU!) lol

  17. I use redbubble too 🙂 I don't have a printer good enough for prints at home. I also prefer not to shell out for the materials myself

  18. Dear Minnie, If you're planning to make some stickers, you may find interesting Jenny Journals' video "How I Make My Stickers!! Using Cricut and Procreate" (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjBb7c_vUBE), I've found it very VERY useful because I didn't know the programs she's using (I actually didn't even know that you can make quality stickers at home… lol) 🙂

    PS: Yesterday I was watching one of your past vlogs when you gave your sister those crazy gold flashing shoes: you're family is awesome! I'm sooooo envious (in a good way) ! 🙂

  19. Your video falls at the right time because I hesitated to join S6. How much do you think you can earn on this website ? If you're famous or not

  20. I’ve been using RedBubble and really like it now that I understand how to get things uploaded correctly. It’s great passive income and you’re right, it’s just 1 aspect of my whole income stream. Thanks for the video!

  21. I use Society6, but it's tough to get my stuff seen there. I do agree we as working artists on the side, need eggs in many baskets. Great video! Take20 is a coupon you can use to get 20% off for a years payment

  22. I love love love your new video background – Definitely thinking about implementing the idea in my own apartment someday 🙂

  23. Very interesting. I wondered about print quality. Commercial printers don't always make a faithful copy of your work. Do you find that a problem? I will check out the class you mention.

  24. does anybody here use Fine Art America? if you do can you please tell me a bit about it. What do you like and dislike about? I want to know all the tea please. haha

  25. You do amazing art, I'm also loving these sort of videos where you talk about the business side of stuff. I wanted to ask what do you use to scan your art ?

  26. I checked out Redbubble and it looked great until you get to payment information. Unfortunately here in Canada you can only accept payment through paypal with Redbubble. Do you have any suggestions for other online shops?

  27. Great information. Thanks for this video! I have used RedBubble in the past, as a test mostly. I occasionally sell a t-shirt or stickers, but nothing worth writing home about. I may create a new account and upload the designs I’m creating for my website. I just launched this brand, and will be using Printful as my POD. The cool thing is that I can use them from my own website. Like you said though it isn’t good to put all your eggs in one basket. Best of luck!

  28. Hello! If you mind, could you make a tutorial on how to make a sketchbook just like the one you made for inktober? Because I have been looking for ways to make simplistic sketchbooks just like that.

  29. 1:27 unfortunately it is no longer true or no longer true for the vast majority, that the business side is taken out of it. Every Print on Demand site which is worth investing time in, has thousands of artists competing against each other, so no you have to market your art still. But if your art sells, you needn't stress out about buying raw materials, producing, sending, writing bills … etc. or stocking too much, because a promising trend ebbs and your left with a ton of stuff nobody wants anymore.

    The trade off is a smaller margin. Partially extremely small, and I've seen it twice now, that services use the data to compete against their own artists on the platform, steal ideas and leave the artists hanging dry.

    But if you think, that is unusual to the business world. Sadly it is not. If seen the pirating of business opportunities in all types of businesses.

  30. Minnie, here's a Q: there is any video/class in Skillshare you HIGHLY recommend? I'm willing to learn painting landscapes, plants, flowers… anything related to nature. I've just suscribed in Skillshare and I think you could help me in this one!!
    Thanks!!!
    p.s: your art is amazing. I watch your videos every day. I can memorize even what you say in some of them because of the times i've seen them haha

  31. Hi, Minnie! Recently I've bought one of your haunted houses (the one which is still on the Earth). I want to buy the another one, but I've faced a proplem. The thing is that I bought the first one through Society 6 platform, and the second one (which is the house haunted by the space) is now available for buying only through Red Bubble platform. The size of the poster I have is 13"x19". And Red Bubble supplies only 16.4"x23.2" size. But I want to have them like paired ones, and they won't look perfect together in different sizes (of course separetly they look absolutelly perfect ;)). So, I just want to ask whether this problem is solvable? Are you still on Society 6 (cause your page there is still available), and is it possible to put your second painting there? Or is it possible to order the size which I need through Red Bubble?
    Thank you for your art!

  32. 2:00 Aww she looked so uncomfortable promoting her stuff. I can totally relate, I have always found it difficult to confidently market myself.

  33. Your channel, many advices, artwork,all inspire me so much!
    And I needed it so bad.
    Almost 1 years without any inspiration.. I could not draw at all.
    And slowly lhe spark comme back

    Thank you so much for sharing so much positivity, you're an amazing artist!

  34. Hello there! I am interested in selling my art on Redbubble. However, I am not sure if I should register as self-employed first. The earnings are taxable. On the other side it might take a while before I get any sales. Any advice from people in UK who use Redbubble?

  35. Hey!! Great video. You said you printed some of your work in-house. Would you be able to do a behind the scene vid on it e.g. what printer and paper you use?

  36. I have been going back and forth on if I wanted to open a RedBubble. I currently purchase and make my own stock and it is kind of hit and miss. I also like making my sales personal but it would be nice to just test some items on RedBubble. Maybe I will try both! haha Thanks for the insight!

  37. thank you Minnie, I am not an artist but I like to draw and play with art supplies 🙂 . I will try skillshare, thanks for the link! I have already learnt a lot through Youtube and I couldn't make up my mind on whether I would go for skillshare or not. You've been a source of inspiration as well. Thanks and good luck. I've been following you for a week now. Greetz, Mimi

  38. I joined Skillshare thanks to you. It's wonderful so far. I'm doing an art doll toy sculpting class. I'm so I joined.

  39. hi Minnie, I must thank you for this video. I found red bubble on Friday (never new it existed ) and then later saw your own link to it. I have joined. I am just really not good at the technical stuff and so it might be a while before I figure out how to upload my artwork onto it. currently watching videos that explains this process. So I will definitely have a look at the skill share video. Thank you so much 😊

  40. Dont you do any cmyk profile conversions? Whats your photoshop collor settings/workspaces color profiles? Dont u do any soft proof on pshop? Whats your settings? Thx

  41. Minnie Small i have a question. i am in the same boat as you. i dont use paypal either. so im worried about giving redbubble my bank info. how do you get comfortable with that? i would love to upload but i am too paranoid. thank you

  42. Minnie Small i have a question. i am in the same boat as you. i dont use paypal either. so im worried about giving redbubble my bank info. how do you get comfortable with that? i would love to upload but i am too paranoid. thank you

  43. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Really helpful. My sister and I are interested in making a redbubble account but like you we are trying to find a better form of payment instead of using Paypal. But what we noticed is that in rebbubble you can get direct deposit thru either paypal or bank account. Do you recieve payments via direct deposit thru you bank account? Or is their another way? We would really appreciate your help, if you can 🙂 🙂

  44. I'm trying to make some income from these sites because my health makes it hard for me to get a real job. So at least I feel like I'm trying when I put it up.

  45. It sounds great but it's all highly exploitative of our trade. You could open a t-shirt shop, design your own, print your own and take $15 of that $20 sale instead of $2. Good luck doing that now with all the big guys getting fueled by slave labor. When I owned a print business a long time ago – we always wanted to solicit designers work without paying them and we thought of a million ways to try and do that. Because so long as we got the print production work and a MOST of the retail sale, we were happy. The designer was being used, not the print shop. So these kinds of sites are seizing on your desperation and these success stories you here from it are probably as valid as Lottery success stories you also read about. I'm going to do a video on how you really need to start playing the lottery because look at these people <insert hundreds of thousands of winners here>. We are all just desperate and powerless and this is the proof. Sorry had to say it.
    What other job has to prove itself in an international market where only the most lucky and talented of the talented get to make a real living and pay off that college loan?

  46. love this. I personally have found more success on redbubble, although I love how society6 has much more of a community feel to it. my redbubble page is https://www.redbubble.com/people/rosynuzzles

  47. Thankyou, another great review video but still 'no artist is mentioning the PRINT QUALITY or Customer Service' our customers receive!

  48. OUCH!! Im a designer/seller and just found the customer reviews page for Society6, reviews are as bad as teespring and spreadshirt reviews: https://www.sitejabber.com/reviews/society6.com

  49. Is there a print to order online company that delivers the high quality printed product to our customers that they promise? So far I cant find reviews for any of these companies to support that, along with service too of course. It's frustrating.

  50. Society6 is a complete mess, their uploading system is very broken, takes forever to upload anything. they've had this issue for several years and seems taken zero effort to fix it. and they simply introduce new products without fully thinking of a proper design placement for the products.

  51. Hey Minnie, thanks so much for the video, found it pretty insightful. I myself have a couple of online shops, but I'm wondering if you have tried INPRNT.com??
    Seems like the pricing is better than S6, and more commission for artists, but I am wondering about the quality of the printing… I would be interested in your thoughts if you've tried them, thanks!!

  52. Hi Minni, I don't know if you are still doing this bussiness. I don't want to look stupid but I have a Question. Been thinking about the t-shirt bussiness for a longtime. I have the logos and want to target kids t-shirts. Do I explain what the logo is to print on demand service and they make it for me or I create the logo sice I know what the logo is but not an artistic. What's my next step?

  53. Stickers would be your art work on them. I would buy them. Look Good on Christmas birthday presents.

  54. Okay. This helped me a lot. I just joined Threadless and being the retard I am, I did no research on this site and I never tried to sell my art before so this really gave me an amazing insight on everything.

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