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Back to exclusive on Envato. 

January 13, 2018

Well, two years ago I decided to stop being an excucive Author on Graphic River and try selling on other markets. I didn’t crack into the one I really wanted to sell on: Creative Market. I did open stores on Etsy, Fotolia (now adobe stock) and sellfy. Then I really left things alone for a long time. I’ve been busy with a job change and freelance work. 

Here’s how the results shook out. 

Graphic River. I sacrificed about half my profits on Graphic River during this time since I was non exclusive. But during the two years I did nothing with the site but they monthly deposit my profits into Paypal, from which I can check out with PayPal online at many stores or I can use my linked Paypal debit card. Super easy. Super clean. True residual income. The profits vary in the low hundreds month to month. 
Foltoloa. After two years I still hadn’t earned enough credits on fotolia to cash out a payment! And what is a credit worth anyway. Everything was a pain. I kept getting notification that files had sold here and there but I hadn’t filled out my tax I’d and submitted the identification card till a few days ago. I was so mad that after two years I was just below the 50 credit minimum for a payout. I still don’t even know how much actual money that would equate to. $50? 

Sellfy. The Sellfy store never sold anything that I remember. Total waiste if time. 

Etsy. This one had potential. I started seeing sales right away and things seemed to be doing well at first. But since my files are digital not physical I had to stay on top of listing the items. There were some limited auto renew options and you have to pay to list. I didn’t have to do that anywhere else. When I went on to working on other things my Etsy store gradually ran out of auto renews and shut itself down. Not the little perpetual money machine that I want. Too hard to administer. 

Creative market. This is the one that got away. I have a friend who says he does very well on this site. I guess I was too cocky after my long success selling on Graphic River. I thought CM would be happy to have ne aboard. That wasn’t the case. Maybe one day when I have free time again I’ll try harder to get approved to sell there. From my experience it is the hardest to get approved to sell on. I guess that’s good once you are in since there would be very high quality items without distracting low quality items. I don’t think item quality was my issue. My products are very nice and very well rated. I think my problem was packaging. There is a very different design esthetic to the way CM authors display yheir good versus GR authors. I tried to repurpose my GR packaging rather than going ground up trying to fit in on CM. I was just so sure they would be happy to have me in their market. A little more humility Steven! For now this market remains in the theoretical. I hear it’s nice so I’d say it’s worth applying to. 

Back to GR. So with little time to focus on my side business selling brushes and styled for AI and PS, I figured I better just shut down my other stores and go back to being an exclusive author on Graphic River. I’m actually surprised how well my sales have remained while I was ignoring it. I didn’t have huge sales when I was active but I expected sales to taper off and dye after a year or so as my items get buried deeper and deeper with new items. Instead I think they’ve stayed pretty steady. My commissions did drop in half, but that was due to my commission rate dropping in half when I changed to non exclusive. 

I lost quite a bit of money but learned three markets that I don’t want to sell on. My theory at the time was get less on the one market but overall make more money since I’d be spread out in multiple markets. Instead it seemed to just be more than I could manage for less profits. 

I maxed out around 85 items. My other goal before diversifying was to just keep adding items. I’m a little sad that I never hit 100 items. I thought about 100 items as a wall. If I built enough walls that would make a house that I could live in. In other words I hoped that it would replace my dayjob for income or get close enough that I could quit and go full time. 40% of my income was the goal. I put so many late night building items, packaging them, testing them. I’m not sure if I’ve made back enough just to cove my hours yet. I think last count I’ve made around 13,000 on Graphic River but that’s over like 6 or 7 years. On my best month I made over $300. Many of my items are Christmas related so I get a good spike around then. With more of that hypothetical free time I might start back up making items at some point too. I’d at least like to make the old goal of 100 items. 

In my new job I take lots of picture for reference for my art students. Maybe I should try selling some of those some time too. I’m making all kinds of art these days. In my teaching job I create Drawings, paintings, ceramics as demonstrations. hopefully I can continue to sell some of those as well. I’m particularly interested in residual income streams. Make it once sell it over and over. So that is a whole other side. Sell images as stock, try to make and sell prints, license products for posters or puzzles or something. 

For now I’m making money four ways. Teaching, freelancing, Graphic River residual and selling prices of art. I just wish the sum total of these efforts was more lucrative. Guess I just have to keep creating and keep hustling. At least I’m having more fun now. I’m no longer trying so desperately to escape the day job. Teaching for the last two years has been the best job ever. No more mindless drone work or creative ownership of everything I do by my employer. Wish me luck. I’ll let you know how it’s going from time to time. 

Drawing from plasters

January 11, 2018

I’ve been looking forward to this from last year and it’s just as fun as I’d hoped!i started buying a set of plasters last school year and ordered a few more and swing arm lamps this year. The result is a transformed art room into a more studio environment. Now each table can have a still life and set their own lighting. I’m using this as a unit on learning how to shade. The benefits of the plasters are that the color doesn’t get in the way of seeing the shading, they hold Stiller than a live model and they don’t go bad like flowers. 

Shading is much easier to see on the white plaster. I have the students start with a line drawing. Lines represent where value changes. So next you start adding in the correct gray scale values. Some of them end up being light where you would expect it to be dark or dark where you would expect it to be light. You just have to carefully observe and record. Light often changes around edges picking up reflected light. All the lights and plasters are from I love that store. Terrible name though. 
Here’s a couple of drawings from today that show what we are shooting for. The tools are also important. We have a range of pencils from 2H to 6B. We have cotton swab blenders, rolled paper blenders, kneaded rubber erasers and pencil erasers (the kind you can sharpen like a pencil). By alternating between these tools you can get smooth dynamic pencil rendering. 

If you are ready to take your shading to the next level you might want to give this a try! 

Charcoal drawing of comedian Jeff Allen

May 22, 2017

Funny guy and fun to draw. I used vine charcoal on heavy gray paper and finished up with pastel pencils and blending stumps. 

Vine charcoal

October 19, 2016

I feel a little silly that I had no idea what vine charcoal was until today. The pieces I had showed buds so it was more obvious that it was actually a smoked grape vine. Yes I googled it. I’m not sure if the one I had used before were grape vine or willow branch. I don’t remember seeing buds before. 
I also learned why vin charcoal is so great for doing toned paper renderings like these. Because they are smoked sticks or vines, they don’t have any binders added like you would get in a compressed charcoal or charcoal pencil. That makes for easy erasing and smooth blending. 

These were started by rubbing the side of the stick on the paper and rubbing it in with a paper towel until medium value and smooth texture. Small circular motions are the trick. Then the fun part. I like to start with the highlights, pulling them out with a block eraser. I used the white kind. A needed dresser is helpful though I didn’t use one today. Sooo fun! I did one in each art class as a demo since many kids were out for PSAT testing today. So I worked on each about 45 minutes. 


October 11, 2016

After Da Vinci’s notebook grotesques. The one on the right is based off me. Looking good Steven!

Drawing a front view. Visual instruction plan. 

October 11, 2016

From today’s lesson on drawing the front view of A human head. Tried using a visual instruction plan for the first time. Basically that means that you show the steps instead of just doing a demonstration. I like that for the students that were absent yeasterday I had something to recap that day. It also gave me a framework for talking to students who were on a different pace. As in, I’d like you to do step number 5 next. Made for a lot less one to one tutoring which can side line the teacher. One more class period tomorrow for this one. I think most of the students will be able to finish. 

Celebrating 4,000 sales on GraphicRiver!

July 16, 2016


4,002 sales on Graphic River and counting. I didn’t want to let the mile stone pass without a shout out. Here also is a sneak peak at my new set of rope letters numbers and symbols that’s in the works. Ready made so you don’t have to do the Adobe Illustrator part, you can just place a few transparent png files for the letters you need and zip. Off you go. Of course it works seamlessly with my number one best selling vector rope brush for Adobe Illustrator.

Selling 4,000 items on GraphicRiver has been great. Now if I could just figure out how to sell my next 4,000 items waaaaay faster! I’ve actually been fooling around with GR for 5 years off and on. Wow, has it really been that long? For everybody who has bought one of my items, thank you for contributing to that 4,ooo! I take great pride in my work. Check out all my fun brushes and styles for Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop Here>

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