I talk to creative professionals on a daily basis, whether it’s at my day job at Spreadshirt or my work in and around the comic book world. I love talking shop with them and sharing as many resources as I can to help them with their creative endeavors. One big key to being a successful maker is having multiple streams of revenue. For many it’s website ads on their youtube channel, merch and consulting fees and of course freelance contract work. Today I’m talking about the MERCH game. Right off the top, for full disclosure, I work at Spreadshirt, but this is not an official post by them or on their behalf and they’re not paying me to say this. (Although HEY GUYS IF YOU’RE READING THIS, I ENJOY MONEY…and craft beers or coffee). I write about it because I know that it works for many creatives especially those just starting out on youtube or webcomics. And stuff that helps creatives always excites me so I wanted to share it with my audience, especially those who have read Cash4Cartoonists. It’s kinda funny because even before I worked at the company I wrote about them in the ebook 6 years ago because I used them then for many things from my webcomic work to jerseys for the local roller derby team.
For the past year when I’m at comic shows and talking with professionals who find out I work at Spreadshirt, they pepper me with questions about the print quality, is it easy to setup? Can they use it too? The answer is YES, you can do it. And YES it’s very easy to setup yourself, go see this link.
Basically as a creative person, whether you’re making content with comics or youtube videos or whatever floats your boat, you can use Spreadshirt in TWO ways to earn more cash. Let me break them down from my perspective and experience as a working cartoonist.
#1 OPEN A “SPREADSHOP”
Basically it’s your online storefront. You upload your designs, put them on products and set the design commissions to adjust your prices on how much you’d like to make. You’re going to make a standard 20% right off the top of the on sale price, BUT you can adjust that to be a bit more if you put a commission number on your design as well. Here’s a quick look an online calculator. (You can find the calculator on this link)
With the above setup even if you sold one shirt at this price point around twenty bucks, you’re gonna make eight bucks. Spreadshirt takes care of all the order fulfillment. Pretty rad. What’s even radder? Well if you were semi-popular and think you could upload a design that could sell like 10 or more in two weeks, they now add on a new bonus volume commission.
If you were a real go-getter or had some sort of fan base for your comics or youtube channel then say you’re able to sell a hundred shirts a week or when you put up a new design, suddenly you’re making almost twelve bucks a shirt instead of eight. That’s some coin. Of course it helps if you plug your merchandise and put things out regularly. With this system it’s easy to put up new shirt products quickly. Why not something like a shirt of the week for your fans?
I mean, that’s the DREAM right? Make 3k in two weeks off your merch? Seems far fetched for us little guys, but I know of Spreadshirt partners who are making some serious bank with their youtube channels and creative endeavors. It’s all about your audience and how many TRUE fans you have. But you gotta start somewhere! Hell when I was starting out in webcomics my plan was to have multiple streams of revenue to cover different costs. So looking WAY back my goal for a Spreadshirt shop selling shirts would have been a couple hundred bucks a month to cover my webhosting and internet bill. And heck, maybe you’ll only make enough to afford some coffee or something… BUT DUDE, You just got coffee paid for by something you made. That’s a step in the right direction.
I know as a comic creator and someone who’s dealt with screenprinting in the past. Sure I would make probably a couple bucks more per shirt, BUT I had to do the shipping the storage and maintain stock of sizes. One time I had a neatly organized shelf of Yirmumah shirts in different sizes to fill my own orders…. and then POOF a cat decided to get in there and make it a master bedroom. Cat hair all over my merch. AHHHHHGGGG!!!! So to me the thought of print on demand was always brilliant. I’m thankful that the technology has come a very long way in a very short time to the point where my personal opinion as a creator is that the quality is very up to snuff. I print all of my convention shirts here now, and I always get compliments on the color or the apparel.
That’s another big selling point for me is that I know I can put my art on quality brands like American Apparel (yeah it’s a little more) or trusty old GILDAN brand. Spreadshirt even has it’s own premium shirt we manufacture that has a higher thread count. PRO-TIP: The higher the threadcount the better your print with digital direct printing. So on something like a American Apparel or Spreadshirt brand the colors pop just a LITTLE more. That said I print my shirts on GILDAN to keep my costs down a little.
There ARE some technical aspects to keep in mind like CMYK vs RGB and I’ll maybe touch base on the “how to’s” in future blog posts. But for now this post is to just get this on your radar as a possibility for making more money with your creative hustle, whatever it might be.
#2 PUT YOUR DESIGNS ON THE MARKETPLACE!!!
The second big way to earn some extra dough with your art, ESPECIALLY for cartoonists is to upload your designs to the Spreadshirt Marketplace. Essentially you take a design or design element, let’s say its a picture of a cartoony TANK that you drew. Or a series of cool sugar skulls. You upload it to your account and put a price commission on the design. Let’s say five bucks. Then it goes into the marketplace where normal folks will randomly find it and use it to make a shirt for someone or sell it within their spreadshops and every time it’s sold, you make your commission. BRILLIANT. You can even tag your marketplace entries making it easier to find or send full products already mocked up into the marketplace as well. I taught my girlfriend to do this and she makes about $100 a month passively on average. But imagine if you were a cartoonist that could scale that and add new fresh designs?
This is kinda perfect for creatives like cartoonists. You might decide “TODAY I’m DRAWING SHARKS” and put up a few cool sharks into the marketplace. If you were even more clever, you’d time it to a couple weeks before SHARK WEEK. Or whatever event.
Or what about Tattoo Artists?? I know some with sketchbooks full of awesome designs. They could easily scan those, do some photoshop magic and make them into wearable shirt designs. Tattoo friends you could be the next Ed Hardy! (I’m just kidding, Don’t be that guy!) but seriously I wish I had some more shirts from my favorite tattoo artists.
We’re living, in the future man. It’s pretty friggin awesome that there’s no cost to you to use these kinda tools. Not just with this site, but so many online. Yep. It’s just sitting there waiting for you to use. Get started over at the mothership: https://www.spreadshirt.com/start-selling-shirts-C3598
If you have any questions about this topic, feel free to comment here or shoot me an e-mail. I’m especially down to help other comic publishers or creators use Spreadshirt and I’ll share any tips or tricks to get your designs popping on merch.
Here are just a few cool content creators using Spreadshirt.
https://shop.spreadshirt.com/jaltoid/ (cool animators, great cartoon designs that pop)
https://shop.spreadshirt.com/H2ODELIRIOUS/ (One of the biggest gamers on YOtube, funny guy, great designs)
https://shop.spreadshirt.com/thediamondminecart/ (Another top youtuber over 11million subscribers!)
Here’s a nice little video also showing how much work goes into hand making each of your products. Spreadshirt has a factory in Greensburg, PA (My home turf) and out in Las Vegas area as well. PLUS other production facilities around the world so your product is usually made close to you for faster turnaround.
What are you waiting for? Get your SHIRT together and add this into your multiple streams of revenue.
I’m happy to announce I’ll be working on the new “SOFTBALL” comic book series by comic writer and original youtuber Bobby Crosby (via Keenspot) which is currently in development… read more…
Today I’m talking about “Digital Caricatures”. It’s topic #2 in my old ebook, Cash For Cartoonists. If you don’t have a copy, you can grab one at the link.
It’s my belief that learning to “caricature” well is probably one of the modern cartoonists strongest secret weapons… or… uhm… skills! read more…
Today I’m going to revisit the topic of making money with “Spot Illustration”, how much to charge, where this type of work can be found or how it may even go about finding you. I suggest downloading a copy of the original ebook over yonder to familiarize yourself with the topic even more.
DISCLAIMER: Before we get too deep here, I want to re-emphasize that this information is not for beginners. See? I even put in bold. While your art doesn’t need to be super perfect to get paying jobs, you do have to be polished and professional enough and know how to perfect your own style or shift between styles. You can only do that by drawing every single day. Some days, draw ALL day even. But maybe you’ve never had a paying gig before in your life? That shouldn’t stop you either. You have to start somewhere, so don’t just sit on the fence forever, and don’t undervalue your artwork or yourself when it’s time to give a quote. This is by no means a guarantee you’ll find this type of work or make money doing it, only that it does indeed exist, and how you may go about pursuing this avenue for your cartooning, etc. read more…
In an effort to get back into regular blogging again, I’ve decided to do a series over the summer revisiting the topic of helping cartoonists artists make more money with their work. Going on six years ago now, I put just about everything I know into an ebook “Cash For Cartoonists”. (link, it’s now “pay what you want”) I also offered one on one coaching to go with it, and boy did I get busy with that. I still offer some creative coaching on the side on a case by case basis, but I didn’t really set out to be the “Life Coach” for cartoonists. My ebook garnered some criticism from some of my webcomic contemporaries at the time as the title seemed like “GET RICH QUICK!” scheme. Of course the name itself was designed to catch your attention, and a little tongue in cheek, but it’s hardly a “get rich quick” or promise you can make money with your artwork. The bottom line is you have to have the HUSTLE first and put the work in.
Over the past six years I’m proud to say that the Cash For Cartoonists has helped hundreds of creators and cartoonists. (some testimonials on that link back there) Many even went full time freelance after being inspired and using the methods to start earning more with their artwork. I still get messages and Facebook tags to this day from artists who were struggling and then found the ebook inspirational or a good kick in the pants to get moving!
I’m also asked if I’ll be updating the ebook with new information. Lots of things have changed in six years since “Cash For Cartoonists”, there are definitely some things to add to each of the methods, which leads me back to this blog series. I plan on featuring each of the methods in the book in future blog posts right here (bookmark this!) And I’ll do my best to add as much new info and value as I can. And it’s all free. I love being able to share what I’ve learned from experience with other creators of all levels. Some creators are brand new, but others have been at this for a long time and maybe have overlooked a few avenues or should revisit some. Like many readers before, you’ll probably end up being surprised by how well some of these methods work, and things you never really thought of doing.
Okay, so look for the first blog very soon, where I’ll tackle the first method “#1 SPOT ILLUSTRATION” – In the meantime, you can brush up on the old ebook and all 15 methods by downloading it now.
If you have any questions, feel free to post and we can have a conversation in the comments. – DJC
The “Small Product Lab” was a 10day challenge to make and release a small product and put it for sale on gumroad.com. There were sushi recipes, how to podcast tutorials, templates and more. read more…
This is my project for the Gumroad Small Product Lab challenge, wherein you produce and launch a product in just 10 days! It launches on Wednesday June 24th but can be pre-ordered now at https://gumroad.com/l/comictoolkit#
Like the graphic says, it includes my personal 11×17 comic page template for Photoshop which is packed with layer groups and layers you can turn off and on to see my notes. You can customize the overall layout adding your logo to make it your own branding, and it’s printable if you want to print it out on traditional drawing board for finishing. I prefer to do all of my comic drawing in one Photoshop file, utlizing layers groups. Roughs, pencils, inks, colors and any other major step gets it’s own grouping so that everything is organized. There’s even a built in perspective path tool and extra composition guides.
As an added bonus, I included 6 of my custom comic brushes that I created and personally use in all of my freelance work. Check out the link for more.
This isn’t for complete beginners. Some basic knowledge of Photoshop and a graphics tablet to draw on are required. For the launch special it’s a special price of only $5 for the kit.
So, I’m creating a new small product to launch of Gumroad as part of their #SmallProductLab Challenge. It will be a “Digital Comics Drawing Toolkit for Photoshop” which will include my 11×17 master template a bunch of other stuff. That’s launching June 24th.
It occurred to me that I talk with many creators who believe Photoshop still costs $600+ to get started. Or they illegally pirate the software and run the risk of jail and fines. UGH! Don’t do that.
How I use Adobe Creative Cloud for making my comics & more
Hey everyone! So I’m working on my new toolkit for Photoshop (June 24th!) and I was thinking about the people who may not have Photoshop or think it’s unattainably expensive. It certainly used to be. Now they have “Creative Cloud” and offer individual or the entire suite for a monthly fee, as low as 9.99 to start for Photoshop.
Here’s a quick process art of Spider-Man (Miles Morales). I’m playing around with a new master template in Photoshop. I keep the pencil layer pretty rough and loose if I know I’m inking my own work. These days “inking” is pretty much the process we’d use back in the day for super tight penciling anyways. read more…
First up, I always enjoy the drive up to New York City. I enjoy the city too, as an artist there’s so much to take in visually, it’s pretty damn awesome. I also find myself thinking “Wow, no wonder this is where comics were born.” in the sense that you can just look around an imagine these epic things taking place up in the sky, or smashing through buildings. NYC is escapism at it’s finest hour. In another life, I would have moved there in a heartbeat if given the opportunity to do so. read more…