Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Greeting Card Universe for Inspiration


Many artists now use print on demand sites (POD) as a great way to get their art out in front of the public. This brings many advantages to both the artist and you the buyer of art, not lest of which is the cost and access to people from around the world.



For the artist is the saving of not having to pay up front to have a selection of their art printed in different sizes and on different products so that their stall at the local craft fair will look appealing to the public. Not to mention the cost of renting the stall at the craft fair and cost, hassle of getting their work too and from the craft fair and setting up the stall. For some artists the though of selling their art or worse still being face to face with the public and having to talk about their art gives them such anxiety that they give up before they even start.



POD sites take a lot of this away for the artist, for a relatively small up front fee and or a percentage the artist can upload all of their work onto a POD site and even have their art available on products the artist had not even though of. In addition to the above the artist also has no worries about taking payment, packing & shipping, printing or returns as the POD site takes care of all of this and more.



So what about you the buyer, what do you get out of the POD site? First and foremost is a huge selection of art and artists, on a range of products, far bigger than you would get at any craft fair. You get to see and buy the art of up and coming artists from around the world that can not be found any where else. You also get to see styles and subjects of art that you like and not what is dictated by some manager whose main concern is how well the greeting card will sell!



So who are these POD sites? Well they come in all sizes and styles but two of the biggest have to be Zazzle and Cafepress they both offer art on a huge range of products as well as greeting cards. Then you get sites like Redbubble and Fine Art America that started off more focused on the artists needs but over time have grown to look after the buyer as well.



If you are looking for greeting cards then one POD site stands out from the rest, Greeting Card Universe as they only sell greeting cards, their motto is “Any greeting card imaginable” this is followed up with “if you do not see what you are looking for just ask”. If you can not find a greeting card for the occasion or with the subject or in the style you want, then you can leave a message on the site telling them what you want, this is then passed on to all the artists on the site, you will then be sent a link to where the new cards that the artists have produced. Secondly, if you find a greeting card that is almost perfect but just needs a few changes then you can contact the artist directly and ask them to make the changes, all this at no extra cost to you.



Sunday, 20 July 2014

Greeting Card Inspiration on Twitter

Cute Dazzled Bug Birthday Cards
Cute Dazzled Bug Birthday Cards by borianag
Shop for a card with zazzle.com
Following on from my last post this time I will be looking at finding inspiration on the social network site Twitter. At first look social network sites can be a bit overwhelming, from how you set up your account with followers or groups, circles of friends, family or others. Then there is how you interact on the site and what type of language is acceptable, even if upper case letters are classed as shouting. Once you have got past all the tech stuff they all break down the same way and that is the people using them.
The first type of people that use social network sites only want to interact with their friends, family and colleagues. Most of these people believe that the internet is for their own privet use and get quite upset even hostile when they find out that strangers can “listen in on their privet conversation posted on the internet!”. Avoid these people like the plague.
Happy 34th Birthday Flower Pansy Greeting Cards
Happy 34th Birthday Flower Pansy Greeting Cards by martinspaperstore
Check out more Happy 34th birthday Cards at Zazzle
The next group of people take the social network sites on face value, they accumulate friends or followers and they like to share what they have found on the internet. These people can be a great resource of inspiration but are erratic in the subject matter that they deliver, be careful some of their friends or followers will fit into the category above.
The next group are companies that are hoping to grow their brand and interaction with customers. Some companies are a source of inspiration in of them self’s, while others share inspiration of others. Companies tend to have quite a narrow area of inspiration but a very rich one as they have lots of money and people to invest in it.
The last group of people are artists; some of them only share their own art which in its self can be a great source of inspiration but many of them not only share their own art but the art of others as well. This can be a great source of inspiration on a wide number of subjects and styles. Best of all, many of the artists below are willing to share your art with their followers if only you interact with them, once you have got your inspiration back that is.
On twitter if people want others that are not following them to find their tweets (posts) they use an hash tag # like #Birthday, #art, #photo or #Christmas. If you want to find tweets on a subject then just type in what you are looking for. On twitter you only have 140 characters per tweet so the search results are targeted unlike some sites where you can add a thesaurus of tags that have nothing to do with the post.
Below are some links to people on twitter. Their art work is awesome, they are grate to interact with and they are very generous in sharing other peoples work to their followers. 
WARNING! If you follow all of the above people you could lose months of your life viewing links to great art work.
Very Red Rose White Outline "Love" Cards
Very Red Rose White Outline "Love" Cards by FloralbyFred
Look at Flower closeup Cards online at Zazzle.com
Seriously if you want to know what Twitter can do for you then following the above people will give you a great insight as to what Twitter can do and the inspiration it can bring. Do not be mislead by how many followers the above accounts have, because of the power of Re-Tweets most of the above people have their tweets seen by hundreds of thousands of people every day and some of them number in the millions.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Ideas and Resources for Greeting Card Makes

I design and create greeting cards which I put on POD (print on demand) sites like Greeting Card Universe and Zazzle. When I have an image or a design that I like I frequently turn it into a group of greeting cards for specific people, so if it is a Birthday greeting card I will remake it for different ages and for different family members like 50th 60th Mom, Dad or Sister. I also enjoy photograph so it is no surprise that most of my greeting card a photo based or have photo elements within them, even the handmade cards that I make for friends and family usually have some photo elements in them.
When I get an idea or an image that I like I become like a dog with a bone, playing around with it till I have got a greeting card that I think will work but then there are times when nothing comes to mind and it is at times like this that I look for inspiration. The two main points you need to keep in mind is that first you have to be open to inspiration no matter where it may come from, the second is that you are looking to kick start your work and NOT COPY OTHER PEOPLES WORK. You might find that everywhere you look you see lots of images of lilies and even though you like foxgloves you should try lilies as your subject and see if it works for you. Maybe you could go monochrome to focus on form and texture instead of colour, getting out of your comfort zone and trying different subjects or styles is a great way to improve your skills and reignite your inspiration.
I have put together a list of websites and blogs to help you get your inspiration going again. The list is in no particular order and is just copied from my own list that I add to when I find a new site. Some of the sites will require your email for you to get at the good stuff.

My Grafico has lots of great templates and clip art for sale plus free graphics and tutorials.

I love

Digi Design Resort has lots of greeting card kits for sale but also has designer classes section, it has a gallery section with photos of completed kits from members and buyers and has a forum if you have any questions.

Crafts U Print a huge site with all your crafting needs. You can buy everything you need for crafting and scrapbooking, from tools to kits and accessories. There is lots of free stuff to from tutorials and videos and graphics. Also they have free games where you can win real prizes and if you buy a kit you can upload an image of your completed greeting card and if they use it you will get paid every time some buys that kit from then on.

Craftsuprint - The Worlds
Largest Legal Craft Download Site!

Messtaken Identity has lots of kits for sale a gallery and tutorials.

Scrapbook Wonderlanda blog style site with lots of info and links to cool stuff.

Scrap Inspired a blog style site with videos, online classes and free updates.

Polka Doodles lots of great stuff for crafting from glue to stencils and digital stamps and tools. They hold regular challenges where you can show off your greeting card makes and have a chance to win some great prizes.

Daisy Trail  a print on demand (POD) site with arties from all over the world. They have free greeting card kits as well as kits to buy, regular challenges a gallery and a forum where you can get lots of information and ask questions.

Fancy Pants Designs is a nice site that has free downloads and an ideas gallery.

Peppermint Creative as well as having lots of great buys they have free downloads and a community page and a gallery where you can see what people have made with the products.
I hope that these sites give you some inspiration and next time I will be looking at some of the social network sites to find inspiration.

Some of the links are affiliate links.