Wednesday, 29 July 2015

"Cat to be Kitten me Right Meow" design now in Pink!

It is halfway through the week, which means it is almost the long weekend for those of us living in Canada!! I am lucky enough to have Friday, Saturday, Sunday AND Monday off - which will be a nice, much needed vacation from work. :) And of course, a vacation from work means I have a little time to upload my new designs.

I actually have so many new designs right now on my redbubble shop and I want to showcase those before I move on to my next massive upload spree! You might have seen my "cat to be kitten me right meow" design on pillows, mugs and t-shirts here in white and green. With Zazzle, I can let my customers choose whatever background colour they want. Zazzle is a great option for my customers based in the United States because shipping within the states is low, but I have an increasing amount of international customers - and as someone who also lives outside the states, I know how high Zazzle's shipping costs can be. So I also have most of my designs available on my Redbubble shop. Although customers can't choose their own colours on RedBubble, I am quite open to uploading designs in alternate colours for them! Shipping on Redbubble actually costs a lot less than Zazzle, even though they are shipping from Australia in most cases! It doesn't take too long for the products to ship, either. Having seen the quality of RedBubble pillows myself, I can definitely recommend RedBubble as a great option for people around the world who want a personalized product for less shipping.

The most recent design that I have added an alternate colour for on RB is my ever popular cat to be kitten me right meow design! Check it out, in bubblegum pink!
The black and pink look really fun together. :) This would make a great
gift for a teenage girls room, or girls dorm or student house! People love puns,
cats, and pillows, so this is pretty much the best thing ever. 
Do you fancy carrying cat puns around with you? This is a great studio pouch
to keep in your backpack or purse. Use it to hold your makeup, wallet contents,
pencils & art supplies or catnip - whatever you can think of! 
Of course, this cat pun gift collection wouldn't be complete without skins and cases for your
favourite laptop or phone! This laptop skin is the right amount of girly and the right amount of
fun to bring to class or use in public. Cats and cat puns are always great conversation starters!
Redbubble tote bags are a great way to share your love of cats and puns in
a casual way, but a way that says, hey, I'm a fun cat lady! Bonus points if
you have a cat that likes going in bags. Ive seen people with cats in bags in the
mall, and it is the cutest thing ever. I wish my cat loved me enough to
let me carry it around everywhere!

As you can probably tell, I love cats and if you can rock your love of cats with a cat pun - go for it!! As usual, if you are looking for a redbubble product in a different colour, you can always email me at tanyaleannel@me.com and I will upload it for you. :) 

Hope everyone has a fantastic Wednesday! 

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Good News for Zazzle International Designers

Hello everyone! Today I have some really great news. Yesterday Zazzle posted on their forums saying that they will be accepting Foreign TINs from international designers! This means any designer who lives in a country with a treaty with the US that also gives out tax identifying numbers can all complete W-8 BEN forms without having 30% of our income taken away from us, and we don't have to spend hundreds of dollars to get an outdated ITIN number. You can read about the changes on the Zazzle Forum (click here). I and many other people are very thankful that Zazzle has finally cleared up this issue for us.

I am extremely happy to hear this news, and am currently in the process of getting my W-8 BEN form finalized once and for all. I am excited to continue working on things in my Zazzle shop and I have a lot of updates to make, as they added tons of products during my inactivity - and I was busy making tons of designs the whole time too! This whole experience has taught me a little more about the POD experience, however. First of all, I have learned that the IRS has instructions that can be interpreted differently by different people, leading to this whole mess in the first place. International tax law is something I never even considered upon joining Zazzle. I understood that I had to complete a W-8 BEN form before I could receive my pay for tax reasons, but I never thought about the impact that could happen if the rules surrounding the W-8 BEN form changed. I also never would have expected a company to not give fair notice on a change such as this, that effects peoples pay and livelihoods. I know from experience that it can take up to 7 weeks for Zazzle to process a W-8 BEN form - they should have let designers know at least 7 weeks in advance, before they started implementing the 30% tax rule. Then again, they never gave us a timeline. The whole announcement was panicked, and not well thought out in the first place. From this experience, I will be extremely weary of print on demand sites based in the US for now on, and I will read more into the tax treaty between Canada and the country where a new POD is based before joining.

I do have really exciting plans for my Zazzle shop. On top of all the designs I have to add, I also have plans for a brand new shop in the months to come. I can't wait to get started! I also have news about a new Print on Demand I joined in the midst of all this confusion and insecurity. While it is a simple POD, I am still playing around with it and trying to figure out some of the main things about it before I write about it here. It looks very promising, though!

Now, because I hate adding a blog post without a picture ( I hate walls of text and I just added a whole wall of text!) here are a few of the new designs I have added to my redbubble account lately! I look forward to adding these patterns, as well as the countless others I made during my off time, to Zazzle's wide range of products including fabrics.

Retro 3D colours geometric pattern iPhone case! I love how bright this is, definitely
a great accent to any boring black purse! ;)

Geometric star maze pouch, in lavenders & teals! I absolutely love the RB
pouches, I am sure I have mentioned that before. This is a soft, but intricate pattern
that has a vintage kaleidoscope feel.

This simplistic red, blue and black pattern has a very simple tribal print feel.
You can see more intricate details if you look closely at the black parts-
it is tiny line drawings!


Friday, 17 July 2015

RedBubble Duvet Covers Feature & W-8 BEN Saga Continues

So I realized that I have never actually discussed duvet covers here ever! Now is as good a time to start as any. Its a rainy day and I've been stuck inside all day so long that I am actually getting bored of video games (is that even possible?) so now is the perfect time for my new blog post.

In other off topic news, but still deserving of an update, some of you may know I have been dealing with a frustrating issue at Zazzle where they won't accept my foreign TIN number on my W-8 BEN form, and threaten to withhold 30% of my income as tax unless I get an ITIN number. Yes, that is still going on, a month later! I even emailed the IRS and sent their response to Zazzle, only to have them send me a generic response back saying that the IRS is recommending that they get ITIN numbers from people. It is contradictory information to what the IRS told me - That I DON'T need an ITIN! It is frustrating because the recent changes that Zazzle keeps referring to did the opposite - they made it so that people can provide a foreign TIN instead of an ITIN. All I know is that you can't just make up stuff to go on a government form, but it seems like Zazzle thinks they can just request a pink pony and designers would have to give them a pink pony by law.

Needless to say, I am focusing on my Nuvango and Redbubble shops now (I even started on a new POD today that looks really promising... I will share more details when I am all set up there and more familiar with it!).

Phew! Sooo back to the main point I started this post... RedBubble duvet covers! Redbubble has been adding new products quite a bit lately, and even changing up the way you design them. When I started on RB you couldn't tile patterns, which was a bummer, especially for the duvet covers which are MASSIVE! But they have changed that and now you can! So all of my patterns are now available on duvet covers and I couldn't be happier. :) This is the only POD I am on that offers them!

These duvet covers are made with polyester on the design side, and a cotton polyester blend on the back side. They have a concealed zipper and ties so that you can secure your duvet nice and cozy and not worry about zippers sticking out. You can even machine wash these, but on a gentle cycle in cold water! They come in Twin, Queen & King. Check out their sizing chart:

People who have bought this item love it; reviews say these covers are durable, the design prints exactly as seen on the website & very soft. It currently has a 4/5 star review (out of 7 reviews). The twin starts at $110, the queen is $130 and the king is $170.

Here are some of the duvet covers that are covered in my designs! :)

This is my watercolour turtles design on a bright teal background!
I think this would be fantastic for a little nature loving boys room.  

Kiwi green flower tile duvet cover! This light and pretty duvet cover would
work well in many different rooms and would make a fantastic accent piece
for a light coloured room. This duvet cover pattern is actually made with all
the shades of a kiwi, so the lines are brown. It would look lovely on a brown bed frame,
or in a room with lots of wooden accents.

This is my colourful cat eye marbles pattern in duvet format! I think that
this is my favourite duvet cover of all. The marble pattern really matches this
cover, as it looks like just colourful dots from afar but the detail is really
interesting. The off white cream colour gives this duvet cover a vintage feel.

My penguins holding flippers pattern, another one that I think would be
perfect for a childs room! This pattern also looks fantastic in pink and red,
so feel free to contact me if you have a background request. I'm sure there are
plenty of children out there who want a penguin themed room, with so many
adorable penguin themed movies out there such as happy feet and penguins of
madagascar! 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

New Designs on Nuvango: Marker Kaleidoscope Patterns!

Happy nearly mid week everyone!~ ;) 

Lately with the discovery of RepperPro I have been going on a decorative abstract pattern creation faze. As in, I literally spend all my time uploading my old artwork and patterns to repper to see what other patterns and designs I can make. I have literally been creating patterns all day, for like a week straight. Its getting bad. But anyways, there are a select few patterns that I loved enough to add to my Nuvango shop! I did have to take down a couple of older pictures to add these ones, but I think they work much better with Nuvango's target audience than my older designs did. 

These two patterns were created from artwork I made a while back from a series of bookmarks I was drawing for fun. They were nature based bookmarks drawn with a simple black pen & marker. I wanted to keep them simple so I added 1 splash of colour to each! The end result is two decorative patterns that are simple in colour but intricate in design. It doesn't look like much in the small previews, but if you look up close you can see the line work and details from the pen! 
These designs are available on all products on Nuvango with the exception of leggings. 



Saturday, 11 July 2015

RepperPro: User Test and Program Review

So a short while ago while I was browsing instagram, a fellow pattern artist posted a beautiful pattern with a comment saying that she loves using pattern generators to come up with new patterns. For some reason, I never knew pattern generators were even a thing until that comment... and I instantly wanted to try one! So I hit google in search of a good one. I searched for a while with different keywords, looking in particular for a pattern program that can be used on Mac and Windows. What I eventually found was RepperPro!

A few things about RepperPro. It is free to try for 7 days. The 7 day trial is the whole program, and it is available for Mac and PC. You can get the Free Demo Here! If you like the program enough like I did,  you can buy it for $37 american.

When I first opened up RepperPro there was a test image to use. I was instantly drawn in. I played with the test image for about an hour. I WAS HAVING SO MUCH FUN! You know those Kaleidoscopes you used to play with as a kid? This is basically that, in program form with a save option. This program is fast. When you move your selection square around the image to see different patterns, it is seamless. I made like 50 different patterns that very first day. Here is what the interface looks like:

When you first load RepperPro you will have the test image. I was really over
excited so I loaded my own image. :) Click to enlarge!
The first tab on the left is where you load your source image. You can choose from any jpg, png and tif, but you unfortunately can't choose from vector based files like .ai files. Another limitation I found was that loading pictures over 15MB sometimes did not work. I am not sure if this is a mac specific problem, or if it happens on windows too.

The second tab is magical. It is where you take a selection of your image and make patterns out of it. You can resize and drag the selection box around your picture, giving you an almost infinite range of generated patterns from one image! There are two options in this box. The icon with a box and an arrow shooting out of it is the image preview size. You can change how large or how small you want your source image to be shown. The second option, the magnifying glass, lets you zoom in and out of your created pattern. This is especially useful if you would like to see how a pattern would look tiled over a large area for textiles, or to give you an idea of how the pattern looks like overall. It does resize the tile too however, so if you would like to export larger patterns generally, make sure to change it back to max.
Fun shortcut I learned: If you click on the pattern itself and drag your cursor left and right, you can change the size of the pattern that way. This doesn't change the tile size, just gives you a preview.

The third tab is the tiling tab. It has 16 pattern options to choose from. 8 are seamless patterns, and the other 8 have visible edges. The menu actually tells you which ones will have visible edges, and which ones are seamless. This tab also shows you what your tile looks like, and tells you how big your tile is in pixels. I spend a lot of time at this box too.

The fourth tab is colours. I don't use it much, but it can be useful if you made a pattern you really really love, and you want it in different colours without bringing it into illustrator or photoshop. This tab has preset colour/contrast settings you can choose from, or you can alter it manually yourself using the colour, brightness, contrast & tint bars in the settings dropdown at the bottom.

The fifth tab is where you export your creation. You can export it as a tile (save tile), or as a fully tiled pattern (save surface).  When you click save tile, it will show you what your tile looks like and gives you a dropdown of what you can save it as. You have the choice of .jpg, .png and .tif.
In the save surface option, you can choose how big you want the whole pattern to be, and how many times you would like your tile to repeat. The max size seems to be 2800 px, and the max times you can make your pattern tile is 100 times. You can also save these as .jpg, .png and .tif.

Okay so that was long and boring sorry! Now for the fun stuff. I made SO MANY PATTERNS out of this one drawing:
Marbles and Jacks, one of my daily drawings from a long while back.
It was a good picture to choose because of the clean vector
gradients and shapes.
This program is just so seamless. I literally have it open right now for this review and I am having troubles focusing because I am playing around. Here is a selection of some of the patterns I created out of this drawing (click to enlarge!):








The Verdict: This program is fun. You can spend hours going through your existing artworks to see what sort of patterns you can make out of them. I even went through some photographs I took and made some pretty awesome patterns. It also is really great if you are looking for new pattern ideas after feeling a little burnt out creatively. I sell my art and patterns on print on demand websites like Zazzle and Redbubble, and this is especially useful for that because I can make seamless patterns that fit all products. This program can also be useful for making beautiful repeating patterns for websites, blogs and computer desktops. Someone even engraved a banana using a pattern made from RepperPro!
Despite the minor bump I found of not being able to load images over 15MB in file size, and the fact that this is a relatively old program that I am not sure if the developers update anymore, I found this to be a pattern generator worth the $40 CAD that I paid, and I will definitely use it with any new patterns I make to see what else I can come up with.

Now, I don't have any pattern generators that I can compare this one to. Do you ever use pattern generators? What is your favourite one? Feel free to comment your experiences with pattern generators!

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Redbubble Studio Pouches Feature

So lately I have been adding TONS of designs to my redbubble shop - I mean TONS! In the past week I doubled what my gallery initially was. Redbubble has started to expand what they allow you to design on, adding scarves, notebooks, leggings & pencil skirts to the mix - but my absolute favourite addition is the studio pouch. 

The studio pouches are extremely cute and durable. They are made from 100% polyester and feature a gold coloured YKK zip with metal teeth. These pouches feature the design printed on the front and back, and they are an all over print. If your studio pouch gets a little dirty, you don't have to put it in the washer or dryer - simply clean it off with a damp cloth. They also come in two different sizes! The smaller size is 23 cm x 15 cm for $24, and the large size is 30.5 cm x 20.5 cm for $26. 
They have been on redbubble for well over a month now and the reviews so far are great. Sitting at a 4/5 star average review, people love that the bag is durable, high quality print on both sides & the perfect sizes of the bag. One reviewer said the bag is big enough to use as a handbag and attached a chain belt to the zipper - what a fantastic idea! This would also make a great pencil case, make up bag, travel bag or game pouch for your spare 3DS or PS Vita games. Okay, that last one is probably something only I was thinking of. :P Tons of uses nonetheless! I do really love that handbag idea, too. It would be so neat if the pouches featured a little loop on either side so you could actually attach a shoulder belt & make an adorable little purse. Future redbubble product, perhaps? ;)

I have made all of my designs available in pouch. So far one pouch has sold for me... my "cat to be kitten me" design on a lime green background pouch! Here is that pouch, as well as some of the ones that I think people will really like from my shop. 

To view all of my studio pouches, click here!

My most popular redbubble design - my cat to be kitten me right meow
pun, cat shaped. I picked a light lime sherbet colour for the background.  If
you would ever like to order the pouch on a different colour, send me an email &
I will update that for you!

In the spirit of cats, because everyone is always in the mood for cats, here is
another cat pouch featuring my kitten faces design. These yellow and grey
tabby cats look really kawaii with their big glossy eyes! 

This snails pouch is one of my absolute favourites! The mustard yellow colour
goes so well with the gold in the zipper. It just makes it look like this design was
absolutely made for this pouch! The snails make this more than just a
mustard yellow bag. The charming novelty pattern is extremely unique and
the snails are just cute enough that even people who hate bugs will like it. 

Here is a new design that I have not featured here yet, my kiwi green flowers pattern!
This pattern is literally all the colours of a kiwi. The green in the flowers is dark kiwi green, and the
background is a lighter kiwi green. The shapes are even outlined in a gorgeous shade of brown!
This pattern is girly but subtle, and would make a great accessory bag or handbag for the summer
and the spring.

Another one of my favourites! My polkadot sheep with hearts design on a grey
background. The tiny black hearts really pull together the look of this pouch, making
a traditionally childish design & colours look adorable and trendy! The grey
background really pulls out the colours of the sheep.

Since I am Canadian and all and Canada Day just happened, it was only a matter
of time before I broke out with a patriotic design. I added a deep red watercolour
to give these otherwise traditional Canadian Maple Leafs an artistic twist. The result
is a pretty cute Canadian pouch that can be used to show your support of Canada
during Canada day, the olympics, PAN AM games & our Team Canada
sports teams in a really trendy way! For Team Canada specifically, send me an
email and I can provide this design with a black background! It looks fantastic
in both black and white. 

I just realized that redbubble has added hardcover journals so I am going to go explore those! Have a great week everyone. :) 

Tanya

Thursday, 2 July 2015

June Stats from Zazzle, Redbubble & Nuvango

Hey guys, this month has been quite an unproductive month for me on the zazzle front... yet again! But for an unfortunate reason. As many of you may know, I have put my Zazzle shop on hold while I wait to see what is going to be happening with my W-8 BEN form. 7 months on Zazzle, and still no payment has been processed. Not to mention they declared there are new rules with the IRS that states international designers have to get an ITIN number to be able to receive their full pay. Without this number, they will be "withholding" 30% of our payment for tax reasons. That would be fine and dandy if it is a real rule, but the official IRS W-8 BEN instructions state that the ITIN is only used if an individual DOES NOT supply a foreign TIN number. Everyone who works in their own country has their own foreign tax number, and therefore supplying it on the W-8 BEN form is sufficient enough for the IRS. It is terribly bad practice to withhold income for tax when people are supplying perfectly fine identification numbers that are accepted by the IRS! The designers are waiting to see what will happen, hopefully Zazzle will re-read  the instructions and begin to accept what the IRS has already stated they will accept.

It does not look good though. This fiasco has been going on for nearly 3 weeks - which means that for 3 weeks, I have put all designing on zazzle on hold. I refuse to create more things for a company that is going to take away 30% of my income because they are too lazy to read through the whole W-8 BEN instructions. I might not delete my shop if they decide to take 30% of my earnings, but I will most certainly be forced to raise my royalty rate to make up for the profit I will be losing. On the other hand, if they do decide to honour the IRS W-8 BEN rules and they FINALLY accept my form as proper, it will be like starting on zazzle all over again for me, because I will have SO MUCH to upload and so much work to do on my shop. I have been adding daily patterns and designs to my RedBubble shop in the mean time, so there is that.

Sorry for the wall of text, this whole ordeal is very frustrating. I have been waiting over half a year with no pay, and then there is this. All of my work promoting and selling is for nothing if all I did was make one company richer, and I never see any payment for my art (which btw has been featured on their front page this month... I would usually be happy about that but now I am not).

On the bright side. The Canadian dollar is doing really bad, so the longer my money sits, the more Canadian dollars I get in the end... LOL.

Now this is after all my monthly comparison of my sales & stats, so I will get to it! You will notice that I did not include my Society6 in this update. That is because I have decided society6 won't work for me until I get a new computer. I make some pretty high quality patterns, but my computer literally can't handle making 6000px x 6000px + designs, they take over 10 minutes to save. Its bad. So I can't take advantage of the wide variety of products they have there, and so I will put it on hold until I can afford a new computer.

Nuvango Shop

Last month I reached the max designs on my Nuvango shop... So not much activity on this front! I am looking at maybe revamping some of it, getting rid of old patterns and adding new ones eventually. They added leggings this month though, and it seems only certain designers can put their art on leggings and I am not one of them. So while my art was featured in the old galleries, it is not featured here... leading me to a sloooow dead month on Nuvango.

Sales: 0 (so sad.. I was getting a sale each month and now back to 0)
Advertising/Sharing: None
Followers: 38 (6 more than last month)
Most liked Design: Tri-Colour Geometric Pattern (41 Likes!)

Nuvango also added Tank Tops! Here is a womens tank top
in my pattern. I really like it and I want one. These colours are
very summery and light! It would look fab tucked in to a pair of
high waisted shorts. 
Redbubble Shop

My RedBubble shop has started to take off! May I saw three sales, mostly thanks to a bit of extra exposure courtesy of redbubble sharing my sisters Cat to be Kitten me right meow pillow on Instagram AND Facebook! There will be more exciting news about that particular pillow, so keep an eye out for it! ;) I have also been promoting my redbubble shop more, and adding all of my new designs to redbubble instead of Zazzle. It does not see the same amount of sales that Zazzle does, but as they add more and more products to design on, I am confident redbubble will be huge.

Sales: 3
Advertising/Sharing: Small amount of sharing on Wanelo due to a glitch, small amount of sharing on Pinterest because I don't use pinterest much. Every design I upload I pin 1 product to Wanelo, and two + to pinterest.
Most Viewed Design: Glitter Tropical / Retro Pineapples: 1593 Views
Zazzle Shop

My Zazzle shop was the real test this month. How much action does it see when I do not add more designs and I do not promote it? The answer is less than last month... but not by much shockingly. It did surprisingly OKAY this month. This month, out of all months, my Popsicle Tote Bag (it says "Be cool"... its pretty cute) has been featured on the front page of the US Zazzle shop for atleast a week and a half for the subheading "tasty summer totes". So that is the most exposure I have gotten this month, as I wait for my form to be processed before resuming work!

Sales: 7
Advertising/Sharing: None, though my tote bag is on the front page of Zazzle.
Page Views: 1044
Most Viewed Design: Tropical Summertime Pineapple Fabric (386 Views now!)

My sales from this month:
Polkadot Pastel Sheep Custom Letterhead
I sold 25 of these this month! I had never sold letterheads before.  This is a pretty
cute design for children or a daycare. 

Polkadot Pastel Sheep Custom Letterhead by TanyaDraws
Check out other Little black hearts Letterhead at zazzle.com
Tropical Watercolor Pineapple Pattern Gift Wrap
1 roll of wrapping paper! :) This design is definitely my most popular...
and it is so tropical and pretty, perfect for summer!

Tropical Watercolor Pineapple Pattern Gift Wrap by TanyaDraws
Look at another wrapping paper at zazzle.com
Tropical Summertime Watercolor Pineapple Pattern Fabric
Sold 3 of this watercolour pineapple fabric! :) Really happy that people like it.
A friend from the states told me he saw someone wearing this pattern, so
it really excites me that someone out there is making dresses out of it!

Tropical Summertime Watercolor Pineapple Pattern Fabric by TanyaDraws
View more Fabric at Zazzle
Illustrated Flower & Laurel Wreath
My very first air freshener sale! These are a really great idea. This
is actually the first time I have sold this wreath design too, I think!
It is a great autumn feel pattern, and it looks wonderful on the creamy
white background. 

Illustrated Flower & Laurel Wreath by TanyaDraws
Check out another Air Freshener
Cute Red Fox and Hearts Keychains
A personalized fox and hearts keychain! The fox looks like
it is walking on a little cloud. :)

Cute Red Fox and Hearts Keychains by TanyaDraws
Make your own photo key rings.
Rainbow and Textured Chevron Pattern Heart Sticker
With all the excitement over gay marriage finally being legalized in the states,
I sold 5 of these lovely rainbow chevron heart stickers! :) It definitely
is a great sticker for the occasion. 

Rainbow and Textured Chevron Pattern Heart Sticker by TanyaDraws
Browse more Faded rainbow Stickers
Tropical Watercolor Pineapple Pattern Flask
Last but not least, I sold a flask! I am super excited to have finally
sold a flask, especially one of my most favourite flasks that I have designed!
Someone will be super summery at parties with this!

Tropical Watercolor Pineapple Pattern Flask by TanyaDraws
Browse more hip flasks at zazzle.com

Well that is all for my monthly roundup! This month, in total from all my shops I saw 10 sales, but many multiple item sales! Less than last month, but not so shabby for way less advertising and sharing. A big thank you to all my customers over my shops. I hope you are enjoying your gifts, and if you ever have any requests feel free to reach out to me! 

Have a great weekend everyone! 
- Tanya