Thursday, December 20, 2007

New character!

I've started on a new character... a baby. In this case, a very unhappy baby. Why is he so unhappy? Well, you'll just have to stay tuned and check back to find out :)

In any case, here's a small preview of him. He's not quite where I'd like him to be -- want to add a lock of hair and a couple of other things.. but I think he's coming nicely.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Google Base and Best Darn T-Shirts...

Today, I've uploaded my current set of cafepress products to Google Base (formerly known as FROOGLE -- can't imagine why that name didn't go over..) as well as Darn Fine Shirts. I've only added a few designs there currently to see how well it goes over. Apparently, people are encouraged to click on these links to help rank those shirts higher:

Darn Fine Shirts
-- the Border Security Shirt

Darn Fine Shirts
-- the iPoo shirt

Darn Fine Shirts
-- the Gore Peace Prize shirt

Darn Fine Shirts
-- the "explosion A" shirt

So if you liked (or haven't seen) any of those, please check them out and rank them on that site.

More to come....

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Quick update.. and a poster

I've taken one of my 3D designs that lends itself to a poster and rendered it at poster-size (4600x7000) for what should be a very nice 23x35 poster. It's the design below, on a white background.

I've also spent some more time working on the blog and related items behind the scenes. And, as always, more designs coming up soon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Sold another one... more character work.

Sold another t-shirt today, that makes 5 in all so far. They've all been the Chuck Norris quote by Mike Huckabee. I've really got to give it to Huckabee for doing that -- he's got some very savvy marketers (and very savvy tech people) working for him. He's got some good ideas about some things as well, but I digress...

I'm slightly concerned that after Christmas, sales will drop, but I suppose political humor is political humor all year 'round, so maybe they won't. I'm still working on some new character designs for the cafepress shop... still trying to figure out which direction I want to go in with them. Getting feedback from people on the shop (and the designs) always helps. I did spend a few hours wrestling with the html/css/tables of the shop yesterday, and added a link so that people can add the cafepress store to their with a handy image and link in the sidebar. Don't know if anyone else has done that -- they probably have, but I haven't seen it. I'm going to add Digg and Reddit and Facebook icons soon (and all the other ones people use) just to round it out. If you make things easy for people, they tend to be more likely to bookmark than if it's not as easy.

Anyway, I know a couple of people are reading this... I'm hoping over time that this blog becomes both a history/journal of my cafepress adventures, as well as a guide to anyone who is considering opening up a cafepress store. I'd really encourage you to do it -- you can open a basic store for free, and uploading a design is free, and getting some very decent graphic software for free is pretty easy in this day and age. I'll probably go into more detail about the tools I use, both graphical and website related, at a later date. I'm also going to post some statistics about what I've done and how many things have sold and all that... but it'll be more interesting later when there's more than a week's worth of data. But so far, I've been up for about 10 days as a premium store, I've got about a dozen designs, a variety of products (some designs are a good fit for some products, but not others) and I've sold 5 t-shirts, for a grand total of $5 profit towards my $35 membership (for 6 months). So, all in all, I'm pleased. It's a lot more work than I thought it would be -- the shop interface can be a bit clunky at times, but as I'm getting more used to it, I'm getting faster. I'm also optimizing keywords and things like that which hopefully will help people find me better. Anyway, I'm off.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

New look for the shop and a new design...

With some help/advice from a graphic guru friend of mine, I've got my shop in slightly better shape. This is the old look:

And the new look:

I'm not 100% satisfied with the new look, but I think it's a lot better than the old one. I'll probably revise it to be somewhere between the two before it's all said and done.

In addition, I've added a new design to the abstract section and I've started on the first of a series of characters. I've also added a Zombie section and the first design there. Here's the abstract (on black and white backgrounds) and zombie hunter designs added.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

New design, new products...

I've added a new design to the 3D/abstract section, and I've added a couple of new products to those items. I added tote bags and mousepads to all 3 of the existing designs, in addition to all the black t-shirts and the coffee mugs that were already there. I took the steins out -- I can't really imagine someone buying one of those with one of these bizarre graphics on it, though I think the mousepads could be a big hit if people can find them (which is always the trick).

Anyway, here's the new design:

More to come!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

New designs, another sale, and Google found me!

Well, I made another sale of the ever-popular *grin* Mike Huckabee's Plan for Border Security (which is 2 words: Chuck Norris) -- I'll be more excited when one of my own designs sells one, but I'm happy to have sold a handful of these so far.

I also created a new category -- 3D/Abstract -- and will be adding various things to that... it will probably open up some new categories for me besides just t-shirts... I think mugs or maybe even clocks/notebooks or something could work, depending on the design. The tough part with this is getting it to take up the maximum space, but not cutting off the outer edges of the design (so there's a visible seam at the end) -- it'll get easier as I move to other designs, I think. Here are the two designs up in the abstract 3D section currently:

I think the abstract designs *could* do well, but people finding them is going to be the hard part... I could turn them into backgrounds and cross-promote, but I'm not sure... we'll see. Also, if anyone is interested, I'm using Cinema 4D R10.1 from Maxon to create and render these abstracts.

Also, my shop seems to now be listed in Google! Someone found me by looking for a shirt about having twins. They, of course, found my shirts about *not* having twins, but that's good nonetheless. It doesn't look like Google has updated their version of my store lately, but I suspect it won't take long.

Monday, December 10, 2007

My friend opens a shop!

A good friend of mine and very talented artist, Chris, has opened his own cafepress store. His design is based on a wacky little frog-type creature that says "Kiss Me, I'm Irish!" and while there are thousands of designs with that phrase, most of them won't have artwork anything near what's been done here. I'd encourage you to check it out. It'd make a great Christmas present or a great St. Patty's Day present.

Here's a preview of the image..

Click on it to check out his store.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

New designs

Here are 4 new designs for my cafepress shop. 2 of them are in there now, and 2 of them will be in there soon. Here are all 4 nonetheless. They're all relating to being pregnant and the goofy questions that go along with it. While I've never been pregnant, my wife is nearing the end of her second pregnancy (due in about 4 weeks) and she tells me all the questions people ask. Some of the designs are based on those, some are made up. I'm not really at liberty to say which is which :) but I suspect people will enjoy these. Okay, I'll say anyway :) The first one should be pretty obvious... you'd be surprised how often people ask if you're having twins and when you tell them you're not, they ask if you're sure. You'd really be surprised. The next happens when people ask when you're due and when you tell them, they step back, wide eyed, and look really surprised. Again, happens more than you think. The last two relate to people seeing you're pregnant and just putting their hands on you. I wouldn't say it happens more than you think, but it happens, and if you're guilty of that, at least ask first ;-)

Anyway... hope you like them, feel free to comment. Clicking on the first two will show you the designs in place, and I'll implement that on the other two when they're up. For now, click on the last two will take you to the maternity section of the shop.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Added 2 new designs

Added 2 new maternity designs last night. I'll post the pictures up this evening.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Switching the focus of the blog..

Since the focus of my life is changing -- we're about to have a baby and maternity leave (and therefore, only one income for about 3 months) -- I've decided to change the focus of this blog. I'm currently dabbling in a number of areas where I have the potential to earn money on the web, and I'm going to document that process (and it's results) on this page, with tools and thoughts from the process along the way. It'll be an interesting way for me to keep up with it even if no one else ever reads it.

My most successful venture to date was writing an "abstract" (in this case, a 3-4 sentence summary) of an article for Brijit. The third of my submitted abstracts was accepted, slightly edited, and I was credited with $5. No, I don't suppose that's anything to write home about, but it's worth mentioning. It was deposited into my Paypal account yesterday, so that's a good thing. Few more of those and I could buy a cartoonsmart tutorial or various other things... Brijit isn't a bad deal, though reading an 8 page article (or watching an hourlong video) and then summarizing it into 3 or 4 sentences isn't really my strength. It drains me. They do pay $8 for the abstracts based on a video, though, and some of the videos are short (15 minutes, etc). All in all, not a bad deal.

Next I tried Squidoo, and made a "lens" about Kevin Spacey, and another about Call of Duty 4 (which I really do think *is* the best FPS game, ever, btw). I put a lot more effort into the Kevin Spacey one, and it shows, I think. I have a lot of ideas about new lenses on squidoo, but it's fairly time consuming and difficult to do unless you just rip the content straight from wikipedia, which I've seen in a number of places, but that's not my thing, so I'm going to pass...

The latest option, and I really think the most promising, is that I just opened a new Cafepress store where I'll be selling t-shirts with funny thoughts and pictures on them. I don't really know how well it'll all work out, but I've already sold 2 t-shirts in the less-than-a-week it's been up. I think that's a good sign. So far I've had a ton of ideas for new t-shirts (and quite possibly a second premium store) and it's enjoyable to execute the idea into a graphic (though admittedly, my graphic design skills leave something to be desired) and I've currently got more ideas than I can do. I've set out a few goals in the process:

  • Purchase a premium store for a timeframe of 6 months for $35

  • Sell enough gear to make back that $35 over the course of that 6 months

  • Add 3-5 new designs/products a week

As far as completing those goes, I've purchased the store for 6 months, I'm currently at the $2 mark (2 sales, $1 each) and I've currently got 2 categories and 3 designs in the store. I've got 2 more designs that I'm about to upload (which will make 5 for the week, and add a third category) so I'm doing pretty good. I've also got a ton of other ideas that I'm working on -- some will be best suited to just text, others will require some drawing, others some 3D, and others still need some more fleshing out as to how best to execute them. But all in all, I'm pretty pleased with the cafepress idea. My shop will have everything from baby/maternity humor to political humor to plain ole fart jokes. While some people may not like some of it, I hope by the time I'm done there's something there that will appeal to just about everyone. While Brijit does pay at the end of the month and cafepress takes 60 days after the end of the month to process, I think cafepress is going to be a better option for me in the long term.

So... at least for the present, the focus of this blog will be on these ventures, their successes and failures, and the journey along the way.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Check out his NES Paul!

(Click here for Link)

Some wacky guy decided to hack up his NES and his guitar. And make a guitar with an Nintendo Entertainment System as the body. How cool is that?

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It Lives! (and squidoo, too)

I'm at a different stage in life now, and I'm going to start blogging again. There were a lot of things I tagged to blog "when I got around to it" but I never got around to it. That's going to change.

In other news, I've discovered Squidoo and created my first "lens" on one of my favorite actors, Kevin Spacey and what I believe to be some of his best work so far.

For those of you not familiar with it, squidoo is a site that lets you create a "lens" on any subject you'd like. A lens is basically a page that you can create with a set of pre-packaged modules to help you add in things from ebay, amazon, flickr, google or whatever you'd like. It's pretty neat.

If it sounds like your kind of thing, sign up and give it a shot. It's all free. And you can get a bonus $5 when you earn your first $15 (and in all fairness, I'd get $5, too!) when you sign up through this referral link.