("A Colorful Cat #2," by Nayad Monroe, in the extra-fancy embellished version.)
For years, I've been vaguely saying that I should post my art online somewhere, to make it available for people to buy. I've sold my art before - to complete strangers, even! That was back when I painted in acrylic, on canvases. I had several coffee shop and restaurant-level shows, where people bought paintings every time. Then I had babies, and felt a combination of less time and interest in painting, and worries about having paints with not-so-healthy pigments around where toddlers might get the notion to eat them. I also had the ambition to write fiction and get it published, and I did THAT thing repeatedly for a decade. I expect to continue writing short stories once in a while, but it won't be my main thing. I like it, sometimes a lot, but I don't get absorbed in it the way I do with art-making.
My problem with art was that I couldn't decide on how to approach it. Return to painting? Draw on paper? Make upcycled garden ornaments from thrift-store materials? Learn how to do tile mosaics? (I still want to learn how to do tile mosaics.) Make digital art? AHA. Yes. Digital art! And I made bunches of abstract digital art a few years ago. If you scroll down a bit on my Instagram page, you can see it. But I also got involved in editing my anthologies, What Fates Impose and Not Our Kind, back around then, and I was still writing fiction.
Then I went through a big ol' creative slump for a long time, after a certain election here in the United States. You know the one. I dragged some fiction out of myself, but only a tiny bit. The thing that turned me around was participating in the Inktober challenge in October of 2017. I drew my daily ink drawing every single day of that month, and I posted each drawing online. They were in a new medium for me, alcohol marker, and I enjoyed the process. A few people commented that they'd be interested in buying some of the drawings (which were mostly creepy, Halloween-inspired images). Since they were small drawings in a casual sketchbook, I decided I should do some digital work on them and offer them as prints somehow.
BUT HOW??? That was the final problem. I wanted to find a way to not have to produce, package, and ship things out myself. I'm willing to do that on a limited basis for friends, but I didn't want that to be a big feature of my life. So I glanced at a bunch of print-on-demand sites, and decided that I would start with just one for now: Zazzle. Since I was working on it, I started to look at other artwork of mine that I could post, and I ended up making two Zazzle shops for the very different styles of art I was posting.
As it turns out, the brightly-colored, whimsical art like the cat above is now my main focus, in my shop called "by Nayad Monroe," and I've been drawing lots of new images for it! Every time I draw one thing, I get ideas for approximately seven new things to draw, so my to-draw list is huge. The smaller selection of Inktober art is in "Nightmares by Nayad." I still like those drawings, and I may do another round of Inktober this year to add to them.
The way Zazzle works is that you can make shops for free, and you have the option to add images and text to a staggering array of product types. You can actually design a product just for yourself and buy it, but you can also offer it for sale to other people. Then, if someone else buys it, you get a royalty. It's a well-established site where you can reach people worldwide, but it also takes work to get your stuff noticed among all the other stuff. I've been reading advice and watching tutorial videos, and I think I'm making progress, but I know there's more I can (and will) do. For whatever reason, I find this type of effort more appealing than having to fulfill orders myself. Things I post now can stay on the site and have the potential to sell for as long as the site exists. I want to expand to other sites, too, but I want to get a good start on this one first.
So what I'm going to do now, since I'm here, is post links to some items I've designed, since that's recommended by Zazzle as a way to make my shop more visible. PLEASE BEAR WITH ME. I promise this blog is not about to go all selly-sell 24/7. These WILL be affiliate links, fyi. Thanks for reading this far!
Embellished Hopped-Up Hare #1 Illustration Metal Print
Note: This post contains affiliate links to products that will earn me royalty money if you buy them. I hope you will, because I worked hard on them! But no pressure. :)