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How To Create and Sell Watercolor Clipart Stock

This article has been contributed by KT Mehra and Joanne Green.

When you hear the term clipart it might conjure up those basic, clunky looking images you can download in Microsoft Word. However, clipart is so much more sophisticated now. Demand for high quality clipart images is high and people will often pay well to have a beautiful painted design, especially if it is uniquely made for them.

In layman’s terms, clipart refers to a digital image that can be downloaded and used in a variety of different ways such as a design on a t-shirt, coffee mug, sticker or on a webpage.

What is Watercolor Clipart / Stock?

Watercolor painting is the method, traditionally of using water-soluble paint on a canvas, to create anything from landscape scenes to portraits. Paints are usually blended with water to create soft brushstrokes that allow the pigments in the paint to blur and merge with other colors creating delicate and unique brush patterns.

Warecolor Painting

Watercolor clipart is the digital form of this painting medium, created either by uploading the image of the painting to a computer or using a specialized app to paint digitally.

How to Create Watercolor Clipart

There are several different ways to make realistic watercolor clipart paintings. You can use online apps to give a photograph a watercolor effect, upload a physical painting from a canvas or create your art directly onto a digital platform.

There is no right or wrong way to create and digitize clipart. Some artists are very proficient with a camera and enjoy the tangible feel of paint on canvas. However, for many artists who fancy the idea of uploading their artwork to sell online, digital painting is a very efficient medium.

1. Digitize Your Watercolor Art

Now you’re ready to digitize your watercolor painting and sell your clipart. There are several ways to digitize your art that depend on your preferred method of working.

Photos

If you’ve created your artwork using paint on a canvas, you’ll need some equipment to upload your images to the computer. If you have a good camera that has a high resolution, you can use it to take overhead shots of your paintings. Your mobile phone can work just as well too if it has a good camera on it, which most do.

If you’re going to use this method, it’s a good idea to remember to take photos of your artwork with a good natural light source (but out of direct sunlight). You can also use a piece of white card to create an even light source. However, you must be careful not to overexpose the picture, as this will make the artwork tricky to rectify when it’s uploaded.

Digitizing Watercolor Painting Photography

Scanning

Do you find that your photos don’t do your paintings justice? If you’re not confident with the camera, a quick way to upload your artwork is by using a scanner. This method will capture your art at the perfect angle and give even exposure to light. Scanning at about 600dpi will make sure you get the best resolution to your upload.

2. Create Your Artwork Directly on a Digital Program

Cut out the hassle of composing shots and uploading them. Go full-on digital and create your painting directly in an app like Illustrator, Photoshop, or Procreate.

Procreate is like Photoshop in many respects. However, the former has much more going for it in terms of its artistic features and creative options because it is designed precisely for creating digital artwork.

However, we’re not knocking Photoshop by any means. In fact, it’s a great tool to use before you finally upload your artwork to sell. Photoshop is perfect for sorting out any edits that might be needed to return the watercolor to its former glory.

How to Create Watercolor Clipart with Procreate

If you like the idea of creating watercolor art directly onto a digital platform, one fantastic tool that is making a name for itself is Procreate.

Digital painting cuts out the ‘middleman’ of having to take a photograph or scan and spend time editing the painting to reflect its former glory and Procreate seems to have really thought about the needs of its users.

The Procreate App

Procreate allows you to create beautiful works of art digitally and is packed with intuitive features and tools. With the app’s brush studio, you can create your own unique brushes or download some from a vast array of brush packages.

One of their newest features allows you to use your iPad camera to convert and upload colors from the real-world to create your own individual palette of realistic colors.

The app also lets you edit the brushes you’ve bought. By manipulating your brush to your unique tastes, you get complete flexibility and control over the final look of your artwork.

Procreate is simple to use and suitable for beginners and seasoned artists alike, with easy to access tools and editing at a tap of the screen. We love Procreate for its unique features and ease of use, making it an app that stands out from the crowd.

How to Use Procreate Brushes to Make Watercolor Clipart

Digitizing Watercolor Art

Procreate doesn’t come with any quality watercolor brushes, but you can create your own as mentioned above or download a brush package.

If you’ve decided to download some watercolor brushes to the Procreate app, you can access them at a tap in the handy paint tool menu. From this menu you can do so much, from selecting your preferred tools and organizing them into categories to duplicating and editing brushes. The collection of brushes ranges from traditional paint brushes to fountain pen ink and quill brushes.  The duplication tool is a fab feature to play around with as you can create a brush to suit your unique style without losing any of its original features.

You can also edit the brush names so you can easily select the right tools to create your artwork. For example, renaming the brushes to something you understand will make it quicker to differentiate which brushes will achieve the best blending results and which will make the best finer, detailed, finishing strokes.

Procreate also lets you view in-depth details of the brush, such as the overall shape and grain source, so that you know which brush to use to get the desired results you want to achieve.

Once you’ve selected your canvas and brush it’s time to choose a color from the extensive Procreate palette range and get painting, it really is that easy.

If we could give you one tip, however, it would be this. Unless you’re a seasoned user of Procreate it’s probably a good idea to experiment a little with the brushes and size adjustment panel first. The app is designed to be as realistic as possible (without the mess), so everything, from the pressure you apply to the screen, speed of your stroke, and size of your brush can create different finishes.

How to Edit Your Watercolor Artwork

Photographs tend to be duller than their original form when they are uploaded and therefore need a little more color correction work than scans. However, scanned artwork can have its issues too and can sometimes suffer from an over-saturation of light. Really, the amount of editing you need to do all comes down to the equipment you have and the original artwork.

Editing in Photoshop

There are many options for editing your artwork in Photoshop, but when dealing with watercolor, sometimes less is more. To achieve a natural finish, we recommend tweaking just the brightness and saturation to color correct your artwork.

So, to do a simple color correction in Photoshop you need to adjust the level of brightness. You can also change the contrast until the artwork is like the original. Once you’ve made your desired tweaks here and there, you can adjust the saturation of the composition until you are happy with the overall finish.

Editing in Procreate

If you have the Procreate app there is no need to use Photoshop as you can adjust the saturation and colors directly in the app in its adjustment’s menu. From here you can change the Hue, Saturation, Brightness, and Color Balance using simple sliders. Procreate recommends the Hue, Saturation and Brightness option as the simplest way to make quick color adjustments.

However, if you’ve created your artwork directly in the Procreate app, there is no need to do any editing at all!

Top Tips for Making Money Selling Clipart
Create What People Want

To make money and sell your clipart online, it’s worth remembering that people will only buy what they need. Perhaps a hard pill to swallow for those of you who throw yourself into your art and create whatever you feel. However, if you’re painting without thinking about what customers want, then you probably won’t sell much. Think about how your artwork can be used, check out online resources, and research current trends.

So, you’ve got a portfolio. You are confident people will want to buy your art. Now you need to get yourself in front of your ideal customers.

Make Yourself Visible

It may seem like common sense but, nobody will buy from you if they don’t know you exist. Whether you have your own website or shop on a site like Creative Market, a presence online will make you look professional and legitimate to customers.

Market and Present Yourself Well

Something else you can do that is super simple to encourage sales is to keep your portfolio organized. People are busy, time is money after all, and they don’t have time to do lots of searching. If you make it easy for potential customers to find the things they need, they will be more likely to buy from you.

Finally, you’ll want to promote yourself and market your talents. Social media is a fantastic tool for creating awareness around you and your artwork. Platforms like Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are ideal for engaging with your audience. These social media tools also make it easy for your followers to share and promote your posts.

Add Value

If you aren’t camera-shy, YouTube or Skillshare channels are brilliant promotional tools to market your talents in a non-salesy way. By creating tutorials to share valuable content based on your passion, you can make a name for yourself as an expert and someone who is knowledgeable and professional in their craft.

There is no one size fits all approach when it comes to digitizing and selling your watercolor clipart. You need to do what feels right for you and play around with different techniques and tools.

Where Should You Sell Clipart?

Once you’ve finished digitizing your artwork, you’ll want to sell it on the best platforms available and get the best price for your hard work. But how do you get your art in front of the right people?

There are many places to sell online clipart, but not all of them are right for selling watercolor clipart. To help you find your ideal customers here four online platforms that you could sell your watercolor clipart on.

Photography hard drive

Etsy

Etsy is a global online marketplace where you can sell your artwork directly to customers. Selling your clipart on Etsy is simple. You need to create a virtual shop to sell your goods then you are charged a small fee for your product listings. However, you only pay transaction, payment processing, and offsite advertising fees when you make a sale. Etsy is an ideal platform if you want to sell clipart to supplement your full-time job.

Adobe Stock

Adobe Stock gives you control over the license of your artwork, so for every sale you earn royalties for the use of your art. The platform also gives you the possibility to create a free portfolio to showcase your beautiful artwork.

Another bonus is that thanks to Adobe’s multiple cloud apps, your artwork can also reach customers around the globe.

Creative Market

Creative Market calls itself ‘the world’s marketplace for design’ and is a hub for artistic entrepreneurs. Creative Market gives you peace of mind by handling the transactions, marketing, and distribution of your artwork. Like Etsy, the site lets you create an online shop but also gives you statistics so that you can analyze your sales data.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock is a site that will also license your artwork for you. You can apply to become a seller for free and receive payment each time someone downloads your artwork.

Shutterstock also offers support to its sellers through guides and research on top trends and content. Perfect for designers who want to get ahead of the competition and create the type of images people need and want.

If you’re serious about selling your artwork, make sure you get in front of the right audience and produce the kind of content they want. By following these tips, you may find that as demand for your art increases, moving from physical canvas to a realistic painting app like Procreate is the way forward.

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About the author: KT Mehra is an entrepreneur who fell in love with pens, brushes, and ink.  She started Goldspot Pens in 1999 to sell fine-writing and art equipment to a passionate audience.

The post How To Create and Sell Watercolor Clipart Stock first appeared on JUST™ Creative.

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8 Graphic Design & Branding Services for Musicians, Bands & Artists

This article has been contributed by Nick Voorhees.

It’s no secret that social media is over-saturated with competing interests ruthlessly seeking attention. An unfathomable amount of new posts are uploaded every second and most of us mindlessly scroll while our minds are elsewhere.

Like any other business owner, musicians, music producers, DJs and other music creators are forced to navigate these oversaturated waters that are essentially a popularity contest. The music industry has reached a point where branding can create a more successful career than the music itself.

Standing out in a unique way is more crucial now than ever, which has led many musicians down the path of working with visual artists.

The demand for talented graphic designers is at an all-time high because of the large range of services that are needed to create an unforgettable brand. However, it can be hard to know exactly what music creators need and how to connect with them.

There are many ways to find clients in the music industry, and some services are starting to gain more popularity, especially during the pandemic.

1. Cover Art

Unfortunately, people are judged by their covers

Mood album cover by graphic designer

Image source: amazon.com

“Mood” by 24KGOLDN and Iann Dior has generated around 36 million streams on Spotify this year, which means listeners have seen this album cover 36 million times – much to the graphic designer’s advantage. It’s no surprise that many music producers take album art seriously because it will forever be associated with their brand.

Album covers are the most commonly used promotional tool in a music artist’s toolbox. For every song release, the album cover is a powerful resource that can be utilized to capture the attention of the public. A professionally made album cover increases the likelihood that fans and potential fans stop what they’re doing to press play.

The design needs to reinforce the music creator’s brand in an eye-catching, relevant and honest way. If music creators can find a graphic designer that can help them produce a cover that is both original and demands attention, they have won half the battle to create a successful career.

If you’re a graphic designer that wants to sell cover art, check out Melody Nest. You can sell pre-made album cover art as well as custom covers to music creators that have song releases coming up.

Pro tip: Motion cover art has become widely popular on Instagram and many artists post 5-10 second videos with visual effects layered on top of their previously-made cover art. Lots of musicians are willing to pay a small additional fee for this service, so be sure to upsell!

2. Logos & Branding

Musicians have a deep desire to be famous

Music artists' logos

Image source: edmtunes.com

If you’re a true music fan, it’s probably easy to conjure up images of the logos of your favorite musicians. Logo recognition is an integral part of being a true fan because it makes you proud that you even know what it looks like.

An easily recognizable logo is integral to the careers of many music creators’ careers. According to soundplate.com, having a unique and powerful brand image makes musicians “more desirable for bookings, help you shift merchandise and make your online music profiles look much more professional.”

Music logos appear across a range of mediums, including:

live event posters,
merchandise,
social media,
music streaming services and
music videos.

In all honesty, musicians can at times be oblivious to what they want in the first place when they approach designers for a logo, so be prepared to be patient –– you’ll make a lot more sales if you remain calm and collected. If you’re able to create magic, musicians will love you for it and will want to share and post your work everywhere.

If you want to find immediate access to musicians to work with, AirGigs, Melody Nest and Upwork provide options for graphic designers to sell logos to musicians, music producers and DJs.

3. Photoshopped Images

Give their fans something to share

Photoshopped images for musicians' social media

Artist credit: Downlink

Since the majority of musicians need content to post on their social media accounts every day, they need new and creative ways to do it. A great way to stand out from other artists is with images like the one pictured above. Obviously, not everything shared on an artist’s platform will be created by a graphic designer, but they will need more than just cover art and a logo to share with their fans.

Lots of music creators commission artists to edit photos to give their fans a taste of how they want to be portrayed. Artwork like this is very popular in the electronic dance music realm, and DJs love to share visually captivating posts of themselves –– their fans eat it up.

It’s important to remember that each genre in music has a unique aesthetic and visual appeal that’s original to the style of music. Even two styles of similarly aggressive music can have completely different looks. If you’re not sure how to figure this out, make sure to get your client to send you plenty of references.

If you’re willing to conduct business via social media, Instagram is a great way to get this done. Search for tags like #electronicmusic, #musicproducer or anything similar and find artists that post these kinds of edited photos. You may land clients just through a few cold messages.

4. Music Visualizers

Keep listeners entertained

Music visualizer designed by graphic designer for YouTube channel

Image source: ondesoft.com

For those that aren’t really sure what these are, music visualizers, or audio visualizers, are animated videos with visual effects that react and change to the sounds of a song, creating a pleasant experience for the listener. Visualizers are a great alternative to music videos because they are far less expensive.

On YouTube, visualizers have become extremely popular with channels in all types of genres, especially EDM. With the fast growth of electronic dance music, there are many high-profile channels on YouTube with millions of subscribers that use captivating visualizers to keep their fans listening to their channels for longer periods of time. Here are a few worth checking out:

Trap Nation
SuicideSheep
Proximity
UKF

If you’re a graphic designer that has any experience with Adobe After-Effects or other video editing software, then creating interesting visual effects to sync along to music is something that’s worth exploring. Music visualization is a lucrative market that has remained quiet in the mainstream for reasons that still seem unclear, so now is the time to jump right in.

Related: 40 to70% off Adobe Creative Cloud

Oddly enough, Fiverr generates a lot of business for music visualizers. Obviously, they are known for offering “cheaper” work, but there are a good amount of graphic designers charging fair prices and landing a lot of sales. They seem to be the only marketplace online currently selling music visualizers.

5. Lyric Videos

Make lyrics look good

Many artists reach for lyric videos instead of visualizers or music videos for some music releases, like Katy Perry’s Firework . Lyric videos are a bit like a music visualizer but the designer will add in the artist’s lyrics in clever and eye-catching ways.

If you haven’t made a lyric video, below are some helpful tips:

Listen to the song a few times to understand the mood
Google the type of music to learn more about the aesthetic of the genre
Have your artist gather images they want to use
Use the artist’s lyrics as inspiration for fonts, colors, etc
Constantly send updated versions to musicians (a lot of them are extreme perfectionists)

Fiverr is a good choice for lyric videos, but there are plenty of options that you can find in Facebook groups where artists will post queries looking to create these animated videos. If you search for groups like “music producers”, you can find people asking and inquiring for design services.

6. Merchandise Design

Sell out of merch at every show

Music band's merchandise clothing

Artist credit: Illenium Clothing

All great artists have merchandise – whether it’s hats, shirts, jerseys, socks, sweatshirts ot stickers. Many musicians make a substantial amount of their total income selling merchandise at shows and online, so it’s critical to have great design work. This is especially important for larger acts.

According to Tone Deaf, “nowadays, touring artists earn between 10-35% of their revenue through merch sales… the very biggest names bring in $300,000 to $400,000 USD per year.” Merchandise sales fall right under touring as the most lucrative aspect of being a professional musician.

Musicians want to create imagery that not only represents their brand, but something that will sell. So, if you’re talented in both design and marketing, you can really hit a home run by approaching artists both large and small with a few mock-ups (even if they didn’t ask for it) and see if they bite. If what you have is amazing, they may just buy it from you.

Design Hill makes it easy to pitch your work to musicians to help them create their merchandise. Otherwise, create original work and start sending emails!

7. Video Editing (YouTube)

Bring originality to their subscribers

Video editing on desktop computer

Many music artists release videos on various social media channels to increase their brand exposure and generate engagement. As well as the expected music-related videos, some artists have branched out into content like tutorials, tips and tricks, journaling and funny clips.

If they have a lot of subscribers on their channel, they’ll be open to inquiries from good designers to help them broaden their content. If video editing is your wheelhouse, use YouTube and Instagram to find music creators who could use the help of an editor, and reach out to them directly.

Keep an eye out for musicians creating tutorial or educational videos that are of a lower editing quality and send a message to them asking if they’d like help. Music creators will most likely be receptive at some point, so getting yourself known to them at the beginning is a good choice.

Pro tip: Try to find musicians gaining traction as they will generally be the most excited to get some extra help.

8. Social Media and Music Streaming Banners

Consistency is key

SoundCloud banner

Artist credit: Cloudsz

For platforms like SoundCloud, Mixcloud and Facebook, instant visual appeal is mandatory for serious music artists. Great banners are sought after on these platforms because that’s where a musician’s music lives. They want their music’s home to be not only auditorily amazing, but visually stunning as well.

As you can see from the photo above, the circle with the usual Soundcloud profile picture on the left blends into the banner. This is the standard layout for any successful artist or upcoming artist on Soundcloud, so many hire a professional for this job. Usually, musicians hire the designers that made their cover art, so to get your foot in the door, start selling album covers! Offering bundle packages is a good way to upsell.

Conclusion

To really stand out and find clients on any of these platforms, it’s all about having something special to offer. There are countless sellers that all have the same goal in mind… and that is to sell. In order to separate yourself in these competitive landscapes, you have to offer more value than the rest.

One way you can set yourself apart is to provide free samples to potential buyers. To be clear, I am not advocating for accepting jobs for free. But if you’re contacted on freelance platforms and a musician is describing something they need, surprising them with a mock-up without them even asking will immediately pull your potential buyer in.

You can also choose to be receptive and engage with potential buyers for an extended period of time. Ask a potential buyer a lot of questions and get them to talk about their project – musicians often love to discuss their visions anyway. The more a musician speaks with you, the better chance you have at working together.

If you’re looking to sell on social media, rather than reaching out to prospective clients with your pre-made portfolio work, reach out with a design specifically tailored for them. You don’t need to spend hours creating it, but something that showcases that it was made specifically for the target buyer, and only them, will open the door to meaningful dialogue and lead to a mutually beneficial experience.

Provide true value and you’ll do great things.

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About the author: Nick Voorhees is a drum and bass music producer and the owner of the musician freelance platform Melody Nest. He is a graduate of University of California, Santa Cruz, Icon Collective College of Music, and has been working in the music industry for almost a decade.  

The post 8 Graphic Design & Branding Services for Musicians, Bands & Artists first appeared on JUST™ Creative.

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