I found my new favorite Twitter account. It’s called Thoughts of Dog. It’s hilarious. Definitely go read it if you’re feeling down or just want something funny and wholesome to read.
I’ve made so many new designs lately. This is one of them.
You might remember that a few weeks ago I wrote a blog post for the Threadless blog, Creative Resources. My article was about how I earn money on Threadless. I shared everything I knew so that you could start and grow your store, too.
Another artist, Ink Tuesday, wrote a blog post for Threadless too. They opened their store recently and also posted a lot of short videos showing how each design was made to TikTok. It’s a very inspiring article — it must have taken a lot of courage to write it when they are just starting out and have no idea if people will like their art.
Ink Tuesday mentions me and that my blog post “lifted their spirits” which I am so happy to hear! I am glad that what I wrote helped even one person.
I’ve been reading a lot about taxes recently. And so I started a company, mostly to optimize and simplify my taxes.
There was no way for me — as an artist — to hire an accountant, because tax law is very murky and complicated regarding the taxes that artists should pay. I talked with a tax advisor first, before starting a company, and he said that the law is so unclear and can be interpreted in different ways that he couldn’t help me. Now, I have a company, and an accountant is taking care of all those tax related things and I don’t have to worry about any of that.
I will also pay less in taxes than I used to pay when I didn’t have a company. This seems like something more people should be aware of. But for a very long time I didn’t know that having a company, despite the accounting costs, is a good business decision and will save me money long term.
Instead of starting a company in Poland — my native country — I started it in Estonia. The taxes are very similar, so it’s not like I am saving any money on that, but there’s way less bureaucracy and you can deal with most things online. Also, I don’t trust the Polish government — it’s like they are set on ruining the Polish economy. I know many people who have companies in Poland and the costs, taxes, obligations, and ridiculous rules that are invented every year just to squeeze a bit more money from even the smallest companies are insane.
I would rather pay my taxes in Estonia where the government seems more capable.
I’ve realized how little I know about marketing and how to promote my designs.
I sometimes post my designs on Instagram or Pinterest. Lately I’ve been posting to Tumblr too, and every few weeks I tweet about my store or my designs. This is all a minimum effort. I feel I should do more. Many successful artists promote their art more consistently.
Once I started reading and watching YouTube videos about marketing, I realized how little I know about the topic.
For example, I watched a lot of Wholesale Ted videos – gave me a lot to think about. Particularly their analysis of niches and what sells best has been useful.
Other artists told me that it’s good to promote on Pinterest and that they get sales from there. I’ve tried that but had no success so far. And then I watched this Pinterest Guide, and I realized I was doing everything wrong and not really doing enough, anyway. Go watch it, you might learn something too.
I created another pattern. I don’t make them often because they take way more time than my usual cat designs. But somehow I ended up making another 🙂
I titled it “Ocean Song” because it looks like ocean waves.
I create a lot of my pattern-like designs when I talk on the phone. I just can’t sit still and do nothing. I always start doodling on whatever’s available. And since I have my reMarkable tablet with me at all times, I usually end up sketching on it.
This is a simple pattern of mountains that I made recently:
It all started with this absentminded sketch:
Then I uploaded it into Photoshop and cleaned it up. Added grey backgrounds. Made some mountains lighter, and some darker. Then I applied some distress textures that I bought on Creative Market. And the effect is a pattern that looks nice on home decor and some apparel.
Lately, whenever I have boring repetitive tasks to complete, I watch Watched Walked on my second monitor. Watched Walker is a YouTube channel where someone posts videos from their walks in various cities. It’s, of course, no substitute for actually going to those cities and walking around, but I won’t be going on vacation anytime soon.
Here’s a walk in Barcelona:
I set up Google Alerts with the titles of my designs to be notified when they are put on sale illegally. For example, one design that gets stolen a lot is “Overthinking and also hungry”. When thieves try to sell t-shirts with that designs, they don’t even change the title so I created an alert for phrase “Overthinking and also hungry”.
This way, I get Google Alerts as soon as Google finds out about the infringing listings. And as soon as I get notified, I can send a DMCA takedown notice so that it’s taken down immediately.
Threadless added a new type of t-shirt. It’s called Vintage Wash and the colors are lovely, more subdued than normal t-shirts. They also have very creative color names. Instead of simple “Red” it’s “Nantucket Red”:
And this color is called “Summer Sky”:
This is “Saltwater”, my favorite: