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How to Prepare Your Creative Content to be Monetized on Digitally Printed Products

May 14, 2020

How to Prepare Your Creative Content to be Monetized on Digitally Printed Products

Are you an artist or designer looking for new ways to generate income? Consider digitizing your art or designs and applying them to various products for sale.

There are a few things you need to know when converting your physical art into a digital medium for this purpose. This article will provide a brief overview on the process, along with some ways to bring your art to life with your own print-on-demand products.

Your Ever-Expanding Portfolio

It's the time of year when you need to sort through your design space. If you're a creative soul, you will know this process well. You gather those piles of loose sketches, paintings and color ideas that you’ve created since your last Marie Kondo moment. Then you stand back, and there’s a sizable quantity of creative effort!

It’s easy to become immersed in producing paintings and studies for days because of the sheer joy of creating. When you are on a creative roll, the need to keep making and trying out new ideas can be invigorating. Just what do you do with this assembled body of work? Monetize it!

Scanning and Digitizing Your Artwork and Designs

Digitizing is the process of converting your handcrafted artwork from a paper-based medium to a digital form. The scanning process can’t be underestimated. With all the love and care you put into creating beautiful artwork, a sloppy cleaning job can negatively impact the artwork's translation onto fabric or the end product. These are my 4 top tips for getting the best result:

1. Clean the glass! It sounds simple but if your scanner glass is dirty with fingerprints, smudges, or paint drops, valuable editing time will be spent digitally cleaning these flaws out. Do yourself a favor and whip out the Windex glass cleaner to make sure the scanner glass is squeaky clean before you start.

2. Keep it straight. Don’t just throw your artwork on the scanner and hit the scan button. Be mindful of the end result by taking a minute to ensure your precious creation is set straight on the scanning bed. This is especially important if your design contains vertical elements such as stripe details. A little TLC straightening your artwork pre-scan can save the need for further adjustments during image editing.

3. Scan in professional mode. Most photo scanners come with two scan modes for the software: home and professional. Professional mode is the way to go, as it provides more editing capabilities and advanced quality controls. Ideally, scan in 24-Bit RGB mode. Scan resolution depends on how your artwork is going to be printed. Some digital fabric printing processes deliver great results at 150 DPI while other workflows may require 300 DPI or higher. Check with your fabric print supplier to see what they recommend.

4. Tiffs are top! Most scanners allow users to save the image in a variety of file types. *.Tiff files are our format of choice. Why? Image and color definition are retained. Again, whoever prints your artwork may have their own preferred format depending what fabric, product, and ink combination they are using.

Editing Your Digital Art Design File

Once an image has been scanned, it should be opened into your preferred graphics software for background removal and image editing. Our studio favorite is Adobe Photoshop. The cleaning process typically involves use of the Eraser, Selection Tools, and Image Masks to delete areas of unwanted artifacts and/or unpainted paper texture.

With all the love and care you put into creating beautiful artwork, a sloppy cleaning job can negatively impact the artwork's translation onto fabric or the end product. As you clean up artwork in Photoshop, I add a temporary layer in a contrast color. This will help as you remove background artifacts, because the contrast color means it’s easy to see stray pixels or jagged edges in the artwork.

Converting Your Art to Income via Print on Demand

At Queenie’s Home, we make the transition to monetization easy for you by providing a print-on-demand service for home décor and accessories. With a few clicks, you can offer your social media followers beautifully printed home goods featuring your artwork!

What is print-on-demand? The concept is simple. Your design on our products, whenever you need them. No minimum orders, and no need to keep inventory. Whether you need one product as a gift, or one hundred for a corporate client, the same, easy three-step process is used.

  1. Choose a product.
  2. Upload your artwork.
  3. Customize your design layout until you’re happy.

The process is fast and designer friendly!

Planning a Collection and Diversifying Your Offerings

A doodle may look great in isolation on your Instagram and receive hundreds of likes. However, it can take a bit more time and effort to develop it into a functional surface design for a digitally printed product line.

As you focus on interior products, it’s important to think of end use. Can this placement print be used on a pillow? Is it more suited to bedding or bathroom textiles? Which pattern will be your "hero" or focal design?

For me, it all starts with color. After digitizing artwork, I develop a color story. Then, I build patterns around this, aiming to create a group of 6-8 unique designs with a similar mood and connecting theme. Within the group, I like to create a range of placement prints and repeating patterns, all of which coordinate with one another.

Variety of design is key: a range of color emphasis, a range of motifs or design elements, and a range of design density that varies visible background space to create interest. I’ve learned it’s important to have some quieter, simple surface patterns, which complement rather than compete with the focal designs.

Try to create a cohesive story with similar styles and design elements. This will help with your product range plan.

Scaling Your Digital Designs with Printable Products in Mind

When building repeating patterns, think about the scale of your end-product. If you are going to be creating a placement print for a king size duvet, create the original artwork as close to the original scale as possible so that the integrity of the initial design is not lost.

Going from small scale to king size duvet is never a good idea, as even with a great line trace in Illustrator, the sensitivity of the initial drawing will be lost and could look pixelated in print. Consider the size of your products and the scale of your designs.

This is one of the reasons why having multiple designs that are thematically related can be helpful. Some designs will work best at a larger scale or for only a few types of products. Once you are comfortable with planning a collection line, engineering certain designs for specific products can help coordinate your designs at different scales.

Use Queenie’s Home to Create Product Simulations

As you are building a library of designs, try exploring the product simulation tools in Queenie’s Home. Our website allows you to design home decor and accessories online. This can be a great way of experimenting with scale, placement, and design pattern repeats before creating a physical product.

Try uploading a few images from the design groups you've created and begin customizing one of our Design Your Own products. When you choose to preview your customization selections, our website will create a realistic rendering of your ideal product with just a few clicks.

Doing this means you can try out a variety of design and product combinations before launching your collection.

The Power and Versatility of Print-on-Demand and its Market Applications

Whether you are a small business owner or an artist fresh out of school, you can build an entire product line of your own using our web tools and print-on-demand process. The functionality of Queenie’s Home allows you to create unique collections for your customers with no minimum orders and no test prints required.

You can play with multiple variations of designs for a sham or duvet. Try a mix of all-over patterns and placement prints, varying the use of each to create multiple, coordinating duvet set options. For a unique finishing touch, why not add in a few coordinating pillows and a blanket design to finish the look?

Exhibiting at a craft fair? Print your artwork on our totes so your customers have a practical, reusable example of your art.

We encourage you to flick through those sketchbooks and archives of artistic work and go beyond paper! What unique products can you create today for your clients or family to set them apart from the crowd?

Creating Your Own Custom Home Decor Products

Our goal at Queenie’s Home and our sister-site FabricSmiths is to inspire you to create beautiful, custom products and accessories for the savvy homemaker, the professional interior designer as well as the do-it-yourself-er, independent designers and artists, creative entrepreneurs, and small businesses that value customization with the perk of no minimum orders.

We would like to encourage you to explore Queenie’s Home a bit to get a sense of how your digital designs and our print-on-demand products interact, and then get busy creating your own unique product line!

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