Jess, from the Zazzle store allpetscherished, talks with us about her interest, how she gets out of creative ruts, and her time at Zazzle. Check out the interview below and don’t forget to check out her store allpetscherished!
Zazzle: First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Jess: I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon. I come from a family of artists on both my Mom and Dad’s side, so I guess you could say it’s my gift. I would ask my mom how to draw things when I was little and she always had a way of breaking them down into simple shapes, which led me to start drawing anything and everything! I majored in art in high school, but ended up choosing a career in my other love (animals) for more than 10-years before I finally got back to art!
Zazzle: What’s your inspiration for your designs?
Jess: Animals are my biggest inspiration, because I love how animated they are. I love watching animals and picking up on their expressions and cartoon features. You might say that I see life through cartoon glasses. With so many serious issues happening in the world and in life, my fun designs give me an outlet to express happiness.
Zazzle: A lot of your work seems to be more vector art, when did you start illustrating? Are there other styles of art you enjoy creating as well?
Jess: In 2002, I barely knew how to turn on a computer, but quickly was introduced to Adobe Illustrator in college. A professor of mine showed us how to use the “pen tool” and it changed my life forever. Before then, I used to draw in several mediums…I enjoy charcoal, stipple, pen & ink and Prismacolor colored pencils. I also used to do stained glass and I love to create mosaic stepping stones.
Zazzle: Any artists you look up to when it comes to designing?
Jess: I don’t have any one artist in particular that I look up to. My customers are usually the best at telling me what they want and often will ask for color changes or characters that end up being my best selling designs!
Zazzle: What has been your favorite design you’ve created, and why?
Jess: I have a lot of favorites, but I would have to say one of my top 5 designs would be the cute giraffe I use for my logo, and the colorful version I created for this fun in the jungle card. I love the mix of colors and swirls and his expression just makes me smile
Zazzle: How do you get out of creative ruts?
Jess: I’ve learned to follow my instincts and “go with the flow” so to speak. When I’m feeling super creative I will pull out my sketch book and make 20 or 30 designs at a time. I don’t sit down and try to force it anymore. Then when I’m not feeling so creative, I always have the designs I drew to scan and work on.
I also take a lot of time for me — I ride my horse and get out into nature to clear my head. I also make sure to get a workout in every single day and eat healthy foods to keep me as productive and healthy as possible.
Zazzle: Who is your favorite Zazzle seller (besides yourself, of course)?
Jess: Absolutely. I’m amazed at the talent on Zazzle every day. I would say that the artists I most look up to on Zazzle are Pip Gerard of Pip Pip Hooray, Jenn from Jennsdoodleworld and Lisa from LisaMarieArt. I love how they have their own unique style of whimsical cartoons and niche market.
Zazzle: How do you eat a Reeses Peanut Butter Cup?
Jess: Oh wow. I’ve recently been eating vegan and have adopted a totally processed-food free diet. But if I were to cheat I would devour the Reeses peanut butter cup in about 2 mouthwatering bites….
Zazzle: What got you interest in selling your art Zazzle?
Jess: I started selling invitations on Zazzle so that I wouldn’t have so much processing to do. Before that, I was selling invitations that I hand cut on Ebay and spending 12+ hours working! I never had any time for anything else. At that time Zazzle only had post cards, so I put my invitation on them and they began selling almost right away. I saw all the new products as a great opportunity to get more of my art out there. The sales are just a bonus.
Zazzle: What tips can you give someone who is just starting out on Zazzle?
Jess: My tips would be to be patient. Setting up a Zazzle store and making money does not happen overnight. But it does happen. You need to add good designs that are unique. Don’t just go to someone’s store and make copies of their designs. Look for your own niche, look through catalogs and see how colors work together, look for trends and apply them with your own style to lots of products. Make sure to use good descriptive tags on your products and promote your items on ALL the social network sites and blogs that you can!
And, be patient with Zazzle. They are always looking for ways to better take care of their sellers and sometimes their site is down for hours or products won’t post….take advantage of these times to work on your blog or take the dog for a walk.