Make MORE money from old designs & illustrations
I'd like to share a great tip for illustrators who already sell or are considering selling artwork on Dreamstime. This idea has worked extremely well for me. And while this article is a little wordy, if you take the time to read it, I think you will find it very worth your effort (especially when you get to the end).
For the past 20 years I've been an illustrator & graphic designer in Chicago where I have lived my entire life. The best advise I can give ANY illustrator or graphic designer (especially if you do a lot of your creating in Photoshop) is this... NEVER, NEVER, EVER throw away ANY of your old files! Burn them to a CD or some retrievable medium, just make sure you keep them! Why? In many of the past illustrations and designs you have created over the years there is a veritable GOLD MINE to be made from the various components that make up the original image. Not just in your old illustrations, but even old ads & brochures you have created over the years contain many details that can be extracted and reused on their own as stock images! These new stock images can continue to generate money for you long after the original artwork is no longer being used by you or your client. Ideally, you are finding a way to create ADDITIONAL residual money from old projects that you have already been paid for and may have completely forgotten about! In a way, you are recycling! What could be better than that? Let me give you an example of what I am talking about...
First, a little history. In the earlier years of my career, I was lucky enough to have become a very popular illustrator creating many, many festival posters for a large number of Chicago Summer events. I've been told by clients and event planners that one reason my work got noticed was that I have a (somewhat obsessive) penchant for lots of interesting detail, texture and depth. For me, personally, I try very hard to create an image that no matter where you look, you can find something interesting that POPS off the page -- whether it be the way a bold headline seems to float above the image and appears 3-dimensional, a lush, rich fabric texture on a piece of upholstery, the gleaming finish & highlights on a framing detail, an architectural ornamentation added to a background or even just the shining metal buttons of a dress.
But, dear reader, don't weep for me -- because I found a perfect solution. The smartest thing I have ever done (and you should do from this point forward if you don't already) was to ALWAYS, ALWAYS keep every hi-res. Photoshop file with every individual layer intact. The original logic I used for keeping these old layered files is both smart & simple (and feel free to use this trick yourself if it works for you)... In this business where time is always a factor, you never know when one of those layers will come in handy for use in another project or future illustration. I have gone back into older images COUNTLESS times to mine for detailed layers that could be altered in small ways in order to work well on whatever new piece I was currently designing! This practice is a good habit to cultivate. You'll be amazed at how much time and energy you save in your day to day work when you have files of elements & backgrounds you've collected from older artwork right at your fingertips!
And once I decided to sell illustrations as stock on Dreamstime, I found ANOTHER great use for all those thousands of layers. You would be AMAZED at how many of those detailed layers from one single past design or illustration can be turned into individual pieces of stock illustration. If you take the time to sift through your older files and really examine all the individual details of a piece, you will probably be VERY surprised at how many of these details will work perfectly on their own as stock art. As a graphic designer, myself, I know how much I appreciate finding a wonderful "gem" detail on a stock site that I don't have to take the time to create myself. It is definitely in your best interest to take the time to go through all your old illustrations or old print files.
I really hope this helped you and you can use this idea to enhance your own portfolios on Dreamstime. I welcome any questions that you may have. Please feel free to contact me and I'll be glad to help you. Good luck and happy hunting!
Photo credits: James Nemec.
Camera equipment: New and Old