What I’m Working On


About seven years ago, I decided to sell on Amazon as a way to build something for myself, to be independent of the regular 9-to-5 that for me was more like 7-to-Midnight. I never saw much for how hard I worked and I needed something new. My plan, though, was always to eventually have my own store, whatever that looked like. I wanted to use Amazon to build my business, but I know the value of having eggs in many baskets rather than just one. Annoyingly, the time and cost to be an Amazon seller, with the amount of roadblocks I’ve run into over the years—at least one a month that tests my sanity—made that impossible.

When I finally quit my job five years later to concentrate full time on my business, during the early days of the pandemic no less, that meant not only would I have to redouble my efforts to find the few slightly profitable products to sell among the thousands I’ve researched; it also meant finally making a go of selling art in any form I could in order to start separating myself from the behemoth that is Amazon and to get that independence I've been searching for far and wide. So, here’s a bit of what I’ve been working on.

First up is one of my favorite things I ever made. I made it from a fluid art painting I poured soon after I became obsessed with the medium back in October 2021. I was experimenting with different techniques; I think this one was a primary colors flip cup. The colors that came out of this were gorgeous, especially the pinks and the ethereal blue-grays of the largest cells. But I didn’t realize, until I went to put this “Heart of the Galaxy” art on some merch at RedBubble, that what I really had was a “Heart of the Dragon.” I duplicated and flipped the image and what resulted were two striking eyes staring back at me, a blue-purple snout and flames licking the sides of an open mouth. If you’d like a copy of your own, it’s available on many things, such as throw pillows and wood mounted prints at RedBubble, and a pretty little lined journal in paperback and hardcover at Amazon.

While researching what I could create for creatives and not only end-users, I came upon something I could get into immediately: Procreate Color Palettes. These are quite fun and simple to start compared to other things. I enjoy coming up with a theme, such as "Van Gogh" or "Beach Vacation," finding an image on RawPixel (or Pixabay, or Scopio, or Unsplash) and picking the prettiest color swatches. As with anything, though, palettes do take some time to get ready for sale.

These palettes are not available yet, since I no longer have an Etsy account for reasons unknown to me. I had a single digital item that I created, that wasn't infringing on copyright or trademark, that wasn't offensive, using generic keywords, a VPN was never used, I had only one Etsy account, and, to my knowledge, no one who had been banned from Etsy had ever used my network, but my account was deleted the second I tried to publish that one piece of wall art. After that, I couldn't get Etsy to talk to me and I tried dozens of times over months. I had already spent months preparing to finally make this leap into art as a way to make a living, which I've been dreaming about for decades, and I was again derailed, but that's a story for another day.

I am not yet a seller on Creative Market, Creative Fabrica, Design Bundles, or Design Cuts, though I'll be applying to one of them ASAP. There’s also The Hungry JPEG and Envato Elements, but I haven’t much experience with either one yet. Envato’s single-use freebies aren’t much of an incentive to invest, while I’ve spent hundreds at the other sites because of useful freebies that got me addicted. Anyway, moving on.

I’d also like to offer digital scrapbook paper. Creating theme packs of 12x12” digital pages at 300 dpi, from patterns, doodles, and textured brushes, is something I dabbled in when thinking I was going to open an Etsy shop early last year. Building on the experience of that, I would also offer journal and planner pages, which could incorporate papers like these as well. Since I’m already designing journals and planners, digital papers fit nicely into my workflow. There are many more ideas I’ve seen watching countless YouTube videos about this business. I used to dream about creating for a living and now I’m actually going for it, and there’s no shortage of inspiration out there.

I’ve started making some cute stamp brushes, too! I’ve shown just a few examples here. I think my scattered mind will get especially addicted to this. I can make all sorts of shapes and easily import them into a Procreate brush, tweak a few settings, such as min and max sizes, and presto! There are more complicated, artistic brushes I could try my hand at, but there are so many great packs out there already from those more practiced than I am. If I could only recommend one it would be the Ultimate Brush Toolbox at DesignCuts, which has brushes for both Procreate and Affinity. It’s worth the cost, especially if you take advantage of DC’s price cuts for buying more than one design package at a time.

In my endless research and education in all the ways to create appealing Printables and KDP books, I found that works in the Public Domain are an invaluable and vast resource. I could use a piece of art like Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” on the cover of a planner or Victorian calling cards for the inside of a guest book. Scrapbooking enthusiasts love packs of ephemera and, I realized, so do digital designers of all kinds, when I came across the Immense Vintage Treasure Trove on DesignCuts. The Treasure Trove was so comprehensive and beautiful, I bought it to use for my own journals, planners, and the like. The bundle is now expired, but the products can be bought separately.

I’ve always been interested in history and antiques, so vintage ephemera would fit in nice and neat with what I was already doing. I had bought a great scanner for digitizing my fluid art that I could also use for scanning old books and documents. I immediately turned to eBay for all the old ephemera and out-of-copyright books with interesting images that I could find. Before I knew it, I’d spent far too much for a beginner, just like when I became obsessed overnight with pour painting and stocked up on ALL the supplies, and when I started buying all the fonts and graphics and bundles that appealed to me on all the design sites for my new independent book publishing, printables, and t-shirt ventures.

Right now, I’m working on a large, loose leaf book called “English Household Furniture: Georgian Period.” It has 100 pages of furniture, so I’m thinking I will make it into multiple packs. It'll take quite a while to isolate all those images for PNGs. The end results also take up quite a bit of space, and I have to take max upload sizes on the design assets sites and users’ download limits into consideration.

Silhouettes are something I’m interested in, too, primarily because they are very simple and quick to do. But I’m going to be offering different patterns inside the shapes in addition to the standard black silhouettes. The first image is the standard silhouette, the second is a swirl pattern, the third is an irregular maze or spaghetti pattern, and the fourth is one of my mandalas.

I never thought to design mandalas, or other elaborate symmetrical shapes, myself until I bought some new drawing apps for my iPad to replace oen that hadn't evolved enough for what I need now and one that had been abandoned completely a couple years prior. These new apps, the previously mentioned Procreate and Affinity Designer and Photo, came with symmetry tools, which made it super easy to get into mandalas. Not to say they’re simplistic, not at all; you can get very intricate with them. I assume designing them without the help of software is a rather time-consuming yet satisfying activity. I found myself making one after another after another.

This Octo-Mandala was fun. It was the first one I put up on RedBubble and, of all the dozens upon dozens of mandalas I've done so far, is one of the best. A somewhat intricate pattern with thick lines and a single color, both of which work well for merchandise. If you’d like one, you can find it at RedBubble, looking great on dozens of products.

Here we have my “Bats and Demons” mandala. The two designs next to each other at the edge of the circle just so happened to turn out to have faces and I went with it. I have so many mandalas already, some finished with color and ready for RedBubble or Amazon Merch, most not filled in and perfect for someone else to color in to their heart’s content. My idea for all the mandalas waiting in the wings is to put together coloring pages of them as downloadable Printables or a longer print-on-demand KDP book, which I had done before with some mandalas in the Mandala Collection I bought on DesignCuts before I started making them myself. Most likely I’ll do both when I have the chance.

I find this one very interesting. From afar, it almost looks silvery. Up close, I see the brush I used has a fabric quality. And I really like the dangerous, toothy flower look, as though it could be a cousin to the Venus Fly Trap.

I haven’t published this one yet. I didn’t even remember I made it. That can happen when you’re in a zone and churning things out. I like it, though. There’s something about the ethereal look these lines create that’s a bit mesmerizing. I’ll have to put this on some products soon. I think I might buy it for myself on a t-shirt.

Finally, I threw in a single-handed fantasy axe, named North Star, and a stylish knife, named Red Alpha, that I made years ago. I used to draw bladed weapons every waking moment and even had planned to learn bladesmithing. Unfortunately, like most dreams I've had, that’s still firmly just a dream. Still, I’ve always wanted to do something with these. I started a blog for them a long time ago, but I couldn't keep up since I already had this one and Tumblr and another for domains, then PhotoBucket went subscription only and removed all the pics. It’s been years and I’ve yet to find the time or motivation to bring all the pics into Google Photos and relink everything.

I eventually settled for putting my creations on print on demand items one day. That day has been very long in coming, but now I could actually get that done. I have so much to do already, but some beautiful weapons on tote bags or pillows or to embellish pour paintings are definitely on my to-do list. I'd have to get rid of the backgrounds or redraw them, though, since my previous apps coupled with my old iPad's paltry RAM did not allow for large, high-res images. The weapons themselves, I'm delighted to discover, my past self created in a vector app, so size doesn't matter. Woohoo!

If I can find success turning my interest in illustration and design into actual income that allows me to move away from having all my eggs in Amazon’s basket—that basket they love to upend every few weeks—then I can also try my hand at making a font or two. I wanted to do that even before I drew knives, but I’ve only dabbled in it.

Well, that's enough from me for now. I'm thinking I'll update this once in a while and maybe eventually make a more comprehensive page here, like when I was hard at work on a t-shirt section but was interrupted by other things too many times and eventually left by the wayside. Hoping to pick that up again sometime, but RedBubble and others dropped small blogs from their affiliate programs, so there's not much incentive to do that anymore. Art and design, along with getting back to talking about TV shows, is my forseeable future.

You can contact me at Reinbeast@gmail.com.


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