Creating and Selling Your Illustrations: Society6 | Katie Krell | Skillshare

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Creating and Selling Your Illustrations: Society6

teacher avatar Katie Krell, Artist, Designer, Animal Lover

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.

      Planning Your Composition


    • 4.

      Finding Inspiration


    • 5.



    • 6.

      Paint With Me: Part 1


    • 7.

      Paint With Me: Part 2


    • 8.

      Finalize Artwork


    • 9.

      Share and Sell on Society6


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About This Class


Hi! I'm Katie Sanvick, an artist and designer living in Minnesota. In this class you will learn how to experiment with different mixed media to create fun and interesting illustrations, and how to turn your creations into products that sell on Society6.

I will take you through the creation process, showing you how to simplify what you see to create fun and loose illustrations, inspiring and showing you many tips and tricks along the way! You will gain the confidence and knowledge to take your illustrations to the next level as I show you how to prepare and upload your work to your own Society6 shop-applying what you've created onto phone cases, throw pillows, blankets and more! 

All levels of illustrators are welcome! I will outline the set of materials I love to use, but feel free to use any other materials you love to work with! This class is all is about getting your creativity on the page, so any kind of paper will do. Use your favorite sketchbook, or artist paper! By the end, you’ll have finished illustrations ready to sell.

Print-on-demand websites like Society6 handle the production and shipping of your artwork so you have more time to focus on creating. Set your own prices for specific merchandise and collect the royalties for each order, leaving you more time to focus on your work.


Below are a list of sources you might find helpful if you're looking for other skillshare classes like mine or Society6 artist resources.

Society6 Artist Resources:

Society6 Blog

Society6 Sellers Guide - Use this for details about posting, pricing, and sizing your work

Skillshare classes I recommend:

Creating Art that Sells: A Working Artist’s Guide - more info on society6

Sketchbook Magic: Start and Feed a Daily Art Practice

Watercolor Textures - great intro to watercolor

Confident Watercolors: Brushes

Illustration & Inspiration: Keeping a Sketchbook

Ohn Mar Win - great skillshare teacher with a very fun illustration style

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Katie Krell

Artist, Designer, Animal Lover


Hey, it's me, Katie! I'm a designer and freelance artist in Rochester, Minnesota.

As a teacher on Skillshare, my goal is to share with others all the artist secrets I've learned working with various mediums and help those with a passion for creating... to create! It can be frustrating when you don't know where to start, or if you're going through an artistic slump and need some inspiration! Hopefully the classes I'm teaching offer just the help you need to get back at it, or try something new!

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Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Katy. That's me. Welcome to my first skill shirt class. I'm an artist and designer living and working in Minnesota. I look all types of art, but for this class, I really wanted to focus on watercolor. This class is all about creating simple fun and loose watercolor illustrations and selling them on society. Six. This class is great for intermediate artists who love watercolor, and they're looking for inspiration to fund exercises and the basic rundown apart. Apply it art. The full range of products that society six offers beginners can benefit from this class is simple techniques, tips and tricks as well. I won't be diving too deep into the basics of watercolors in this class, so a base now into the medium is referred as well as familiarity with Photoshopped and scanning in your artwork. All you need for this class are a few basic supplies. I'll take you through a few options and show you my favorite materials to We'll go over finding inspiration and simplifying what you see to produce loose and fun illustrations, patterns for designs. I'll briefly touch on scanning in your work, cleaning it up in photo shop and how to make your work into repeating pattern. At the end of the course, you'll have a finished work that's ready to be uploaded to your shop on 36 pillows, phone cases, throw blankets and more. I'll take you in a Society six and show you the upload process and tips for making an impact with your work. This class is all about having fun and loosening up with watercolor. I'm so excited to share it with you and can't wait to see what you sell. 2. Supplies: Let's go over the supplies you'll need for this class. This is the mixing palette that I use for my watercolors. It's actually a ceramic deviled egg platter, but I picked it up to use for watercolors because it's got all these wells in it. And it's really great for saving a big wash of color. Um, that, you know, you'll be reusing, reusing Or maybe you wanna, you know, get all of your colors arranged for a project. This is a really great, um, item tohave so, I mean, you can just leave them in here to dry and then reactivate him later with water, too. And this is my watercolor palette. This is just an empty palette that I think I got off Amazon and I filled it with two pates . So I love to pains because you can really customize your own palette and make it completely your own. You can fill it with whatever brands you want and whatever colors you want. These are a couple of the brands of two paints that I have in my palette. Currently, I've got some higher artists grade quality paints like Daniel Smith and Mission Gold, and I also have some student grade quality like Windsor, Newton, Cotman and Mango. You might want to work in a sketchbook, and these were some of my favorites. This 1st 1 is a stone and burn alfa serious sketchbook. It's not really meant for heavy washes of watercolor, but it does do great with light washes and sketching. So if that's something you're into, I definitely recommend checking this one out. I happen to really like how watercolor behaves on this paper, so I think I'll be using that in this course at some point. It's kind of a thinner, thinner paper, but I mean, I think it handles watercolor. All right, this is another sketchbook. It's got pretty thin paper thinner than the Stillman and burning sketchbook, but it does okay with squash hand, pretty light washes of color, if you don't mind a little buckling. The sketchbook is made for watercolor. It's ah, I think it's a handbook. Watercolor sketch book. The paper is super thick, so it really handles watercolor pretty well. And this is I think of Beta, Stillman and Burn. This is meant for water cooler. It's got thicker paper, just like the last one, and I really like this one. He knows watercolor, too. You could also use watercolor sheets of paper that come into pad in a larger size and that you would find in a sketchbook. His 1st 1 is, uh, cancer. On paper, it's, uh, pretty fine greens. It's cold pressed, so it's got some texture to it, but it's not like super rough or anything. It's a pretty good Um, I think this is a student grade paper, but I like this one. It's got a nice, heavy weight to it. And then this one, this fluid watercolor papers also cold pressed. I prefer cold pressed, I guess. Just because I don't like a super flat, smooth finish. I prefer a little bit of tooth in there, and this one is great because it's actually a block paper. So, um, it's glued on the edges to prevent buckling and working of the page, and you just kind of cut it out when you're done. Efforts dried. Oh, but you know any paper will do if you have one that year, partial to or one that you like to work with? Definitely go for that. Russia's air also really important. Teoh, These two are pretty inexpensive. A bigger one is, I think. Hobby Lobby's house brand master's touch in the smaller one, I think, is artists off When you're picking out a brush, you just want to make sure that it's made for watercolor. This one is a squirrel. Natural haired brush natural hair tend to be in the a little bit more expensive side, but this one's a house brand of blick, so it was pretty cheap. This one is a synthetic blend. Um, this one's Princeton. I think Princeton has a really great brushes. This, one again, is artist law. The bristles on um, synthetic haired are a little bit stiffer, but they still work just as well. And this is a master's touch. So I think this is Hobby Lobby's house brand, so this was also pretty affordable. So again, any kind of brush will do any price. Range is fine. You just want to make sure that it's an actual watercolor brush, because those are meant to hold a lot of water. You don't want to use them and looking acrylic, because those bristles tend to be shorter and stiffer, and they're not gonna hold enough water, which can just be frustrating. Another thing on abusing in this class a lot is thes. Pasqua paid markers these air super opaque and come in a variety of different sizes. I think I have the fine tip marker. They come in sets or individual markers, and I have to do. To activate them is shake him up and get the paint flowing. I really do recommend these as I'll be using them a lot in this class, but if you don't have them, you could also use squash or a white ink. 3. Planning Your Composition: planning Your composition is an important part of the illustration process that helps you to feel more confident when starting a piece for this class. You want to keep things loose and fund. Once you've nailed down a concept, think about how you want to portray that on the item society. Six offers. Are you making a stand alone fine art illustration that maybe just intended to sell us a printer canvas rap? Or do you want to utilize in many products that society six offers like leggings and shower curtains and throw pillows? It's important to think about how your work will look on these products before creating illustrations. Society six lets you upload specific it orations of your work for their various products. So what, yourselves, a print might look totally different than a comforter or amok. The same work, the most versatile way to adapt your work, is by making it into a pattern. So keep that in mind when you're planning 4. Finding Inspiration: my favorite place to find inspiration is Pinterest. I have tons of boards organized into animals and plants, places, people, and you can really find anything here for this class. I found some great references of butterflies and bugs, said, I think I want to try something with. I also found tons of the images of flowers and different floral arrangements. I think that would be a good idea to. You can also find inspiration and other artists work. Maybe it's a style that they work in or kind of subject matter that they're using could really spark an interest or idea for you and creating your own work. So take some time in, browse through Pinterest and saves and pins of things that inspire you for this class. 5. Warm-up : Okay, Now that you've nailed down some solid ideas, let's start painting. I first want to start out with some warm up exercises to really get you loosened up. We're just gonna be creating some simple shapes in playing around with color to get started . I like to do this before you start pieces that I can get a feel for the paper amusing and find any color combinations that I want to use for the final piece. And this is also a great time to break out any second doing materials you want to experiment with. Like those Posca paint markers. Multi liners are writing. Just play around with all your materials and get a feel for how they work together. You can even turn these warm up activities into finish patterns to use on your society. Six. Sometimes the more simple to design better can be applied to everything that society six offers. So for this first form of exercise, I'm just kind of playing around this dot pattern. It's pretty loose. You can see none of these deaths or circles. Are you new uniform in anyway? Um, kind of like that? I don't know. It reminds me of blueberries. I really like that indigo color. So I wanted to try something with that. And I'm just kind of, you know, messing around with different transparencies of the color, putting some pretty dense, densely colored circles next to lightly colored ones and just kind of playing around with that. And keep in mind that this doesn't have to be perfect if you plan to use this for years, Society six, Um, you can take it into Photoshopped and adjust it however you want on and then make a pattern out of it. So don't feel pressure to make it perfect right here. Just kind of see what you could come up with and just have fun experimenting. I really like tell those circles turned out, but I kind of wanted to try some more color options. So here I'm just kind of taking that same concept and idea and just using different colors and kind of dropping some wet on wet colors here, um, you know, mixing some yellows and turquoise and indigo. And I ended up liking this a lot better than the other pattern. So, yeah, just experiment and you'll figure out which color combos you like best and which shapes you like best you might not want to do certain. Maybe you want to do, you know, other shapes, and that leads me into my next batter. So for this one, I just kind of want to create some just, like lines and squares kind of combo going on. Um, I don't know. I'm just kind of winging it here and be like, this could be a great pattern. So I'm just kind of mixing up thes short lines with thick squares. Some squares are outlined and, you know, mixing up that with various transparencies next to each other. Just trying to make something that's interesting that could be repeated and not be such an obvious repeat. You know, the more variation you have, the less it will look like a repeated pattern. So I was gonna kind of breathes through this a little bit. - Now I want to play with, I guess, just, um, large washes of color and kind of mixing colors together to create varying colors, watches. So this is a good activity to do. If you're still unsure about you know how colors will interact with each other. Or maybe what colors look good together. Or you could use this as just a simple background technique. You could just blood a sheet of paper with, you know, splotches of color and then add, you know, various elements on top. Maybe you're drawing with the Posca paint markers and you're making a pattern that way, or you wanna Jarrar, right? A quote on top of a watercolor sort of background that would be really cool to. Okay, now that that's dried. Um, I'm gonna go in with these markers and just start. Um, I really do recommend these markers. They're pretty awesome and very opaque, and they're just pretty cool. So I'm gonna go in and I think just start, um, making patterns on top of this watercolor wash. So instead of the previous design that we did up here, um, I'm gonna kind of do like a negative space kind of thing, that really negative space, but more of like a I don't know. Instead of a white background, I've got this colored wash in the background, So I'm gonna start with my white and just kind of do the same pattern I did above it, and I'm just gonna kind of do that on this pink and yellow wash here and see how that turns out. So you can see here. You really can do, you know, whatever you can think of. I think this, like Chevron pattern might look pretty cool if it was repeated too. Or, you know, my baby. This sparks your interest to maybe draw a more detailed Maybe you want to do trees are, you know, illustrate some type of animal over a wash that would be really cool to just kind of play around and use this exercise time to really just get some ideas out. 6. Paint With Me: Part 1: Now we're ready to start moving into our plan concepts and ideas that we got from Pinterest . So make sure you have those pulled up or put it off so that you can refer back to them easily. I'm gonna start out with my butterfly idea. The name of the game here is to keep things loose, whimsical and fun and not necessarily create realistic or accurate details, but to create more of a feeling and have fun doing it. I've premixed some colors that I plan to use for the butterflies and just for easy access, almost gonna set this aside. I'm just starting my paintings and basically ing shapes here and dotting in some colors went on a wet so that they mingle and blend on their own. When I'm painting these wings, I'm kind of doing it almost haphazardly. I just kind of I wanted to look more like a feeling in less like an actual, you know, realistic Butterfly. And to do that, I'm keeping loose strokes that are fairly fast and simple, really utilizing the shape of my brush to make those strokes. And I'm also trying to leave a little bit of white space in there just to add some visual interest in highlighting some areas and separating some areas. So that's kind of what I'm trying to go for here. I'm looking back at my reference images for inspiration on colors to use and different shapes to paint their wings. I want to put some variation in their wing patterns so that they don't all look the same. But keep in mind that will be taking this in a photo shop where we can rearrange your composition any way we want and fix any mistakes that we might make. So as you're looking at your own references and painting, what you've chosen to paint, just kind of keep in mind how how you can simplify what you're seeing and break it down into simple forms and shapes and silhouettes and, um, really letting the watercolor work for you. Creating interesting variations in color can really add depth and interest to your piece, even if it may be a simple silhouette. So and then on top of that, when we add the Posca paint markers, that's even gonna add a whole nother level of interest. So just because it's simple doesn't mean that it's boring. So I just kind of want you to keep that in mind That weren't just trying to have fun here by creating loose illustrations and kind of putting a feeling into it in less of, ah, photo realistic, Um, illustrative type of working. We're working. So yeah, So now I'm going to go in with the markers and I start out with this pretty thin multi liner and realize that it's not working. I didn't like it. So then I switched over to the fatter paint marker, which I really love. I think it looks great. So again, here, I'm just loosely roughing in these suggestive bodies on a I not trying to make them, you know? All look the same. I'm trying to keep some white space in their toe ads and highlights, and I'm just kind of very sketchily putting these in. And now I'm gonna go in with antennas, and I do think I want that thin multi letter here, so I'm just going back in with that. And then towards the end there, I end up adding some little balls on the end of their antennas. Um, just with that same multi liner just to add a little bit of interest, I guess, to those wispy little things. I thought it really needed something, so I think that hoped. Okay, now that I've got all the bodies painted in and everything is completely dry at this point , I'm gonna go back in and start adding details with my markers. I don't really have a plan here. I'm just kind of having fun with it and finding happy accidents along the way and just kind of creating patterns as I go and we're done. Um, I think that turned out pretty good. I love all these cute little butterflies, Um, some of whom didn't turn out like I wanted. But again, we can just go on foot, are shop and kind of pick and choose the ones that you like best to create your final illustration. 7. Paint With Me: Part 2: Hey, you welcome back. So in this second part, I'm gonna be painting some bugs families on Pinterest to, and I really thought they were Kulik. And so I'm gonna beat him in this part. As you can see, I've switched to a sketchbook. Ah, this is my Stillman and burn Alfa serious sketchbook. And I'm going to start by sketching these out first instead of just going in with paint. Um, in case just slapping paint on a page intimidates you. This is another option. So just going with loose sketch doesn't have to be too detailed. You really want to try and simplify it as much as you can just pick out basic shapes and, um, just give yourself, like, a bare skeleton to work with. Okay, Now I'm ready to start painting these bugs. I'm gonna pretty much do this the same way I did the butterflies and that. I'm just trying to keep things pretty loose in simple I'm gonna keep in mind. You know what we did for our warm up activities and all those color studies that I did. So I'm gonna try and use some of those color combinations I liked from before and just try and keep these pretty colorful. Because my reference photo, um, most of the bugs and that one are pretty colorful, and I like to that. So I want to keep that going for this illustration again. I'm using some of the same techniques that I did for the butterflies in that trying to drop colors into each other while they're still wet so that they mingle together and kind of bleed and form interesting striations and blood patterns and different colors. So I really liked that. So I'm gonna continue that with these bugs. I'm going in now with my paint markers to add the legs in, and I'm using my fine liner. Um, I think this is 0.3 You know, I want this to have kind of a sketchier look to it. I'm not trying to, like, be real precise with, like, outlining anything. I'm just trying to go for a fun of fun vibe with this. So I'm just adding a little accents of this, um, in black black marker. All right. And now, for my favorite part, adding the details with my paint markers I'm just trying to make things look pretty fun here, just adding some dots and highlights and maybe some line patterns. I kind of want to use contrast in colors here so that they show up in our pretty vibrant and that wraps it up for the use paint with me exercises. I hope you had fun working on your own watercolor illustrations and that you were able to take small what you learned here and apply it to your work. I can't wait to see what you've created, so be sure to post it in the project section so we can all take a look. 8. Finalize Artwork: Now we're ready to finalize your artwork and get it up on society. Six. I've gone ahead in Scandinavia thing that I've showed you so far in this class, including the warm up exercises, because I kind of envisioned a couple of those working great as a pattern on a phone case or shower curtain or something. So I think I'm gonna work with those two. I'm not really going to dive into deep on editing your scanned in art work here, but a basic level address. Hman should take care of any texture that you might see from your watercolor paper. You may also want with just the color saturation, depending on how your skater performs. I recommend skinning your artwork in at a higher DP I between like four and 600 when you eventually downscale it to a document at 300 d. P. I, which is what decided six uses. Your artwork will remain much larger and you'll have much more freedom with it. Person of the larger items Society six cells. I've also gone ahead and arranged my butterflies differently and taken out some that I didn't like a much. And then I made everything into this repeating pattern To make a pattern of your own work, create a square document at the largest size that you're currently allows for now arranged your work in a pattern. How you would like it, filling up the white space and getting it close to the edges but not touching them. Once you've filled the square, go to filter father offset. Remember the side every document. You'll want to divide that number by two and into that figure here in both the horizontal and vertical boxes, and that's it. Now your pattern will repeat on all edges. The only thing left to do now is to fill in the remaining white space with additional elements that you've created. But make sure not to overlap any edges and you're done. - I tend to just leave it like this and then drag that into a larger document. It kind of arranged the squares myself to create a huge pattern rather than just making an actual pattern. Swatch Photoshopped Because sometimes there's like this thin white line between each square that Photoshopped kind of defaults by doing in a dark me crazy. So I just arranged the men and manually, myself um, this is where you can kind of see if there's any problems in your pattern. Um, or if you want to arrange things differently in, definitely go back and just try this whole process over again. 9. Share and Sell on Society6: Yea, we're almost done. Okay, so now that your artwork is finalized and you've created any patterns that you might want to utilize later, open up a Web browser and had to society six I've linked to cellar guide in the project description that goes over all the details that you'll need to know about selling your work here. Um, it kind of breaks down the royalties that you earn on each item and also tells you the pixel dimensions reach product. Eso these days air quite large. So that's kind of why I recommend scanning your artwork in at a high D. P I. That way it kind of increases the overall size of your artwork when you re scale it down to 300 FBI. All right, so go into your society six shop, and if you don't have one set up already, it's pretty easy to set one up. Ah, you just need to create a user name and then link that with your PayPal. You need to get verified in order to sell your artwork, and that costs a dollar on papal, so it's pretty simple to set up. Just go through the set of process and you should have no problem with that. So once you get your shop created, you're gonna want to go in and change your photo and your page image header your large header that's on your shop. The reason you wanna have something eye catching and interesting here is to attract a potential buyers. Um, I guess, interest if they see something that's pretty creative and that maybe sums up your shop and kind of sets the vibe or removed for the things that you'll be selling in your shop, I think they're more likely to actually, like, browse through and, like, you know, purchase something. If they see that you're kind of serious about selling things and that you kind of have a little online presence and, you know, it's just it makes it look a bit more professional. So I recommend creating something pretty unique here and getting that in place before you started selling your artwork heart. So go up here and click on Cell, and that will take you to the artists Um upload studio. It's pretty straightforward and easy to understand, So first you're going to click on, browse from your computer and select your original file size or like a large pattern that you made mine. I think in this case is 24 inches by 24 inches. And that's just my standard, um, standard artwork size, I guess. Okay, so click on continue and tears were gonna want a title. Your artwork. You want to make it something relevant to whatever it is you're uploading that people could easily find it in a search. Going to call this one spring wings sounds pretty cool. And then you're gonna want to add some weight figure category. Uh, I'm gonna choose, and then you want to put in as many tech blocks, you can only put in 20. You want to put some relevant tags in so that people confined your artwork if they search for keywords. Okay, um, I usually skip the description, but you could just as well put in more descriptive elements. Or maybe the process of your work if you want to let people know about that and then just agreed to these terms that you own artwork, all right. And now we're ready to specify each specific product that you want to include in the shot so you can see, there's different categories. Here are home tech peril. And then each of these things you can either switch on or off to decide if you want to do that in your shop. So I'm gonna include this wall tapestry. And then I remember creating a specific document for this. So Society six will just pull your original uploaded file into each of these, and you can re scale that if you want to just put that in there. But I remember reading a specific document that I have like, um, or intricate pattern in. So I want these guys to be really tiny, So I'm gonna upload that. And then here you have the option to apply this same image to other similar products of around the same size, which I usually do that and then saving close. And now you can go to the other tabs and kind of just pick and choose which items you want and which ones you don't. And sometimes sometimes they are. Work looks pretty good already, but I usually like to kind of adjust this a little bit, so I kind of want some smaller butterflies on this notebook, so I'm going Teoh upload a different file. I think I'm in a I'm gonna pull this laptop one, but I think it should work for this. Okay? Yeah. So the butterflies on this one are a little bit smaller, so I like that better. So I'm gonna say that, Okay. I'm gonna go through and, um, enable some more products and upload some more variations that I've already created. The three things that we can control. The price for our art prints, framed art prints and canvas prints. We can set the pricing on the use that we can control how much we actually make off each order. So just click edit here. So over here in this area, um, the first column is your base price, and the middle column that you addressed is your mark up, and then it shows you the total on the right. So once you've gone through and uploaded any artwork that you need to select it all the products and dresses you pricing, you ready to publish your work. So just click on the publish button to make it live, and that's it. Your artwork should appear in your shop within 30 minutes. After that you can start promoting your shop and start selling your art on all the products you enabled. I can't wait to see what you created throughout this course, so upload your finish works or a warm of exercises to the Project gallery. And don't forget, give a link to your shop so we can check out what you're selling.