Me, Zazzle, and Freelance Fiverr Illustrators

by Mira

My experience of creating illustrations on Fiverr with freelance designers, and the ways I’m using these images on Zazzle, the online custom products marketplace.

Zazzle is now huge, with some tens of thousands of results for a random search, and yet I’m seeing some sales there, which motivate me to continue to design stuff like what’s selling and to think of what else I may put up there. So I’ve turned to some illustrators on Fiverr and asked them to create some illustrations based on my instructions and sketches. It’s not a smooth ride, but it does yield some satisfactory results. So far I’ve received illustrations from two people, and am waiting for an image from a third. The finished images are about dancing, reading, and writing. Read below to see what I experienced creating these images with other people, and how I’m using them on Zazzle.

Dancing at a New Year’s Party

I couldn’t go away for New Year’s Eve, and I kept thinking about people celebrating the start of the New Year with a dance and song. I was also pondering the some encouragement I received to take the step of ordering illustrations on Fiverr. So I went ahead and did it, ordering a dancing scene, thinking I could use it for invites to New Year’s and birthday parties. What I didn’t consider was that people are already using Evite for invites, so they may not shop on Zazzle for this type of products even as they do buy on Zazzle lots of wedding invitations and annoucements and other wedding stationery.

Anyway, here are some of the products I created with the dance scene image.

Birthday Party Invite
Let's dance
Let's dance
And celebrate
And celebrate
Surprise Birthday Party Invite (Zazzle Product)
Surprise Dance Party Invite, Back
Surprise Dance Party
Surprise Dance Party

Sweet Retirement Gifts

Many people who approach retirement daydream of having more time for reading or gardening. I looked up “happy retirement cards” on Zazzle and saw a hammock by the beach, and I thought of a hammock in someone’s back or front yard. Eventually I sketched an image and asked someone on Fiverr to illustrate it for me. The guy did a great job at reconfiguring some elements and creating a pleasing picture. Here’s the image and some of the products I created with it.

Elderly Lady Reading in Hammock
Reading in Hammock
Reading in Hammock

Thinking of You Cards, with Teddy Bear

A friend of mine sends me cards for my birthday and the New Year, and they are always such great thinking of you presents. So I thought of creating some such cards myself. I did a search with “thinking of you teddy bear” and found only one designer that used this cute toy from our childhood, so I asked the girl who did the dance scene to do the teddy. I gave her the proportions of the image, verbal instructions, and hoped for the best. Well, as it turns out, I miswrote when I mentioned the teddy, saying it should be “sitting” on the windowsill when in fact I wanted it standing. She corrected the sketch but then she had the proportions all wrong. Her image was almost square, which was not what I had said. I wanted the image to be rectangular, with the teddy bear gazing out the window holding a banner that reads “Thinking of you” in the middle and some other elements (furniture) to the left and right. I had given her the exact proportions saying the teddy should be 7:5 and then the left and right side 3:5 each. Or something like that, I can’t remember. Well, she said she didn’t understand this part, so then I drew her an image showing the relative proportions of all three sections. Eventually she did a rectangular image that was more or less what I wanted.

Here’s the image and a card I created with it. (I cannot link to the actual card because of a glitch on Zazzle.)

And yes, the image is almost square because for this card I used only the central bit of the finished illustration. When I asked for a long rectangular image I was thinking of being able to using it on long pillows as well.

Thinking of You Card, with Teddy Bear
Teddy with Thinking of You banner
Teddy with Thinking of You banner

Girl at Desk Researching and Writing

Once I started ordering illustrations on Fiverr, I couldn’t stop, even though I had stretched my budget. So I asked the girl mentioned above to do a girl writing away at a desk surrounded by books everywhere, on the desk, on the floor, and on bookshelves. She did a good job but again she didn’t understand proportions until I drew a diagram. She still didn’t do things per instructions though, because I wanted tall potted plants on the floor, not on the desk. But she got the potted plants idea before she got the proportions, so I ended up with the plants on the desk. Which is ok. What hurts more is that the writing on the books appears to be in some Indian language rather than English, and I wanted this image for people who write in English. I sent her a sketch of how this writing should look before she finished the image (at one stage the “finished” image had empty book covers) but somehow she ignored it. Still, she did her best to revise the images every time I pointed out things I wished done differently. I suppose I could have asked her to change the text on the books to scribbling in English, but I figured I could use this book for people studying stuff in grad school, so then it didn’t matter if the books were in English or not. Still, now that I’m writing this I’m thinking I will ask ask another designer to try to change the writing. Fiverr has a promotion of “Spend $15, get $5 back” every now and then, and I’ve made use of it twice, so hopefully for $10 (or $15) someone will do the work.

Congratulations on your PhD
Girl Surrounded by Books
Girl Surrounded by Books

Conclusion

It’s been fun playing around with Fiverr but the rides are not smooth, and they are rather costly. I spent some $25 ($25 + $1.25 processing fee) and $30 ($30 + $1.50) for each of these images and the results have been mixed. Of course, there are better designers there, but then you have to fork out some $60 for an image with all commercial rights.

Update

On March 2 I sold a postcard with the dance scene illustration. See the image below. Unfortunately, I cannot link to the actual product, but if you go to Zazzle.com and search for "if life gets too heavy" you will find it.

If life gets too heavy, it's time to seize those breaks!
Life
Life

Another Update

On March 13 I sold a travel mug with the studious girl. It's not much, but at least it's a little more than a postcard. (NB: I can't show the actual travel mug but if you click on the mug below you can easily find the travel mug on Zazzle yourself.)

Congrats on your Master's degree mug
Updated: 05/20/2016, Mira
 
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Mira on 05/06/2016

Yes, it was my idea, but he realized it better that I would have thought :)

DerdriuMarriner on 05/05/2016

Mira, Did you think of having the darner-like dragonflies hovering over the rocks for the retirement card? It sounds like you really understand proportion, such a key in image and impact!

Mira on 03/29/2016

:) I'm glad there's a place where you can easily commission projects like that.

BrendaReeves on 03/29/2016

I never would have thought of using Fiverr. I had a profile picture of myself done on Fiver. I'm starting to do some of my own illustrations. Thanks for the idea.

Mira on 03/20/2016

Zazzle is very rewarding for me because I'm selling items with my own quotes and images. It has inspired me to become more creative, and I appreciate that. This thing with Fiverr was an experiment for me, something I wanted to do for a long time.

On my end, Fiverr was rather costly, but I also feel that Fiverr artists should be making more. I think this whole idea of "what can you do for $5?" is not that commendable.

bizilady on 03/20/2016

I made some sales on Fiverr early on, but found it to be too much work for the pay. I'm glad you were able to find some illustrators to help your sales.
I too have some shops on zazzle since 2007 and only make sporadic sales now.
I have neglected my shops for a while so you give me some hope! ;-).

Mira on 03/20/2016

I've sold only one postcard so far, and I think that one has the potential to sell on a regular basis, much like another postcard I have. I'll probably have some success with the other products, too. It just takes a while to get the ball rolling.

sheilamarie on 03/20/2016

I have never used fiverr, though I have browsed the site. It's a challenge trying to figure out what images on products will sell on Zazzle. I have three or four that sell now and then, though I have made hundreds of products. I hope these products sell well for you.

Mira on 03/17/2016

Thank you, Marsha!

MBC on 03/16/2016

I enjoyed reading this article. Good idea to find an illustrator on fiverr. I like the dance ones.


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