Saturday, August 09, 2008

A stiff sleeve

I've been making prints on Scary Go Round for a few years and in that time I've become aware of the merchandise novelty curve. When you release something new that you haven't done before, there's always a take-up for the new and novel thing - pretty much regardless of price and quality. As time goes on and you broaden the range, novelty decreases and you must ramp up quality to a professional level as you are competing with everybody else in the world who is good at making such items. When I sold hundreds of my first print in the first two weeks, I was competing with nobody. By the time I made the fourth, I was competing with Frank Kozic and Tara McPherson and of course, I lost very badly to them because they are great and I never take more than three hours over a picture, ever.

So I have been trying to improve my compositional skills and work out how better to serve the walls of a waiting world. I can't serve up any more stiff poses, and I probably have to take more than three hours over it. But I don't exactly know what people want format wise (artistically speaking, you have no choice).

1. Smaller vs larger
2. US paper sizes vs international paper sizes for easier, cheaper colonial framing
3. Do you like the canvas prints or are they too pricey (they are expensive to produce but they look great and last forever)
4. Do screenprints appeal, weird velvet papers etc, or do you prefer a more disposable artefact, maybe unsigned, that you can just tack up on a door and bin a couple of years later?

In conclusion here is what I am working on at the moment, it's historical and borderline hysterical. I look forward to some thoughts.


mordicai said...

Ah, sir, I wish I had a correct answer for you, but I have never been a buyer of prints.

Laura said...

I like the larger prints, in fact I would really like a larger canvas print.
I like ones that are signed and numbered.
Saying all that I'm not sure about about the Beowolf picture.

John A said...

The Beowulf thing isn't finished yet Laura but I don't expect you to like everything! That would be nutty.

Georgia said...

I would prefer larger prints... or even posters, as I'm not the framing type. Canvas prints are a little beyond my budget. I agree with Laura though. The Beowulf picture wouldn't sell with me :(

Hugh said...


2. Not fussed.

3. I really thought long and hard about buying one of the giraffe canvas prints at the Web & Mini Comix Thing, but it was just sooooo tiny...I liked it, but the price:size ration was too great for me to buy (although I bought a few badges and stuff, because I owned all your books already and wanted to buy something).

4. I don't mind disposable. I can always buy a cheap frame from ikea to put it behind. Plus if it is cheaper I'd be more inclined to buy a few every year when I get bored because of my childish attention span.

Daan said...

I also considered buying the giraffe Canvas, but came to the conclusion that I didn't like the design. I am always in the market for a non-disposable print though.

marianne said...

1. Larger, unless it's something like a watercolour.
2. I am of the colonies, give me of the colonies - or the world wide standard of Ikea.
3. I like canvas, but I also like watercolours. In fact, I like anything that is hand made rather than commercially printed.
4. I like artefacts - preferably signed in blood (or at least numbered in a nice coloured pen and signed) over disposable any day. I like original artwork that looks like original artwork and am generally prepared to pay for it (as long as it appeals aesthetically, of course).

Some of your colleagues have used colour photographing of comics (they were originally watercolours), which was ok. I have a couple of signed watercolours (which were well worth what they cost) and some original artwork from actual strips (pencil with the blue lines for scanning), which are also great. All things I would willingly pay my hard earned monopoly money for again.

Hope that helps.

Tranquil said...

I am currently in the process of adding art to my new flat, and with this new found maturity I'm moving my web-comic and Sandman prints and framing them (my level of new found maturity may differ from others). This has proved to be a complex task (so far incomplete), due to the problems of find frames for the many variants of ‘quite large’ and ‘medium’ I have received from different sources. So, to question 1) whatever size meens I need to spend less time walking around Reading, going into every home store with a tape measure - if anyone knows a good online frames store, I'll be your friend.

I've brought three 'normal' SGR prints so far, but I probably wouldn't buy anymore; I don't really want my living room to be dominated by one artists work – this may mean I end up with a clashing miss-match of no-style disaster, so this may change.

However, I am rather more tempted by canvas (and other exciting medium) prints or even original art pieces; but for whatever reason the last-one didn’t appeal (not sure why; Shelly, Giraffe, Ester, what’s not to love?). ‘Weird velvet papers’ sound delightful, and also like high quality smoking materials.

John A said...

Tranquil, if you want standard sized frames, I have always found this man very prompt. His site is a biut crummy but the service has been good.

Picture Frames Direct

John A said...

I note that his "crummy" site has now been upgraded so that it works properly, crummy might therefore be harsh.

Jonah said...

I like the A3/A2 size area and while I'd like to have canvas I do not have enough disposable income to buy anything other than paper prints.

Of course, since the bulk of your business must go to the states, I can understand if you go with the paper sizes of freeman moxy.

I done a ROFFLE at the Beowulf idea - I'm looking forward to seeing it realised!

Steven said...

I've bought a print, and would certainly buy others.

It's a trade-off, I suppose, between fine canvas prints in limited runs, signed and numbered and all that, for a higher price, and a mass-run bit of poster-type things (as you said, tack to a wall, move a few times, bin a few years down the road) for a more mass affordable price.

My personal taste falls to the latter, due to the synergy of current financial concerns and a deep desire to own whatever that Beowulf idea becomes.

And if anyone's that concerned about framing it, I have found that there are plenty of places over here in the colonies that either carry international sizes or can custom frame things for a reasonable price.

Roman said...

I encountered this problem too - wasn't able to find a U.S. sized frame to fit the metric sized print. So I bought an inexpensive poster frame that was larger than the print and a nice sheet of archival quality poster paper. I cut the poster paper to the size of the frame, mounted my Curious Orange print on the poster paper, then framed the whole darn thing. I'm decidedly non-crafty, but this solution worked well and it wasn't difficult to pull off. It probably would be even nicer if I'd sprung for a better quality frame.

Jen Dockter said...

As much as I love your work, I've never been much of a print buyer mostly because my wall tends to have tastes that are more refined than those of my body (also my wall does not like to take nails in it due to it being slate board). I would buy 1" buttons by the boatload however, and I am always looking for stickers to slap on my bike, and well, I have bought probably on the order of 10 t-shirts from you over the last 3 years.
I however, would not argue with a print or original painted work. I liked the postcard sized painterly/drawings you did with the last book release, and had I not been completely broke at the time, I would have likely gotten one.
I guess what I am saying is that if I do buy prints they will probably be on the order of small ones that I can create a 4-pane with on my one wall that takes nails rather than one giant thing that won't stay up, and guest-type people will find to be too esoteric.

Rehevkor said...

I'd buy the Beowulf print, it'd look great.

Jay said...

I've always wanted to buy a print, but the only one I've really liked so far was the "Double Whammy" one. "Curious Orange" is nice too. For the most part I find that the print ideas you audition on this blog are just too bland. I love your style in the comics, but when you design a print it tends to turn into big expanses of single colors with a character or two in the middle.

I would love a print that was a little more vignette-y or montage-y, more heavily detailed, self-contained and kind of detached from plot while still giving a portrait of the characters; this, this, and this would make great prints, for instance.

If you'd like me to bark more orders at you telling you how to run your comic strip, shoot me an email.