Oct 26, 2010

Neglecting some things, nurturing others

Most of the balls I usually try to juggle are on the floor right now and only one or two up in the air. It's time to regroup and start over I think. Nothing at all serious, just life junk . . . just your ordinary run of the mill "deal with that, deal with that, do this, do that, go here, go there" stuff that have taken me away from most of my art projects.

Check out these Image Designers!
I did take some time yesterday and today to make some new digital pieces. I got some new images and wanted to share them with you.

Julia of Juila and Company blog and Cemerony on Etsy, has a gorgeous new kit of doll sheets out but I just love everything she makes. She is one of the most generous and kind ladies I have met in a long while and she has helped me figure some things out selling my own sheets. Generous indeed. Julia currently only sells jpg sheets but believe me, they are worth the time to extract if you are a digital artist. She has some very unique images and a style all her own. I've used pieces from her sheets in lots of work since I discovered her, but all three of the collages below have some too. (specifics in the image credits)

Many of you know Freubel but did you know she is selling images now? I about had a tizzy when I discovered it! Yum, yum, yum. Her new shop is here. And this first collage uses some of her images. I just love finding such unique images for for my stash!


copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/26/2010. All rights reserved.
Digital scene. Image credits: ladies and pillars are from Freubel at riandesigns.eu; wings are from cemerony.etsy.com; some sparkle and clouds from Finecrafted designs at Deviantscrap.com; some sparkle from Nicole Young at Digitalscrapbookplace.com; face in moon is from flickr's picassoswoman; moon from my own images at tumblefishstudio.etsy.com; portions of the background are from the public domain.


copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/25/2010. All rights reserved.
Digital scene. Image credits: face, bodice, wings, and legs from cemerony.etsy.com; globe, arms, halos, and background from my own images, many at tumblefishstudio.etsy.com; stardust from Nicole Young at Digitalscrapbookplace.com.

Little Pond

Copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/25/2010. All rights reserved.
Digital daydream. Image credits: fairy body, wings, and crown from cemerony.etsy.com; most everything else from my images at tumblefishstudio.etsy.com (some coming soon).

This last piece uses some of my new images I'll have in Etsy soon. I need to restock prints in Etsy and get some new sheets done but it may be a few more days. I have a few little things done but am waiting to upload to the shop until I figure out some new wording and have more sheets ready. But here's a little tease . . .

ange d'étoile

copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/25/2010. All rights reserved.
Imagined digitally. Image credits: everything from my images at tumblefishstudio.etsy.com (some coming soon).

Splendor sheet coming soon to Etsy . . .


Oct 20, 2010

The Mighty Mighty Png Image


copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/11/2010. All rights reserved.
Digital journal page. Image credits: words, flowers, and some border pieces from Crowabout Studio B at Deviantscrap.com; body and some border and background pieces from Finecrafted Designs at Deviantscrap.com; eyes from Sherrie JD at Deviantscrap.com; main face and some background texture from my images at tumblefishstudio.etsy.com; flypaper texture on top.

Inspired by my friend Tracey of Glitterbug Studio's comment to my last post, I thought I'd try and shout from my own little mountaintop how Png images are so misunderstood!

Hand cut and paste folks tell me all the time how they have to use jpg images because they don't work digitally. Helloooooo! Up until a few weeks ago, I worked almost entirely in hand cut work. Png images can absolutely be used by anyone and has so many benefits over jpg images.

So what's the difference between the two you ask? Here's the skinny on png and other images . . . There are three main types of image file formats: png, gif, and jpg. For some reason, everyone has fallen in love with jpg at one time or another but have given png and gif the cold shoulder.

I'm not gonna talk much about gif because I still ignore them and no one I've run across sells gif images. Gif stands for Graphics Interchange Format and from what I understand, are the largest of the three types of files without anything lost in the saving process. They also only support 256 colors. But they are better used in animation projects for reasons I don't yet understand. Mainly, they are not used much by most people we know that are not professional graphics artists and designers because of their huge file size -they aren't easily shared or displayed.

The most popular until recently, jpg files are more portable - trimming the quality and information of an image to a size that is more easily stored and shared. Jpeg is short for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the name of the committee that designed the format. The jpg format is designed to compress color and grayscale images. Compress being the key word. From Webopedia . . "The information that is discarded in the compression is information that the human eye cannot detect. JPG images support 16 million colors and are best suited for photographs and complex graphics. The user typically has to compromise on either the quality of the image or the size of the file. JPG does not work well on line drawings, lettering or simple graphics because there is not a lot of the image that can be thrown out in the lossy process, so the image loses clarity and sharpness." Thought it says the changes are not detectable to the eye, they are if you save them over and over. I'm sure you've heard that every time you resave a jpg file you lose quality of the image. It's true! And, jpgs come with a built in white background and have no transparency benefits. It is the smallest of the image formats but the least flexible and over time actually degrades your quality.

Oh, the lovely png format! My favorite! First, let me tell you . . . all of you hand cut and paste that just want to buy an image and print it out . . . you can do that with png! You can simply print it just like any other jpg image or collage sheet you own.
  • You can, if you feel uncontrollably determined, also save a png file as a jpg anytime you like and convert it to jpg permanently but I would urge you to try out the benefits of png first.
  • Png stands for Portable Network Graphics and brings to us the happy medium between Gif and jpg. Not as big as a gif, more flexible and better quality than a jpg
  • Png images never lose any image information so they are not as compressed, and therefore degraded like jpg files. You can save them over and over and not lose any quality.
  • Png files, because they are not compressed like jpg, are larger files but not as large as Gif because png files do not support animation.
  • You do not have to work digitally to use png images but they offer the option to work digitally if someday down the road you choose to.

Why I think png is better for any collage artist, hand cut or digital . . .
Ever since I started working in collage, I didn't like the idea of having to print out a whole sheet of images to get the one or two I really wanted to use over and over. So, I started making my own custom sheets to save on ink and paper. I would crop out the parts of a sheet I wanted, save it as a picture by itself or drag it where I wanted it, and then design, a sheet of images in Microsoft Publisher at the time (now I do it in Photoshop Elements), print it out and went about my work cutting and gluing, etc. Well, with jpg images, the white part always got in the way during that process. I couldn't put a pair of glasses on a face, I couldn't put something behind or "in" a hand or jar, I couldn't place things close to each other because of the white background, etc. The day I discovered png everything changed.
  • No more white background to hide what was underneath, things could be overlapped or placed closer to each other on a sheet allowing for even more saving of paper and ink.
  • And the quality of a png image is better than a jpg! Png images are sharper because they don't compress as much as a jpg when saving. This can make a difference when purchasing collage sheets - designers that create jpg collage sheets from jpg images have already degraded the image before you even buy it. Png sheets from png images retain the sharpness and color of the original image.
I wouldn't be a good girl if I didn't tell you the downside to png.
  • Some browsers, like Internet Explorer, don't support png so if you want to share an artwork on your blog it's best to save finished work as a jpg. Gif's are too large.
  • Png images are larger than jpg and very difficult to email. Even when zipped, they don't lose much size because they won't compress much. That's why most scrap image sites and a lot of other image designers have to send the images you purchase through download links. (but remember you are getting more versatile, higher quality images!)
The poor png is just misunderstood. If you ever want to give them a try, just let me know when ordering from my Etsy that you'd like to try the png. If it doesn't work for you, I'll send the jpg. I can't do that for everyone all the time or I will never finish mailing links and attachments, but I am happy to send you one or two to try if you ask.

Thank you for your input!
Thank you for all of the comments on the previous post. Your input is invaluable! I am continuing to check on file sharing services to find the one that has enough storage for all of my sheets and the best ease of use for customers. I'm going to let the post sit another day or two and then I'll announce a winner drawn from the comments to win some collage sheets.

Specific responses to your suggestions . . .
  • Since I started selling images, I have asked in three different places in each item listed in my Etsy for people to tell me if they prefer png or jpg. 95% of the time no one tells me so I have to take the time to write and ask or take the time to send both. So asking for preferences has not worked.
  • We're all busy. Most of us, including myself, don't always take the time to read everything so asking for preferences or explaining how things are sent most often gets overlooked and unaddressed. I'm guilty of it too.
  • Most people don't realize the limitations of their own email service. There are a million services like AOL, and Yahoo, and Gmail and all the others in the world and most people don't realize the limitations of their account. So, when they don't get their images, they assume it's something I'm doing wrong and not that their box is full or their email service does not allow for certain size files, etc. Because most people assume the problem is on my end, I have to research and solve the problem for them. As a business owner looking for word of mouth recommendations, the customer is always right and you have to make it work for them as best you can.
  • Resolution - lowering the resolution of my images is not an option I want to consider at this time. Most people I sell images to don't just work in ATC size most of the time. Most work in larger or in digital formats, so the higher the resolution the better. The sheets are easily enlarged to work in 5 x 7 or even 8 x 10 journal pages without much loss of quality. I have decreased the resolution from when I used to send separate images in kits, but I look for the largest size I can include, taking into account the amount of images you can get for your $2 or so invested in a single sheet of multiple images.

Are you all snoring? Did you make it through that long post awake and informed? Perhaps willing to try png images? Perhaps ready to slap me?

Have a great Wednesday! I have some exciting Feature posts coming up in the next few days along with new collage sheets so keep an eye out!

For your viewing pleasure
  • My friend Betty of The Gossamer Tearoom has a beautifully delicious Midnight Carnival post for you to visit here!
  • For some of the most beautiful journal pages you'll ever see, visit Kate at The Kathryn Wheel.
  • One of the artists that has most affected my work and inspired me to expand my horizons in recent months has been Trudi of Two Dresses Studio. She is also the creator of The Butterfly Effect project you can see linked in the upper left side of my blog.
  • Her work is always inspiring to me (such rich color and detail), but Terri of Pringle Hill has the most wonderful post on an Envie Journal here!
  • Julia of Julia and Co is going to be one of my blog features coming up soon. She is such a kind and generous person and has some of my most favorite collage images in Etsy. You can take a preview peek here.

Oct 17, 2010

I'm here but I need advice!

I'm stuck in image sending land this week. Lots of problems all the way around for some reason - planets out of alignment I think.

Since listing my new collage sheets a couple of months ago, I've been so lucky to need to send over 500 collage sheets to customers. I'm astonished but so happy and thankful. Everything has gone well until the last couple of weeks and I've hit some snags.

Here's where I need your input . . . (there's a prize involved!)
Almost everyday, after I've taken the time to send jpg sheets as attachments to customers, I get at least one customer (at least one - today I've had two already) with a full mailbox or over their quota limit or their email service has very limited permissible message sizes and everything bounces back and I have to contact them and start over. I truly waste hours and hours and hours a week trying to deliver images. To the point that I've almost thrown the towel in on selling images. I haven't had time to even make more sheets due to all the email issues people have.

So, I had decided to send everything through download links from 4Shared. I thought this was going acceptably well until this last week. It was faster for me, faster for them and all seemed to be fine. But this week, I have had customers totally confused by using 4Shared or didn't have the slightest idea how to unzip and save the image file from there . . . or just plain old didn't want to move away from email attachments.

Do you all have a solution? Do you get really great image delivery from an image seller you want to share? Do you have any input on file sharing services like 4Shared or MediaFire you like or don't like? Leave me some advice and you might win a drawing for a free set of collage sheets! (that I promise will get delivered one way or another! :))

Jpeg images can be attached to emails but some sellers, like me, have very large high resolution sheets and some email accounts can't handle the size of the file. Png images have to be zipped and sent through links. Png images/files are way too big for anyone to email or receive in an email. If you have no way of unzipping, links of any kind won't work for you. Lots of PC software has built in ways of unzipping so be sure you don't have to buy one before you do. There's a free zip file utility called jzip that gets pretty good reviews if you are in need of a way to unzip files.

I know they are not real popular yet with most cut and paste folks, but I prefer png images hands down to jpg images even when working with hand cut and paste pieces. Png files are much more flexible and don't have that jpg white background in the way if you want to print overlapping pieces before you cut them out.

And one more note . . . links are much faster than email attachments. I can send you links to five pages and you can download and unzip them all faster than I can send one jpg attachment. Just sayin' . . .

Oct 10, 2010

Resource Designer List . . .

I promised a resource list of designers that allow you to use their images in art work you sell. Here's the start of one.

Things to remember:
  • Most designers do not allow for their images to be used in "print on demand" services like Zazzle or Cafe Press or the like.
  • And most don't allow you to mass produce things. So, when you're famous and having your art printed 10,000 copies at a time, you won't be able to use anyone's images but your own, without special permission or licenses.
  • And of course, you cannot redistribute their images as is or as part of your own collage sheets.
  • Check your designers' TOU every time you purchase. As I told you in my last post, I was so disappointed to find out my most favorite designer of all, is no longer allowing commercial use of her images. I wouldn't have known had I not asked so I'm glad I asked before I made a new purchase.
  • Be sure to read each designer's Terms of Use carefully and look for updates with every purchase.
These are my favorite designers that don't require additional licenses for commercial use at the present time: (they're all linked to the appropriate shops)
These designers require an additional license fee for commercial use but very much worth the wee bit of extra money:That's all I had time to link up and double check on tonight, but I'll be adding more.

Madame Butterfly

copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/8/2010. All rights reserved.
Digital scene. Image credits: two frames on left and both butterflies from jenu-designs.com and used with commercial license; small door from Lorie Davison of Scrapbookgraphics.com and used with a commercial license. Everything else from my own images, some available at tumblefishstudio.etsy.com.

There are some great new kits from my friend Nancy Baumiller at Crowabout Studio B at Deviantscrap.com. I just couldn't resist a little play time tonight and made these digital journal pages.

Supreme Somebody

copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/10/2010. All rights reserved.
Digital portrait. Image credits: Everything from either Crowabout Studio B at Deviantscrap.com or my images at tumblefishstudio.etsy.com.

Clean Dream, 100%

copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/10/2010. All rights reserved.
Digital Journal Page. Image credits: face, body, dream word, hat from Crowabout Studio B at Deviantscrap.com; swirl from Holliewood Studios at Deviantscrap.com and used with a commercial license; wings, star eye, 100 percent clean words, and some background texture and borders from my own images (some at tumblefishstudio.etsy.com); flypaper texture; some background texture from Amanda Rockwell.

Here's my latest collage sheet . . . you can see other new sheets on another page, right here on my blog, all linked to my Etsy.

Bottled Up image set

Have a great week everybody!


Oct 7, 2010

Image Information Miscellany

I'm sure not doing a good job of staying on top of my blog lately. Sorry about that. Just a busy couple of weeks. And not the good busy but the chore and appointment busy. I haven't had much time to work on collage sheets either, but I do have a couple in the works.

One important note to make about my collage sheets . . . after my business Yahoo account seemed to not want to let me attach, and after a new gmail email account was set up and my messages kept failing cuz gmail thought I was sending spam . . . I've decided to no longer send jpg sheets as email attachments. I also had trouble on several occasions where the customer's email inbox was too full to accommodate the large jpg file attachments coming in - wasting everyone time. This change shouldn't cause too much trouble for anyone. They'll be sent through download links, just like my png versions. It's really easy and even a little faster once you get the hang of it. I'll be sending easy instructions along with each order how to open the links. Just wanted you to know.

A couple of new pieces . . .


copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/6/2010. All rights reserved.
Digital collage. Image credits: doors and background are from Itkupilli.etsy.com; mirror frame, rat, and crown from Holliewood Studios at Deviantscrap.com and used with a commercial license; chest from Lorie Davison at Scrapbookgraphics.com and used with a commercial license; textures and shadows from a variety of places; picture in mirror, body and face from my own images coming to tumblefishstudio.etsy.com very soon.

The Audition

copyright by Marsha Jorgensen 10/6/2010. All rights reserved.
Digital collage. Image credits: black and white frame altered from Crowabout.etsy.com; dance audition sign from purchased stock photography; curtains from Fidlette Designs and used with a commercial license; background from flickr's 'Playingwithbrushes' and layered with my own textures and a wee bit of a background from Itkupilli.etsy.com; face and body from my own images.

This is the first of a series of posts I hope to offer with tips and tricks and useful image information. Hope to give you a helpful post every couple of weeks or so for awhile. Or more often or less often but several over the next few months.

Information about Png images . . .
Many of my customers don't realize the advantages to png sheets and images. Png pictures have a transparent background so that if you want to layer images in any program on your computer, the white background of a jpg image doesn't get in the way. You can print png sheets just like jpg sheets - since the background is transparent, you can't tell the difference between a printed jpg sheet and printed png sheet. The transparency of the png sheet just makes it more flexible to use should you ever want to work digitally. Png images are larger files than jpg images but for most people that is not a problem.

Want to try the digital side of collage?
I would highly recommend Photoshop Elements if you don't have another editing program. It costs less than $100. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Photoshop's Creative Suites, but they have plenty of tools to get started with. Also, you can get the Gimp editing program for free or for a small donation if you want to make sure you're getting a good clean version. Gimp works very similarly to Photoshop Elements and even has some more options PSE doesn't offer. I find PSE a little easier to work with but I do use Gimp frequently.

Information about buying digital images . . .
I love images and not just my own. It's no secret that I use images from lots of sources. I am very careful with copyright and Terms of Use (TOU) as I encourage everyone to be. Respecting TOU policies and copyright will ensure that we all continue to have access to quality images.

One thing to be especially careful of when purchasing images if you sell your work . . . Not everyone allows their images to be used in works for sale. Be sure to check a designer's TOU to see if they allow you to sell items using their images or you could be in copyright infringement.

Some designers allow for commercial use of their images without additional licenses. Some charge a one time fee for that license and some charge a yearly fee for a license.

I was so disappointed tonight to learn one of my most favorite designers ever, Holliewood Studios at Deviantscrap.com is no longer allowing her images to be used commercially. I had purchased commercial licenses in the past from her and am so bummed to have to look for another image source. I will really miss the chance to use any of her future kits.

Since a huge portion of my blog buddies and art friends sell their work, I'm working on putting together a list of designers and sites that allow you to sell work using their images. I'll share that handy dandy resource as soon as I re-check and confirm all the TOU's.

Information about using Flickr images . . .
Again, be sure to check for permission to use any image from Flickr. Most images on Flickr are not available to use in your work so don't ever assume you can. There are free to use groups that offer a great variety of images you have permission to use in your work but even some of them specify you may not sell work using a particular image. If you're not sure, ask the image owner.

I think it is a good policy to always credit the images you use. Most designers require it and if you're using something from a Flickr member, it's just a nice gesture to show your appreciation. It also clears up where you got something should anyone question it. Many vintage pictures were mass produced and it's possible for more than one person to own some of them. But, designers almost always clean up and color and restore the images they sell and would know their work anywhere.

Tomorrow's Friday! Yay! Have a great CREATIVE weekend!