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Stop Thief! Watermarking Your Artwork

I was a little concerned posting my artwork on the internet without a watermark. What the heck is a watermark you might ask. Have you ever taken a closer look at some of the artwork displayed on a site like Zazzle. If you magnify an image on their site you will notice a large “Z” in a circle. Another time you may have seen a watermark may be when have tried to copy a document. Words like void etc. showed up when it was copied. It’s not visible until you make that copy. Well that’s a watermark.

The purpose of a watermark is to discourage theft of an image that you have created. I wanted to create my own watermark to place on the original work I post on the internet. You may want to create your own watermark if you are posting on a blog or anyplace you load an image you don’t want  copied. One thing you don’t want to do however, is submit your work with a watermark to a site like Zazzle or Cafe Press, because they wouldn’t be able to sell it in that situation.

Here are the steps for creating a watermark in Adobe Illustrator (my version is CS4):

Create a logo, wording etc. using text shapes etc. Make it large enough to cover your entire image. You want to do this all in black so you can see it.

The next step is to expand the image if you have used strokes (the outlines of objects). This changes all things to fills (the color inside your shapes and art). Do this by selecting all the artwork and selecting the option “expand” in the object tab.

Next if you have used type, select it and navigate to the “type” tab at the top of the program. Select the option “create outlines”. Now your art is made of fills and you can move onto the next step.

At this point select the “transparency” tab on the side panel. You can play with your watermark to determine the transparency you want. You can do this by adjusting the opacity of the object anywhere from one to a hundred, or just select the “soft light” option in the left dropdown box. Either one will work, its your choice. I chose to adjust mine with the “opacity” option.

The last thing you want to do is select all and change your watermark to white. Save it, then test it. Place the watermark on the top of your image and adjust it from there. Everything should look great!

If you’re having problems here is a link that will take you through the steps above in a tutorial online.    http://developer.practicalecommerce.com/articles/1399-Tutorial-Protect-Your-Site-Images-With-Watermarks

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Get Zazzled!

Several years ago I joined a bowling league. It was great fun and a day out with friends who were on my team. We were the Alley Cats. I always thought we had the coolest name on the league, and we were a pretty good team. Well, one day while we were chatting we decided that we needed bowling shirts. Not just any bowling shirt, but a bowling shirt with our team name on it! How could we make that happen? Somehow I was nominated to do a little research on accomplishing that goal.

I came home and began searching the internet for bowling shirts. The selection was poor at best. Then I came across Zazzle. Now what the heck is Zazzle? It is a great little site where you can design your own product, just how you want it, OR you can choose from a vast selection of products made by others.

Back then, I didn’t have a program to do art on the computer, so I set out creating my little “Alley Cat” logo with colored cardstock. Yes, this is a very primitive way to create a logo but that was my only option. It turned out pretty cute. I scanned it in and submitted it to Zazzle to print on a T-shirt. About a week later a box of Alley Cat T’s arrived on my porch. Boy! were we cool wearing our team T’s!

THAT is not the end of the story. So after I placed the design on the T’s and ordered them, I got a prompt asking if I wanted to make this design public. Now what in the world did that mean? After reading through the small print and agreeing to their conditions, I submitted my design to the public marketplace. Essentially, I retain the copyright to my work, but if they sell my design to someone on a product I earn a small royalty (MONEY!). Sounded good to me! So I posted it and went on my way.

Approximately six months later, I opened my mailbox and there inside was my first royalty payment! If I remember right it was about $23. Starving artist wages, but hey, can’t complain about that.

Posted here is a picture of the original “Alley Cat” logo and you can see my new redesign made on Adobe Illustrator at my store at http://www.zazzle.com/bowlermindy.
It’s been about six years since I posted the original, but Alley Cat is going strong! I got my biggest check ever last year, just in time for Christmas!

Create a little art yourself and make a few bucks! Or just browse the pages of other artists, you just might find something fun.