PoD: The Great Game Changer
Way back in Ancient Times (when I was a kid), it used to be that if you wanted to buy something — a new t-shirt or two, a box of greeting cards, a poster, a new pair of socks — whatever — chances are your first order of business would very likely have involved a trip down to your local shopping mall… After all, pretty much anything you needed could be found there. And heck, you could even grab frosty cold beverage & Pizza dog from the food court while you were at it. Mmmm… Pizza dog…
As we all know, much has changed since those days — bricks-and-mortar stores and malls are no longer the go-to solution for shoppers (unless of course, it’s the holiday season and, like me you’ve foolishly left the frikkin’ Xmas shopping to the last possible minute again).
Be that as it may, the concept of the shopping mall may well be, for better or worse, perhaps inevitably, going the way of the dinosaur.
So, what’s replacing those venerable bastions of consumerism? You guessed it, online shopping! Few could have imagined back in the 80’s or early 90’s that something called THE INTERNET would one day supplant the shopping mall as the go-to destination for consumers looking for deals, goods & merchandise.
Which brings me to the other thing that few of us could have imagined back in the 80’s & 90’s — the concept that, in my humble opinion anyways, is so revolutionary that it still gets me all hot and bothered whenever I think about it: PRINT ON DEMAND.
Previously, before the advent of PoD, the aspiring designer or illustrator had a fairly difficult time of it. It’s one thing to have the discipline and motivation to continue working on, improving and refining a certain skill — getting people to actually take notice (and maybe even actually BUY some of your work) is another ball-game entirely.
At a certain point, after years of effort with little or no tangible results, it’s pretty easy to get totally frustrated, disillusioned and simply lose the motivation to continue.
At the risk of sounding like an old fart, times were way tough back then. Of course, all that’s changed now — and for the better, one might argue. These days, any artist, illustrator or designer with a half-decent internet connection and a modicum of tech savvy has, at their fingertips, the ability to upload, show off and, yes, even sell their work with relative ease and convenience.
Speaking for myself, PoD has been nothing less than a game-changer… In my early years (sounding like an old fart again), I had my aspirations about pursuing the drawing & illustration thing as a career. However, after a few years of plugging away at it with very little success, I basically ended up getting totally frustrated, fed up and eventually came to the inescapable conclusion that it wasn’t going to happen — time to move in another direction.
Those youthful dreams of an artistic career just simply got left behind, overshadowed by the more mundane but necessary realities of life (i.e. EARNING A LIVING etc.).
Time marches on… A few decades later, and something called Print on Demand becomes a thing.
OK, let me get this straight — You’re saying I now have the ability to upload my drawings and stuff to this website and if people like it they can order all kinds of merch with my artwork printed on it? And they’ll actually PAY ME MONEY for that? Hmm… If it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is… Right?
Of course, after first hearing about PoD, I was more than a little skeptical — a fairly high likelihood it was just going to end up being yet another clever scam or waste of time. But eventually, after humming and hawing over it for a while, I finally had one of those ‘Oh, what the hell, let’s give it a shot’ moments.
So, that’s basically how this all got started for me. No expectations at first, but at the point where a few sales started rolling in and the payouts from RedBubble & TeePublic began to accumulate in my PayPal account, it slowly dawned on me that maybe this was, in fact, the real deal. And furthermore, it also dawned on me that perhaps this was, in fact, the thing I’d been waiting for all along — the possibility that maybe I COULD make this drawing thing work for me after all slowly began to come into focus.
And just like that, I was drawing again. The motivation to keep at it had suddenly returned, and, lo and behold, the dream was alive once more! Still only modest success at this point, but hell — actually earning more than a few extra bucks each month. That’s never a bad thing.
In any event, I’ll close this out by stating that, if you enjoy drawing, designing or making art, and if any of what you’ve read here has piqued your interest at all — my advice to you would be GO FOR IT! Open an online store on RedBubble, TeePublic, SpreadShirt or wherever and start uploading your stuff! Who knows — it could be a game-changer for you as well — The only thing for sure is that you’ll never know until you try!
Anyways, you’ll please excuse me now, for some reason I’ve got this irresistible hankering for a frosty-cold orange-flavored beverage and a pizza dog… Is that damn mall still open?