In order to move forward, I need to let go of what came before. All of my previous work, all the hours I’ve poured into projects, all of those times where I thought I was extremely clever, only to find out that I was late to the party and a few hundred other creators had the same idea and have been selling it for quite some time. All of it. It’s time to let them go.
It’s time to move on.
At the beginning of this year, I opened an online shop on a website which allowed me the opportunity to create my own designs and have them printed on mugs, t-shirts, pillows…anything. I used this service because, as like now, I lack the space and the resources to do it myself. I thought perhaps if I utilized their service long enough to establish a name for myself, I would then be able to set up shop in my own garage.
A few months later, after a brief but bitter dispute over creative differences, I packed up my basketball and set out for greener pastures. I thought I had a good thing going, but apparently, it’s easier to red flag a noob for alleged copyright infringement than it is to shut down a seasoned pro who has been doing it for years. I didn’t know I needed a permission slip to pay homage to a fandom.
Bitter, bitter, bitter. Bitter that anybody else can get away with it, especially with more obvious designs, and I get profiled and pulled over for doing the exact same thing. Bitter that I’ve experienced a lifetime of getting slapped down, but it’s hurts worse when a livelihood depends on it. Bitter that my work got noticed, but for the wrong reasons. Just bitter.
I had a choice, either pack it up for good and go back to a day job, or suck it up, learn from the mistakes, and make it better.
After a brief period of sulking in my room like some moody teenager, I decided on the latter.
Yes, I was using pop culture references to launch a line of t-shirts, but I wasn’t relying on it. It was a part of it, it was means to which I could get eyeballs in my direction so they could notice and remember me. It’s like a new band trying like hell to get noticed for their own merits and songwriting abilities, only to be remembered forever for covering that one song. Even though I would deny it, I was relying on a meme to launch me and to keep me going. However, and inasmuch as I don’t want to admit it, the powers that be that needed that permission slip were right. Why should I have to rely on it? If that’s all I’ve got, then I don’t have anything, right? Why rely on that when there is a world of possibility out there?
It was time to dig deeper.
At first, it was the obvious references to Westeros and the higher education that might have been there, had they been real places. It’s been done. No sense in getting lost in the shuffle when I should be standing out in the crowd.
These were the first to go on the back burner. Not because the premise had been done to death, but the cease and desist order also had a big part of it too.
Sheesh…everyone’s a critic.
Okay, forget that a simple Google image search for any of these kingdoms would produce similar images. It’s boring. It’s played and not that clever or cool anymore. Let it go, there are other opportunities. Think harder.
The search was on for public domain items that haven’t been used over and over again. I fashioned this…
I’m retiring this one simply because it never sat well with me. It’s a re-interpreted quote from an old poem. This one is going away partly because the motivation that I sought to project with this just wasn’t there, and partly because nobody else would get it, so into the vault it goes.
This next one I’m on the fence over…
I was in a quote mood that month. I was also stretching out a little bit and learning Quenya. I thought that combining them together might make for a pretty neato design. Unfortunately, the company that was printing these thought otherwise. This was the fifth piece of work in two months that they felt necessary to censor. This of course is a quote from Stephen King. The company needed me to get permission to use it. They also needed me to get permission from JRR Tolkien himself (whose been dead for over 40 years now) to use his fictional language that he thought no one would ever use in the first place.
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I spent hours on this, especially the sun in the middle, only to be told that in order to produce this that I not only have to get permission from an author who’s living and an author who’s dead just to make a design that probably won’t sell to begin with. Excuse me while I just throw a major fit and board up my shop.
I probably will never use this. Then again, it’s really pretty and I want to use it in something. Time will tell.
So, these are going away. They will never be published, but they will stay on my hard drive as a reminder of what not to do when designing something.
Better designs are being published regularly. I’m only posting this to show my older stuff, so that I may one day soon look back and look at how far I’ve come.