April 24, 2009

About Me

Welcome to my blog!

My name is Monique Chvatal and I create affordable clip art for personal and commercial use. My shop can be found on Etsy.com - a wonderful outlet for selling handmade goods.

History:
I first opened my Etsy shop in August of 2008 with the intention of selling towel cakes and diaper cakes. Unfortunately the cakes didn't sell at all. They were cute, but they just couldn't complete with some of the amazing ones available on Etsy. Slowly, I started to play around with scrapbook papers and raffia and random crafting supplies from Hobby Lobby and eventually I came up with a few designs for wedding favors. My top seller (and really my only seller) was a small seed packet - an envelope made out of decorative paper with a packet of wildflower seeds & growing instructions inside, wrapped with a bow and a custom gift tag. After spending hours and hours making these favors for clients I realized that I didn’t really enjoy it! Having to measure, cut, glue and assemble hundreds of these things at a time sucked all of the fun out of it. I soon realized that the only part I did enjoy doing was designing the gift tag.

Eventually, something in my head clicked and I began to offer products that put my desktop publishing skills to use. However, this is where I hit a road block. I had the hardest time finding clip art to use in my designs. The first issue was that everything was way too CHEESY for my taste. It all looked like it came straight out of 1992. The second issue was that hardly anything was available for commercial use. If it was, it required that an additional commercial use license be purchased. Luckily (for my present day self and my clients) commercial licensing wasn’t in my budget. I wanted to offer many designs and couldn’t justify paying $20 - $100+ for one little aspect of the design. Add in the cost of paper, printing, Etsy fees, etc. and it would take me many sales of each product to make a profit. In addition, many of these licenses included print limits (can only use on 500 prints, etc.) and I was not about to create spreadsheets to count how many times I printed an image and so on.

So, I decided that I would make my own. I bought a graphic design software, started playing around to see what it can do and eventually I produced clip art. At first I simply used the images that I created in my own designs. Then one day in late January ’09, on a whim, I posted a few of the images in my Etsy shop. I didn’t really think they would sell, but they were cute and they made my shop look like it had more offerings. Not a day later the first one sold and they’ve been selling ever since!

My shop is now solely dedicated to clip art and graphic design and I feel like I’ve found the right fit for what I want to do with my life :)

Policies:
Because I was so ANNOYED with the commercial fees, limitations, and restrictions I came across in my search for clip art, I vowed to make my policies easy.

All images are available for both personal and commercial use. No extra fees, no restrictions on how many times an image can be used, no requirement to give credit (like I want someone else’s name on my invitations…), no hassles.

The only rules I have are put in place to protect my images from being re-sold as clip art. My full terms of use are posted here and I think that they’re pretty fair :)

Why the Blog?
I've found that many people have questions that mimic the same ones I had when I first started (What's a .png? How do you reverse an image? Can you do "fill in the blank" in Word?, etc., etc.) and I thought that it might be helpful to have an outlet to address these questions. Also, I thought it might be fun to share some DIY tutorials for fun projects and offer tips and tricks to use in basic software such as Word or Publisher.

So stay tuned as I'll be posting again soon!!

5 comments:

  1. Hi Monique! I am so excited that I have found you! I am an amateur designer when it comes to creating illustrations...my designs are very basic. However, my shop is quite busy! I will be purchasing some of your premade illustrations, but do you also do custom work? I have had requests for my party packages in over 10 other themes, and I just can't accommodate them for lack of time and talent! Please email me at kim@thetomkatstudio.com. My etsy shop is on vacation at the moment, but you can see my work on my blog!

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  2. I was just browsing through etsy and found your shop! You have some really, really cute graphics! And I have to say that I LOVE LOVE LOVE the fact that you allow people to use your graphics on their stuff, FOR NOTHING EXTRA!!! I can't draw or design a thing! It's people like you that make people like me look good and allow me to be able to design my own cards and such. Thanks so much! I look forward to purchasing many, many clip art graphics from you!!

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  3. Monique,
    Thank you for your tutorials! I am so excited that you are willing to share your knowledge with us. Look forward to following your blog!
    Karen

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  4. Love your blog! Thanks for sharing your desktop publishing expertise with us. Can't wait to try the envelopes. They are great as is my pink flamingo :-) Look forward to following your blog.

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  5. Monique,

    I just finished browsing through your blog and it just reconfirmed the fact that your work is the best! I too ran across the problem with designers putting so many restrictions on clip art that I soon became confused on what I could/could not use them for. I love your designs and the ability to use them freely on my invitations and cards. With that, I will be back often!

    Thanks for everything!
    Mindy

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