Title: Bowser Concept Art
Date Completed: October 2016
Design: Lord Libidan
Video Game: Super Mario Bros
I really haven’t made much from the Mario series, despite its popularity, and I thought that was really due for a change when I came across this original Bowser concept art on the Video Game Art Archive.
Not only did it fit my prefernce for grey only stitches, like my Canabalt cross stitch or Pokemon Quote to name a few, it also showcases some of the excellent art game maker create, and don’t get enough focus for. This bowser is actually slightly different from the ingame model, so its a unique piece to me!
With 1 in 3 people having a tattoo on average worldwide, it’s not surprising to see so many. However recently there has been an explosion of cross stitch tattoos. Initially it looks like a perfect storm to create this, however if that was the case, we would have seen the explosion 3 years ago.
No, this is something different.
The Perfect Storm
I’ve said it above, but tattoos are everywhere now. The old and young don’t get tattoos, leaving about a third of the population. Therefore if you DON’T have a tattoo you’re the exception. And with this we’ve seen a lot of…questionable tattoos based on pop culture and hobbies. A great example of this is sewing, spurred on by the Great British Sewing Bee, and similar programs. However this has been building for some time, slowly pushing itself into mainstream culture.
But when I look back on the history of cross stitch tattoos, there’s pretty much nothing. The most well known contemporary stitcher, Mr X Stitch, has one, but its obscure enough that it might be anything… And then, from out of the blue, we hit a massive leap in interest. The below google trends record shows that in July 2015 cross stitch tattoos leap in interest. But why?
It’s all down to Eva. She’s a Turkish tattoo artist that loves cross stitch and watercolors. Whilst most of her tattoos are watercolor based, Turkey has had a deep relationship with embroidery, and so she started getting contacted to change her stitches into tattoos. She’s been active since 2013, starting will small pieces, but recently she’s been asked to do massive pieces like the below:
What I really love is that she works with the canvas of skin in a similar way to aida. She fills in white areas, leaves space between crosses (like real aida), makes the stitches unique, but also positions the top stitch in the same direction for every cross. It’s not hard to see why Eva has such a backing, and I’m happy to see it continue.
If you haven’t got your fill of tattoo images here, I would strong suggest checking out her instagram which has both her cross stitch tattoos and awesome other tattoos.
Title: The Great Wave
Date Completed: October 2016
Design: Lord Libidan
Video Game: Pokemon
I love Japan. That shouldn’t be too surprising to hear if you read my site regularly. In the past I’ve taken the traditional Japanese print style and created cross stitches out of it, like my Japanese Gengar cross stitch. However I’ve never done a faithful rendition of the style.
A while ago I went to the museum in London and saw a print of the Great Wave, and its stuck in my head for a while, maybe a year or more. I recently remembered it when I saw missypena’s Great Wave Off Kanto posters.
With her permission I remade the two images, combined them and edited them to fit the original slightly better. This work took maybe 200 hours or more, and is by far the largest piece I have completed. However, I think it might be my best to date.
I’ve been there. I know that the idea of legal aid is just plain scary. But you know whats worse? When you get a letter from Nintendo saying you’ve broken copyright law and you need to take down your pattern.
As it happens the Pokemon company were pretty cool about it. Not only did they understand that I just took an image off Google without realizing I was doing wrong (apparently a VERY large problem now-a-days), but they also sent over some details on how to avoid it in future.
Turns out that this little foray into the world of scary law firms is a regular occurrence for the Etsy community, and even more so for cross stitch pattern makers. But it still didn’t scare me into shutting my shop for 3 years…
But fear not! Copyright law is actually pretty simple. There’s even an acronym. FCCP. I didn’t say it was a good acronym.
In fact, I’m going to do this out of order…
Whilst copyright has 4 distinct flavors, one of those in plain old vanilla copyright. When someone creates something they have copyright on that thing. However, not that many people say they own it. Instead, its implied. If its implied, then look to the other three options here.
But if you see that little copyright symbol, then stay away. The person who created it has full rights, and unless you ask (and they agree) to use it, you’re in breach of the law.
Public domain rarely applies in the world of the internet. The reason? You have to go through a rather teedious process to make it public domain. Like dying.
I’m serious. There are two ways something can be public domain:
The creater is dead AND no one owns the copyright
The creater willingly gave up permissions
You’re never really going to know if something is public domain or not unless it is very old (and even then its not guaranteed; the Happy Birthday song had a copyright until last year), and you have to bear in mind that someone might be using it under fair use or creative common licenses.
Fair use is the first part of copyright law that you can actually use to your advantage (So long as your in the USA, sorry the rest of the world). I’ll use an example:
My favorite artist came out with a new painting, and I use the image to create a cross stitch pattern and make a cross stitch – fine.
Then I try to sell the pattern – That’s not fair use.
You see, fair use allows you to use copyrighted material for education, research, or personal use (there is an exception here about benefiting public good, but unless your Edward Snowden you’re not going to be using that).
This is where it gets really juicy. If you find an image, which is copyrighted, then you can ask to use it. Some people will say no; so be prepared for that. However others will say you can. There are often restrictions on this type of thing, so just be aware of those, but this is your only source of images (unless they are totally original).
Yes, there is ALWAYS an exception. In this case its purchasing rights. Some websites out there use a creative commons license with their images. You can use them personally, or commercial websites/literature. However other offer royalty free images with no caps. This means that if you wanted to you could sell the image onto someone else straight away, no edits required. However it also allows you to make cross stitch patterns for sale.
So now you can set up your store in the safe knowledge you’re covered by copyright. Phew!
Making cross stitch is an awesome way to spend your time, however there’s always that one thing in your mind, the question everyone always thinks about “Can I make money from this?”.
Luckily, the answer is yes. There are LOADS of people selling cross stitch and cross stitch patterns online. It’s super simple to do, and doesn’t cost a lot to set up at all (if anything).
I will add the caveat now though, that you aren’t going to suddenly be drowning in dollar bills. But its enough to cover most cross stitch expenses.
Deciding what to sell
The first step along this journey is what you’re going to sell. There are two main areas:
Finished cross stitch
Cross stitch patterns
Now, both have their advantages. The first is that you can charge higher amounts per product, whilst making patterns you can shift a dime a dozen and have it all done automatically. If you’re looking from a purely economical point of view, then selling cross stitch patterns is definitely your best bet. If you don’t know how to do this I have a guide on making cross stitch patterns here.
The next step is to make a brand. Now, there are loads of different ways to come at this, so I’m going to leave it in your faithful hands, however its important to note that you need a UNIQUE name. This will be the name of your store, and possibly what you put on products too. Depending on your target market, this might be very different. For example I tend to aim towards the younger market with crazy patterns and so a tounge in cheek design and a flash logo work, but if you sell to more traditional stitchers a friendly face might work better.
Setting up a store
So now you have a brand you can set up a store. There are two main online platforms but Etsy is the best. You can find an official guide here.
They take a small cut on each deal, but they set up an automatic sale for digital files (patterns), and have massive amounts of traffic.
Make your products
Well… Yeh. Make the stuff.
Once you have items to sell the next thing is to get some awesome photos. This is the biggest thing about Etsy sales. The picture is EVERYTHING. Make it professional, make it stand out. Make sure people want to select it. This can be the hardest bit though, so if in doubt copy the style of other people who sell on Etsy until you develop your own style.
With everything set up and ready there is one final thing I would note; be prepared. This can take loads of different forms, but making sure you have enough of what your trying to sell is a big one. If this is finished pieces or kits you need to have the product ready to start when the sale goes through.
– Make sure you can sell your stuff. This is SUPER important. You can read up on cross stitch and copyright over here.
– Ensure you have awesome drawing product descriptions. After all, its all about selling the product.
– Customer care is super important. Just be there to speak to customers, answer questions, help them out.
– Etsy ads are a great way to get some extra eyes on your items, but I would stay away from general terms like “cross stitch” instead be more specific, and you’ll get a better return.
– Make sure you make a profit. If the item costs $10, the sale price needs to be $15 for you to get a $1 profit. But this doesn’t work out as a great wage. Price your time accordingly.
Struggling to sell your patterns online? Check out our post on why your why your cross stitch patterns aren’t selling.
Cross Stitch Twitch is a unique concept that’s really starting to develop fast. We’ve gone into common misconceptions during the first post, and we’ve spoken to some of the most influential vbloggers in our second post on Twitch cross stitch. But now we get to speak to the mother of cross stitch Twitch; the first ever cross stitch streamer Sirithre, or Siri for short.
Unlike a lot of our other Twitch streamers, Siri couldn’t see other users, and instead has a totally different way into the Twitch space. Video games.
While adding my list of games to backloggery.com I realized just how horrible I am about actually finishing games. This is mainly due to spending too much time playing MMOs.
Thus, my new year’s resolution for 2014 was to quit playing MMOs, and to work on my backlog of games. So I started streaming so I’d still get the social interaction of MMOs to encourage me to stick to this plan.
And that’s where we start with the cross stitch.
I was actually quite literally the first cross stitch streamer on twitch. Creative wasn’t even announced yet, it had been quietly added to the directory without mention and only had a handful of digital artists at the time. Most still streamed their art under the game categories.
I started a project November 2014 to make (late) Christmas presents for some of my favorite Twitch broadcasters with the plan to give it to them as a gift in person at PAX South. Since I was stitching their channel emotes as gifts I decided to stream them. This brought them and their communities into my stream and sometimes I would get hundreds and thousands of viewers where my gaming would have only brought in 20-30 at the time.
Most were interested in what Cross stitch even was, how I knew where to stitch, etc. Stitchers came in excited they hadnt seen it before, wanted to know how I made my patterns, what plastic canvas was, how I made my patterns, etc. Soon I built up a following of stitchers who enjoyed ‘stitch and bitch’ type scenarios and wanted to work on their own projects while watching the stream.
A fairly surprising start, especially as there was no marketing involved at all to begin with, apparently cross stitchers just so happen to be a video gaming lot…
But this is where suddenly I got it. It’s not about watching others, about being part of something, it’s about having that one place for cross stitchers to call home. Sure there are forums, comment sections on websites, Twitter and other social media, but there’s nothing like speaking to people real time about the thing you enjoy.
Back in the 90s we had AIM chat rooms, now we have a modern twist where you can see something being made in front of you, pick up on the small tricks of others…
There are reading groups, knitting circles, and now there is Twitch cross stitch.
Was week I wrote a post about the rise of the Twitch cross stitcher, however its clear that vblogging cross stitch is a new thing, and the only way to get the inside scoop is from the streamers themselves. So, without further adue, we hear from the horses mouth!
In my initial post I spoke about the purpose of streaming. Its not clear from the outset what would make someone stream cross stitching, especially on a vblogging platform. So, what made you start streaming?
EmzOLV I originally started live streaming because I used to write for a games blog which I created. I found that alongside the articles I was doing for that, I could do playthroughs of indie and retro games and it would all fit together nicely. Unfortunately I haven’t had time for the blog and it’s very competitive and easy to get lost in the Twitch world with video games. I was intrigued by cross stitching streams because I knew of one person who did it (Sirithre) and I had been working in my personal time on a giant version of Yoshi Island SNES start screen. It all seemed to come together with me jumping in and giving it a go, getting really comfortable within Twitch Creative and then just continuing to do it.
Why do you stream instead of make videos?
KWarning It’s all about the live chat for me. There is nothing that compares to the live interaction. I get feedback on patterns and I am able to help viewers with their project by having the ability to reply to them immediately. I have also opened up a discord room to be able to have the same interaction with my viewers while my channel is not live.
Cross stitch twitch is a bit of a new phenomenon, why do you think it’s become so popular when other social media has failed to unite the stitching community?
ArmoredHearts Cross Stitch on Twitch is immediate, it’s a community that is building out of the love of the art. Whether in the making or the appreciating and collecting. Posting photos of works in progress or finished items is fun. Watching someone create and chatting about experiences, methods and tools of the craft is what builds a kind of camaraderie among Creative streamers. We relate and learn from others and that makes our experiences have more value and grow.
MotoRuxin Cross stitch is one of those things that lots of people do, but it’s hard to actually meet this people as we are so spread out and diverse. With the Creative section on Twitch, they have essentially created for us an online sewing circle with resources for new or longtime stitcher as well as those with no cross stitch experience. Some people just appreciate the art, and it absolutely fills me with pride when I have viewers praise my work and hope so badly to win one of my giveaways.
If I was a betting man I would think that we’ll see a lot more streamers on Twitch soon, cross stitching away.