This post is in response to everyone who has asked me about how to go about designing stamps and/or demonstrating. I do get a lot of emails about this subject so it seemed a good idea to post some information and advice here!
There are a few ways to go about getting your designs made into stamps, depending on whether you just want them to use yourself, sell them yourself, or try to get a stamp company to use your designs. If you want them for your own use you will need to draw your designs in black onto good quality A4 white paper or card filling as much of the page as you can for the best value for money. Many stamp manufacturers, including Personal Impressions, can then make the designs into an unmounted rubber sheet for you, so that you can add Kling-On mounting foam to the back and use them with acrylic blocks. You can have them made up as clear stamps, or even into wood mounted - just ask the relevent company for a quote which may sway you as to which type of stamps you would like!
Again, if you are considering selling your designs as stamps to friends, or on a larger scale, you will need to get a quote for a price per A4 sheet and then see how much it will cost for ten, twenty etc of the same sheet as a batch.
If, on the other hand, you are thinking about approaching a stamp company with a view to them using your designs then the golden rule is to write to them first to ascertain whether they are looking for any new designers, rather than sending samples of your work out of the blue. Many companies only use their in house designers for example. Think about which companies might be interested in your artwork ie if you do cute designs then there is little point in targeting a company that specialise in altered art images! If a company shows interest, send copies of some of your work, possibly with coloured copies too, to indicate how you can see a design working. Find out how they pay their designers - this could be a one off, flat fee per design, or it might be a royalty system where you will receive a percentage of the wholesale price of any stamps sold.
Importantly, get good, unbiased feedback from other people about your drawings. Family and friends will often say that everything one does is marvellous, but some outside opinions are invaluable. Most of all, be your own biggest critic...if something doesn't look quite right, alter it or restart the whole thing! If you let something through that you are not entirely happy with then it will hit you in the eye ever after! If you do end up designing for a stamp company, you will also need to be able to work under pressure, hitting deadlines that are sometimes seemingly impossible, or working on specific themes.
If you are thinking about getting involved in demonstrating products at shows, in stores etc then you will need to think about which companies you would be happy to promote products for as well as which ones may be actively seeking new people in your area. Again, contact the company to introduce yourself and they may either ask you to come and see them or send in a portfolio of your work. Some companies only use one or two people whereas others have a full demonstration team and may well host courses to train you to demonstrate in a particular way.
Remember that where you really love being creative at home, in your own time, it is a very different thing when you are demonstrating. You will have to make samples using particular products, again, often in a short time scale, you will have lots of things to lug around and you will probably have to do a lot of travelling. You need to be able to put aside any personal worries or moods once you have your professional hat on too, so, even if you feel really low, for whatever reason, you have to smile and be chatty and cheerful with customers...people skills are as important as creative skills!
Well, I hope that has been a help to everyone who has asked me....and an interesting read to those who have not!
I shall take some photos tomorrow at Carlisle and post them after the weekend. Next weekend I'll be at Burnside garden centre in Thornton, Blackpool on Saturday when I'll be doing some inking, stamping and punching. Then on the Sunday I'll be stamping and "Rangering" at Crafty by Nature in Kearsley, Bolton. I'm off now to get my bags packed for tomorrow! Lindsay