Thursday, 18 July 2013

How protected are your images on the net?

If you place any images on the internet, including portfolio sites, blogs, Facebook, websites etc, do you watermark them? If not, pop onto Pinterest and search 'illustration'..... there are thousands of images on there, most of which are not watermarked.

How difficult is it for someone to use an illustration from Pinterest or any other site for a website header, Facebook meme (you know those sweet little 'have a nice day' pictures people post up with a load of inspiring or humorous text), or to use the image for some sort of online advert / promotion...... I'll tell you how difficult it is.... a big fat zero in the score of difficult.

What are the chances you know where your illustrations are being used? A very slim chance unless you are constantly doing a reverse image search.

Artists, illustrators, designers and photographers are finding their images on sites including Pinterest, available for free sharing and ultimately ending up as free advertising for businesses. In some cases people are stripping the metadata, cropping away watermarks, erasing signatures etc, just to make it look like the images on their site or advert are legitimately licensed and paid for.

Most portfolio sites offer the option for 'pinning' (adding the image to someone's Pinterest pages... online scrapbooking type idea). What happens when you remove that image from the portfolio site? The image stays on Pinterest without the 'source' website showing your illustration.... ripe for becoming an 'orphan work' if someone chooses to remove your metadata, especially if you don't have a watermark ACROSS the image.

If you are concerned about the prospect of your work ending up an 'orphan work', watermark ALL images you put on the internet. Don't think that putting low resolution images will stop your work being used without your permission.... Consider this, how big a resolution do people need for a meme on Facebook? How big a resolution do people need for a website banner, background or advert?

Yes, having your work on Facebook, Pinterest, Blogs etc DOES get you exposure if you're a commercial artist, illustrator, photographer, designer etc...... but only if YOUR name is still attached to YOUR images.

If you think this only applies to commercial artists and photographers, think again. How would you feel if your photos were used for a political party with whom you had no affiliation? Or for a type of business that you didn't like because of their particular business ethics? Don't you think you deserve to know when your photos are being used by someone for profit, advertising or promotion? If so, watermark them... it's not hard and there are plenty of tutorials on Youtube!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

June Cross Stitch News

Two exciting bits of news this month!
Firstly Bothy Threads have licensed two Pepper and Friends designs for their counted cross stitch kits. Pepper the playful puppy was first licensed for paper-craft in 2010 and I'm thrilled to see the little cutey in stitch now!
I will be running a competition on my Facebook page next month to win a kit, so please remember to follow me HERE!

Secondly, the lovely team at World Of Cross Stitching turned one of my Riverbank Revels illustrations into a cross design. The mouse caravan is in issue number 205 and looks fabulous as a stitched design!

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Competition on facebook...

Pop over to my facebook page to win some Bazoo Cuddle Time quilt fabrics.
This is for a crib panel and 2 different co-ordinating fabrics ready for you to make your own crib cover or wall decoration! Competition closes on Friday 7th June, full terms and conditions are on the competition page.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

New Designs Licensed

Six new designs have been licensed by DWC for cross stitch hanging ornaments.

DWC is a manufacturer based in the USA and supply stores throughout the world. Fingers crossed we'll find these products here in the UK somewhere!

Friday, 10 May 2013

New Greetings Cards

Just received some lovely new samples from Otter House....

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Art Licensing Seminar June 6th 2013

I'm really pleased to share some news.. I've been invited by the Association of Illustrators to be one of the speakers on 6th June, talking about my experiences... as a freelance illustrator working in the 'art licensing' field. Tickets can be bought from the AOI website

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Do you place images on the internet?

Everyone should watermark all images they place on the internet.... professionals and non-pros :) If your images cannot be traced back to you, they can become an 'orphan work' which means no known owner. In the future, orphan works MAY be used by a company for an advert etc. (even low res images on the net can be used!!) It's possible it might be used for an advert (eg a political party / arms manufacturer etc) and you totally disagree with the morals of that campaign!
Also make sure you resize images so they are 72dpi (I tend to make the largest side 7 inches max) and save files with your name in the files name (eg Helz Cuppleditch Zoo 2013). This file data is stripped and replaced when you place an image on Facebook, so all the more reason to add a watermark.
To keep up to date with the news about the UK Government's Enterprise & Regulatory Reform Act, visit the Association of Illustrators campaigning page on a regular basis.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

New Design in Cross Stitch Crazy

Baby Zoo Crew (Noah's Ark) has been transferred into cross stitch for the June issue (number 177) of Cross Stitch Crazy magazine.....

Thursday, 21 March 2013

School Workshops

I'm looking forward to an afternoon at school tomorrow! I'm heading into a local primary school to teach the Year 2 children painting with watercolours. Here's the sketch I'll be working on....

And a couple of weeks ago I went into a secondary school to give a talk about careers in the arts.... did you know that the UK creative industries (including film, music, tv, games development) are worth more than £36 billion? They generate £70,000 every minute for the British economy, and the creative industries account for around £1 in every £10 of the UK's exports... We need to inspire our next generations!!

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Cardmaking and Papercraft Magazine

I've just picked up the March issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft magazine, and found they are offering new subscribers a free gift.... some of the Riverbank Revels papercraft goodies!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Win on facebook

I have another little competition on my facebook page to win this little original painting and some of the Otter House stationery products... click here to go straight over to my page, then click on the PINK WIN button for more details. The competition runs until Thursday 28th Feb, so just a few days left to enter!

Friday, 22 February 2013

The World of Cross Stitching (#201)

The latest issue (number 201) of The World of Cross Stitching contains a project using one of my little bunnies! Due out in shops really soon....

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Some lovely new samples..

I received a lovely box of samples from Otter House Ltd who have licensed several illustrations from me. These included greeting cards, packs of notelets and some lovely magnetic pads. Pop over to my facebook page on Monday 11th (click the picture over on the right!) to find out how to win some of them, plus a little original picture from me!

Friday, 1 February 2013

New Competition on Facebook...

Time for a new competition on my facebook page. Pop over to see how you can win some quilting fabrics... and don't forget this is a NEW FACEBOOK PAGE called Helz Cuppleditch Illustration!

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

A fresh new website

I've had a really busy day creating my new-look website... my eyes are now square from working on the computer all day!

If you want a look, pop over to:

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Etsy Store Now Open

To celebrate the opening of my Etsy store, I've running a little give-away draw on my facebook page! Hope over there to take part...

To visit my store, containing limited edition signed prints, original art and hand coloured limited edition prints here's the link:

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Facebook giveaway...

Hop over to my facebook page through this LINK for your chance to win this limited edition print of a hare (1 of only 10 prints).....

Good luck... this ends on Friday 25th January, 18:00 GMT.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Cross Stitch Crazy

Cross Stitch Crazy magazine have licensed one of my designs for a cross stitch pattern, in this month's issue (January)...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

One of my favourites....

Here a little design from the Riverbank Revels collection.... licensed by Trimcraft Ltd for papercraft products.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Complaints about Theatreline and In Time Tickets

It's not often I have reason to complain about anything. 

However, I booked a threatre break for my family in November through Threatre Line, based in Uxbridge, who also are registered as Intime Tickets.... a real treat as we wanted to go to London for New Year's Eve, see a show and then watch the firework display over the Thames.

Two days before the trip, the company phoned to cancel the booking, stating the show Wicked had been cancelled for New Year's Eve 2012, so the company had to cancel the booking and refund me the payment.

On 1st January, I emailed Theatre Line to check on the status of my refund.... no response.

Today I have emailed them twice, no reponse, and phoned them 8 times to ask for an email from them confirming the refund has been actioned or status of that.

Each phone call has had a different response:
'phone back after 11 as that's when accounts personal are in',
'there are no accounts personel in on a Saturday', 
'the refund was actioned on the day of cancellation'
'the refund was actioned on 1st January'
'my manager did the refund on 1st January'
(however, from the manager: 'I've been away and only just got back in the office')
'we can't confirm the refund as our email system is down today'
(I got a friend to email an enquiry to them, and guess what, they got a response!!)

Having spoken to my credit card company, there are no pending transactions from ThreatreLine or Intime Tickets.... so nothing had been actioned up to yesterday.

And having spoken to the hotel we were meant to be booked in to (booking made on 28th November with Theatre Line), and guess what.... no booking had ever been made in my name.

I will never use Theatre Line or Intime Tickets again, would never recommend them to anyone and certainly would suggest everyone gives them a very wide berth!