Hey all you Webcomic Alliance kids out there…
Whenever your Uncle Chris goes to conventions, he is invariably asked “where did you get your banners?” or “Who printed your postcards?” so I thought it might be helpful to all you young, aspiring convention goers if I made a handy-dandy list of all the things I use, where I get them and how much they cost.
Now, a lot of this information could be gathered by spending a few hours on Google, but there are so many places out on the big world-wide web where one can get postcards or business cards printed, order pull-up banners or stock up on art supplies, I thought it might be helpful if you read where and why I get all of my stuff. Who knows… it might help cut down some research time for you.
But before we begin, you should know that all of the following is just your Uncle Chris’ personal preferences. You might already have a place where you prefer to get your postcards printed up – and that’s perfectly okay. You might have a local mom and pop printers shop that gives you terrific deals on various services, and that’s perfectly okay as well. I’m just letting you know what places I have found and what works for me.
Great! So, let’s get started…
First up, Domain Name…
I have two Domain Names:
- CSF Graphics (www.csfgraphics.com)
- Capesnbabes (www.capesnbabes.com)
CSF Graphics is my woefully out-of-date portfolio site that I am slowly trying to find the time to modify to a WordPress portfolio theme. Capesnbabes is, of course, my comic strip site. I have both of my domain names registered with GoDaddy. I’m not sure what I originally paid for both of my domain names since I bought them a LONG time ago but currently, the prices for a .com Domain Name at GoDaddy is $14.99 a year for a renewal or for new registrations, it is $12.99 for a .com extension.
GoDaddy offers cheaper Domain Name registrations depending on the extension that you want, such as .co, .info, .org, .net and so on.
Also, if you’re interested in getting into the… let’s say shadier parts of the web business side of things, you can also get a .xxx extension for the low, low price of just $99 a year.
Now, this resource list isn’t here to argue the pros and cons of anything. I know some people have problems with GoDaddy – whether it’s the commercials they play during that REALLY BIG football game at the end of every season, anti-Danica Patrick fans or some of the other policies they have instituted over the years – and again, that’s perfectly okay. I just have mine there because that’s where I originally bought them and I’ve been too lazy to transfer them over to my current web host.
Which leads me to… you guessed it…
My current web host
I have both of my domains hosted at iPage. The regular price for hosting a domain at iPage is $8.95 a month but as of this writing (6/10/2014), they are currently offering a special introductory offer of $1.89 a month. They also offer discounts for more long term commitments as well – for example, I pay less than the current $8.95 a month due to the fact that I paid three years in advance, which dropped my monthly fee down significantly.
I also like iPage because their customer service has always been fantastic and they offer a wide variety of free items such as:
- Unlimited disk space, bandwidth and e-mail addresses
- Free domain registration (that’s why I have to get un-lazy and transfer my domains to iPage)
- Free Site-Building tools (if you need them)
- Free Online Store (although their free store is very limited and there are better options on the web)
- They support WordPress (it has always been incredibly easy to make any and all WordPress updates since going with iPage)
- Free stat tracker
There are a lot more features they offer so I encourage you to check out their website and see if they might be right for you. Now on to some more stuff…
My marketing resources
All of this entails any and all printed material such as postcards, banners, posters, stickers and anything else I can think of that I had professionally printed. Since I absolutely love my postcards, I’ll talk about my favorite online print shop first.
Yup, just like the milk ad, only it’s all about print. I first found out about GotPrint by listening to the podcast, Big Illustration Party Time where the hosts mentioned they used GotPrint. So, I decided to give them a try by ordering a batch of postcards from them and I haven’t tried anyone else since. Since I always order 4×6″ postcards for my convention promotional material, here is a price breakdown of just 4×6″ postcards alone:
4×6″ postcard, 14pt Gloss Cover with UV, color on front and back
500 postcards = $43
1,000 postcards = $50
2,500 postcards = $92
5,000 postcards = $138 (although they are having a special for $125 right now)
I usually order between 1,000 and 2,500 postcards. I have never ordered 500 or 5,000 cards but wanted to include those numbers. You can, of course order more (up to 100,000) or less (as little as 100) and none of these prices include shipping and handling.
They are extremely fast (especially on re-orders) and their quality is absolutely superb as I have also ordered standard business cards from them as well.
Are you looking to do a short, print-on-demand run of 11×17″ professionally printed posters and you don’t want to kill all the ink in your tabloid size printer? Well, maybe you should give Print Keg a shot. I have had ordered short runs of 11×17″ posters with Print Keg before. They are inexpensive and produce quality work.
For my personal experiences, I once had 2 11×17″ posters printed with Print keg and got 25 posters of each design. They cost me about $2.50 a piece at the time. I liked Print Keg because, as a POD print service, you can oder as little as 1 print or up to 3,000. They also recently added t-shirt printing to their list of services – but I have never ordered anything from them except the 11×17″ posters based on my own illustrations so I can’t attest to anything else except for that.
Since I custom make my own sketch cards, I like to put a custom sticker design on the back of every card where I can sign them. For those sketch card stickers, I had them printed at U-Printing because they were the closest to a POD service that I could find.
I had 250 2×3.5″ stickers for $40 (plus shipping and handing). From U-Printing, you can oder as few as 25 stickers or as many as 100,000. I first ordered my 250 sketch card stickers in 2012 and I’m finally at the point where I need to put in a re-order.
I know there are sticker pages that you can get at various supply stores but I always found those troublesome to line up when you need everything to be precise. For me, it’s simply less of a headache to have these stickers professionally printed and know that they will fit beautifully on the back of each of my custom made sketch cards.
For my new Capes & Babes plastic employee badges, I did a LOT of research to find a place that could print plastic badges that I could write on with a Sharpie, had had a lanyard hole punch AND was a POD service because I didn’t want to invest a whole lot of money into something that might not sell.
All of my research led me to www.ticketprinting.com. I ended up getting 50 3.375×2.125″ plastic VIP Event Badges for $60.50 or $1.21 each (without lanyards). I buy the lanyards at a local office supply store.
People who know me know that I love design markers – specifically Prismacolor markers, mainly because Copic markers are simply out of my price range. Oh, I could buy a few Copics here or there but because I use so many colors, I could never afford the number of Copics that I would need so I stay with Prismacolor markers.
There are lots of places to get Prismacolor markers online but the places I usually shop at are:
I have no idea if Carpe Diem Markers and Carpe Diem Store are related to one another. One seems to specialize only in various markers while the other offers a wide variety of art supplies catering to architecture and drafting.
Dick Blick Art Supplies
The MSRP for most Prismacolor markers are in the $5.00 range – usually between $4 – 5 is standard.
Currently, on Dick Blick’s web site, a single Prismacolor marker retails for $2.89 a piece or, if you get 12, the price is reduced to $2.37 a marker. This is for the chisel tip markers. The new brush tip markers run $3.79 a piece without any discount no matter how many you buy.
In comparison, Dick Blick’s own brand of markers will run you $2.19 a piece or $1.97 if you buy 12. Dick’s Blick;’s brand of markers are very nice. I have frequently bough sets of cool and warm grey Dick Blick markers and was always very happy with them. the only complaint I have is that they tend to dry out a little faster than Prismacolor markers. But then again, from what I have been told, Prismacolor markers tend to dry out faster than Copics as well.
For shipping and handling, Dick’s offers the following:
15% off orders $89 or 20% off order $119.
Free shipping on $89 or more.
Carpi Diem Markers
ALL Prismacolor brush markers are $1.99 – no matter how many or how few you buy.
ALL Prismacolor chisel tip markers are $2.45 – no matter how many or how few you buy.
I have no idea why the brush tip is more expensive at Dick Blick’s but cheaper at Carpi Diem Markers as well as why the chisel tip is slightly more expensive at Carpi Diem Markers but cheaper at Dick’s.
Here is where your biggest savings is though:
At Carpi Diem Markers, they offer free shipping for all purchases over $35.00!
Oh, and if you’re wondering… at Carpi Diem Markers, a Copic Original Marker’s MSRP is $7.99 but on their website, it sells for $4.85.
Carpi Diem Store
At the Carpi Diem Store, they offer a wide variety of different art supplies but for this purpose, we’re only talking about Prismacolor markers.
Currently, for the brush and chisel tip markers, they are the same price: $2.45 a marker no matter what the quantity is.
They offer free shipping for any orders over $50.
A really awesome website to check out if you’re into pens as much as I am is Jet pens. You can find them here:
There are literally tons of pens on this site… from brush pens to writing pens. I don’t know what kinds of pens you are into but I love trying out various brush pens so I will frequently order various ones that I find on this site. They aren;t expensive and worth spending a few dollars to try out.
Anime and Manga Pens/Art Supplies
The pen I used to do all of my hand lettering with was found on the following site:
They are your “one stop anime shope”. From their business card, they specialize in anime, manga, cosplay, COPIC, figures, plushies, keychains, T-shirts, wall scrolls, patches, messenger bags, import Japanese video games & more.
I just paid attention to their line of Copic line markers because that’s what I used to hand letter Capes & Babes with. Now, thanks to Frank Page’s suggestions, I just use a much cheaper Pentel medium felt tip pen.
But you might find some interesting things you like on this web site so that’s why I am including it in my Resource List.
A whole lot of other stuff…
Now obviously, there’s probably a whole lot more stuff I could talk about such as where I get my printer toner, paper supplies, bristol board, inking pens and things like that but I figured I’d limit this particular article to some of the most common things people need to purchase when it comes to promoting their web site or producing traditional art work.
For example, I have a Brother all-in-one printer. Some people have Epsons, HPs, Canon or some other kind of printer. I could tell you where I purchase my Brother compatible inks but unless you have the same printer as I do (a MFC-6490CW by the way), the information wouldn’t be of much use to you. But if you use markers to color your work, you can use all of the information above to find a better, cheaper place to possibly buy your markers from now on.
But I would like to hear from you…
Where do you like to get your printed materials from? Possibly Moo.com? Maybe someplace else? Why? Do you like their quality? Their customer service?
Where do you get your art supplies? Your pens? Your paper? Your markers?
Please share them in the comments section below. I’d like to hear what everyone has to say.
And thanks again for reading!
Chris Flick just figured out how to put his photo and bio information at the end of these Webcomic Alliance articles. When he’s not wracking his brain on how to do that, he’s busy being a full time web and graphic designer working in the Washington DC area. When he’s not doing that, he’s working on his Capes & Babes webcomic which he created back in 2007. When he’s not doing ANY of those things, he’s usually at a convention on the east coast of the United States.
Chris has over 900 Capes & Babes strips. You can read them all by going to his website, Capes & Babes. You can also visit his woefully outdated portfolio web site at CSF Graphics. And if you’re interested in seeing some of the wild Minion Mash-ups Chris has become known for, you should visit his Pinterest Minion Mash-Up Board. You can also find Chris on Facebook and Twitter by doing a search for “Capesnbabes”.