I’ve been experimenting with various iron-ons to see how best to use favorite photographs and artwork featuring the Fantastic Four black cats and portraits of both cats and dogs on canvas bags.
I learned with the original cotton tote bags I featured last month were indeed pretty, but when put to the test by myself and others the lightweight cotton muslin just wasn’t strong enough; I usually load my bags, but I found myself being too careful about what I put in mine, which would result in not using it. My kitties’ images are on these—I want you to use them all the time and keep them forever!
While this size bag may be a little small at roughly 14″ x 14″ (though it’s fine for some) I will be offering both natural canvas and black canvas bags from now on. Eventually I will be offering other colors as they are appropriate with the artwork featured on them. I love colors.
The Black Tote Bags
While I may print on black bags with other artwork, I’ve been visualizing these photos on black bags practically since I snapped the photos. I discovered iron-ons with an opaque white background to be printed on dark fabrics and finally it all came together.
Jelly Bean admiring himself in the hand mirror, Mr. Sunshine occupying the sink, all five together at the basement door, these photos are the most favorite of the ones I’ve featured so far, but they are by no means the only ones.
And the Heart Cats image is a departure for me in fine art; I use PhotoShop to touch up and modify photos all the time in commercial art but I kind of feel like I’m competing with my own talents as an illustrator when I do. These modified images can be a difficult sell as well, but I knew these two would win over others as they did me in this image.
In addition to the photos of Mimi and her Fabulous Four will be a number of black and white images I’ve taken in the past. Many of these are images I’ve never published before. I think they’ll look striking on a black bag.
The Natural Canvas Totes
Just as I’d been visualizing the black cat photos on the black totes, I’ve also been visualizing my paintings on the natural canvas totes. For years I’ve been using several natural canvas bags with artwork printed on them, just picturing my own in its place, especially “After Dinner Nap” and “Peaches and Peonies”.
I learned with the first round of bags that I should use an iron-on with a white background as I did for the black bags. When an area of an image is white it actually prints as “clear” or “paper” because there is no white ink in your printer. That means that the color of the bag shows through the image in those areas, and the iron-on itself isn’t entirely opaque, so using the iron-on intended for black fabrics really helps bring out the image intensity.
I decided to add some embellishments to these canvas bags, beginning with dimensional fabric paint and adding borders around the artwork, writing in the title below the piece and my signature, and adding a pattern to the edge of the bag opening. In the future I plan to add buttons and decorative trim, but only after I’ve tried them out to make sure they are washable, don’t catch on your clothing, or easily fall off!
Really, part of designing products to sell is working out the materials and methods part of the idea, but the other part is audience response. I like these images, but I need to know what you think. I always start out with images people have responded to generally, then find a product with which they are appropriate. Sometimes, though, I end up using things myself, so I value your opinion.
Soon enough I’ll include flowers as well, then perhaps a few other images.