Anne Bracker is a Kansas-city based graphic designer and vector artist who is artfully balancing a full-time design gig and a successful stock career. We caught up with her to learn more about her background and why she decided to get into stock in the first place.
Fotolia: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
Anne Bracker: My name is Anne Bracker and I’m from Kansas City. I’ve been in the design industry for about 15 years, doing everything from prepress to production to agency work. Right now I’m a full-time graphic designer, and I also create vector artwork on nights and weekends to make extra money. I love being creative all the time, not just at work, so it’s a great outlet for me.
Fotolia: Did you always want to be a creative professional growing up?
AB: I always loved art and drawing as a kid, but I was a little worried about pursuing a career in just ‘art,’ because I’d always heard it was hard to make a living as an artist. Then I found out about graphic design, so I decided to major in that in college instead of painting or ceramics. I am so glad I chose graphic design, because the internet has really opened up tons of career options in the design field.
Fotolia: Why did you decide to get into stock?
AB: I started working at a small agency in Kansas City a few years ago, and they used a lot of stock photos and vectors in their work for clients. I was usually the person searching for these, and that’s what really got me thinking about becoming a contributor. Now I have over 1000 images in my portfolio. It’s been really great having my work online – and I’m able to reach a way bigger audience than what I’d be able to do on my own.
Fotolia: How do you balance your job at the office with creating content for the stock marketplace?
AB: It can sometimes be a little rough. I have a commitment to create at least one new image every day, and sometimes life can be crazy! But I get it done, even if it means ‘making up’ days I missed. Plus, with stock, I can create whatever I want wherever I want. I can put a movie on and sketch ideas, head to a coffee shop and work from there, or even meet up with other designers for a ‘freelance and stock images night’ where we bring our computers and work on projects while catching up. So at the end of the day, it doesn’t really feel like work at all!
Fotolia: What types of images tend to sell the best for you?
AB: I’d say the best-selling images have been ones that target a specific industry, like healthcare or business. I like to do icon sets, because pretty much every business has (or needs) a website, and that means the web designer will probably need icons. I generally just try to guess what my end user, the designer, will be looking for.
Fotolia: Do you have any images that you can share from your Stock portfolio?
AB: This is a graphic I made for the eclipse. It’s not even ‘correct’ for what a solar eclipse looks like, but it still resonated with people as an eclipse graphic, so it sold fairly well. Images for upcoming events or holidays can sell really well.
Sometimes I try to focus on a concept and make a few images around that concept. I also try to keep graphic designers in mind when I’m making these since they’re my target market. This graphic provides a designer with an already-made book template and download button that might save them 30 minutes or more. And the book and button can be separated easily – I try to make sure it’s easy for the designer to add or remove elements from my designs.
Fotolia: Do you have any advice for people trying to build up their stock portfolio?
AB: I would recommend having a weekly or daily creation goal and sticking to it. My goal is to create one a day, but of course you have to do what works for you. If that’s 3 per week, then great. But if you’re only able to create only one piece a week, you’re probably not going to see the kind of revenue results you want. Also, make sure your keywords are on point – that’s how people are able to find your images. It’s important to have relevant and specific keywords rather than trying to fill up all 50 slots.
Fotolia: What are some projects or skills you’re excited to develop in the new year?
AB: I would love to learn Premiere and After Effects inside and out. I think video is going to continue to become a more important part of a designer’s required skill set as time goes on, so I need to jump on that trend!
See more of Anne’s work on Fotolia.