How-tos, tutorials and the business end

Oct 12, 2008

    1. Hobbyists tend to be more open about process and willing to share tips than people who are making money as part of a business doing the same thing. Obviously this isn't true for everyone, but in general how do people who do face-ups for a living feel about other people posting face-up tutorials that might, potentially, allow other people to not only join your business but to at least not be a customer anymore? That's just an example. Same thing goes for jewelry-makers, ect ect.

      I'm interested to see what people think, as I am debating posting a tutorial on making something that I figured out from looking at what someone was selling, so I would potentially be undermining their sales if I showed other people how to do it.
       
    2. Well I think it's good to post tutorials if you want to. I find that even if I see some tutorials,and know I could make that particular thing myself, it might be about something that I don't fancy making myself or don't have the time to make anyway, so will still buy that product from someone else. Also just because you follow someone elses tutorial doesn't necessarily mean you are also going to want/have the time to make them to sell either, you might just want to have a go at making one for your own doll. So personally I think it's a nice way to help people out, but I feel what goes around comes around, and one good turn and all that...
      I think it's a different matter though if someone makes a really unique item and someone buys that item, and then knows how it's made and starts selling them themselves.( I think this happened with faux fur wigs a while back),as the original seller felt her idea was stolen.
      So maybe the safe ground is to see if the item you know about is really unique, and if it is, ask that particular person if they wouldn't mind? But if it's a general sort of item, then lots of people sell them anyway so not such a problem anyway.
      Personally I think that if you've figured it out without anyone telling you, then it may or may not be how that person makes it and so you haven't actually stolen anything, you've done it on your own merit.
       
    3. You can't draw any direct lines from tutorial to lost business, since often some people will never send their heads for faceups, no matter what their own skill level is at. Conversely, some people always send out heads for other people to do, either because they can't themselves even after trying, OR they like someone else's style better. (And there is a small amount of name-junky-ism in the hobby, like there is in any hobby, but I doubt if it's statistically siginificant. Mostly it's an effort/ability/style-choice thing.)

      You want stealing, you have to do craft shows. I've had people actually stand under my tent and either give a verbal tutorial to a friend of theirs, or make notes and diagrams on the spot! One *#(#( even asked to borrow paper and a pen!

      Even figuring out how something's done, like Mich said, it might not be a direct lift, but figured out according to how YOU'D do it, so might be quite different from the actual process. And once people try it, there'll be further modifications. AND again, local skill level will come into it, and having adequate supplies/time/desire. Some people will choose the "hard way" and many will still prefer to just order and get receipt-gratification !
       

    4. I do face-ups for a living, quite literally. The money I make puts food on the table. Haha. Even so, I feel no threat with tutorials. Sometimes I even learn a thing or two, so it's a good thing.

      Even if these tutorials are posted, not all customers will be lost. Some people can't get the knack for it even with tutorials. Or they may prefer another persons face-up style; since face-ups are very artistic/creative, styles are easily a determining factor when people do purchase face-ups.

      I do sew a little too, which also feeds me. But all sewing tutorials never bug me, because again I learn something I can take away [I never copy any of these tutorials but I will see little things like.. "oohh so thats how you sew the crotch" all my patterns are hand drafted and all my own.]. I don't feel threatened by these things ever because clothing also has patterns or styles that people become infatuated with. I do the same.

       
    5. I don't do faceups for money--I'm not good enough to feel comfortable charging others. Which brings me to my point--tutorials can really help a person get started, but they aren't automatically going to turn someone into a professional faceup artist. It takes a lot of work and practice to be able to create something good enough to be sold, and for some people, it may come easier to than others. Plus, each artist has their own unique style.
       
    6. I don't think tutorials will undermine sales of the same thing too much. There's always going to be people who don't want to make those things, even though they're able, so they'll keep buying. I've always loved how the community in general is so open about how to do things yourself, since that's part of the fun of this hobby. Of course it leads to more competition with faceups, sewing, etc... but I don't think the customers have a problem with more options. :3 In my opinion, anyone who gets annoyed at the loss of business is being a bit selfish. Though I would understand it if the person made a living off their customizations... but I don't think many people do.
       
    7. you always have to remember the time factor- it take sme hours and hours to make a dread wig for someone- even if they can do it themselves- do they want to spend all that time and effort? People stay in business making and modding becasue of skill and becasue of the time factor.

      Also- I can do fairly decent face ups ( I don't offer it though) but I sent one of mine off becasue I couldn't bond and he needed a new look- I was to attached to ' having ' to make him work- doing it myself became a project I didn't want- so I gave him to someone else, it was a great way to hand the problem over- and I was happy with the result.

      I work making human dreads and falls too- and Mod a forum for it- we encourage tutorials- they don't have an effect on people's business- sometimes they are just an interesting read!
       
    8. Personally, I LOVE tutorials. I happen to be a 'do it yourself' kind of girl, and if I can't find a tutorial to help me figure out how to do something that I want to do myself, then I go by trial and error until I get the result I want. So far, the only doll related thing that I've no interest in trying to make myself are wigs. I mean, I'll do fur/faux fur wigs myself, but the longer hair/synthetic hair wigs I've no interest in trying myself. I still look at tutorials for them, however, as I may have to either commission a wig, or make it myself, for one of my future girls.

      I'm also trying to sell commissions of beaded jewelry that are more complex than most sold here. So far, no luck. I think I need better samples, a better economy to be selling IN, and more refinement to my shop in general to make things easier to understand, as well as a tweeking in prices. So far, I've only seen two of the beading styles/stitches that I use done by other people here on DoA, but I'm seriously thinking about finding the time to make tutorials on all of the more 'complex' styles/stitches that I do so that people who look at what I make, and think my prices are too high, but really like the style, and want it for their own dolls, can try to make it themselves. Mostly because people seem to think that these more complex things are still 'easy' and 'fast' to make, when I know that unless you know HOW to make them, they are definitely NOT. I've been doing them for...13...nearly 14 years...and started learning when I Was 12, taught by an aunt and uncle who did it for a living and re-taught Native American tribes how to use these styles that their ancestors used and were lost when so many things became discouraged on reservations, so only a relative few still held that knowledge. Those people spread it, and one such taught my aunt and uncle, who in turn taught my father, sisters and I, so I feel like sharing that knowledge is a good thing. I know that eventually, there will still be people who will look at my work, my tutorials, and still decide that it's not worth their time to make a piece themselves when they can hire someone else to do it for them.

      So even to that end, knowing that it will likely lose me potential customers (not that I have any right now anyway, lol) I'll still make tutorials for others to use. In the end, no matter what it is that you make, no matter how original it is, someone will eventually see it, figure out how to make it themselves (though how they do it might not be the same as you, and could be a lower or higher quality than your own work) and will either sell (if the market has demand for the item and few people making them) or will show others how to do it themselves. Because of that, I'd rather share what I know myself, so at least I know others work will have the potential to have the same quality that my own work does, if not higher. I'd also that people who would rather simply KNOW how to do it if they want to have that chance.
       
    9. It is interesting that you brought this up; my conscience has been battling this lately.

      I recently posted several sewing tutorials in the sewing subforum under the title "Anyone Can Sew." When I initially posted the first tutorial (pants), I did not expect the response I recieved. Therefore, I did not consider that I may be hurting someone's business. So when someone innocently made a comment in the tutorial thread as to how "ragdoll is going to put all the pant sellers out of business," I couldn't help but feel horrible.
      I understand that the poster meant nothing by the comment, and I understand it to be a joke. However, the fact remains that I felt like I should have at least asked someone's permission before posting my tutorials. Since that comment was made, I have recieved more snide remarks from several different people pertaining to the same subject matter.

      Since then, I have since come to the realisation that the material that I posted was something self-taught that I established on my own. If I chose to spend the hours making the tutorial, that is my choice. Therefore, I should not feel guilty (nor made to feel guilty) about sharing the information. The fact remains that the techniques that I described in the tutorials are not perfect and will not result in a professional pair of pants (nor shirt, vest, jacket, etc). This hobby is about customization and creativity. Some people will never make their doll's clothing/wigs/accessories and choose to buy everything. Other people will opt to make everything for their doll. It's just the game of this hobby.

      In my insignificant opinion, those who belittle others for posting tutorials are not only being unbelievable rude but also selfish. I firmly believe that everyone has the right to enjoy their doll to the fullest extent possible. If I can help them enjoy their doll and this hobby a little more by posting silly tutorials, I have no problem with it.
       
    10. Honestly, I don't think that those who do face-ups themselves are lessening anything from any other seller of the trade. There are plenty of customers that will not desire to spend the time, effort, and products to make it happen. No matter their skill level.

      As for myself, I use the living daylights out of tutorials found on the internet. Including, but not limited to, face-ups, Photoshop, and basic art skills and guidance. I have never gone to art school, or school for art of any kind. I have learned everything I know about art myself. Why? It is my passion. And despite the lack of money for a good art school and the inability to go to community classes because of work confliction, and parents that are highly unsupportive of it as a career, I still find ways to better myself with it.

      I know for a fact that most people who are looking into face-ups will not spend the $400+ it takes to start them, and would obviously see it as a bad investment. They would probably be right for the most half. If they are not planning to sell it they are not a good investment. I for one don't care regardless of that fact. I want to be good at art. I want to learn it more and more for myself. It's an addiction to a passion. Tutorials are the greatest thing in the world to me, and I would be very sad if for some reason or another they started to be lessened, though still it wouldn’t stop me from teaching myself.
       
    11. I really enjoy posting easy sewing tutorials, but I don't think I'm harming anyone as the clothes are very simple, very easy and are just really to help owners avoid nude dolls or dolls dressed in sock dresses. It's not really the same market. In the end, a face up you do as a novice from reading a tutorial will not be quite the same quality as one you pay for from a talented artist.

      Personally, I think this hobby has more people who think they can make quick money selling face-ups/outfits/accessories etc than people to buy them! And so much of it is low quality, something you could do yourself. If someone is selling something which people could easily do themselves, I wouldn't feel sorry for them if they lost business when people do do it themselves.

      Which is why, much as I'd love to sell my outfits and face ups, I accept that it's a job for people with real skill who can make them to a high quality.
       
    12. I love tutorials, they're immensely helpful to me, so of course I'm all for them. I don't think it has that much effect on business, because the people buying the goods/ services usually don't have the time, skill, inclination, or all of the above to do it themselves. I'm pretty diy, so even with no tutorial there's no way I'd pay for a face-up or something I could make myself; I'd just figure out some way to do it, even if it wasn't quite as nice. Shoemaking, though, I just don't get, so there could be 100 tutorials on how to do it and I'd still be buying shoes.
       
    13. I take faceup commissions, but I have made several YouTube tutorials. I'll make another one soon for super-n00bs. I like looking at pretty dolls and if people have some idea what they're doing they'll do a better job. I wish there had been good faceup tutorials available when I first got into the hobby a couple years ago - I'd probably be a much better faceup artist now if I hadn't had to learn everything on my own.

      I'm not going to share my "secrets" though - the tutorials I've done are pretty basic. I think that all faceup artists should develop their own toolbox of tricks to make their work unique.... so I don't really feel obligated to share mine.

      I'm not really threatened by tutorials being available - even with a thorough tutorial, pretty much anyone is going to need a lot of practice before they are ready to take commissions. I also don't take enough commissions to worry about a "market share."

      However, I do object to people making tutorials or patterns of OTHER PEOPLE'S work. I saw a faceup demonstration by another artist last weekend; I would not make a tutorial of HER method because her techniques are hers to share. It's about respect. I feel the same about sewing patterns - like if I took apart a Dollheart Fer and made the pattern available. That wouldn't be right because it's not my design to share. Along the same lines, I think it's really crappy when people buy a fur wig, take it apart, then sell wigs made from that pattern.
       
    14. I adore your tutorials and I don't see anything wrong with you sharing techniques you learnt by yourself. It would be one thing if you were ripping off someone else's hard work, but you're not...who can say they were the only one who invented trousers and jackets for BJD?!

      I love online tutorials and I'm quite happy to show friends how I accomplished something. My grandmothers taught me how to knit and I taught my friends. What's the point of keeping skills to yourself when you know other people could benefit!
       
    15. Its good to hear these opinions and experiences. It sounds like I can make the tutorial and not feel guilty, since its entirely my technique, even if its not my original idea. My design is simpler also.

      I agree that tutorials don't necessarily make pros, but I knowwhat my face-ups looked like before I read the tutorials of the time, and how much they improved after. I do still use other artists though, simply because its boring to me if all my dolls were in the same style.
       
    16. I love tutorials and I love reading, watching and trying them out. I do spend the big dollars on commissioning people with a skill level beyond mine. That includes face ups and clothing. I've tried my hand at face ups and I'm not terrible, but there are a lot of artists that do beautiful work. No matter how many art classes I take I'll never be Michelangelo, and no matter how many Youtube tutorials I watch I'll never paint face ups that will make me swoon.

      I love beautiful face ups and clothing, and I'm willing to pay a lot of money to get the results I want. Same thing goes for clothing.

      I think tutorials and advice is what makes this a community of hobbyists rather than just collectors.
       
    17. I think the concept is preposterous - what makes the quality of a professional-level job is not the steps you go through, in which order, but other factors that simply can't be contained in a simple 'how-to', just as you are not gonna get the Sistine Chapel out of a paint-by-number, dig?

      If an individual using a tutorial happened to create a professional-quality faceup, first go-round? It is my guess they would have probably got similar results very shortly without the tutorial. I think investing in quality tools and materials, as well as taking time to practice is far more important that following somebody else's 'recipe'.

      I'm not a pro, but I can't imagine doing a tutorial of how I face-up - so many decisions are made 'on the fly' and by gut instinct. When you work this way, there is rarely such a thing as a mistake - just opportunities. My techniques work for me - I don't imagine they would fit another person very well - for example, being left-handed, I am pretty well ambidextrous (from using righty scissors and knives all my life), so I tend to use both hands in a way many people find unnerving and awkward.

      If anything, posting tutorials and encouraging amateurs to give it whirl only increases the appreciation, respect, and understanding newcomers to the hobby will have of the face-up process.
       
    18. I think there's a difference between LEARNING and STEALING. I find that though I may use a tutorial to learn how to do something, that process evolves to fit my needs or style. I may appreciate the style of a certain faceup, but I would never intentionally copy that style and try to sell it as my own. I do believe that it is pretty obvious, especially in sewing clothes, when something is a "knock-off". One can instantly recognize that it is a copy of something, and is usually not done with the same finesse or style of the original. I really believe you can't duplicate that essense the original artist poured into that creation. Real innovation comes when you use your own brain, even with all the tools that have been laid out by someone else.

      I always appreciate a good, well written "how to" mostly because as an artist and designer, I like seeing through that "window" into another's artistic mind.
       
    19. Well, just because you know how to do doesn't mean it will look good in the end.

      There are enough people which know about that Tutorials, but there Face-Ups just doesn't turn out well.
      So they have to send their heads away or live with the not good looking, maybe ugly face-up o_o
       
    20. if its a very unique technique then out of respect for the original creator I wouldn't personally make a tutorial even if I could figure it out

      however having said that most tutorials are very general (ragdolls tutorials are a great example) I don't think its going to really damage anyones buisness if someone shares their basic techniques

      at the end of the day if you try and be secretive then people who like to do things themselves will either a) find out from someone or something else or b) experiment until they get it right

      where as if you provide the tutorial then the less crafty people will probably try it, realise its not always as easy as it looks and may well end up ordering from you to save the hassle