Interview with Nice Monkey – Microstock Producer and Freelancer from England
I’d like to introduce Michael Travers from Nice Monkey. Along with producing fantastic microstock content, Nicemonkey.co.uk is an independent place to get advice on the stock photography and illustration workd, with a regular blog covering software review, latest technology, news about the industry and the lastest goings on of Nicemonkey.co.uk.
Tell me a bit about yourself.
I have worked in the print/design area since leaving school, doing such things as camera operator, past-up, final film planning and finally studio manager. To keep myself out of trouble I fill my spare time with endurance mountain biking, I feel it gives me the opportunity to get out of the house and clear my head and if I am lucky pick up a bit of inspiration for my illustrations.
Tell me a bit about Nicemonkey.
Nicemonkey was born out of frustration. I had spent years working for someone else and thinking I could do better myself so, rather than moaning, I decided I should bite the bullet and do something about it. Five years ago I set up Nice Monkey Ltd, and luckily so far so good. The name came from my daughter, “monkey” being her nickname and she suggested adding the “nice” bit.
I see you submit content to a number of stock sites. What do you like about the way we as an industry sell content for illustrators and what would you change if you could wave a magic wand?
The reason I sell on quite a few sites is for a very simple reason…money! The more people that can see my art, the more chance I have of selling it. I know some people can be very precious about their creations but I try and take a business approach and reach the widest audience possible. As for the magic wand I would definitely aim it at the upload process, as there is nothing more frustrating than having to prepare your eps files in 5 different ways to upload to 5 different sites. Also, as an illustrator, I feel that quite a few of the microstock sites are still geared towards selling photographs and vectors are a bit of an after thought.
What are your 3 best selling illustrations? Why do you think they sell so well?
Now that would be telling! It depends but as far as pixmac goes my business silhouettes and background images sell rather well, as for why? I wish I knew so I could recreate the magic formula!
What was the first illustration that you did that you sold?
It was a rather basic background design that I would be ashamed to upload today and probably wouldn’t get past the much stricter review process now.
Where do you see illustration and vector art heading in the market?
It’s a much harder market place to compete in now than it was 4 or 5 years ago with the quantity and quality rising all the time. I see the need to try and create a niche and specialise in different areas. This is obviously harder said than done, trying to find the concepts that haven’t been covered but to have enough sales to make it worth while is a mine field.
What kit do you use?
I have an imac and I am still using Adobe Illustrator 3. I have stuck with this for the simple reason that many sites still only accept version 8eps files and it seems a waste upgrading. I have also dabbled with a bit of 3D using Cheetah 3D and Apple motion 2.
What are your 3 favourite films of all time?
The first film that springs to mind is “The Italian job” (obviously the original with Michael Caine), as this film started my love for the Mini. I have had 3 of these in the past but sadly I am without one at the moment. The other two would have to be “Crash” (2004) with Sandra Bullock and Don Cheadle and The Original “Star Wars” films just bring back memories of my childhood.
You’re British – what is your favourite drink and where is your local?
As I am into my sport I do tend to steer clear of alcohol especially as it doesn’t seem to like me, so I will be the boring bloke in the corner sipping diet coke.
Simon note: that’s ok – you can drive me home mate.
Make sure you check out Nice Monkey’s work here.