No designer wants to touch the taboo topic of selling “stock art.” I have mixed feelings about “stock design”. I don’t create stuff to sell on these websites. I’m the kind of guy who might go there to get a creative idea (like from a scrap file). But I rarely buy this sort of stuff.
I can tell you my brother who is an illustrator and artist finds the idea disgusting and upsetting. If you wanted to start a riot about it, he’d probably jump right in. It cheapens the perception of the tender-loving care he puts into his work.
Photographers have had to deal with price erosion in their market because of cheap or free stock photography and the explosion of digital cameras. The same thing happened with printing (direct-to-plate digital output), and way back when the Mac became the sweetheart of graphic designers. All of these things changed how we do business. So has the Internet, I can buy handmade jewelry from South America on Etsy. Change is happening everywhere.
If you think it will help you survive, go for it. But doesn’t it give you kind of a sick feeling to think about it?
I do have to share a funny story: My brother felt he had too many paintings and was going to dispose of some to gain space in his studio. He was hauling a painting out to the trash can by the street and set it down leaning it against the can. A woman in a car stopped and said, “Is that painting for sale? I love it.”
He looked at the painting in disbelief and back at the lady and said, “Yeah, $250 dollars.” She paid him right there and both went off smiling. One person’s junk is an others treasure.