My first sales came out great. They were not easy, but my customers got good products.
Friday Morning I wake up to do the prints that have come in (1 more from the previous night). The test prints are good. Two weeks earlier I was printing like mad to get a children's book portfolio ready for some meetings in New York and it was a piece of cake, so why should there be any problem? The prints are coming out, but something is funny...do they look off? Am I just paranoid? Looking a little too closely? I don't feel good, and after a few more funny prints (and wasted watercolor paper) I pull out the barely used ink cartridge and switch in another one (painful, yes, but my top priority is to get these prints done). I clean and align and clean and align and now it looks even worse! I start worrying about my promise to send them out by this afternoon. I also start worrying that maybe my printer has for some reason died and that I may have to declare "Sorry folks! Wasn't ready like I thought!".
At this point I need help. My tech-savvy friend is busy until 6 pm. That will be too late. So I call the man I usually do whenever SkyNet decides to cause my technology to misbehave.
Our conversation goes something like this:
ME: "yeah yeah yeah no Dad, there's no paper jammed in it. I'm feeding each sheet in separately."
DAD: "well open it up, is there anything that's sticking out or looking weird?"
ME: "*heavy sigh* Dad, it ALL looks weird. I mean, this is the first time I've looked into this thing. I don't know what I'm looking at."
DAD: "okay okay. I'm just trying to help-"
DAD: "I know I know Ijustneedthisthingtowork!"
Bless his heart for dealing with me. As we're talking I decide this calls for desperate measures. I call a former instructor and friend, Jon, who lives a few blocks away. He has a sweet printer due to the fact that he's a mega illustrator and sci-fi artist. We're talking serious shit. I'm a little nervous, however, because I haven't seen him in the last six months even though I keep leaving messages about getting coffee, etc. You know...being neighborly. Be a good neighbor, Jon, and just meet me for damn coffee. I know you're sitting there eating peanut butter out of the jar again for breakfast.
I call and am amazed that after the first ring a low, scruffy "hello?" comes from the other end.
This is a sign from the the Etsy gods.
"Hi Jon! This is Lauren. I know I've been calling about us getting coffee and catching up, and I'm sorry to pop out of the woodwork like this after so long, but I have a little bit of a crisis right now." Jon invites me over even though he warns me he is low on ink, so there's a chance we may not finish. I'll take that chance. I get a notice about selling another print and it's not as exciting as before...this better get figured out. Luckily I'm optimistic.
Before I head over I decide to shower and take 10 minutes to chill. I quickly wash up and slap on some foundation before heading over. Jon is wearing an interesting ensemble of his fire skull cap and his adobe/Southwest inspired pull over. He's probably getting up into his mid 40's if I do the math, but he and his wife, Melissa, look more like 35 still. I'm use to being over here. Melissa has a fondness for skeletons and Jon has his figurines upstairs (my favorite is Ellen Ripley from Aliens in her yellow techno suit. What is it called again?). Their two dogs want a lot of attention and I give much love their way. Jon looks over my previous prints
"Hmm. maybe a plugged nozzle? I don't know." However, we're not here to solve the mystery of my printer, so I head upstairs so we can get the prints done. I give him the files on my thumb drive and we print.
It came out. It looks great, actually.
We print out a few more and I'm thankful and surprised how easy it is. No surprises or mess ups or "oh, we just ran out of ink." I put my prints sealed in their protective sleeves for the ride home. Before we leave I ask Jon a quick question.
"If I get this fixed do you think they (future prints) will be fine"
"Oh yeah. The quality is fine, something is just off."
The prints get mailed without any problems. I hope my customers like them.
That night my friend takes a look at the printer. He fiddles with some things and then I notice he's holding something good in his hands- a perfect print. Turns out he fiddled with some settings that were more appropriate for the watercolor paper I was using. It seems obvious now- during the printing for my children's book portfolio the paper was different, and the ink was settling more to the surface, so there were no problems. Now I know what to do. We print out a test of the newest order and I'm happy to see how wonderful it looks. crisis avoided.
I'm back in business!