Monday, January 21, 2013

Why I don’t create tutorials for my original designs...

...and why you are doing yourself a disservice by asking me to.

I fairly regularly get asked by people on Etsy, usually hobbyists, but sometimes people with their own shops - if I would give or sell them a tutorial on how I make my original designs. Keep in mind that most tutorials I see on Etsy sell for about $7, so it’s not even like they’re wanting to pay me well for my design.  Anyway, most people would say, “it doesn’t hurt to ask, right?” I think it does.  Not only is it asking me to make my work less special by putting out on the internet step-by-step instructions for how to duplicate it exactly (and if you don’t duplicate it *exactly*, it will look like crap), but it’s doing yourself a disservice by copying somebody else’s design.

Not only are my original designs ones that I worked very hard to create, but most of them are actually pretty darn hard to physically weave.  If you’re good enough as a chainmailler to duplicate my work with a tutorial, then you are definitely good enough to come up with your own super awesome designs, that will have your fingerprint on it, that you will be very proud of.  That is why I say you are doing yourself a disservice by asking for a tutorial.  You are asking to not be special, to not be unique, to not be YOU.  Instead of copying original designs, spend your time learning different weaves and improving your skill and craftsmanship, then when a particular idea for a design hits you, run with it and work on it until it becomes the creation of your original thought.  Maybe my designs will inspire you to make something unique, that’s great!  But don’t copy.  I know people say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery - it’s not, not for me, anyway.  Buying my work and wearing it proudly, to support me and the work I’ve accomplished, flatters me to no end, and I greatly appreciate it.

And just because I feel like I should touch on this subject, if somebody were to break down my designs and figure out how to create it themselves, and either start to monetarily benefit from it, or publish tutorials for free of how to duplicate my work, I would not be very appreciative.  I promise you that you have better things to do with your life than that.  Don’t be a dick.

Don’t agree, or have a comment to make?  Feel free to join the discussion in the comments section below.


  1. I think it's a hard call, Deborah. *sigh* I'd love nothing better than to just make (and sell) my designs. I wish being an artist were that easy. I also know that hobbyists (ethical and unethical alike) would love nothing better than to make it themselves. Neither will be profitable in the long run as far as I can tell. I suck at just selling my pieces and I'll end up getting ripped off by copycats if I distribute my designs. This business is a double edged sword, but at least I can create new ideas when the old ones are worn out. *shrug*

    1. Yeah, I'm not saying that the 'no tutorials' policy is something every artist should adopt, it depends on you and where you want to go with your work and what you want to be known for. I was writing this whole thing up before you and I had our conversation about your tutorials, so this is in no way a response to your work! If tutorials is working for you, keep at it. :)