Sunday, February 3, 2013

Building An Auction Template, Part II

Where were we? Oh, adding a background to your doll auction template. First of all, if you've no interest in building a template whatsoever, just scroll down to the good stuff, past that gory little animation down there.

If you are interested in building a template, but missed the first post of this series, go back and read Part I.


Everyone caught up? Let's move on.

First of all, remember how I talked about things hosted on servers? Well, in order to have a big, glossy auction crafted with state-of-the-art HTML, you're gonna need a server to host your pictures and background images. Most of us artists already pay for website hosting, and host our pictures in a super secret folder tucked away among our website files. If you don't have a website yet, I personally recommend Ranchoweb for hosting your pictures. They're run by the nicest people (who happen to love dogs). However, you don't need a host in order to practice this stuff. In fact, I tend to build my auctions completely offline. Since I have country internet, it's less frustrating for me to do it that way. And even with fast internet, it's easier to try lots of different things in a short amount of time offline. For example, I've messed with the tint of a background tile fifty times before settling with a tint I like, which would've taken days if I was uploading the background pic to hosting every time.

So, I present to you your first background tile to mess with. I made it myself, so no worries about copyright infringements. You're free to use it for whatever. It's seamless, which means, when tiled, it looks like continuous clouds. Right click it, and save it into that folder you made last week, alongside your auction HTML file.


Now, let's go back and look at the code we had from last week, and add a little somethin' somethin' to it.

<div style="width:100%;border:5px outset pink;background-color:gray;background-image:url(palepinkclouds.jpg);">

<h1>Doll Title</h1>

<p>Someday, I shall be an magnificent doll auction template. What's so funny? Just wait. You'll see.</p>


Done? Save, and open your template file with your browser. Take a peek. See, as long as your picture or background image is in the same folder as your template file, you can refer to it by it's simple name. But if you upload the pic into hosting, you'll have to refer to it by it's full url. For example, a picture titled, 'rhea.jpg' might become, '' after I upload it. Now, the following may seem like a lot of work, but if all the pics are going into the same online folder, it isn't. Minutes before I list on ebay, I temporarily move my template file onto my desktop, so it can't link to the pics in it's folder anymore (that way, I'll know if I miss a picture's full url). I upload the pics to my hosting. Then I highlight and copy (Ctrl + c) their new internet destination (For example:, and paste it (Ctrl + v) in front of all the picture names in my template file. Visually check my auction to make sure I didn't miss a thing, and I'm good to go. Whole process takes me about two minutes.

Tired of that background yet? Go onto GR Sites. Lots of different backgrounds you can download there. Put ones you like in your folder (I recommend renaming them, so you're not having to write out any long numbers). Test them out. Notice how some of them are quite exciting, but too busy for any text to go on. Next time, we'll cover creating a subdued binding div for your text, which will allow you to use lively background images.

All right my friends. You've worked hard.

How about a break?

I give you the lousy doll auction template.

These can be found in virtually all OOAK doll and repaint categories. In fact, most of you artists out there are making at least one of these faux pas on your auctions. Hell, I've made some of these. Anyhow, I know you're making them because, last night, I spent two hours sifting through hundreds of Ebay doll auctions. Common themes began to emerge. Before long, I began to wonder ... how might a new buyer, not acquainted with these artists, perceive their auctions?

Sounds awfully angry, doesn't it? I know we've all encountered bad Ebayers before. But just because we have, doesn't mean we need to take it out on everybody. In annoying red, centered font, no less. Umkay? Once I had a real awkward email conversation with someone, who wrote, "Look at this woman's auction! Ain't she an angry bitch, tooting her own horn." To which I scratched the back of my neck, and replied, "Um, actually, I know her, and she's the nicest person ever. She just needs to ... well, um...."

Another thing. It's not a bad idea to have a picture of yourself. A blurb about yourself. The purpose being, to make you more relatable. You know, likeable. Which is why it's essential you don't look like you're gonna murder the photographer. I found at least five different artists last night with their 'murder' faces on.

And then, don't get me started on the over-centering of things.

I'm sure some of you accidentally opened the <center> tag somewhere, and don't know how to close it with </center>.

If you have something extremely important to say, why don't you say it in a div, using regular font? That way your important message will be set apart from the rest of your description without annoying your potential buyers.

But I suspect most of you are guilty of this on purpose, and should have the <center> and </center> tags revoked forever. Your auction would be a lot better with nothing centered, than everything centered. Trust me.

Left-align was designed for a damn good reason. It's so the eye doesn't have to hunt and peck for the next line. When everything is aligned left, the eye knows exactly where to find the next line. Imagine if entire novels were centered. You wouldn't read past page one, would you?

And worse, imagine if novels were not only centered, but in large, heavy red font. Tell me you wouldn't ever read again! Hell, I bet just reading this brief passage gave you a headache.

Last but not least, there's a little something just about everybody puts at the bottom of their auctions, which can get their auctions pulled. Until recently, I did this too. It's a line that goes something like, 'Payment expected within three days, or doll will be relisted.' You can't do this, people! Ebay's rules dictate the buyer has seven days to pay for their item. That's final.

What you can do is perhaps make a prominent div that says something like:

Prompt payment is always nice!

That way, you'll get your doll quickly. But also, this is what I do for a living. This sale may cover my water bill, groceries, car payment, the kitty's next bag of food, or a Sunday movie with my kids. Thank you for understanding.

Many hugs, the artist.

There. Wouldn't you feel like a skunk for NOT paying this artist in, like, sixty seconds? I don't think even the Nigerians would have the heart to prey on such an artist!

Update: Since the time of this post, Ebay has changed the rules. The buyer can now be expected to pay within two days.

Sara unleashed

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