I am a member of several "print on demand" sites and I sometimes like to participate in the forums on some of these sites. I always empathize a bit with the new artists just starting out trying to market their own work. I was in the same boat almost three years ago, when I first started doing this myself.
The biggest surprise at first is that you think that since your art is now online, sales should be rolling in, but they are not. In fact, it can be months and months before you get that very first print or greeting card sale. It's very easy to get discouraged and give up. So I am writing this post to shed a little light on this subject, by sharing what I have learned and help newcomers get a head start.
First of all, always select your best work to display. Some of these sites have 50,000 artists and these artists sometimes have hundreds or even thousands of images. There is a lot of competition, so try to find your niche and post your best work. Also, take the time to title your pieces of art. Many artists go with "Untitled" or even an image number, but I think your work can be found in searches much easier if there is a title, or at least a description. Plus, it tells the viewer that you care enough about your art to give it a title.
If possible, invest in a good digital camera so you can get high quality images for display online. I use a 10 megapixel camera and I find it does a very good job and allows for larger prints of my original art. Make sure the image is in focus and cropped so the edges are clean and straight. If you are going to offer your work as prints and greeting cards, just remember that what shows up in your image is what will print. Some print on demand sites will reject your images if parts of the background, wall or frame are showing up.
Next, I highly recommend your own website. I have used Fine Art Studio Online for about a year and it works great for me. It's the only service I actually pay for. If you are not ready to sign up for a paid website, then at least start a blog, such as Blogger or Wordpress. Sites like Fine Art Studio Online include an email newsletter, which is an excellent tool and I highly recommend one to keep in contact with people who have an interest in your work.
Once you have set up a main hub for your art, then you can start the search for other avenues for selling your work. If you only want to sell your original art, there are sites like Etsy, Absolute Arts, Saatchi, and EBSQ. If you want to offer your work as fine art prints and greeting cards, you can try sites like Imagekind, Redbubble, Artist Rising, Fine Art America, Cafepress and Zazzle. There are numerous sites out there and I haven't tried all of them, but these are just a few to get started with. However, some artists prefer to just use one site for all of their prints, so as not to confuse their buyers. It really is a personal choice, however. Once you set up accounts on some of these other sites, be sure to add those links to your main website or blog.
One very important thing to remember about all of these sites is that they can only do so much to help you market your art. It really is up to you, the artist to promote yourself. So make sure when you post your images, to always write a description, add keywords, medium, subject matter and whatever options they give you for categorizing your work and making it easier for someone to find.
Since you are online anyway, you might as well join in with all the social networking that is going on, like Facebook and Twitter. I really like Facebook because you can create your own artist fan page, where you can add photos of your art and all kinds of links and news related to your art.
It's very easy to get lost in the online world, so don't forget your real world contacts. I try to promote my art offline by purchasing business cards and postcards, which include my website address. I hand these out to friends, co-workers and anyone who expresses an interest in my work. I also mail a free postcard to new subscribers to my email newsletter. Sometimes, I even give out prints or greeting cards to my friends and family as gifts.
Get involved in some local arts and crafts fairs and hand out your cards there, as well. I know of some artists who purchase their own prints, mat and frame them and then display them in public places, such as coffee shops, restaurants, banks, etc. That reminds me, I should be taking some of my own advice!
I hope this was helpful to someone. This might just be old news for many, but like I said, it took nearly three years for me to get this far in understanding the whole idea of being a self-representing artist. So maybe this post will save someone a little bit of time. Good luck!
The aroma of chiles roasting reminds me that summer is coming to an end and autumn will soon be here. It's my favorite time of year here, with perfect weather and that one magical week in October - the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta!
From October 3 - 11, 2009, the skies will be filled with colorful balloons from all over the world. In the past, there have been as many as 750 balloons participating. There will be mass ascensions, balloon glows, special shapes balloons, competitions, fireworks, arts and crafts, and, of course, lots of great food!
It's always fun to have an out of town guest during this week to share this with. This year I am really excited that my best friend from high school will be out to visit for the first time. So I have lots of ideas, including a ride on the Rail Runner to Santa Fe.
Several years ago, I had an idea for a painting, combining a cactus and hot air balloons. I painted it on a 30"h x 40"w canvas and placed in on consignment in a local frame shop. As I have written many times before, the painting, entitled "Cactus Fiesta" was stolen, along with some other pieces of my art. Luckily, I had some good slides of the painting and so I am at least able to have prints and other items made from this image.
So, to gear up for the balloon fiesta, here are a few of those items from my Zazzle shop. I have posters, greeting cards, postcards, postage stamps and t-shirts, all with this design.
Hope to see you at the balloon fiesta! I'm planning to be out there on the first Saturday morning, handing out some free postcards, enjoying the balloons, taking photos and eating a famous New Mexico style breakfast burrito!
First of all, I love my easel! It is a "Chimayo" Best Easel that I bought several years ago. It is simple, strong, sturdy and works great in a small studio space.
Several months ago, I ordered my first Signature Canvas and now I'm hooked! I prefer the 1.5" gallery-wrapped spline-fastened canvas. I like to continue my painting along the edges, so it can be displayed with or without a frame. These canvases have such a nice professional feel to them. Signature also offers discounts on their overstocked canvases under their tab, Canvas City. Thank you to Fine Art Studio Online for the 10% discount we now receive on these canvases!
My painting medium of choice is Liquitex Heavy Body Professional Acrylics. I have experimented with many different color palettes through the years and have decided that I have to have Cadmium Yellow Light, Cadmium Yellow Medium, Yellow Oxide, Cadmium Red Light, Cadmium Red Medium, Quinacridone Crimson, Pthalo Blue (green shade), Ultramarine Blue (red shade), Dioxinine Purple, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber and Titanium White.
I have all kinds of paint brushes, but one of my favorites is the Silver Brush Grand Prix series. I've also tried a few of the Isabey brushes and really like those, as well.
I finish off a painting with a coat of Liquitex Gloss Medium and Varnish. I also use this as my painting medium. It brings out all the colors and gives a nice finished look to each piece.
I buy all my supplies at these locations - Artisans, with stores in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, Art Supply Warehouse, for large orders, because they have great prices and a $6.95 flat rate shipping charge, and Michaels, because they are right across the street from me and usually give me a new coupon with each purchase.
Several months ago, I was so inspired by all the wonderful daily painters out there, that I decided to try something similar. Knowing that I would be unable to complete a painting a day, I decided to paint a series of 48 paintings, one a week, for the next year. The theme would be "Seasons" and my plan was to create twelve small paintings per season.
After spending about two weeks on the first painting, I realized I might not be able to keep up with my goal, so I cut the number of paintings to 24. I have now reached a point where I have to discontinue this series altogether, due to time constraints and other commitments. Perhaps, sometime in the future I can revisit the idea. I guess now was just not the time.
Of the five paintings completed, four were sold. Thank you to those who purchased. I apologize to anyone who may have been considering a future purchase. The remaining painting, "The Scent of an Iris" is still available for purchase here on my website.
The Museum of New Mexico Foundation operates four museums in Santa Fe, New Mexico - the Palace of the Governors, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Museum of International Folk Art.
I am very excited to have some of my art now available on their website for New Mexico artists, New Mexico Creates. The site also includes Native American art, Hispanic crafts, jewelry, art glass and textiles. Here is an article about this site in The Santa Fe New Mexican.
Currently, I have one original painting and fifteen open edition signed giclee prints available for sale on the site. I will be adding more work in the future.