Archive for category openthread
Rules change all the time, like whether newborns should sleep on their sides or stomachs. The same seems to be true of artists using watermarks. Everyone has an opinion and ultimately every artist does what they feel is right for their art on the web. I thought it would be interesting to see where our readers stand on the topic and to explore some updated ideas on the issues. Once upon a time, watermarks were for protecting your art from theft. But not anymore. Take the poll and then I’ll explain.
What follows is my personal opinion. It should not be taken as fact. We all ultimately do what we feel comfortable with when it comes to sharing our art across the web.
We’ve all heard the two sides to this argument:
1. Watermarks protect your art from theft.
2. Watermarks are ugly and put off buyers.
One of these statements is myth. Can you guess which one?
Watermarks DO NOT protect your art from theft. However, they don’t necessarily put off buyers and they don’t have to be ugly. So what is the purpose of a watermark in the 21st century?
It’s like the telephone game, where you stand in a line and pass a message on to the person next you. By the time the message reaches the end of the line it’s usually a far cry from the original. Imagine a similar situation with an artwork that’s been repinned thirty times on Pinterest. Maybe you were the original source of the pin and you put in the description your copyright info. But the next ten people who repinned your artwork changed the description to, Beautiful! or Stunning! Then it’s repinned from those people another ten times. By the time the 50th person see it they may have no idea where the image came from or knowledge of its creator. But. If you’ve put a small watermark with your info, like my painting shown to the left, wherever you art ends up a viewer will know you as the creator.
I’ve placed the copyright info on my painting The Moon off to the side, that way it doesn’t detract from the artwork but still gives me clear credit and a name for viewers to Google.
Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments if you use a watermark on your art or if you don’t! We want to hear your thoughts.
A few years ago, EBSQ Artist, Art Blogger, and regular Mashable contributor Natasha Wescoat put together a list of apps that turn the iPhone into a tool for creativity. You can read her original article on Mashable.
3 years is an eternity on the interwebs. Technology and tastes have both evolved since then. And there are a veritable plethora of new creativity-boosting apps to choose from.
The one that would top my personal list is Instagram. Sure, the filters are nice (and unlike my previous favourite, Toy Camera, I can actually pre-view and choose my filter pre-processing). But the thing I like best (and this is probably silly) is that it makes me think in squares. Folks that are familiar with my artwork know that the bulk of my paintings from the past 10 years have been square. With Instagram, I can automatically compose in square format. The fact that I can also easily push my photos to Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook is another bonus.
What’s on your list?
The time is here. Are you ready for summer vacation? I’m not referring to vacations to the beach or canoe trips in the mountains. I’m talking about those three months every summer when US school children are home 24/7. For an artist, or anyone who runs a creative business from their home, this can be a challenging time. But it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. If your business is a large percentage of your income then you might consider summer camps and babysitters. However, if you’re like me and your business is only a supplement it’s time to think about priorities. Children come first. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a fun summer with your kids and run your business. I’m going to share how I do it and would love to hear about other strategies from artists who work from home.
1. Change your Schedule: My summer schedule changes drastically when my daughter is home, but it’s the same schedule I’ve kept for the last five years. It may be summer, but I get up early, have my coffee and work till about lunchtime. After lunch I do something with my child. The rest of the afternoon is her time.
2. Activities with Friends: Make arrangements with your child’s friends so that 1-2 times a week you do have an entire day to yourself! There’s nothing wrong with this and your child will love being able to see their friends.
3. Art Activities: I’ve always made a point of buying my daughter art supplies of her own, but what a child loves even more is when you buy them the same sketchbook you use. It makes them feel like an artist! I take my daughter on sketching days. I pack up our sketchbooks and go to the local botanical gardens. Not only am I spending time with my child (outside of the house) but I’m also creating art. This is a perfect time for sketching out ideas for future projects or just letting my inner artist doodle for a bit.
- Sometimes we take cameras too and go on Nature walks. I always find great inspiration for my art on walks.
- Call your local community arts center, sometimes they have mini classes for parent and child–like Try Clay classes.
- Are you a jewelry artist? Make jewelry together!
- Visit an art museum.
4. Take a Day Off: Just do it! Your creative muse will thank you. Creating non-stop is a good way to burn out. We need other experiences in our lives from which to draw creativity. It’s never been easier to take time off but still be in touch with your business. If you sell on Esty, there’s an Etsy app that will keep you in touch with your customers while you’re away.
Children grow up so fast. Don’t let the most important years pass you buy!
Are you an artist and a mother, or father, who works from home? Share how you adjust each year to the kids being home for the summer.
An editorial note: none of these pieces were created to address today’s #StopSOPA protests. Nor did EBSQ have any obvious gallery pieces that addressed censorship in general (that wasn’t of the girly-bits variety, which would have diluted the message too much)
EBSQ did NOT “black out” today out of respect for our paying customers who depend upon our services. But I think as artists, this is a conversation we should probably be having. I personally (and professionally) oppose SOPA/PIPA. From what I’ve read and researched it goes too far in limiting our freedoms and doesn’t effectively address the issue of piracy, which many of our members have unfortunately experienced firsthand. So I bring it to you: Where does copyright protection end and censorship begin?
I’m still in holiday mode and will be till my daughter returns to school in January. But the blogging (and creating) must go on! One of the things I look forward to most is the post-holiday shopping for art supplies. I always get a few gift cards to my local arts and crafts store. Here’s a snapshot of this year’s post-holiday art supplies. The magazine was actually a gift from my Christmas stocking but the rest I bought. Strathmore Windpower Series is my favorite watercolor paper. I’ve tried a few other brands and always go back to Windpower. The brush is a watercolor mop made by Cotman. This brush has been on my “buy list” for months but they aren’t cheap. Thankfully, I had a 50% off coupon begging to be used. The last little nugget is a tube of Winsor & Newton Artists’ Watercolor – Indigo. Good watercolor isn’t cheap either, so I often buy one tube at a time when I have limited funds.
Now it’s your turn. I want to know what art supplies you received or bought this holiday/post-holiday season. Is there something you like to stock up on during the sales? What was your favorite artsy gift this year?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock with Patrick Star, you probably know about the new changes that have been rolling out the past few weeks at everybody’s favourite online ecosystem, Facebook. Prior to today, most of the changes have been meeting with grumbles, but today’s complete overhaul of how one’s newsfeed functions was met with a serious roar, myself included. There has been talk of moving to G+, an irony given that competition with Google is the impetus behind these changes. But is packing up the kids and moving to G+ that easy? And should you move versus sticking it out or even actively lobby to get FB to change things back?
Like it or not, Facebook has permeated our culture. On the EBSQ forums, the joke is often, “Where’s the like button?” in response to an awesome post. We’ve built patron voting around FB’s systems. We’ve even considered further integrating with using FB as an alternate way to register/log in, and even as a basis for a comment system, since this is becoming a very common practice and lowers the barriers of participation for artists and patrons visiting EBSQ. Having a Facebook page is becoming as required/expected for businesses this decade as a web page/blog became for businesses at the end of the last decade. And that’s just the reliance on its technology. Facebook is where everybody is. Everybody. (Well, except for my dad, but that’s probably a good thing, lol. ) As a business owner and a very social being, I’m locked into the ecosystem.
What about you? Are the latest changes a deal breaker for you and/or your art business?
There’s been much debate on the EBSQ Member Forums of late about the quality (or lack thereof) of many recent show entries. And the quality issue has next to nothing to do with the art itself.
Let me explain:
1.) Does the piece meet the prospectus?
You’d be surprised how many members enter shows willy nilly. (Or maybe you wouldn’t be if you’re a regular EBSQ exhibit visitor.) Sometimes it’s a rookie mistake. Sometimes, people enter their work in the wrong show accidentally. Maybe they misread something in the prospectus, or latch onto the title of the show without bothering to read what it’s actually about. But other times, people enter something just because they can. The number one thing you need to ask yourself is:
Does your work logically belong in Show X?
If you’ve entered a piece of a happy cat in winter and the theme of the show is self-portraits, then no. Really, no. Just don’t do it. Unsure? Read the prospectus. Still unsure? Ask. Please.
Ok. So you’ve successfully mastered the number one rule of successful show entries. If you only do one step, this is the most important take away. But if you want to take yourself from appropriate to awesome, read on…
2) Did you include a statement that explains why you feel THIS particular piece belongs in THIS particular show?
Maybe you think your entry’s appropriateness is obvious. But we don’t live in your brain. Give us a little something about your piece as it pertains to the prospectus. This is all the more important if your piece is abstract or if your piece makes an unusual interpretation of the show guidelines. Pieces with relevant text are greatly preferred by members weighing in on this issue in the EBSQ Forums. I cannot overemphasize how important it is to include a quality artist statement. And the inclusion of text also makes your work easier to find both on our site and in search engines, so not including a piece-specific statement can actually be detrimental to your success on EBSQ. It’s food for thought!
3) This goes hand-in-hand with #2–Is your statement just a sales pitch?
We understand you want to sell your work. We agree that regular show participation is one of THE best ways to get your work seen on EBSQ, improving your chances of selling your work. But we’ve found that statements that are JUST a sales pitch are a big turn off. We recommend including a piece-specific statement, even if it’s short, before going into your pitch. This keeps regular show voters happy, and we’ve found this actually improves your odds of your work selling to that special someone who fell in love with your work in one of our shows. (Psst! This is also good advice for ALL of the work in your portfolio)
4) Is you piece presented in a professional manner?
Here’s where the more objective quality attributes come into play. Is your piece properly cropped? Is there glare? Is it in focus? It doesn’t matter if it’s the most brilliant portrait of Caesar ever painted and epitomizes everything about the prospectus, plus has a pitch-perfect artist statement included. If it’s not a quality jpeg, you’ve just shot yourself in the foot.
5) Is your piece any good?
Well…the show voters will certainly weigh in, but in the end, only you can answer that one!
So–did we miss anything? What do YOU think makes an exhibit entry stand out from the crowd in a good (rather than a cringe-worthy) way?
The following is a guest post by EBSQ Artist & Jewelry designerJulianne Carson
Why should you buy hand-created jewelry online instead of shopping at a department store or national chain jewelery stores where you are able to touch, examine, and try on the jewelry? I think you will pleasantly surprised at the unique jewelry designs and consistent high quality you’ll find, not to mention better pricing.
Handcrafted vs. Mass-Produced
The majority of jewelry you’ll find at your local department stores have been mass-produced, whereas the jewelry you’ll find from an online jewelry designer is more often than not, handcrafted. While some people don’t appreciate the quality and value of a unique handmade piece of jewelry, others appreciate the time and artwork that goes into the piece. There are many reasons to buy handcrafted jewelry versus mass-produced jewelry. The main reason being that when a jewelry product is mass-produced, the biggest concern for the manufacturer is their bottom line. How much money will each piece cost them and how low can they get their costs? This could mean the compromise of quality materials and assembly, which means you need to ask yourself if the metal is sterling silver or nickel, or, are the pearls on this necklace real? However, when a designer is constructing their jewelry designs by hand, they have complete control over each piece, its quality and materials, and each piece is approved by the designer because it was crafted by their own hands. When I create jewelry, I only use quality materials and inspect every element thoroughly before shipping the finished pieces to my clients.
Does buying more expensive handcrafted jewelry online mean greater savings?
When you buy from an online jewelry designer you are paying for the jewelry and for a very small percentage of their overhead costs. An online jewelry designer such as myself doesn’t have nearly as much overhead as your local department store.
Keep in mind that jewelry designers such as myself have to pay for their website store front, advertising fees and materials to make their jewelry. Most of my friends who are jewelry designers as well, work from their home, so they are using their home utilities and they don’t have to pay for studio space. When you look at working from your own home vs. store front space, the difference in rent is huge.
Local department stores that sell jewelry have to pay rent for their location, which is usually their most expensive overhead cost, plus salaries for their employers, advertising costs, licensing fees, utilities, wholesale merchandise, and the list goes on. In addition to these overhead costs, the merchandise itself is shipped and passed through many hands before it reaches the retailer. The manufacturer has sold their merchandise to a wholesaler, who then sells the merchandise to the retailer, who then displays the merchandise to sell to you, the customer. In many cases, the prices are more than doubled at each stage, starting from the manufacturer.
As for your savings, it just makes sense to support local jewelry artists and people who offer hand-made goods. When you buy your jewelry from an online jewelry designer, you know that you are getting a customized, high quality piece of jewelry. You will find that materials and assembly aren’t compromised, and the amount of money you are paying for your jewelry is much closer to the actual cost of making the jewelry. Yes, your online jewelry designer is making a profit because it is their business. However, they aren’t selling their jewelry to anyone before it reaches you. You might be paying more for handcrafted jewelry, but you are paying for quality work direct from the creator instead of price inflation, your local department store’s rent, and subsidizing advertising costs on an ad you probably never even saw. Additionally, when you buy direct from the creator, you are guaranteed a truly unique piece of jewelry that will serve as a keepsake for years to come.
When you buy from a small online jewelry business you are going to receive the personal attention you deserve as a customer. Your contact is usually directly from the designer when you place an order. I love that when you deal with a small business you aren’t treated like a number in a huge array of orders. Unlike a large business or department store, a small online business offers great customer service, which will result in a higher customer satisfaction. When you are buying unique handmade jewelry that will serve as a one-of-a-kind accessory for your jewelry collection, you want the personal attention that a small business can give you. In addition, you will probably find out about the designer’s background, or exactly how each piece of jewelry was made, which adds character and greater personal value to your purchase. Custom orders are a common service through online jewelry retailers.
There isn’t a better place to buy unique handmade jewelry than directly from the jewelry designer. You will find the quality and value you are looking for in addition to a truly unique piece of jewelry for your collection.
When we take a look at the recession, I think that a lot of us have had to watch spending and do more with less, myself included. I have to watch how I spend that hard-earned money and I understand the importance of “good” deals.
I could run to a department store and get a couple of things versus purchasing one handmade or local item. When I think about it, are the department store goodies as special and unique as that local handmade treasure? For me, the answer is an absolute NO. I want that one special item. I also want to know that I am making a difference to the person I am buying the item from.
I totally support buying local, handmade items because I want to make a change, not just for myself, but for my fellow artisans who are devoting their time to making beautiful works of art to support their families. I have heard every reason why many people still go for the quick, cheap, and mass-produced stuff that is most commonly manufactured in other countries. As we saw in some children’s jewelry produced in China last year with compromised materials, it can even be lethal! On a personal note, mass-produced work is simply not the right choice for me or my family.
My hope is that I can get a message out to my friends, and they in turn pass the message on that supporting local artisans selling handmade items can slowly, but definitely make a world of difference in our economy. It could also help change spending habits.
Would it really make a difference? YES! Please support original artists and artisans selling handmade this holiday season.
EBSQ Artist Julianne Carson of Hippie Chic Jewelz has been creating handmade jewelry from her studio in Texas since 1995.
When artists join EBSQ (or other online artist communities), it’s usually because they’re interested in marketing their work. For many, our site is their first foray into presenting their art online. They eagerly add their work to their new portfolios and wait for something to happen. But success as a self-representing artist requires the artist to be much more active, and dare I say, aggressive in their approach than “post and pray.”
I’d personally like to share a few best practices for our site to help you get the both out of your membership. And even if you’re not a member, you may find some of the below is still applicable:
- Introduce yourself. EBSQ is more than a place to park your art; we have a very active community that’s great for networking and sharing experiences, discussing media, materials, and techniques, and in general sharing the daily grind of life as a self-representing artist with all of its unique challenges. If you’re registered for this site, you’re already registered for our forums, and with a the exception of a few goodies that are for paid-members only, the bulk of our forum content is free and open to the public.
- Enter an exhibit. Our monthly exhibits give members a great opportunity to challenge themselves as well as get their work in front of a whole new set of eyeballs. I remember rather famously a few years ago, a member wrote to me, wanting to remove her show entry because she didn’t want her patrons to see that she didn’t win. But entering shows is actually one of THE best ways to be seen on our site. Take a risk and put yourself out there!
- Talk about your art. So many artists on our site list a title, maybe a date or media, and that’s it. And then wonder why they aren’t being noticed for Art of the Day or getting a lot of hits to their portfolios. Simply put, you need to feed Google. Talk about your pieces with the same passion with which you created them. Give the search engines something relavent to find so that patron of a lifetime can actually find you.
- Link link link. Have you used your EBSQ marketing tools? Add a link to your website or your blog! If you offer commissions, give people a way to contact you by making your public email address available. Yes, spam can happen this way, too. One option is to use a separate email address, whether it be another alias at your personal domain, or a free account like hotmail, yahoo, or gmail. Just make sure you actually watch this accounts for legitimate contacts! (We have a section in our forums to report suspicious contacts, yet another reason to stop in to say hello!) Also, you have the option to add a marketing blurb that personalizes the title of your page in the search engines. If you’re the world’s greatest tromphe l’oeil pickle artist, say so!
We’d love to know what’s missing on this list: how do YOU get the most from EBSQ?
In a nod to one of my long-time blog buddies whose birthday is today, we’re officially declaring May “EBSQ Delurking Month.” We’d love to know more about who you are, why you’re here, and how we can better serve you as an artists’ organization. Now, we know a lot of you from the forums (and have even met many of your personally over the years!) but we’d really like to hear from folks we’ve never heard from before.
- What prompted you to join EBSQ?
- Are you using your membership the way you envisioned before becoming a member?
- What three things do you like most about EBSQ? The least?
- Any new features you’d love to see?
- In general, how can we do a better job at fulfilling our mission to support living artists?
Whether you stop by the forums, post a comment on our blog, give us a tweet, or drop us an email is entirely up to you. But we do want you to know that we don’t bite, that actual people work here, and we’ll actually write back!