What will you create in 2015?

Paintbrush by C.E.S.
Paintbrush by C.E.S.

A new year is nearly upon us and like me, I’m sure some of you have been thinking about your creative plans for 2015. I began thinking of my goals for next year a month ago: art shows to enter, direction for my art, conventions, kickstarter plans, continuing education, etc. Let us know in the comments one goal or plan you have for your creative career in 2015. I’ll start us off!

In 2015, I’m going to publish a collection of my sketches, a sketchbook. Here’s a look at the cover (in progress):

Sketchbook Cover by Amanda Makepeace

What do you have planned?

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Battle For The Net

Battle for the Net

If you woke up tomorrow, and your internet looked like this, what would you do? Imagine all your favorite websites taking forever to load, while you get annoying notifications from your ISP suggesting you switch to one of their approved “Fast Lane” sites.Think about what we would lose: all the weird, alternative, interesting, and enlightening stuff that makes the Internet so much cooler than mainstream Cable TV. What if the only news sites you could reliably connect to were the ones that had deals with companies like Comcast and Verizon?On September 10th, just a few days before the FCC’s comment deadline, public interest organizations are issuing an open, international call for websites and internet users to unite for an “Internet Slowdown” to show the world what the web would be like if Team Cable gets their way and trashes net neutrality. Net neutrality is hard to explain, so our hope is that this action will help SHOW the world what’s really at stake if we lose the open Internet.If you’ve got a website, blog or tumblr, get the code to join the #InternetSlowdown here: https://battleforthenet.com/sept10thEveryone else, here’s a quick list of things you can do to help spread the word about the slowdown: http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/96020972118/be-a-part-of-the-great-internet-slowdown Get creative! Don’t let us tell you what to do. See you on the net September 10th!

via Battle For The Net.

Open Thread: Do you watermark?

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?

Credit.

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.

Open Thread: Best Creative Apps?

Expel by EBSQ Artist Vicky Helms Kostka
Expel by EBSQ Artist Vicky Helms Kostka

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?

Summer Vacation and the Working Artist

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.

Art Seen: The Day the Internet Blacked Out

Sad Girl by EBSQ Artist Aylan N Couchie
Sad Girl by EBSQ Artist Aylan N Couchie
Loneliness by EBSQ Artist S. Key
Loneliness by EBSQ Artist S. Key
Crossing Your Path by EBSQ Artist Carol DeMumbrum
Crossing Your Path by EBSQ Artist Carol DeMumbrum
Village Cemetery by EBSQ Artist Naquaiya
Village Cemetery by EBSQ Artist Naquaiya

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?

Post-holiday Art Supplies

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?