What is EVAN's Flourish Programme?
The Eden Valley Artistic Network's Flourish Programme is a learning and development resource just for members. Explore the sections below to find a wealth of knowledge, resources and tutorials, specially curated for local creatives and artists. This page is only for members of EVAN - please do not share the link or the password with anyone who is not a member. Resources are also posted on our members' facebook page.
Got something you'd like to see on the Flourish page or have something you'd like to learn? Contact Jess to have a chat: firstname.lastname@example.org
Opportunities and Workshops:
- Northern Art Collective is looking for visual artists from the North of the UK to feature on their social media. Might be a nice bit of free promotion - contact them via their instagram.
- Drawing with Coloured Pencils - Every Tuesday, 5-6:30pm (DONATIONS?
- Speak the Word - Poetry Writing Workshops - 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, 6-7:30pm (FREE)
- Sunday Write In - Every two weeks on Sundays, 10am-4pm (FREE)
- Art Café: Art and Architecture Conversations - Third Wednesday of the month, 8pm (FREE)
- Intermediate Watercolour: Guided Art Class - Thursdays, 6pm (FREE)
- All In Gesture: Drawing for Animation - Saturdays, 3pm ($10 per session)
- Camversation (for photographers) - Wednesday Evenings (£3.75 per session)
- Creative Writing Breakfast Club with Laurie Bolgar - Sunday Mornings, 10am (£12 per session)
- Writing Melodies You Want to Sing - Wednesday 24th August, 6pm (FREE)
- VAA Art Café: Art Sales on Instagram - Thursday 25th August, 2pm (FREE)
- Practical Art History Class: Lubaina Himid - Sunday 4th September, 11am (PAY WHAT YOU CAN)
- German Postwar Art: on Identity, Belonging and Peace - Thursday 8th September, 6:30pm (FREE)
- The Art of John Piper - Friday 9th September, 2pm (FREE)
- Music AS Health with SarahRose Black (Music Therapist) - Wednesday 14th September, 8:30pm (FREE)
- The Art of Flower Photography - Wednesday 14th September, 7pm (£3.75)
- Writing Social Media Posts - Wednesday 21st September, 10:45am (FREE)
- Secret Art Sale - 24th-28th September online (all pieces £45 - some by internationally known artists)
- Ingrid Pollard: Land Art and Landscape - Tuesday 27th September, 6:30pm (FREE)
- Using Photoshop - Wednesday 2nd November, 7pm (£3.75)
Evolve your craft - Tutorials, Organisations and more:
Are you a member of the Cumbria Arts and Culture Network on facebook? We highly recommend joining if not! They run online meetings every Friday morning to discuss all things Cumbria and creativity.
The a-n network is also a useful one to be part of, especially for visual artists. There are lots of opportunities and jobs posted here exclusively for members, as well as research studies, blogs and other interesting nuggets of information.
House Theatre website (linked to Farnham Maltings) has a massive wealth of interesting articles and guides for those of you who are less focused on visual art on how to make things happen- though some of it is applicable to all. I was thrilled when i found it.
For artists of all disciplines The Creative Independent website and mailing list is wonderful: inspiring, interesting content, essays, interviews and zines - all for free. I highly recommend bookmarking it or joining their list. Artists and Illustrators Magazine's How To Guides are also brilliant and are relevant to artists across many disciplines.
Looking for funding? Here's a great summary of funds and prizes available for artists. And here are some fantastic free templates for Arts Council England applications (both DYCP and Project Grants) from The Uncultured (ACE's own templates aren't very accessible - but these are, and are arguably better!)
Want some podcast recommendations? Look no further!
The Best Art Podcasts 2021
The Best Podcasts for Poetry Lovers
Theatre Podcasts You Need To Listen To
Best Podcasts for Musicians
20 Recommended Art Podcasts
Got some time on your hands? Here's 22 illuminating and timeless documentaries about artists and their work that you can watch online.
Subscribe to the Art Newspaper Newsletter for regular updates on visual art news.
- Redeye is a highly recommended photographers network. You can find out more HERE.
- Photography Life is a great YouTube Channel for both beginners and advanced photographers - it is teeming full of techniques and tips to fill any gaps in knowledge you may have.
- Nigel Danson is mainly a Landscape photographer and has taken a lot of shots of the Lake District (his parents live here!). You can find tonnes of tips, tricks and advice on his Youtube Channel. Well worth a dig through, whether you are a beginner or an improver.
- Want to try something a bit different? Why not make your own filters for your photographs to add unique effects? Here's an article explaining how, using the 'old fashioned way' (rather than editing on screen post photo).
- Digital Photography School have a blog full of helpful tips, tutorials and analysis around the art of photography. It features topics such as Perspective in Photography, A Step-By-Step guide to long exposure and The Essential Guide to Positive Space in Photography. Well worth a dig through!
- Foto Buzz is an online photographers membership organisation run by Andrew James and John Adams. Although it is paid for, you can get a month long free trial to take a look at the resources and opportunities before joining - plus, they have a free mailing list!
- Although the British Academy of Photography are mainly known for the courses that they run, they also have a brilliant blog full of interviews and useful free tutorials. Check it out!
- Click Community and My Click Magazine (scroll down for free articles!) are both full of bitesize photography how-to's, tips and interviews. It may take a little digging to find articles which aren't focused on photographing people, but there are some particularly good ones when you find them. I enjoyed this article about using intentional camera movement in your creative photography.
- A Small Voice: Conversations With Photographers is a podcast, featuring in-depth, long-form interviews with a diverse range of talented, innovative, world-class photographers from established, award-winning and internationally exhibited stars to young and emerging talents, discussing their lives, work and process. They also have a mailing list and photographers membership scheme.
- SLR Lounge have a wealth of photography tip videos on their YouTube channel, going deep into the practice of photography. You can also access their '10 Ways To Level Up Your Photography' free masterclass by joining their mailing list here.
- Here's 10 must-watch YouTube channels for emerging photographers - so much brilliant stuff!
- Ffoton is a photography podcast that features in depth conversations with UK photographers about their craft. Worth a look!
- The Messy Truth: Conversations on Photography is a podcast that features candid conversations about the future of visual culture and what it means to be a photographer today. It comes highly recommended!
- Photography Concentrate has a brilliant newsletter - if you’re looking for photography freebies, resources, and tutorials, this one has you covered. You’ll get photography books, presets, Photoshop actions, printable posters, and more. Well worth subscribing!
Painting and Drawing:
- Got a technique with drawing or watercolours that you are struggling to master? Kirsty Partridge Art has a huge amount of tutorials on her YouTube channel - take a look to see if there is one that will help you.
- Andrew Tischler has a whole collection of advanced drawing and painting tutorials on his YouTube channel - mainly suitable for improvers and professionals he covers a vast range of techniques. Check it out!
- Lyn Evans ran a workshop for the Flourish programme exploring watercolour and pen. Missed it? You can catch up here.
- Looking to learn how to draw something new? The Creative Bloq website has drawing tutorials for all sorts of things - animals, flowers, faces, landscapes etc. I hear they're pretty good!
- Here's a great Pen and Ink tutorial focusing on drawing trees from Lizzie Harper.
- This YouTube channel from In The Studio with Michele Webber is teeming full of watercolour tutorials and tips
- Jackson's Art are known for their shop and products - but they also have a brilliant blog full of information about painting, paints and equipment - updated around every three days so there's always something new to read. You can check it out here. I particularly enjoyed reading this article about the Scorched Earth project.
- Ask An Artist podcast is a podcast by artists for artists. It explores absolutely everything about being an artist - from making to selling and everything in between. There's often interviews with gallerists, paint manufacturers and fellow artists too. Well worth a listen.
- Master Oil Painting has a brilliant blog discussing oil painting - techniques, equipment work-arounds, tips and how-tos. This article about how to make a magnetic palette knife holder was particularly interesting.
- Will Kemp Art School has a fantastic YouTube channel focused on painting with acrylics - mainly for advanced painters but with some beginners tutorials too. I particularly liked the look of this tutorial for painting a still life featuring terracotta pots and plants.
- The Drawing Inspiration Podcast features conversations with artists on specially chosen topics, such as creating with mushroom ink, turning passion for art into a tool for change and creating fantasy landscapes. They post new episodes regularly and have a mailing list too!
- Proko is a brilliant YouTube channel for visual arts. This playlist full of painting tutorials, is probably the best one on the Proko channel - loads of ways to develop your technical skills as a more advanced painter.
- Talking With Painters is an Australian podcast where the host interviews artists about how they became an artist, their painting techniques, influences and current work. It has a massive back catalogue too!
- Art Monthly have a fantastic newsletter about all things visual art, including an opportunities section, featuring the best current job vacancies, exhibition opportunities, residencies, competitions etc - as well as artist profiles, interviews and all sorts of joyful inspiration. Subscribe now!
- Want to fill a gap in your knowledge? The Ceramics Art Network has some fantastic tutorial videos on their YouTube Channel.
- Learn how to make a completely functional teapot with John Jeffs, featured on Ceramic Review, here.
- Need a new glaze recipe? Find some suggestions from other professional potters here.
- Interested in bulk manufacture of ceramics? The British Ceramic Confederation is the trade body representing the collective interests of all sectors of the UK ceramics manufacturing industry. They often run events and write about interesting topics on their website - take a peek here - or sign up to their newsletter here.
- The Ceramics Podcast is full of fantastic (and funny) discussions from the world of ceramics, including interviews, technique discussions and all sorts of other relevant things. Well worth a listen! They've got a good instagram too.
- Tales of a Red Clay Rambler is a podcast (with a huge back catalogue) which features interviews with artists working in ceramics about their creative practice. It's free but they also have a Patreon if you're looking for bonus conversation and tips.
- The Little Pot Company have a blog with lots of tips and how-tos in regard to pottery. It's not updated often (suspect they're busy with their shop!) but the entries they have are great.
- The Ceramic School Blog (ignoring the challenging layout) is full of useful information - it's business advice for those wanting to work in ceramics and pottery is especially clear, but it also contains some interviews and how-tos. Worth a look!
- The Potters Cast is a fantastic interview-based podcast about all things ceramics and pottery - they have an incredible back catalogue of almost 800 episodes too, so there will be something in there for everyone.
- Little Street Pottery is an amazing YouTube Channel which explores pottery and ceramic techniques and tips in wonderfully great detail. A great place to go if you want to try a new technique or get some advice on how to make something work. There are 100 videos on there to catch up on!
- Simon Leach has a brilliant YouTube channel full of bitesize pottery and ceramics tips and tricks, presented in a super friendly way (but suitable for professionals).
- Here's a video about 28 different ways to glaze ceramic pots!
- The Slip Cast is a pottery podcast. Join the hosts as they talk with their favourite ceramicists and non-ceramicists, discuss studio trials and tribulations, and get curious about all things clay.
- Ceramics Now Weekly is a newsletter about all things ceramics. In the newsletter, the editor of Ceramics Now brings you the week’s news in the ceramic art world and shares a curated selection of artists and exhibitions. Subscribe and you’ll always be up to date with what’s happening in the complex world of ceramic art.
- Click here to learn how to do a five colour reduction linocut print (for intermediate to advanced printmakers) with Belinda. The rest of her channel is pretty great too!
- Need a whistle-stop tour of printmaking? This website describes each different printing technique and what it involves.
- Fancy learning how to use the intaglio technique of printing using the sugar lift technique? Here's a YouTube video which shows the process in detail.
- Need a new printing technique? Click here to learn one method of how to make a collagraph and print it in full colour.
- The Print Cast is a podcast about expanding the world of printmaking. Every two weeks Host Nick Naughton talks with some of the best contemporary printmakers working today, sharing anecdotes, business ideas, and technical tips with listeners everywhere.
- Hello, Print Friend is an instagram account and podcast about printing - they showcase nifty printing videos and techniques, as well as interviewing the best printers in the industry. One to follow!
- UK Printmakers is a community for printmakers based in the UK. They list opportunities and events for printmakers, as well as promoting exhibitions.
- The Curious Printmaker has an amazing amount of printmaking tips and how-to's in her blog (updated monthly) - the perfect place to fill gaps in your knowledge or find new ways of doing things. I particularly enjoyed this article about printing with rust.
- The Unfinished Print is a podcast focused on the makers and those associated with the art of Japanese woodblock printing or mokuhanga. It’s a deep dive into the artists, gallery owners, and collectors of this unique art form.
- Yeates Makes has a brilliant YouTube channel with 30 tutorials for different printing techniques - particularly masking tape printing and gel/gelli printing. Well worth a watch if you'd like to experiment with a new technique.
- Boarding All Rows is a fantastic Instagram account which explores techniques for Linocut printing. It's also linked to a good blog. Worth a follow!
- Hickman Design has an absolute wealth of printmaking knowledge on their website - from book recommendations and how-tos to equipment recommendations and think pieces, it's well worth a dig through. Enjoy!
- Print Life is a podcast where the host Leslie Kenehan brings you all things surface pattern & print design. Worth a listen if this sort of printing interests you.
- UTKPrint is a fantastic print making YouTube channel full of tutorials and advice about print making. The video about creating sintra cuts with the Powergrip carving tool looks particularly fascinating!
- Have you heard of the Corning Museum of Glass? They have some fantastic demonstrations, tutorials and advice about glassmaking on their YouTube Channel. Click here to explore.
- Are you part of the Contemporary Glass Society? They have all sorts of resources - such as a magazine, suppliers list, articles, resources etc - some of which can be accessed by non-members. Their website is definitely worth a look - and, if you decide to join, membership is between £40-£60 a year.
- Blown Away is a brilliant show where glass-blowing artists compete to take home a $60,000 prize. Two seasons are available on Netflix now.
- Want to improve your glass cutting? Here's a tip sheet on how to do this from Bullseye Glass Co.
- Talking Out Your Glass is a great podcast for any artist working with glass. Their website is a little tricky to follow but there is a big back catalogue and is well worth a dig through!
- A Glass Blowers Companion is a monthly podcast exploring all things glass with Jason Michael. You can listen on Apple Podcasts.
- The International Festival of Glass is held in Stourbridge every year. Follow them on facebook to keep up to date with their plans and submissions.
- Urban Glass has a brilliant quarterly magazine all about glass art. They post some of the magazine online as free blog entries, which includes think pieces, interviews and walk throughs of piece creation. I particularly enjoyed this article about stained glass and poetry.
- Glass Lives has a fantastic archive of films, podcasts and interviews from a 2020 event, celebrating the visionary embodiment of both creativity and craftsmanship by European master artisans working with glass at the highest level of excellence. The ISGNE GLASS LIVES FILM : UK film looks particularly interesting.
- Stained Glass DIY has a fascinating YouTube channel full of how-tos on stained glass techniques. There's some suitable for beginners but also a lot for improvers/experts - their content is easy to follow, even from a home studio where glass blowing etc isn't possible. Worth taking a look!
- Glass Crafters have a nice selection of stained glass tutorials on their YouTube channel. I found the one about making glass beads particularly interesting.
- London Glassblowing have a brilliant blog full of panel talks with artists, live demonstrations and exhibition tours - well worth checking out if you are interested in all things glass. Though mainly aimed at pros, they also have a (bit cringe-y!) 'Idiots Guide to Glass Blowing'
- Here is a podcast episode about The Business of Stained Glass, which focuses on how to run a commercial stained glass business but also contains some tips about working with stained glass.
- Follow the Glass Page on the Art Newspaper's website to stay up to date with all the latest Glass Art news.
- Thinking about a career in music? BlueJam's 'How to...Music' series of online webinars explored a huge amount of tips on navigating the music industry, for people of all ages. You can explore the recordings here.
- Interested in Dance? One Magazine is one of the leading magazines for the sector, covering prevailing trends and topical issues relevant to the dance sector. Expect dance articles, professional advice, news, exclusive interviews, resources for teachers and updates on the world of dance. It is published twice a year.
- The Backstage Blog has lots of brilliant articles and blogs exploring all sorts of things in regard to performance (actors, dancers, musicians, voice overs, film makers etc). I particularly enjoyed this blog about making films - but quite honestly there is an amazing array of interviews and advice about all sorts of performance related things. A little bit American centric but still useful.
- Are you interested on taking a production to the Edinburgh Fringe? Or any fringe for that matter? Here is a great breakdown of what you need to do and when.
- This is a fantastic blog full of tips, tricks and advice on how to get gigs and promote yourself as a musician or band, alongside thoughts about popular talking points for musicians too, like music theory and ear protection (not at the same time!!)
- Are you a writer or poet? The Mslexia Magazine (and their regular newsletter, Elevenses) is well worth a regular look - for discussions, interviews, creative prompts and more.
- People Dancing is the foundation for community dance in the UK. They have a fantastic blog about the cutting edge of community practice, complete with interviews with professional dancers too. Check it out here.
- Interested in script writing or writing for television/film? BBC Writers Room has a huge amount of resources and opportunities, mainly for free. Check it out!
- takenote have a fantastic series of articles for musicians covering everything from business communication to EQ to composing to vocal health tips.
- Poetry Off The Shelf is a brilliant weekly podcast exploring the diverse world of contemporary poetry with readings by poets, interviews with critics, and short poetry documentaries. Well worth subscribing!
- Script is a fantastic website for anyone interested in writing for the big screen - but, to be honest, anyone who writes could be inspired here. I particularly enjoyed their article about using the skills of a songwriter to make your writing stronger. Good stuff!
- Filmpack is a free collection of professional contracts, release forms and templates to help organise your next film production and protect yourself and your talent. It's made by Daniel Alexander Films and is an amazing downloadable resource with no catch!
- The Biz Wiz is a free weekly newsletter for actors providing useful and specific information to help elevate your career. Louise sorts out the 'need to know' info and uncover golden nuggets to give you the best chance at getting in the room and booking the job. It's fantastic!
- In The Envelope: The Actors Podcast features intimate, in-depth conversations with today’s most noteworthy film, television, and theatre actors and creators. Well worth a listen.
- The Musician’s Way Newsletter includes music & creativity tips, practice strategies, career opportunities, industry news, innovation, and more! It is sent out three to four times a year.
- Do you use stencilling in your mixed media art? This page has a wealth of information about stencilling techniques for mixed media artists.
- Alisa Burke has many (reasonably priced) online courses about mixed media that you can do at your own pace. Take a peek here.
- Want to extend your skills in mixed media or just looking for some inspiration? This website curated by Finn has tonnes of 'How To's' - and most are free!
- Cloth Paper Scissors is a brilliant Mixed Media blog full of tips, tricks and advice.
- Here's another Mixed Media Blog, this time from Robon Marie, with tonnes of how-to's, especially around mixed media for journalling (though lots of transferable tips). Take a look here.
- You can download a free e-book of mixed media painting techniques from the Artists Network website.
- Deco Art offers a brilliant free programme of mixed media tutorial videos with no strings attached! You can find out more here.
- Fancy transferring your mixed media skills into making tags for gifts (perfect for Christmas and Birthdays!)? Here's some cool tutorials: Winter Wonderland Tags & Colourful Christmas Tags & Tags with Stamps.
- Kim Dellow features some great Mixed Media tutorials on her blog. I particularly like her video about DIY stamp carving.
- Have you ever used Pebeo products in your mixed media work? Here's a great YouTube tutorial on how they work together and how you can get the best out of Pebeo branded materials.
- Karen Campbell MIXED MEDIA is a regularly updated YouTube channel with specific guides and tutorials for Mixed Media art techniques. Worth taking a peek!
- Fancy making your own paper to use in your mixed media art? NevermindLisa has got some great how-to videos on her YouTube channel - including how to create plantable paper that grows into flowers!
- Here's a podcast episode exploring why you should break the rules whilst working with mixed media and how that makes things fun! The rest of the Art Juice podcast is pretty fun too - for all sorts of artists.
- Laly Millie sends out a weekly mixed media newsletter - although it does involve some promotion for her classes, there is tonnes of mixed media inspiration in general too. Worth subscribing!
- Our very own Emma Wigginton has a brilliant YouTube channel with lots of textiles technique tutorials. Check them out here.
- Stitchery Stories is a great Textile Art podcast, with accompanying blog. Check it out!
- Here's an interview with Textile Artist Kim Thittichai where she gives an insights into her techniques - well worth a watch!
- Want to paint your textiles? Here's some fantastic tips - both for beginners and advanced painters.
- Fancy experimenting with natural dyes? Here's a great guide to using pomegranates.
- Tigley Textiles has a fantastic blog exploring all things textiles including embroidery, printing on fabric, needle choices, tips etc and interviews with popular textile artists. Well worth a dig through! She even has a helpful guide on what a textile artist is (or is not).
- Jamie Mason's textile art YouTube channel is full of fantastic 'how to's' and explorations. Although it's not updated any more the back catalogue is huge and definitely worth a look.
- How do you mount textile art? Here is a helpful video guide on one of the ways you can do it - or you can read an article here that dissects the options.
- Textileartist.org is an amazing resource full of blogs, interviews, how-tos and tips for contemporary textile artists - well worth a follow (remember to sign up to their free newsletter!)
- Slow Fiber Studios have a wealth of lectures and interviews with textile artists on their website - including a huge back catalogue.
- Interested in needle felting? Felts by Philippa is a great YouTube channel full of tutorials for both beginners and advanced needle felt connoisseurs.
- The Embroiders Guild features regular talks and workshops with textile artists who use embroidery. Give them a follow on instagram or facebook to stay up to date.
- The Stitching and Co podcast mainly explores the world of embroidery. The host talks with amazing embroidery artists and designers to learn practical tips and tricks, how to prevent burnout, turning your stitching hobby into a business and allow creativity to weave its way into busy lives. Sounds great!
- The Textile Society has a newsletter, sent our 6 times a year, full of news and events, awards and opportunities. Definitely worth subscribing if you are interested in all things textile art - and you don't need to be a member to receive it!
- Beadaholique has an amazing youtube channel with a wealth of tutorials about beading. If you are looking for new techniques to use you can find their channel here.
- How do you photograph your jewellery once it has been made? This blog entry by London Jewellery School has a tonne of easy to implement tips. The rest of their blog is pretty brilliant too!
- The Bench from Cookson Gold has at least 100 'how-to's' exploring jewellery making - from 5 minute makes to problem solving to technique development. A perfect place to plug any gaps in your knowledge (and it's free!)
- Confused about seed beads? Treasurie has put together a great guide about sizes and types.
- Have you ever made jewellery from Fimo? It's a unique material to work with and can create some brilliant retro designs. Here's a series of Fimo Jewellery tutorials to help get you started.
- Shrink Plastic is often thought of as something for kids - but actually, many jewellery artists use this as a cheap and versatile medium to make quirky pieces (just search 'shrink plastic earrings' on Etsy and you'll find tonnes!). Here's a series of tutorials on how to use shrink plastic to make jewellery items.
- Jewel School is a fantastic YouTube channel which is the go-to for all things jewellery making, including tips, techniques, and all the essentials. You can subscribe for new episodes every Wednesday.
- Experiment with using wood and resin to make a unique piece of jewellery by following along with this YouTube video. Don't be put off by the puppet at the beginning (he doesn't reappear!) - the man making the video has the most calming, gentle voice, making it a good watch even just for ideas. Not used resin before? Check out this playlist before you begin to make sure you know how to use this material.
- Interested in making leather jewellery or how to use textiles within jewellery making? Mill Lane Studio has a brilliant blog with lots of how-tos and explorations. I particularly like the look of the Kumihimo bracelet.
- The British Academy of Jewellery (BAJ) has a fantastic podcast (and other resources) all about jewellery making. This episode about fun and originality with Tatty Divine looks particularly good.
- Stardust Mine Jewellery has a fantastic YouTube channel full of jewellery tutorials, particularly focusing on metalsmith-ing, suitable for intermediate and advanced jewellery makers. This tutorial on how to make rings from antique spoons was particularly fascinating!
- Running With Sisters is a brilliant jewellery making blog with reams and reams of how-to tutorials, including videos and written instructions, appropriate for all levels of jewellery designers. They also cover things such as how to use a bead board whilst making. Super interesting!
- In GEMOLOGUE Podcast, Liza Urla interviews jewellery designers and jewellery community to learn about their exciting journeys, discover their jewellery craft, and gain insight into their lives and success. Although not currently publishing episodes, the back catalogue is great!
- The Jewellery Making Journal has a twice a month newsletter full of jewellery making tips and tricks. When you sign up you also get access to the resource "Seven Super Jewellery Making Hacks" - sounds great!
- Eirik Arnesen has a YouTube channel full of tips and tutorials for intermediate to advanced sculptures - with some pretty amazing outcomes demonstrated too. Explore his channels here.
- The Sculpture School has made their courses available online and they look great! The courses available include Making an Armature, How To Sculpt An Eye and Human Anatomy for Artists, with more coming soon. These resources from The Sculpture School aren't free but they do look to go in depth about techniques you may not find elsewhere - and are available on demand.
- Sculpture Magazine has a great blog of their features available for free online. There is a wealth of knowledge and inspiration available. Worth a read!
- Here's a YouTube video where RISD Adjunct Professor Clara Lieu demonstrates how to build a wire armature using aluminium armature wire on a wooden base and then how to block in the largest shapes in the portrait sculpture. Lieu shows sculpting techniques, discusses various sculpting tools, and how to sculpt details, the advantages and disadvantages of using air dry clay.
- Art UK has a great series talking to people who make sculptures about the techniques that they use. Click here to watch.
- Sculpting Lives is a five-episode podcast series exploring women sculptures. Each episode takes a woman sculptor as its subject, exploring the artworks, networks, connections and relationships of these artists. Facinating!
- Sculpture Vulture is a fantastic podcast where you join Lucy Branch, sculptural conservator and author, as she talks to sculptors whose work can be found in public spaces. They discuss their creative journeys, their artistic practice and their shared love for all things bronze.
- Joshua De Lisle has a fascinating YouTube channel all about metal sculpture - including a very useful series of 'how-to's,' including how to make some beautiful metal stag bookends. Well worth a dig through.
- David Lemon has a fantastic regularly updated YouTube channel exploring, mainly, sculpting in Bronze and Clay. Well worth a dig through. He's got an accompanying blog about sculpture too.
- Joanna Mozdzen's YouTube channel mainly focuses on sculpting faces - it's full of useful information on bringing a human face to life. If you are interested in improving your techniques on sculpting faces, especially in clay, it's definitely worth taking a look.
- The International Sculpture Centre has a fantastic blog, Re:Sculpt, where a lively discourse on sculpture among artists worldwide occurs. They also have a page on their website for funding and opportunities for all things sculpture. Their instagram is also pretty cool!
- FantasyWire has a great collection of videos explaining the techniques of how to make life sized wire sculptures, focusing on the human form. They look amazing!
- The Sculptor's Funeral is a podcast dedicated to figurative sculptors. Although not currently updated it has a massive back catalogue including art history, tech talk, news, and interviews for those working in figurative sculpture.
- The Sculpture Network has a free monthly newsletter to keep you up to date with news from the world of three-dimensional art. Looks like it would be a good read!
Tech Tutorials and Tips:
- INSTAGRAM: Watch Scott from Blackfell Photography's Flourish webinar about Instagram for Artists here.
- MAILING LIST: Having a mailing list can be a great way to keep your friends and customers updated about what you are creating (and for sales too). For those of you who don't have one yet - what is holding you back? Of course, this tech can be complex if you want it to be - but there are easy ways of doing this too. I would always recommend having a mailing list, even if you only use it occasionally - if social media ever fell offline/your account got accidentally deleted, a mailing list is a good way to make sure you have another direct way of connecting with people which you can back up regularly. There are many ways to host a mailing list but I use mailchimp (MailerLite is another good one). Here is a whistle-stop guide to how to set up a mailchimp to tell people about your creative endeavours: https://youtu.be/g3dgTiSXTmo
- SELLING TICKETS: Running an event/workshop/opening? How do you normally sell your tickets? Eventbrite is a ticket selling platform with a super wide reach, both for in person and online events - and it's free to use (but does take a percentage of paid ticket sales - as they all do!).
We use Eventbrite for online EVAN events as it's a great way to reach people without having to do any extra leg work (and it links with facebook). It also connects directly to zoom and automatically gives attendees those details - so no frantic clicking and sending when people sign up last minute. I've been asked a couple of times how eventbrite works. They've got a great youtube channel. Here's their webinar about how to host an online event through eventbrite.
- PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR ART: So you've made a gorgeous painting and you want to share it with the world (via mailing list, social media or on your website). What is the best way to photograph it so that you get a great picture to show your painting at its best (without a scanner!). Here's some great tips: https://youtu.be/FKgWIzvm3Hs
- WATERMARKS: If you are sharing an image of your artwork on social media or on your website you may want to put a watermark on it to discourage people from taking your work and sharing it without crediting you. Here is a great tool to do this: https://batchwatermark.com/en
- SQUARESPACE: Have you got a website to promote or sell your art (or workshops that you run)? Although it seems like 'just another thing to edit,' i'd recommend having one - even if it's just a landing page (one page website) to direct customers to your etsy/social media/wherever you sell your work. Normally I would recommend WordPress but it can be complex to set up for beginners. Squarespace is happy medium - still great for SEO (search engine optimisation) but easy to use to design as there is no coding - it's all drag and drop. If you'd like to take the leap, here's a super useful tutorial about how to build a squarespace website from scratch: https://youtu.be/u-DnVBrzeLs
- USING PHOTOS TO INSPIRE ART: Do you use reference photos whilst making your art? Don't just use images you find on google! If you are painting from a photograph you will need the photographers permission if you wanted to sell that piece of artwork as the image will be copyrighted. Sometimes that permission can be tricky to obtain - and its not a good thing to find out after the painting is done! If you want to use a reference photo that you've not personally taken, you can find images which aren't copyrighted on sites such as Unsplash (this is my favourite one). This means that you won't run into copyright issues when you come to sell. Always read the license permissions if you are unsure whether you can use an image.
- DESIGNING FLYERS/BUSINESS CARDS: With the Open Studios coming up next month, you might be looking to put together some flyers, price lists, business cards or signs to go next to your work. If you're not sure where to start, I highly recommend that you give Canva (a free design tool with tonnes of templates) a go. They make designing accessible for those who can't afford to hire their own graphic designer - it's easy to make a flyer that looks professional without needing much skill. You can read more about Canva here.
- WHAT TO PUT ON YOUR WEBSITE: In one of the earlier points we looked at physically how to set up a website. This article however, digs deeper - rather than looking at the 'click this button' level, it explores the whys and whos - and many other things you could consider whilst putting together your own website, alongside how to make yourself do them! Take a look: https://thecreativeindependent.com/guides/how-to-make-a-website-for-your-creative-work
- HASHTAGS: So - hashtags (#) - what are they and why do we use them on social media? #'s are really useful in grouping things that are the same together. For example, if you write in a post on any of the social medias #watercolour, this means that someone who is looking for watercolours can search for that hashtag and find your work - without being a follower (they can't see what is in private groups or on private threads though). This is a great way to find new appreciators of your work. This is a great article on the hows/whys of hashtags on instagram (most of what they say can be used on twitter too).
- USING FACEBOOK TO PROMOTE YOUR ART: Looking to use facebook to promote your artistic practice but not sure where to start? Here's how to set up an artist page on facebook (it's different than your profile - I get that question quite often!). Also, this article has some great questions that you should ask yourself whilst you are creating a page.
- EDITING PHOTOS (for non-photographers): Luna Pic is one of my favourite photo editing tools, which has definitely helped when I've got stuck on adding effects to photos. It's completely free but has a vast amount of stickers, filters and tools, which can help you do things like play with colour balances/switching colours, add mirroring, switch brush strokes (e.g. watercolour to pen) and turn your art into something digital and fun. It's super simple to use too. Check out Luna Pic here.
- CARD READERS FOR TAKING PAYMENTS: You might be wondering how to take payment from people who would like to buy your artwork at events like the Art Trail as people don't often carry cash - being cash only can be a barrier to making a sale. Card Reader technology has hugely moved on and is now very simple to use (although slightly reliant on internet). I've used SumUp before - all you need to do is buy the card reader device (it costs £19) and then download the app from your app store on your smartphone or laptop and you are pretty much ready to go (more instructions here). It will take a record of all payments too, which can be useful when it comes to doing your tax return. There is no monthly payment but they do take a very small percentage of each sale. If SumUp isn't for you, other card readers include Zettle and Square.
- TITLING YOUR PIECES: Do you give your pieces of art a name or title? If not, you absolutely should! There's a myriad of reasons why to avoid it being called 'Untitled' - but an important one is that if your piece does not have a title, it will be almost impossible to find online, which could mean you miss a sale. But how do you come up with a good title - one which means it is searchable but also describes the piece effectively? This article explains a little bit more...
- SELLING YOUR ART (Numonday): Are you interested in selling your artwork but not quite ready to make your own online shop via your own website? Etsy is an option but Numonday is another good one - they both handle all the selling process (aside from posting the order!), including the payments - though they do both take fees (in different ways). However, you do get the benefit of their platform, which means more people are likely to find your work through their search function than on a website just for you. Here's a bit more about how Numonday works.
- STUCK ON TECH - HELP!: Are you stuck on a technical issue (e.g. digital strategy and marketing, digital content creation, eCommerce, data analytics, social media, email marketing, ticketing and CRM, websites and search engine marketing etc) that you just can't solve and you need to seek some external advice? The Digital Culture Network has free support at the click of a button from tech champions if you are an organisation or linked to an organisation - or loads of free guides if you're not.
- PUTTING YOUR ART ON A DIGITAL WALL: So, you've mastered how to take pictures of your art work to show it at its best. But perhaps you'd also like to show people what it would look like on the wall (size as well as matching the decor!) - this could be for their specific wall or on any wall (if you can't take a picture on your own). This is particular important if selling artwork online to help people envision it or working with a client investing a lot of money. Here's a brilliant blog that painstakingly takes you through every step, using photoshop, that you do in order to make it look like your art work is on the wall without it being on the wall (the other blog entries on here are great too!)
- PROMOTING YOUR EXHIBITION: In this digital age how do you get the word out there when you are putting on an exhibition? Or do you want to see some contemporary art and need to know what's on in the area (even if you're on holiday)? ArtRabbit is a free platform for promoting international contemporary art exhibitions and events -you can discover events and galleries as well as posting your own too with their free tool. This site walks you through each step of promoting your exhibition (click on the link in the menu to be taken through it).
- CROWDFUNDING: Want to do a really cool arts project but have no funding? Running an online 'Crowd Funder' could be the way to go (if you are prepared to post on social media about it regularly)... the premise is simple: you set up a page on a crowd funder website and then people who like your idea donate - or pledge money in return for a reward that they’ll receive once your project succeeds (normally increasing in value for the size of donation (e.g. donate £5 they may get a public thank you on social media from you, £10 they may get a card, donate £25 and they might get a print of a piece of work etc). Some platforms give you the money whatever happens, or some expect you to raise your target or you don't receive any funds and everyone gets their money back. The platforms crowdfunders are normally hosted on are step by step and explain things well, but just in case the technical elements are putting you off, Crowdfunder have a series of brilliant guides talking you through every step (scroll down to the bottom of the page after clicking on the link to find them).
- KEEPING A RECORD/INVENTORY: How do you keep a record of all the pieces you've made, written or composed? And, if you're taking your artistic practice a step further, how do you keep track of how much they cost to buy, sizing and - quite importantly - if physical pieces, where they are currently located! A tracker or inventory of some kind helps you to keep track of your art. There's two ways to do this - you could use an Excel or Google Drive system, which works when you don't have many pieces (there's a link to one here that you can use as a template) or you could use an app that is designed specifically to do this, like Artwork Archive - but sometimes you do need to pay for these. As a poet, creating an inventory of poetry submissions has been very worthwhile - I very much recommend doing it whatever your chosen artform.
- BUY ME A COFFEE (FUNDING): Have you heard of Buy Me A Coffee? The premise is simple: you set up a page (it only takes a few minutes and the website walks you through it) and give the organisation a place to pay in to (normally a paypal account). Then, when you do a gig or display a painting in a gallery (if they agree) or do a talk you can ask people to donate or 'buy you a coffee' via the link for the page you made if they appreciate your work. It can feel nicer than asking for donations and, as people don't often carry cash, can be a simple way to ask for audience donations as a performer. You can also run a membership through Buy Me A Coffee - but that's a whole different ball game!
- FILMING A TIMELAPSE: Fancy filming a timelapse video of the creation of an artwork like this one here? Phone apps have now made this super easy to do (I recommend Lapse It or Hyperlapse) - and some phones have timelapse functions built in too. People love watching a piece of art come to life, especially on social media, so it can be a fun thing to do for your followers. Here's a hugely detailed how to article on how to film your own timelapse video (they suggest some fancy gear but as long as you can prop your camera up, you don't necessarily need it):
- QR CODES: If people are viewing your work in a gallery, how do you direct them easily to your website? They are unlikely to take the time to type a website address in to their phones, and business cards aren't super popular (and easily lost) - but a QR code that they can immediately scan with their phone which brings them to your website might do the trick. You generate this on a website, such as 'QR Code Monkey' and then can put the barcode that is generated on a poster or card next to your piece - you can include a logo in the middle too or change the colour of the 'barcode' to your brand colours. The website walks you through it step by step - you input the web address and any added extras like logos and colours and then click 'Create QR code' and then, after it's done, download QR code. You can then use it however you'd like!
- AMAZON BUSINESS: Do you use Amazon? If you do, and you are a limited company, you can get discounts and savings by joining Amazon Business as well (it's completely free!) - as well as getting things like VAT invoices and different payment methods, which lots of businesses need. Here's an article about why it is useful to have a business account with amazon (alongside/instead of a personal account). Materials can get expensive and if you are happy to buy them from a place like Amazon, something like Amazon Business is a good way to save a little bit of money. It talks you through how to register too - or just google 'Amazon Business' for more information.
- FACEBOOK GROUP NOTIFICATIONS: Anyone who works with social media will tell you that getting people to see your posts is infuriating, as the algorithm favours people who pay facebook lots of money - which means when someone posts in groups like this one, you won't necessarily see it on your feed. If you'd like to know every time someone posts in this group (or any group that you like), you can ask to be notified each time. For this:- Go on to the group in question (here is the EVAN facebook group) and then click on where it says 'joined' near the top of the group
- Click on 'manage notifications'
- If you'd like to hear whenever anyone posts something new, select 'all posts' from the top list. You'll then get a notification every time there is something new to see.It's as simple as that! You can also use the above information to stop notifications too, if you prefer.
- EDITING VIDEOS: If you've mastered the basics of posting images on social media, you might want to start spicing things up by posting short videos too. Once you have recorded one - which can be done on your smartphone - you will probably want to edit it before you post it, even just to add your logo or name in the corner and pop on a filter. To edit videos I use a programme called Wondershare Filmora - it is simple to use (mainly just drag and drop into a timeline) and has tonnes of features - and lots of good tutorials online too to teach you the basics. If you are interested you can read more and download it here.
- FILLING IN AN 'UNFILLABLE' PDF: Have you ever received a PDF form and been super frustrated that you had to print it, fill it in, scan it back in and then send it back via email (including a walk to the local library if you don't have a printer)? This could be a funding application, an exhibition or venue form, a festival registration etc. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat (which is expensive), you can use an online programme called PDFescape, which enables you to fill in an 'unfillable' PDF for free. All you need to do is upload the document you need to fill in and then click 'text' in the lefthand corner where you need to type and type away! You can also write a signature freehand or upload one. You can then download the document ready to send back by clicking the green button with two white arrows in the lefthand menu. This helps save paper, ink, time and the planet!
- HEX CODES: Do you need to find out the hex code of a colour in an image or logo? This might be so that you can use the same colour elsewhere in a poster that also includes that logo or image, for example, or to make sure that the colours that you are using on your website are accessible . All you need to do is upload your image or logo online to 'Image Color Picker' and then click on the colour with the 'x' pointer that you want to find out the hex code/RGB balance for. This website also tells you what colours go with that colour - click on 'show more' once you've found the colour you want to focus on in the image. Enjoy!
- FINDING ART ONLINE: I know I spend a lot of time googling pieces of art, especially whilst we're still in a pandemic and getting to galleries and exhibitions is trickier. Google almost has TOO much information on it, so a website like WikiArt is wonderful - the search feature is great and on there is art by 3000 artists to take a look at, as well as short films. Definitely worth clicking on the link and having a scroll...
- ONLINE TUNER: Here's one for the musicians - or anyone looking to have a bit of a jam! I know that I lose my ukulele tuner ALL the time, and playing with others when your instrument is out of tune can be, well, painful. As with most things, there's no need to be carrying around a pitch pipe or physical tuner any more (for the majority of situations) - you can just use an app on your smartphone like Cleartune (this one does have a tiny cost involved, but it's only the price of a coffee). Cleartune (available on iOs and android) is a chromatic instrument tuner and pitch pipe that allows you to quickly and accurately tune your instrument using the built-in mic in your device. It's very flexible and a piece of tech that is well worth having around.
- HEADERS/PROFILE PICTURES ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Profile pic appearing pixilated (fuzzy) on social media? Header on twitter being trimmed weirdly? Social media platforms change the ideal size of pictures in these areas all the time. To save some embarrassing pixilation or trimming, it's better to crop your image in a program such as Canva before uploading. But what dimensions should you use? There's lots of conflicting advice online as this changes so quickly. The best way of finding the correct size at this moment in time is by googling "Facebook Event Header Image Size 2022" (or whatever image you are looking for a size for) - the year is particularly important. That should then give you the correct dimensions so you can avoid designing twice. Here's a cheat sheet where you can see the current recommended sizes.
- RECORDING AUDIO FROM THE INTERNET:
If you've ever been interviewed by the radio about your latest gig, exhibition or project, you'll know that interviews like these usually disappear offline after 24 hours - or maximum 30 days. What do you do if you want to keep a copy for your records or for a funder to refer to? Sometimes the radio station will keep a copy and will send it if you ask, but if not, you can record it using an add on for your internet browser (I use google chrome as my browser). Here's how to do it:
Click 'Add to Chrome' (blue button, right hand side at the top)
When a pop-up pops up, click on 'add extension'
You'll get a little notification/pop up on the right side at the top of your screen, showing you where your add ons are in chrome (internet browser)
When you are on the page that you would like to record (the radio station episode, in the right place) click on the add on that looks like a red nose at the right hand side top of the screen.
Click 'Start Capture' - it will then be recording your browser page that you are on, including the sound from that page. Press play on the radio episode and listen to your interview whilst it is recording.
When you're done, click 'Save Capture' - you may need to click on the red button again first. This will open a new tab in your browser. Click 'Save Capture' again on the page that opens. Done!
- HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR WEBSITE: Sometimes it's far easier to learn about the technical parts of running a creative endeavour or business from a webinar (rather than reading endless text, which doesn't show you exactly what to do). Here is a webinar from UK Theatre as part of their 'Theatre Means Business' series of digital resources - this one guides you through how to improve your website. Well worth a watch...
- IMPROVE YOUR ENGAGEMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA: UK Theatre has put together a free webinar about how to improve your social media engagement - basically, so more people see your posts and go to your gigs/buy your art. Social media is so important and what works is different for everyone. This will give you a practical baseline of knowledge on how to make sure you're not just shouting into the abyss but making use of social media as a tool for your creative endeavours - plus they demonstrate it practically, which is a massive help when trying to learn. It's free - worth checking out!
- SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING AND ALT TEXT: Do you post images of your work online? It is very (very!) important that these are accessible for everyone - therefore ALT Text is a must. ALT Text is how a screen reader user views these images - it is important for every single image you use online or on social media (or even in word documents or presentations, especially if you know you are sharing them with a screenreader user).Unfortunately not all social media schedulers (programmes you can use to plan social media posts in advance and automatically post them) let you add ALT Text to your images. BUT! I've done the hard work for you - if you use https://publer.io/ on their free plan you can add ALT Text easily to any image you use, whatever the social media platform you're using. You just click on the little speech bubble on top of the image once you've uploaded it and type in the box. No other scheduler makes it this easy - I highly recommend using Publer.If you want to know more about accessibility, I recommend joining Connect With Your Crowd's mailing list - she offers tonnes of free advice on how to make your work more accessible.
- DIGITAL DETOX: Have you been tempted to go on a 'digital detox'? If quitting social media doesn't seem to be the right thing to do for you and your creative practice (whether you sell art or books or put on shows - a presence is always useful unfortunately), a way to start managing digital wellbeing is by putting app timers on to your phone. This means you limit the amount of mindless scrolling that you do, keeping your online time more focused. Here's step by step instructions how you can do this on Android and here's how to do it on iPhone. If you don't fancy using your phones built in timers, there are also apps out there - you can download these to use by clicking on the app store or play store icon on your phone. Social media really does have its benefits for organisations, artists and freelancers but if you need a little extra help to step away, this is a great way to start.
- CV AND LINKEDIN SUPPORT: Do you use a CV or LinkedIn as a freelance creative? As a freelancer it can be hard to get feedback on the things that you use to promote your services or what you offer. Freelance UK provide a fantastic service where they will look at your CV or LinkedIn page and provide detailed personal feedback about what you can tweak to make both things more effective, boosting, for example, the number of gigs you get or the number of sales you make. It's free and there doesn't seem to be a catch! You can sign up here - it looks like they make it super easy to receive this free support.
- STORING CUSTOMER/AUDIENCE DATA: Did you know that if you store and use any sort of information (data) at all about your audience/clients/customers, you may need to be registered with the ICO (Information Commissioner's Office)? If you need to be registered and you're not it can get you into a pickle later on, so it's worth doing a check to make sure - the ICO provide a handy tool to do this. I've linked an article here which tells you a little bit more - and links to the tool too. PS: Remember to store data safely!
- BUYING TICKETS FROM EVENTBRITE: Want to buy a ticket on Eventbrite for an online creative workshop or event? Make sure you're logged in to your Eventbrite account rather than checking out as a 'guest'! An account is free to set up (and you might not even need a new password if you link it to facebook or google) and is done quite easily by going to eventbrite.com --> clicking on 'sign in' in the top righthand corner --> clicking on 'Sign up for eventbrite' then following the instructions.
Why set up an account? This means that if you can't find your ticket in your inbox just before the event, you can log in to eventbrite, click on 'tickets' in the right hand side drop down menu (as the top of the screen), then click on 'online event page' or similar for the event you need - and the information will be right there. This saves an email to the event organiser!
- RECORDING YOUR SCREEN: Do you know how to record your screen? I find this particularly useful when showing people how to do things - but you could use it for a myriad of creative reasons. For this, as a Mac user, I use Quicktime player (open quicktime --> go to the task bar at the top of the screen --> Click on File, then 'new screen recording' --> Select how much of your screen you want to record then click 'record' --> click the stop button when you're done - it's normally on the right hand side of the task bar at the top of the screen --> save to your computer) but there are also options for Windows computers. Find out more information on how to do this by clicking here.
- STARTING A PODCAST: Have you ever pondered the idea of starting a podcast? This might be to explore your own projects and ideas, or to interview others working in the same area as you - or maybe even an EVAN podcast (the possibilities!!). There's quite a bit of funding out there for podcasts and they've grown and grown in popularity. Beginning a podcast doesn't need to be daunting. It's actually pretty doable with minimal financial investment, if you are happy to do a little sound editing and work on promotion. There are lots of websites out there telling you how to start, but here is a particularly good one to help you on the technical bits to get started
- COPYRIGHT: Copyright isn't what most people WANT to be thinking about on a casual Tuesday in April. However, this is something all artists need to consider, whether you make music, performances, visual art, photographs, sculptures, poems etc etc etc. The information out there can be SO confusing but Copyrightuser.org have put together a fantastic series of videos and blogs explaining it in a really simple way (both the basics and the more complex aspects). Definitely worth a watch in a quiet 15 minutes.
- SEO (don't be scared!): Today i'm going to tell you about a bit of a scary term - SEO. It's actually not that scary, when you think about it - Search Engine Optimisation just means that you've had a research and think about what sort of people you want to find your website, and then you make tweaks to the words on your website to make sure when those people go to google, they find your website quickly. This means that you can compete with the bigger organisations more easily and that your work is seen and acted upon (purchased, attended etc).On most website builders (Squarespace, WordPress e.g.) the ability to do this is built in or can be an added (Yoast is a great plugin for this on WordPress). Even if you just think about a tiny bit of SEO (for example, writing page descriptions to be found by google which have some 'key words' in), it will help boost how many people find your website.There are many tech guides out there about SEO but I think this one provides a good introduction and some of the basics. It's worth giving it a go - it's not as scary as it seems!
- LIVE STREAMING: The need to Live Stream gigs and events hasn't gone away with the withdrawal of covid restrictions. Live streaming means that more people can access your gig, class or event, ensuring it remains accessible to as many people as possible. But where do you begin? And what do you need to make it happen? The Space has a great guide and lots of recommendations on how to live stream (and the answer is barely ever 'put it on zoom'- as that is not the best way to do it!).
- GOOGLE ALERTS: Google alerts - what on earth are they?! Well, it can be useful as an artist to set up a google alert so that if something is written about your business, art, book or performance, you get it flagged to you via email so you can read where you're mentioned (never miss a review again!). They're super easy to set up - here is a video telling you how. When you're ready you can set up an alert or two by clicking here. There's nothing stopping you setting up alerts for things you're really interested in or that your competitor is doing too. It really is a useful tool.
- FACEBOOK SHOPS: You may have spotted on Facebook and Instagram over the past year or so that it is now possible to sell directly on these platforms. No need to send anyone to Etsy or Numonday or your website any more (though that is sometimes good too)! A facebook shop is worth doing as the less 'clicks' a person needs to do to buy your product (this has to be a physical product or piece, not a ticket), the more likely they are to buy. Here is a really simple guide that breaks down how to set up a shop on your facebook page. It's worth a try!
- WHY VIDEO IS YOUR FRIEND ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Wondering what to post on your artist social media today? The answer is probably a video - people LOVE videos (even more than pictures - though you should post them too). It doesn't have to be long (or even what you deem as particularly interesting). It doesn't even have to feature a person or have sound, and can just be filmed on a mobile phone - no need for fancy tech! Here's a great webinar from the Crafts Council about why you should use video and also how to use it with your audience and customers to boost sales, engagement and other wonderful things. Can't be bothered to watch the video? There's a cheat sheet PDF on there too. Enjoy!
- BROKEN LINK CHECKER: Have you got a website for your creative venture? If so, it's worth running the URL (web address) through a 'Broken Link Checker' every so often. This free service goes through your website and finds any links that aren't working because of changed URLs or moved pages - saving you loads of time in finding them yourself (and making sure your customers have a smooth experience on your website - there would be nothing worse than them clicking on a ticket link, for example, and the link being broken - and then them leaving the page without buying!). Here's the one I use.
- INVOICING: Sometimes as creatives, especially ones that are employed to lead workshops or perform at events, we have to send invoices. As someone who works for multiple small organisations I have seen a vast array of invoices in my time - you would be surprised how often the vital things are left off (just this week I had to ask someone how they would like me to pay them as their invoice had no bank details on it 🤔). But no one teaches this stuff so how can people know what to include?! Personally, I use a piece of free invoice software called QuickFile to make my invoices - it makes sure all my invoices look good, are easy to follow, easy to generate and have all of the vital info on them without having to type it each time. With the government whispering about everyone making tax digital, it might be useful to start using an invoice generator like QuickFile (QuickBooks and FreeAgent are other ones that you need to pay for) - you can also track your expenses and income through this software, which ticks all the boxes. Where should you start though? Luckily it's a pretty easy process which the Quick File website walks you through. You can read more about it here and here's their 'knowledge base'
- TIKTOK: Even I, in my early 30's, feel a bit old to be talking about TikTok (a very short form video based social media platform). However... it is a known fact that it has exploded in popularity and now it's not all about silly dance routines - it can be a useful tool for artists to reach massive audiences too. Today I'm not asking you to get your creative business onto TikTok but instead to have a think as to if it might be a platform which works for you to expand your reach (enjoyably, perhaps). Here's a couple of useful articles: How artists can and should use TikTok, and some top (tok) tips and here's how TikTok can relate to selling art.
- PROTECTING YOUR WEBSITE: How do you protect your website? If you don't know the answer to this, you need to! Protecting your website is super important to prevent hacking and attacks - this is particularly important for those of you who take payments for your creative work on your website. The good thing is it's pretty easy. I use WordPress, and on there there is a great plugin for security you can add easily and for free called Word Fence. Here's how you add a plug in. If you search for Word Fence it should come up. Then click install and activate and it will talk you through the set up. Want to read more about Word Fence? You can do so here.
- DOWNLOAD YOUR MAILING LIST: When was the last time you downloaded your email list from MailChimp or MailerLite? Although it is fantastic to have these online programmes to send emails, you should not rely on them to store all data about your customer/followers/subscribers - if those websites, one day, fell off the internet or hackers destroyed them, you'd lose all that data and would be left with no way to contact them! The best way to avoid this happening is to export your contacts regularly and store the file digitally somewhere safe. This is your reminder to do it!
How to export your contacts on MailerLite
How to export your contacts on MailChimp
- REVERSE IMAGE SEARCH: Have you ever done a reverse image search online? People normally use these to discover if anyone has stolen your art for their website, find the source of an image you want to use, find an artist by using an image or find artists creating similar work to a picture you like. It's a really useful tool.You can use an extension called 'TinEye' or this is how you can do it using Chrome and Google Search:
- Right click on the image on the web page
- In Chrome - click on 'Search Google for this Image' or 'Search image with google lens'. Chrome delivers matching images and pages on which the matching image can be found
- HOW TO SPOT ART SCAMS: It's not something any of us enjoy thinking about but have you revised your knowledge on how to spot art scams online recently? These could come in many forms which vary in severity - vanity galleries, email approaches to buy artwork, fake art or fake art materials, money laundering when purchasing art etc. This web page has a wealth of knowledge on individual situations as well as how to spot scams and how to deal with them when they arise. Worth a read!
- REMEMBER TO SHUT DOWN: Just a quick one today! When was the last time you shut down your laptop or computer? Like properly shut down, not just allowing it to go to sleep? If the answer to this wasn't in the past week, go do it now - even if it's just a re-start. This helps to keep your computer healthy. It's even better to give it a shut down break overnight! It's easy to forget to do this so this is your reminder to shut down 🙂 Your computer (and, perhaps, your energy bill) will thank you!
- ALT TEXT ON YOUR WEBSITE:
Have you put ALT text on the images on your website? ALT text is very important - if the images don't load, or someone is using a screen reader, this is the only way that they can 'see' what your image it. We've spoken about this before in the context of social media but we didn't mention websites. Luckily, this is super simple.On WordPress:1) Click on the image in a post or page2) Click the edit pencil3) Type in alternative text into the box at the top of the page4) Click save
- OUT OF OFFICE: When you take time off, do you know how to put an Out Of Office on on your emails so that you don't come back to a grumpy inbox full of people chasing you? It's always worth it - just remember to turn it off when you get back!!- Here's how to do it in Outlook
- Here's how to do it in Gmail
- Here's how to do it on Mac Mail
Not sure how to do it for your email provider? Google 'autoresponder how to' or 'out of office how to' and your email providers name - the first few google hits should give you clear instructions. Enjoy!
- LINKTREE: LinkTree is a free tool that you can use in your social media bio when you want to direct people to more than one place (e.g. your etsy, your website and your mailing list), when that social media platform doesn't allow for more than one clickable link in your 'bio.' This is really useful on instagram especially, where 'link in bio' has to cover an awful lot. This article shows you how to set up a free LinkTree. You then just put the link to your 'Link Tree' in your bio on social media, and it solves the problem ☺️ Done!
- MAKING SHORT LINKS: When you are making links to put on social media posts, posters, business cards, flyers etc, you want these to be short and memorable. However, sometimes, that just isn's possible with your original link (perhaps you are sharing a google form, for example, or a mailing list link). So how do you make them short? I use bit.ly for this - it takes around four clicks and then you have a short link you can use on everything (you can also track how many people click on it, which some people find useful):1) Go to https://bitly.com/ and click 'Sign Up Free'
2) Click the orange 'CREATE' button in the bar at the top of the screen. The button is to the right hand side.
3) In the box that is highlighted, paste the URL that you need to shorten. You can ignore everything else on this page. Then click 'Create'
4) Where it says 'customise back half' write what you want to be the url (e.g. for an Eden Valley Artistic Network form I might write 'evan-form;'). Click save
5) The link will now read 'bit.ly/evan-form' (or whatever you put) Copy the link by clicking on the blue copy button so that you can put it wherever you need to. Done!
- EMAIL MARKETING HOW-TO: I've been thinking a bit about email newsletters whilst doing some research on good artist ones for you all to subscribe to (we'll be posting these here on Fridays in July). Do you send out your own email newsletter? Writing copy can be tricky and knowing how to pitch it for your audience (especially when you want them to do something) is key.This article from Textile Artist shows in good amount of detail (but also basic step by step) how to write a good newsletter that will, eventually, get you a great audience who will buy your products or attend your events. The main question to ask is value - what are my subscribers getting by opening my newsletter? The balance should be 20% promotion, 80% other things. This might be slightly different in a community business where the things that you are promoting are free to attend, but all the things in this article are still relevant. Give it a read!
Accessibility and Inclusion:
- Do you share images online? Make sure that you include ALT Text (image descriptions) to help those who use screenreaders to access your images. You can find out more about ALT text and how to do it well here.
- Do you capitalise your hashtags? If you write your hashtags without capitals (e.g. #creativecommission) screenreaders read it as one long word. If you write them with capitals (e.g. #CreativeCommission) screenreaders are able to read them properly. This makes your social media posts more accessible.
- How do you put captions on videos online? You can do this using free tools like otter.ai - this is also a great website for making transcripts of your videos too. Having both available makes any video you post online more accessible.
- Designing something or putting something on your website? Make sure the contrast ratio between text and background is high enough that it can be read - for example, yellow text on a white background is bad, but black text on a white background is good. Here is a contrast ratio checker you can use.
- Does your art contain something that might be upsetting or triggering to others (causing them to have a dip in mental health)? This could be a graphic image or topic explored - or even a painting of a snake or spider! If so, do include a trigger warning (TW) or content warning (CW) at the top of your event/post/advert/promotion/gallery entrance to warn people. if you are on posting on social media, leave a few lines with just a full stop in them after your trigger warning too. All of these things will prevent people seeing content that will accidentally cause them distress.
- Do you sometimes post tutorials on how to make things? If you tell people how long something will take, make sure you add the word 'generally' or 'around' before you say the time. This is more inclusive because not everyone completes things at the same speed, sometimes due to a disability. (e.g. this origami elephant will generally take around 10 minutes to make)
Selling Your Art and Running A Creative Business:
- Got art to sell but don't know where to start? Here's a Creative Person's Guide to Thoughtful Promotion.
- Looking for a place to sell your art? Art and Craft UK may be a good place to start. You can read more about what they offer here.
- How do you price your art? This blog has some good ideas of where to start - and this YouTube video is full of tips too. The Craft Council also has a useful info sheet on this topic.
- Want to put on an art show or viewing? This is a great article on how to do this in your own house - but also contains lots of useful tips for shows in galleries too.
- Are you a self employed? Join the Freelance Heroes group on facebook to get a steady stream of tips and advice - and some good networking too.
- How should we interact as artists or creative businesses with the media (journalists, radio, TV, bloggers etc?). The Craft Council has a brilliant webinar exploring these topics here.
- Want to set up your own craft or art session? The Crafts Council has a great step by step guide on how to do this.
- Have you written your business plan yet? It's a great way to hone your creative ideas and gives you somewhere to check in to see if you are on the right creative track. It also helps you to make decisions - and making decisions is hard. It's well worth putting a little bit of time into it. Here's a great article telling you what it should include (but do it your way - it's meant to be a document that helps you!)
- Doing something cool? Make sure to tell the media! Here's a handy guide on how to write a press release...