Total Art Soul - for artists

" When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt. "
Henry Kaiser
Tags >> advice

different strokes...

Posted by: gringrimaceandsqueak

Tagged in: jewellery , drawing , business , advice


 I read a timely post in the forum here this morning on the subject of the different styles a single artist may have. This is something we here at Grin HQ have been giving a lot of thought to lately, now we're in our own place again. We are now in a position to start approaching bricks-and-mortar outlets, but with so many things on the go, where to start?


Since reading an article on a very successful artist/crafter who went bankrupt simply by trying to do too many things at once and tripping over his own cash flow, I've tried to restrict myself to testing my theories one at a time. The 'regular' artwork is something I do anyway for the technical practice so that's always been top of the list to get moving.

Fortunately, it's also the easiest- a trip to any store will tell you people for the most part like drawings of regular things- flowers, animals, landscapes. On the downside, this is where I have the most competition too and for an emerging artist, it can be difficult to get noticed. I've got round this by visiting local events and licensing work. So long as I move enough pieces to pay for that time, I'm happy- its necessary but not that exciting at the end of the day.


Then there's the masks we make, so far as we've been able to ascertain, nobody else is doing anything quite like them, which means it's either a genius plan...or everyone else knows something we don't :) Because it's a new venture, we've started by selling them online, keeping our overheads down and allowing us the most control over how fast this thing grows. That in itself has attracted other businesses, some of which we've worked with and some we turned down . On a personal level, sometimes it's just plain nice to sit down after a day of 2d black and white, to create something three dimensional in such brilliant colours. So, it's proving commercial and makes us happy.

Then, theres the....other stuff. Some of it, I'm not sure I like, but it's what my brain does so I've decided to make a feature of it. This work is harder- 'fantasy' work has to be so much more realistic if anyone is going to see it as real. For example, how many times have you looked at the sun shining through grass and thought 'if I painted it that shade of green, nobody would ever believe it'... ? Well, I've currently got a thing we know as Stephen running round my head, who has made it very plain he's not going anywhere until I've drawn him. So, hours spent online looking up human arms, spider eyes, you name it, to try and re-create the horror that has nested in my imagination.


Why? Certainly not for any commercial purposes, though I am tempted to collect this stuff until I'm a sweet little old lady then surprise the hell out everyone by exhibiting it all at once :) Until then, this is just for my own personal-what, gratification? That's not quite right, it's such hard work and most of my time is spent trying just to get my head around it, to tune in if you like. It's more a sense of this being the thing I was really meant to do, the one thing only I can do, simply because I'm the only one that sees them. I do know that nothing feels quite so exhilarating and terrifying as those times I've got it just right and I can see something come to life on the paper before me.

We've added some sketches in this vein to one of our shops, by way of a bit of variety but I guess what I'm trying to say is that for me at least, there's a big difference between the work I do for myself and the work I give to the everyone else. You really can't please everyone- so maybe the key is to look at what you do with a fresh eye, see where it might fit into the commercial market and anything that doesn't – well, that's where you get to please yourself.


Besides, by not doing everything at once, you can give your full attention to the task in hand and if that plan doesn't work, you've still got something in reserve...










Anne D'Alton's Blog - Become a better artist

Posted by: AnneDalton

Tagged in: advice


      Become a better artist?    Why not?      I am sure that you like myself, have occasionally produced a drawing or a painting with which you were not entirely satisfied.   Possible it was too rushed or you took some shortcuts but the outcome was not the best!     It could also be that you have too wide a range to perfect and that perhaps you could reduce your subjects to a particular genre and really specialise and go on to produce superb artworks in that field.

As an illustrator of cars and bikes, I know that there are some "masters" in this arena and I have been studying, though not copying, their work.   I have also been in contact with several of these artists, who have been immensely courteous and helpful to me.    Of course, it comes across clearly to me, that the reason their drawings and paintings are so excellent, is that they never rush nor ever take shortcuts and that they, as I do myself, practice, practice and practice.      I do not intend to limit myself to such works, but I hope this subject I enjoy so much and those of buildings, will, in future, form the most important part of my work as an artist.

I am happy to say, that looking through my recent sketch pads, that emulating these "greats" is producing results, which I hope shortly to put into a series of automotive illustrations.    So, now, I can let  you know, that it is eminently possible to become a better artist....

Happy and successful painting,



This doesn't mean I can do it :)

Which is why I was so delighted when Etsy provided a link to this blog which explains how to set up your tweets and other online promotional stuff whilst you're asleep if your customers are on the other side of the world- or if you're away for a while and want to maintain a presence.


I thought it worth briefly outlining the two pointers we found most useful, the ones I can't believe I hadn't figured out for myself :)


Assuming you're using google analytics (if not, why not- its free and even I can understand it since most of it is brightly coloured pictures) to monitor visitors to your site, you will already know where in the world most of your traffic is coming from. We are most popular in California and, obscurely, Texas.

We live in the Uk so obviously need to time our new listings and things to match when our customers are online to get the most views.  I'd figured later in the day- Etsy is on New York time which means its about five hours behind us.  However, changing our google visitors analytics from daily to hourly showed that most of them are on whilst they're having breakfast. Mad, the lot of them!

 The other thing to consider here is checking your analytics are set to the correct time zone for you, in our case GMT.  Having done these things, I've changed when I post things online and indeed views have doubled by posting and tweeting to match my customers hours.

If that's not possible for you, this is where some of the other tools come into their own, but I'll pass you back to the blog for that :) Thanks to Morphologica on Etsy for sharing her expertise.


Any questions, feel free to message us,

Karen and Rich





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