Who Am I? An Art Supply Poem

By Nicole Tinkham

art-supply-poem.jpg

Stroll down aisle 3 and you will see
An array of colors lined up perfectly
I may not always be sharp, but can be BRIGHT
I’m easy to lose, so keep me in sight
For I like to roll away, left and right
I’m also fragile as you will find
Please don’t drop me, just be kind
Don’t be fooled by my tough outside
I’m very delicate on the inside
Do you know what I am yet, am I being clear?
If not, keep reading and have no fear
You will get this, for this I know
Help me make my POINT and I will show
Just grab my friend on the shelf below
If you want me, you can’t just leave with one
Take my friends too for some more fun
If you’re serious about your art
Grab the set for a great start
Beware, you can’t use me alone
So head back over to aisle one
Choose a book or a sheet
Doesn’t matter, both are neat
If you don’t like a blank page
Adult coloring books are all the rage
Pick up me and some of my friends
I can assure you the fun never ends
Until of course I am no more
Then you’ll have to head back to the store
Don’t worry, I’m long and slender
I last awhile but not forever
So have I given you enough clues?
Am I the one you would choose?
If you know what I am, let me know
By leaving a comment in the box below

Why Isn’t Anyone Buying My Artwork??

By Nicole Tinkham

artwork

When your artwork just isn’t selling, your first thoughts might be that you’re a terrible artist. Of course this isn’t true but as soon as that one thought creeps in, the negative voices start to flood your mind. First of all, shut them up right now because we know just how amazing you really are. Secondly, we’re about to unveil the mystery and explain why your artwork isn’t selling-it’ll blow your mind. None of the following 5 reasons has anything to do with the quality of your work. Now let’s dive in so you can start earning some money through your artwork!

1.    Your presentation

To sell your artwork you must create a vision so the buyer can picture how incredible it will look in their space. Photograph it hung on the wall of your own (or a friends) home where it really stands out and makes a statement. Be sure your lighting is on point and really accentuates your work. If your art is hung in a gallery, consider how easy that gallery is to find and the shape that gallery is in. A nice clean environment is what you’re looking for. You must be professional when showing your work. Remember that this is a business so invest in the tools (photographer, lighting, camera, etc.) you need to show off your incredible work in the best possible way.

2.    Your pricing

Can we agree that pricing your artwork to sell is hands down the most difficult part of being an artist? If you price it too high, people will walk away. Too low and you’re undervaluing your work. When setting your pricing, consider the time spent creating, the money that went into supplies, and your own expertise (how experienced of an artist are you?). This should help you with the process and we recommend looking to other successful artists to learn from them as well.

3.    Your relationship with buyers

If you only have one thing in mind (money) when talking to potential buyers, they will know! No one likes to be sold on anything, even if it’s something they actually want. However, people can connect through genuine relationships. So before you make a sale with someone, get to know them a little first. What is their family like? What do they like to do on the weekends? Be interested in them and you’re more likely to get that sale. And don’t be discouraged if you don’t! They may turn around and do business with you later on.
4.    Your marketing

You cannot expect to create a masterpiece and instantly have a ton of buyers flock to you. Just like Target can’t put a vacuum on sale without telling anyone about it and expect to sell a ton of them. The key is getting out there in front of people. Let the world know what you’re doing and what you have to offer. How is anyone going to buy that fish painting you did a year ago when you never share it with anyone? Do people outside of your close network even know that you’re an artist?? This is something your neighbor’s cousin should know! Share what you’re doing on your website, social media sites, at events, casual conversation, and anywhere else you can think of. By the way, marketing isn’t anything complicated. You can certainly get into a whole marketing plan but for now, let’s keep it simple. This is your life so just talk about what you do.

5.    You aren’t standing out

We aren’t saying that your artwork isn’t amazing because we’ve seen it (through our Facebook page) and it truly is wonderful. What we’re saying is to understand your potential customers. What are they looking for? How can you make your artwork stand out from everything else? If what you’re doing right now isn’t working, try something different. Maybe it’s a matter of choosing a different subject, a different size canvas, or a color palette you don’t normally work with. Learn new techniques and keep expanding your skills.

If you’re sitting there right now thinking that your artwork is garbage and that’s why you aren’t selling anything, think again. It all has to do with what happens AFTER the artwork is complete, for example, pricing and marketing yourself. Never doubt yourself. You are so very talented and there are many people who are just dying to get their hands on your creations. They just have to know about you and the work that you do. So when in a rut, refer back to these 5 reasons why no one is buying your artwork and make some adjustments where needed.

Have you been successful in selling your artwork? Please leave a comment below with your best tips!

12 Quick Tips For Creating An Art Portfolio

By Nicole Tinkham

art-portfolio

If someone were to ask to see your art portfolio, what would your response be? Do you have one? Do you even know what the purpose of one is? If you’ve never heard of it, an art portfolio is basically a resume for artists used for a new job or when trying to get into an art gallery. And even if you don’t have plans for either, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the idea altogether. Aside from the professional use, art portfolios are also a nice reminder to yourself of how far you’ve come and a great way to show off your work to friends and family. Let’s face it; you rarely have your artwork readily available to show samples of. This can help! Whether you’re doing it just for you or you have something in particular you’ll need one for, read on for 12 quick tips for creating an art portfolio.

1.    Best work only. We know how difficult it is to eliminate some things from your art portfolio (although, it is really awesome that you love your own work so much!) but limit your portfolio to your best work only. This is your first impression so set your artwork standards high. Choose 10-20 of your best pieces to feature.

2.    Consider placement. Start off with one of your top pieces and end with a bang as well. All of the work you display will be your best put pick the best of the best to start and finish with.

3.    Artwork must be complete. It may be tempting to throw a work in progress in there that you’re really proud of but when it comes to your art portfolio, make sure all pieces are complete. Incomplete pieces are unprofessional and show that you don’t finish what you start.

4.    Work on it often. Chances are, you need to put together an art portfolio for a new job or to get into an art gallery. Once those things are accomplished, don’t just forget about your portfolio. Keep working on it and making changes. You never know when you may need it again.

5.    Don’t try too hard. You want your art portfolio to be an accurate overview of you and your artwork. Loosen up and be yourself! Trying too hard to give them what you think they want is just lying to them and yourself.

6.    Remember the details. Every single piece in your art portfolio needs to be labeled with the title, medium, and date.

7.    Make everything flow. You’ll want to show your best work and a variety of different pieces but you also need to make sure all artwork makes sense together.

8.    Get a little help. Ask fellow artists which pieces they think should go in your art portfolio. Make sure you choose people who will give you their honest opinion and remember to not become discouraged with criticism.

9.    Read the requirements. If you’re putting together your art portfolio for a specific purpose, make sure to read over any guidelines and requirements.

10.    Be organized. We know the struggle of organization and we typically say everyone is different when it comes to this and that’s ok. But when it comes to your art portfolio, organization is a must. Make sure your artwork is matted, straight, and looks presentable.

11.    Focus on the work. Your art portfolio can be unique and a little different but don’t go too overboard and take away from the most important part, the artwork. Highlight art rather than take away from it. Remember that!

12.    Take photos. Any large pieces that cannot fit in your art portfolio should be included in a photo. Must be taken at a professional-like level with proper lighting.

The first time you put your art portfolio together, it does not have to be perfect. This is so important to remember because striving for perfection could keep you from starting it altogether. Art portfolios are meant to be adjusted as you go. You’ll be adding new work as you improve and taking old work out. Really, the more you’re changing up your art portfolio, the better. This means you’re growing as an artist. So take a good look at all of your artwork and just start piecing it together. Have fun with it and review these 12 quick tips for creating an artist portfolio so you know you’re on the right track.

Tell us, do you have an art portfolio that’s up to date??

7 Ways To Have Fun With Your Art Again And Why It’s So Important

By Nicole Tinkham

fun-art

It’s possible you got started on this art journey for one reason: To have fun (so we’re guessing anyway). That’s how many artists begin their art career. They have a passion for art and they take the leap and start creating to earn an income. Doing what you absolutely love for work is the ultimate dream. But what happens when it begins to feel more like “work” and less like fun? We all get into these ruts from time to time so don’t get down on yourself for feeling this way. Maybe you’re stuck on a particular project, can’t think of any creative ideas, or just lost your spark. Don’t give up on that dream just yet. Before doubting yourself thinking you just weren’t cut out for the art life, read on for 7 ways to have fun with your art again and why it’s so important.

1.    Try something new

When it comes down to just trying something new with your art there are endless ways to mix things up. Need ideas? We got ‘em!

Try a different medium, take an art workshop, paint a different subject, work outside, work with other artist friends, learn a new skill or technique, change up your color palette, listen to music while you work, work in silence, work on a different size canvas, create something just for yourself, watch some art YouTube videos, pick up a new book for inspiration, take on a new challenge (like a 30 day sketchbook challenge), find a new tool to try out, sit rather than stand when creating, change your environment, work from real life versus a photo, and our list goes on and on..

One of the main reasons why you could be feeling less than enthusiastic about the work that you’re doing is because you’re burned out. You’ve been doing the same things for far too long and it has simply gotten boring. Any little shift in the way you work or what you’re working on can bring new creative inspiration and joy into your artwork.

2.    Work in a creative atmosphere

As we mentioned above about doing the same things over and over again, being in the same environment day after day can also wear you down. Your environment has a huge effect on your feelings and your feelings have a huge impact on your artwork. Maybe your studio needs a makeover. Rearrange things so your space makes you feel happy. You’ll notice a huge difference not only in your attitude but also in the quality of your artwork.
Our biggest suggestions when making adjustments to your art space are to get organized (yes, you may have to get rid of things you no longer use!), have plenty of natural light, lots of colorful inspiration, and some plants. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you’re comfortable in your space.

3.    Take a vacation

Just because you work for yourself as an artist doesn’t mean you can’t take days off! Plan vacations, weekends, and random days off. Do something new or something that you really enjoy outside of the studio. This gives you something to look forward to so you’re not just going through the motions every day and a nice break can bring on fresh, new creative ideas.

Be sure you get away for a bit even if it’s for a day trip. This is so refreshing and you won’t have work sitting around to worry about. Shut off your mind and actually relax! Another important thing to keep in mind is your daily business hours. Remember that you need breaks throughout the day as well.

4.    Loosen up and remember your why

Just when you’re about to give up and feel totally defeated, you must remember why you started in the first place. Remember that anxious and excited feeling when you were first starting out? You had so much joy and big goals for yourself. You started out loose and creating artwork for fun which showed in your work. As you go, you may become strict with your artwork and put more pressure on yourself. This is when the mood about your artwork shifts. You may start to resent the work that you’re doing. Instead, get back to the good ole days, create for the fun of it, and loosen up.

5.    Be yourself and trust your inner voice

It’s incredibly easy to slide out of your true personality and start acting differently once you get your art business rolling. You start to conform to what you think others want and what you see other artists doing. But it’s so important that you remain true to yourself. For starters, you’ll have fun being yourself. It’s much more difficult, draining, and time consuming trying to be someone else. Also, people need what you have to offer specifically. You were born to bring something special to this world so don’t just be a copy of someone else. Be your own unique self.

We recommend sitting down and really thinking about who you are, what your values are, and what you want to give to the world. Check in with yourself frequently to make sure you’re on point with your priorities and goals.

6.    Smile while you work

You don’t have to wait for something good to happen before you can put a smile on your face. Wear a smile no matter what, even if you’re having a terrible day. It tricks your mind and actually does put you in a better mood. Don’t believe us? Go ahead and try it 🙂

A simple smile makes you happy which helps you have fun in whatever you’re doing and also puts others in a better mood as well. You can attract better, more positive clients and just be happier in your business altogether.

7.    Work with people you love

You may think this sounds totally crazy but you do not have to work with negative clients who stress you out. Choose to work with the people you get along with and who make you happy. It makes dealing with clients much easier and a happier experience for you both. You can also gain a strong lasting relationship and build trust with them. It’s much better to have quality clients who stick around than flaky ones who cause you stress.

Why is it so important to love what you do?

Would you wake up on your days off, weekends, and vacations to scrub the bathroom floor and spend the day doing other miserable things you hate doing? Yes, these things need to be done but chances are you won’t be doing these things all day long on every single day you have available. With that being said, why would you wake up every day and spend your time doing things you don’t like even when it’s for work? What we’re trying to say is life is just too short to not like what you do and by the way, you do have a choice. You chose to be an artist for a reason, because it excites you and you enjoy it. Just because your flame may be going out doesn’t mean you should give up on that dream. You can easily bring that spark to life by applying the 7 ways to have fun with your art.

Remember, you were born for more than to just go through the motions of every day life. You may have to tweak your path but you should never give up on your dreams.

Spring Clean Your Mind – 4 Methods To Getting Creative Ideas On Paper

By Nicole Tinkham

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We hear it just about every day and although we like to joke about it, it’s a serious struggle among many artists. Do you ever feel like you’re too creative? It may sound odd but there are simply not enough hours in the day to get all of those creative ideas out. Sometimes you’re in the middle of a project when new ideas strike or they pop up right when you’re trying to fall asleep. It’s really a blessing if you think about it, but we also know how frustrating this can be. We like to think of this overwhelming feeling as an art attack. So many ideas flood your mind at once and it becomes difficult to keep track of everything. However, we’ve found that getting it all out on paper helps to ease the mind a little and make room for even more brilliant ideas. If you’re familiar with spring cleaning, this is something much more fun. We’re going to show you how to spring clean your mind! We’ll walk you through 4 different methods to getting creative ideas on paper so you can start thinking clearly.

1.    Write it.

Have an hour or so long date with your sketchbook or journal. Start jotting down all the projects you’re currently thinking about and any details that go along with them. These are fresh ideas in your head right now. Now think back to some ideas you had awhile back (if you can remember them) and jot those down. From there, just open your mind up to creative inspiration and write down every single thing that pops into your head in the moment.

2.    Record it.

Are you a talker? Sometimes it’s just easier and quicker to talk aloud what your thought process is. If that’s the case, use a voice recorder. Use the same steps as above but instead of writing everything out, just record it. Later you can have it transcribed or transcribe it yourself. Sometimes it’s helpful having it physically on paper.

3.    Brainstorm it.

Get together with some artsy friends and have a brainstorm session. This will help produce new ideas you may not have thought of before, a new perspective on the ideas you have floating around in your head, a direction for where to start, and most likely brand new ideas to write down. Get everything written down or recorded during your brainstorm session. Remember, the whole idea of spring cleaning your mind is to get those idea OUT OF YOUR HEAD!

4.    Schedule it.

Getting the ideas out of your head and on paper is step #1. Now if you want to actually produce those creative projects, they need to go right in your schedule. Make time for your art or your ideas will never get done! Prioritize your projects and get started on them right away.

We know spring cleaning your home can be a hassle but there’s opportunity to have fun when spring cleaning your mind. Getting all those creative ideas out will free up you mind for even more ideas. Trust us this is so incredibly refreshing to do! No matter if you’re a “write it down” kind of person, a talker, a social butterfly or super organized, you can brain dump all of those ideas and actually begin to make them happen using the methods mentioned in this blog for getting ideas on paper. Now the issue of actually getting them done comes in. Don’t worry we have a blog for that too 🙂

How You Really Should Be Sharpening Your Prismacolors

By Nicole Tinkham

prismacolors
Have you ever had your colored pencil lead break off right in the middle of a project?? We hear it all the time and know how incredibly frustrating it is. Not only do you have to stop everything you’re doing to fix the problem, it’s also such a waste of a really good pencil! If you’re a Prismacolor pencil fan, you know just how vulnerable they are. You may think all hope is lost and your only option is to deal with the breakage, but there is actually a correct way to sharpen colored pencils that will help! Here’s how you should really be sharpening your Prismacolors.

Our favorite — The very basic handheld sharpeners

sharpener

Why we love them: They’re small, simple, inexpensive, and portable.

Tip: Don’t put a lot of pressure while sharpening! This could cause the lead to break. Instead be very gentle. It may be easier to sharpen the pencil vertically versus horizontally.

Check your sharpener: When your pencil shavings are short little bits, it means your sharpener blade is dull. Be sure to have nice long shavings when you sharpen. Sometimes the blades are replaceable and with others you’ll just have to buy a new sharpener.

 Go old school — Knife

Using a knife is a quick and easy way to sharpen your pencils but one drawback is that it’s the most dangerous option. Be very careful when doing this and always sharpen away from you.

Tip: Rotate the pencil so you get a nice shave all the way around.

Super simple — Sandpaper

sand-paper

Another different way to sharpen colored pencils (or other drawing tools such as charcoal and pastels) that we love is with sandpaper.

What to look for: There are special sandpaper blocks made for the artist which are basically layers of sandpaper stapled together on a wooden block (see image above).

Why we love them: They’re so convenient, you can take them anywhere, and just tear off a sheet after use for a fresh new one.

Tip: Be sure to rotate your pencil as you run it across the sandpaper surface so it’s a nice and even sharpen.

Electric sharpeners are debatable

We love electric pencil sharpeners for graphite pencils but they aren’t our top choice for colored pencils. However, every artist is different and we do know some that use an electric sharpener.

What we don’t like: You don’t have as much control and sometimes it can be too much force for the delicate colored pencil.

Another drawback: The wax from the pencils will eventually clog the sharpener.

Hand crank sharpeners — DO NOT USE!

These classroom style pencil sharpeners were not made for colored pencils. Don’t even try them because they can destroy your precious colored pencils!

DID YOU KNOW??

When your pencil lead is broken, you can leave it out in the sun for a few minutes. The heat will soften the wax lead and fuse the pieces back together.

Keep in mind that every artist is different so you may have to play around with a few options to see what works best for you. Some people have the magic touch using a handheld sharpener and others are really great at using the sandpaper method. Whichever you choose, always make sure to handle with care. Prismacolors are incredible colored pencils but so delicate. Treat them well and they’ll last awhile. We want to hear some of your top tips when it comes to colored pencils! How do you sharpen yours? How do you prevent the lead from breaking? Let us know in the comments 🙂

18 Office Supplies Every Artist Needs

By Nicole Tinkham

Office-supplies
Fun fact that you may not know about Keeton’s: We provide both office supplies and quality art supplies. Most people think we do one or the other but we’re actually very passionate about both areas. First of all, who says an office worker doesn’t have a creative side? And who says office supplies can’t be used by the artist?? To prove our point, we’ve created this list of 18 office supplies that every artist needs and how to use them in your next project.

1.    Tape

Masking tape works wonders for holding down your watercolor paper.

2.    Scissors

Every scrap booker knows that quality scissors are a must!

3.    Trimmers

These make life so much easier when working on paper art.

4.    Adhesives

Super glue, glue dots, glue sticks, rubber cement, spray adhesive, and hot glue can all be helpful in your art projects.

5.    Sharpies

With SO MANY colors, why are these even considered an office supply?? In the art world, they are solely for the purpose of creating 🙂

6.    Cardstock

A heavier paper is ideal for handmade cards.

7.    Colorful paper

Brightly colored paper makes any stamper or paper crafter happy.

8.    Pencils (& sharpeners and erasers)

You may not have as many options (HB is the standard) in office pencils but erasers and sharpeners are also a must!

9.    Bulletin board

Instead of office memos, use a bulletin board to post all of your creative ideas.

10.    Rolling storage crate

Business professionals use these to lug around catalogs and samples. You can use them to easily transport your supplies to workshops and art shows.

11.    Planner

Some artists love using a planner and others don’t. We think it’s a great way for anyone to keep track of their daily tasks and be more productive.

12.    Thumb drives

Whether you’re a computer artist or hands on, you’ll need at least one thumb drive. Use it to store creative inspiration and photos of your artwork.

13.    X-ACTO knife (& cutting mat)

If you’re cutting any type of heavier paper, an X-ACTO knife is essential.

14.    Notebook

Notebook, sketchbook, or journal.. No matter what it is you use, it’s important to get your ideas on paper.

15.    Packing supplies (boxes, tape and bubble wrap)

You may not think of these supplies but what happens when you sell a piece and have to ship it?? It never hurts to have packing supplies on hand.

16.    Sticky notes

We cannot stress how important it is for EVERYONE to use Post-it Notes! As ideas pop in your head, write down little reminders. Get assorted colors to make it fun.

17.    Photo paper

You can get quality prints with your home printer and quality photo paper makes all the difference.

18.    Ruler

A basic ruler is a must for every artist whether it’s used for measuring or for creating straight lines.

Here’s a little tip for you. Sometimes you’re better off getting certain supplies through an office supply store (like us) rather than a specialty art store. You’ll get a much better deal on masking tape through office supplies than if you were to get art specific tape that does the same thing. This is why we love having the best of both worlds. Are there any non traditional “art supplies” you use in your work? Let us know in the comments!