Juicy Details On What’s Happening In The Art Department – We Interview Frank

We had the HONOR of interviewing Frank Perry, the art department manager here at Keeton’s. This man is so knowledgeable, so insightful and in this interview he exposes some exciting news happening in the art department. Read on for the juicy details.

1.    What are some of your job duties at Keeton’s? How long have you been with the company?

I have been with Keeton’s for 17 years and every day I come to work it is a new and exciting adventure.  There is never a dull moment as we are continuing to update our product mix, schedule exciting events and new workshops, and enjoying the best customers who just love to visit our store.

2.    Can you describe Keeton’s when you first started working there?

When I first came to Keeton’s, we were three small aisles of some office supplies and just a hint of art supplies.  Keeton’s had just made the commitment to expand and remodel its retail store when so many independent dealers across the country were closing.

3.    What are some recent changes you have seen regarding the art department, art workshops, and art events?

This past year, and especially with the new dedicated art workshop space, we have really expanded our art workshop offering.  We are booking local and national talent and are hoping that we have something to offer for everyone – novice and expert alike.  We continue to update our product mix and pride ourselves in having the latest and newest of art materials.  The addition of a custom frame shop has really helped us become a destination and one stop shop for artists.

4.    From what you’ve heard and seen, how do customers like these changes?

Customers LOVE the new dedicated art workshop room.  No interruptions.  A special place to gather and really focus on art.  State of the art 70” digital monitors and sound system.  Customers also love seeing what is new on the art materials scene.  Being visual people, artists love to come in and SEE the new colors and TOUCH the new surfaces.

5.    How has your team come together to make a positive experience for customers during these changes?

We love what we do and our customers reinforce our commitment everyday.  The team loves to share in the excitement of acquiring new products, seeing the finished product, and celebrating the next exhibition, show prize, or art sale.

6.    What is the next big thing you are looking forward to seeing in the Keeton’s art department and how will it benefit customers?

We are in negotiations with some nationally recognized instructors which will complement the local talent we already have teaching with us.  We are gearing up for the upcoming Florida Watercolor Society’s annual convention and trade show in September. AND, we hope to eventually have themed art exhibitions regularly as another outlet for our customers and instructors to showcase his or her art.

You may or may not be a local artist but regardless, we thank you for learning a little more about our art department and our team of art enthusiasts here at Keeton’s. We must say, we are very proud of how far we’ve come and have much more in store for you, even for those of you who are not local 😉 . Stay tuned for more updates, interviews, product info and more!

Who Am I? An Art Supply Poem

By Nicole Tinkham


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

Inside Scoop: What It’s Really Like To Work At A Small Office & Art Supply Store

By Nicole Tinkham


I’m Nicole and I’m one of the customer service representatives at Keeton’s. We get artists in here all the time who absolutely love our store and I would really like to share with you what the Keeton’s life is really like. You may be thinking “what does this girl know about art supplies? She works in the back office dealing with office supplies.” But I actually started out in the art department, moved around a little, and am also writing these blogs and posting on our Facebook page. So if you were wondering who you’ve been talking to on the Keeton’s Facebook page that would be either me or Caleb, our customer service manager.

So let’s get right into what it’s really like to work at a small office and art supply store…

I began working at Keeton’s 4 years ago after graduating from Ringling College of Art & Design. You may think I’d be an expert on everything art related but let me be honest, I did all my artwork on the computer and while I’m familiar with different art supplies and techniques, I’m by no means an expert. The Keeton’s art department can be so overwhelming for a newbie like I was, trying to learn about all these incredible supplies! When I had a bit of downtime I’d walk up and down the aisles, discovering new things then running over to Joey asking her what it was used for. I definitely learned a lot from her. I was also able to sit in on the art demos we had going on and play around with new mediums in the evening after work with a lovely artist named Nan.

My time in the art department was definitely an experience. I’ve worked at other stores in the past but there’s a totally different vibe when you’re working in a creative space. Customers are so much fun because they’re there for their passion, not because they have to be. They actually really enjoy being there! Also, my creative co-workers love being here too which makes all the difference.

You may be wondering why I left the magical art department to work in the back office in customer service. I switched over because Keeton’s saw my potential when it came to my creative skills on the computer through writing and graphics and I needed an area where I could focus on that. Even though I remained in the same building (we only have one location in downtown Bradenton, FL), the switch was huge. I was now talking to customers over the phone about office supplies. Again, it was an opportunity for me to learn even more and connect with new customers that I had never talked to before. I honestly don’t think I could do this customer service work without my co-workers though. Being a small company, we really help each other out. Everyone here has their own areas of knowledge (Jeff is the machines expert, Sue knows everything about custom stamps, Dianne helps customers get their logo on various products, just to name a few). Every single person has their thing that they do well and when we all come together, I truly believe we create an experience for the customers like no other.

Being a smaller company, we are also able to do fun activities outside of work too. We’ve done a sunset cruise, bowling night, and will even have a paint night right here in our brand new art room. I’ve worked at much larger companies in the past and we never once did anything like this. In fact, at a previous job I got married and changed my last name and no one even noticed!

It doesn’t matter what department you’re working in, Keeton’s as a whole (office and art supplies alike) is a friendly and creative place. It’s incredible what can be accomplished when working in the right environment with the right people. And by people, I mean co-works AND customers alike. You all are incredible and make coming to work every day worthwhile.

Thank you for being a reader of our blog, follower on social media and customer of ours. You really make Keeton’s a special place.

Our Top 17 Favorite Art Quotes That Only Artists Would Understand

By Nicole Tinkham


Have you ever seen a quote that just makes so much sense to your life in that moment? One that hits you right in the sweet spot? That’s exactly how we (and our artist friends) feel about the following art quotes. These are just some of what we’ve been sharing on our Facebook page to connect with and inspire other artists. Some are a little goofy, but all speak the truth. Read on for our top 17 favorite art quotes that only artists would understand.

1.    “Art Attack: The overwhelming feeling of having so many creative ideas at once and not enough time to do them.”

2.    “I don’t always paint but when I do, I get it all over my clothes.”

3.    “There’s no greater joy than that of new art supplies.”

4.    “Some women buy handbags. Some women buy shoes. I buy art supplies.”

5.    “Don’t judge an artist by their art room.”

6.    “Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” –Edgar Degas

7.    “The ‘Earth’ without ‘ART’ is just ‘EH’.”

8.    “Buy me art supplies and I’m yours.”

9.    “Money can’t buy happiness but it can buy art supplies. That’s pretty much the same thing, right?”

10.    “When life gets complicated, choose to create.”

11.    “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.” –Albert Einstein

12.    “Too many ideas, not enough time.”

13.    “You did not wake up today to be mediocre.”

14.    “Let’s escape. Let’s do art.”

15.    “My art doesn’t ask silly questions. It understands.”

16.    “I was created to create.”

17.    “I’d stop buying art supplies but I’m not a quitter.”

Do any of these art quotes relate to you? If so, save this blog and take a look at our 17 favorite art quotes for a little motivation, or a good laugh 🙂 Artists have to stick together. We are a unique community of people and not everyone understands us. But that’s ok because we understand each other! If you have any great art quotes for us to add to our list, please leave a comment below.

What Is A Rapidograph And How You Can Use One In Your Art

By Nicole Tinkham


You may have heard of the term “Rapidograph” and thought to yourself “what in the world is that?” To be honest, I felt the same way until I did some research on it, only to discover that it’s a very simple tool (with a name like “Rapidograph”, I thought it would be much more complex). Since this tool has some very helpful qualities, I thought it would be a great product to feature this month. Read on to discover what a Rapidograph is and how you can use it in your art.

Are you ready for this? A Rapidograph is simply the name for a technical pen. That’s it! I don’t know about you but I had some type of machine in my head when I first heard the name. Often times you’ll find that engineers and architects use this type of pen to produce detailed drawings. It helps to keep lines consistent in these types of works, where precision is incredibly important.

“Isograph” is another term you may hear thrown around. It’s just a technical pen in which you can refill the ink. Rapidograph pens on the other hand, have replacement ink cartridges.

When it comes to technical pens, you have many different options. You can go with one of our favorites, a Sakura Pigma Micron pen which is not refillable and has a plastic tip in 7 sizes ranging from 0.2-0.5mm. The Koh-I-Noor also makes a Rapidosketch that’s a great refillable option with a metal tip in 3 different sizes (0.25-0.5mm).

Now there is a trick to using technical pens that you should be aware of. You may be tempted to hold the pen at an angle, like you most likely would when sketching. However, these pens are designed to be held perpendicular to the paper. Smooth surfaces work best for technical pens as rougher surfaces can damage the tip.

As mentioned, Rapidograph pens were originally created for engineering and architecture drafting. However, many other artists have been fond of using technical pens for various illustrations, comics and lettering. If you love working in fine detail and precision, this could be the pen for you.

If you’re anything like us, you love learning about new products, techniques and inspiration. The idea for this blog about Rapidograph pens and how to use them in your art actually came from an artist friend on our Facebook page. Tell us, what would you like to learn about next in our blog? Just leave a comment below and it could be featured!

Why Isn’t Anyone Buying My Artwork??

By Nicole Tinkham


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


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??