Thursday, August 24, 2017

how to start selling your artwork

I get asked all kinds of questions about all sorts of creative things and once in a while I take the time to answer the frequently asked questions here on my blog!

Something I get asked a lot is how to get started selling your artwork and today I am the best advice I can give

Before you even start to think about selling your art or craft, you MUST have a good body of work! Now, this is going to look different depending on the things you create but it really helps to begin with enough art or products that look and feel like a cohesive collection that best represents you and your style.
Take time to develop your style before your jump into selling your art.
Be patient with this process! Taking time to really identify your style will save you the trouble of needing to change things further on down the road. 
Challenge yourself to create a collection of art or handmade items. I like to think of a collection as enough products to fill an online shop or a good amount of paintings that can be added to a portfolio. 

Taking great photos of your work is one of the most important ways to capture the things that make your art unique. Over time and experience, I have learned that good lighting will make all the different in a photo. My #1 rule is to always have good lighting. This means I try to use as much natural light as possible and I never use flash.
Try finding a window or place that has natural light and use this spot to photograph you work. Keep in mind natural light changes over time and can be affected by weather. I like to shoot photos in front of a window with the light source at my back. 
If using natural light is not an option, then you might want to invest in some soft box lights. Having lighting will enable you to take well lit photos at any time of the day. I use these lights in my studio. 
When taking photos of products use backgrounds that are simple. I like using white butcher paper in natural light because products appear bright and crisp in photos.

Trying to sell your work in a gallery, small boutique, craft bazaar or art festival is a great way to experiment with showing and selling your art and craft. This process can be intimidating and even scary but it can also be a valuable way to interact with the public, get instant feedback on your work and gain experience selling. While this topic could be a post in itself I want to at least share a handful of ways to get started.


Creating stock well in advance is really important. Most customers shopping at a art festival or craft show are looking for lots of inventory to shop from. Creating a lot of products and offering variety will attract customers. 
Prepare and plan out your booth ahead of time! Different shows have different booth requirements so make sure you are aware of the required size and if there are any rules or regulations for what you can bring or set up. Laying out your booth and setting it up ahead of time (not when you show up the day of the show) will help for a smooth set up process when you arrive. 
Get creative with your booth display! Color, unique signage, interesting and ways to display our work will only help to attract shoppers into your booth.  
Have a variety of products at different price points. 
Know how to price your work. A simple formula to follow- TIME + MATERIALS= COST 
Make sure you have tags for your products, business cards, unique or fun packaging- all these things make a customer shopping at a craft show feel a little more special.  
Have a mailing list sign up available for customers to sign. 

I am going to start by saying that getting your work into galleries or even getting a solo show is can be hard and it typically isn't something that happens right away. Often you need to grow a body of work, build your portfolio, network with galleries and start small. In my experience, having worked in galleries and museums, I've found that this world is a little (dare I say) pretentious (just my opinion) and it can be a tough world to break into. But once you get your foot in the door, more opportunities can open up. Thankfully the art world is changing and these days it seems like there are more than just galleries that hang, show and sell art. Restaurants and coffee shops, even office buildings and unique stores show and sell fine art.
When it comes to showing your art it often means starting small. Don't limit yourself to only looking for BIG opportunities at popular galleries- sometimes the little opportunities can lead to bigger things. 
Put together a comprehensive portfolio- digital and hard copy. This way you can email or send your work to potential contacts and opportunities. 
Always keep your portfolio updated and fresh. Add new work as you create it and try to challenge yourself to create art that could be appealing for a gallery or an art show. 
Do your research! These days galleries have websites where you can access their information and many of then even have a place to submit your work. 
Don't be afraid or discouraged by small opportunities to show or hang you work. Each of these smaller opportunities can be used to build your creative resume.
Think outside the box! Maybe you don't have galleries in your community but do you have other places and spaces that need art for their walls? Try getting creative and BRAVE and approach local businesses that might be a good fit for your work. 

Getting your art or handmade goods into shops and boutiques is as simple as walking in and asking to speak to the manager. This method takes a lot of courage (and often a manager might not be there) so email is another great way to reach out to retail opportunities. 
Made sure you understand pricing. When selling your work, retail buyers often take a percentage of your sales so you MUST be strategic when you set your prices.  
Depending on what you make, you may find that it's not profitable to sell certain products. But with a little planning you can tweak, adjust and even come up with new products so that it works for you.
Knowing your customers and where your work fits will help you find the right retail opportunities.  
Have a price list with great photos of your products all ready to go- this can be sent via email if you have inquiries about your work. 
One the the quickest easiest way to sell your handmade goods (or even services) is by opening an online shop. The internet is such a great resources for connecting with customers all over the world. These days creating an online shop is super fast and easy.

NAME YOUR SHOP: Some artists use their names while others will come up with a shop name. If you are naming you shop, try to choose that name carefully because it will stick with you and your business for a LONG time.
BRANDING:  Branding your shop- in other words create a look and feel that represents you- will only help you to stand out amongst all those other handmade shops. A logo, an eye catching banner, photography, the brand of your shop should look cohesive and feel like you! 
GOOD PHOTOS:  Customers browsing and shopping online typically have a short attention span and that it why good quality photos are so important when putting your work online. Photos that are good, clean and clear of visual clutter will help your shop look professional. 
BE PATIENT: Don't expect sales to happen over night! As hard as it is to accept, opening an online shop requires a lot of patience, trial and error and experimenting with marketing. 
PRICING: Take time to price your goods. Your first priority should be making a profit and as tempting as it is to keep your prices low (really low) in the long term (after time spent making, marketing, shop fees, packing and shipping), it will be worth it price things higher or at least high enough so you make a profit. 

Social media is one the easiest ways to market and spread the word about the products or services that you offer. It is also a great way to connect with other people out there. While there are all kind of ways to get creative with social networking here are the things that seem to work the best:

FACEBOOK: Facebook is a great tool for building readership, marketing your work and even building a community centered around your business and the things you share. To begin, make sure you have a facebook page. Take it it a step further and promote the things you share on your page. Anything from links to your blog posts to inspiring images, quotes, your products are all things you can share on facebook. Try not to over promote- instead try to create a place where your friends can check in and see what you have going on. I've got to be honest, I am not a big fan of facebook but for me it has helped get the word out to fans, readers and customers. Facebook has become one of many marketing tools that I lean on when I need to spread the word!
TWITTER: LIke Facebook, Twitter is another tool to spread the word. Posting links to your blog content, your online shop or your website is pretty much a no brainer but using Twitter is a great way to connect with your readers in a more personal way. Posting things that inspire you, little tid bits about your day, your creative process, your life helps your readers feel more connection to you and your everyday life. Take it a step further and follow bloggers and personalities in your industry. Tweet and retweet those people and the content that they share. This is a great way to make connections and build your community.

INSTAGRAM: Instagram is one of my favorite social networking tools. Because I love to take photos and I'd rather share something visual than come up with something to say. Connecting with customers through Instagram is a marketing tool that I utilize more than anything else.
While it is great to have innovative and creative content to share often what you need more than anything is to get a good flow of regular posts, updates, links and information to share. I recommend posting at least once a day but posting more is even better. 
Engaging with your customers and audience, while time consuming, is a really easy way to connect, relate, help and interact with the people that support you! Comment back and forth, answer questions, comment on things other people share. This is a great way to understand your customers, understand what they want, connect and create a network with like minded creatives. 
Don't oversell yourself! You are welcome to disagree but there has to be more to your message and the things you share than just trying to sell, sell, sell. Try finding ways to let your customers in to your process, your personal life and your voice.

Have a question you want me to answer? Feel free to leave a comment or email me

To read more about my journey as an artist-

jump start a creative career- HERE

taking a leap into full time artist- HERE

coping with creative burnout- HERE

coping with failure- HERE

how to keep your work authentic- HERE

the art of chasing a dream- HERE

managing life and a creative business- HERE

the art of setting goals- HERE 

the art of blogging- HERE and HERE

the things I haven't shared- HERE

stronger than I ever knew- HERE

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

watermelon slushee

I don't drink alcohol but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy a fancy beverage! Once one of my  favorites is a watermelon and cucumber slushee. It is sweet, refreshing and perfect for a summer day.

2-3 cups of frozen cubed watermelon
1/2 cucumber 
1 cup of coconut water
Mint leaves for garnish
Sugar for garnish

In a blender combine watermelon, cucumber and coconut water.
Add ice if you want to thicken it up.
Garnish with lime and mint leaves.
I added cane sugar to the rim of the glasses.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

5 things that can be used instead of a paint brush

I love painting with a brush but there is something really fun and exciting about ditching those brushes and using alternative tools and supplies for painting! Here are five of my favorite things to use instead of a paint brush.

A brayer is one of my favorites tools for applying paint because you have the ability to spread uniform layers of paint onto a surface. I love rolling that color onto paper or canvas when I want to quickly fill that surface with color.

A palette knife can be a really fun alternative to using a paint brush! Typically a palette knife is used for mixing paint but it can also be used to apply paint. These days there are all kinds of palette knives (and even decorative scrapers) with different tips and edges that can be used in many creative ways.

One of my favorite ways to apply paint is to use my hands, my fingers and my arms.There is something so raw and powerful about using your hands to apply paint and the best part is that there are no other tools or materials that make a mark like your own hands!

I love using anything from nature (flowers, leaves, twigs, feathers, etc) dipped into paint to use instead of a brush. Flowers and leaves make wonderful tools to create really expressive marks and lines.

I LOVE using an old credit card, gift card or piece of cardboard to drag, swipe and scrape paint onto a surface. It is such a fun way to add quick, colorful and expressive layers to a painting. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

butterfly rings

As many of you know, I LOVE shrink plastic! There are so many different ways to use it and one of my favorites is using it to make funky rings. There are so many different things that you can create from shrink plastic and I thought butterflies would make super cute little statement rings.

I started by drawing butterflies on a sheet of shrink plastic. While shrink plastic comes in many colors, I used black shrink plastic and a white paint pen. Keep in mind that you will need to use permanent pens on that shrink plastic.

Next, I cut out the butterflies and then I baked my designs in the oven for about 1 minute at 350 degrees. Shapes and designs will shrink a lot- like 50%.

While they were still warm, I softly bent the wings up to give the butterfly a little bit of dimension.

Once the butterflies cooled, I glued them (using a heavy duty glue) to ring backs.
The result are really fun and whimsical rings!

Looking for more ring projects?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

free coloring page download for you!

Hi friends! Today I've got a free coloring page for you!

Download HERE  Happy coloring!

You can find a whole bunch of more free coloring downloads HERE

Monday, August 14, 2017

NEW class PHOTO PLAY begins today!

My latest online class Photo Play begins today! Here is a little peek!

Begins Aug 14

I love taking photos! Even more, I love finding unique ways to alter and transform those photos! In this class we will be using printed photographs as the backdrop for layering, painting, journaling and mixed media techniques. I will be sharing some of my favorite tips and tricks for turning pictures into a mixed media art!

For more information or register HERE

There are many online workshops out there at different prices with different content. Back in 2009, when I decided to offer an online learning option, I set out to create a structure that is similar to taking a "live" class from me.  My mission is to provide an affordable class with a learning environment where you are watching lots of demos, learning techniques and then creating on your own art.

  • I have three different structures of online classes: 
Large Class: These classes are $50 and have 5 big lessons that include videos, photos, written information, prompts and more. My large format classes dive deep into a variety of techniques, projects and information.
    Mini Class: My mini classes cost $30 and have 3 big lessons that include videos, photos, written information, prompts and more. 
    Micro Class: These classes cost $15 and have 1 big lesson that includes videos, photos, written information, prompts and more.
    • My classes are a combination of video learning (with demos, techniques and me talking) and lots of photo steps outs of inspiration, techniques and process.
    • All classes are all filmed in my studio. Since 2009 I have been tweaking my gear and my process with the hope that video/photo content gets better and better. My #1 goal is to provide inspiring lessons and visuals that are easy to understand.
    • My classes do NOT have a required supply list. Instead I share the supplies that I like to use and then give you a variety of options and inspiration to use supplies that work best for your process and your budget.
    • All of my classes have unlimited access which means that once you register you can create and access at any time and work at your own pace. Whenever I "release" a new class- I release each lesson "live". Many people enjoy working in this format, as the lessons are posted each week but once all information gets posted there is unlimited time to access everything. I have found that some people prefer to work along with the live format when I release a new class, while others will wait months until they have the time, money and the schedule to register for the class. Either way works- just know that once you are in- there is no deadline or pressure to create.

    Thursday, August 10, 2017

    creating with jules- painted doilies

    Hello! I have a craft for you today, which involves upcycling some doilies into some modern wall art.

    I had a lovely friend share some of her doily collection with me for this tutorial. (She is a fellow crafter and supply collector!) I think she was saving them to make a quilt but she generously donated some to me for this project. I know that I collect things with the thought of one day doing something with them. I have a whole bucket of candle shaped light globes and corks just waiting for the right project to come along!

    For this project you will need:

    -A collection of crocheted doilies
    -PVA glue
    -acrylic paints

    First, I dipped my doilies into water and then wrung them out so that they were damp when I painted them. This makes them easier to paint. If the doilies are dry when you start they will just draw so much of the paint and water out of your brush that you will find you are forever adding more paint.

    I watered down my acrylic colours to make them work more like watercolours. You’ll get a feel for how runny to make the paint once you start painting. Keep in mind your doilies will really lighten as they dry too, so even though my colours looked quite strong as I was painting them, they really lightened to pastel tones when they dried. You also really do need to use acrylic paints because we want those colours to be waterproof for the next step, and acrylics are waterproof when they are dry.

    Paint all of the doilies, filling them all up with colour.
    Next, make a 1:1 ratio mix of water and PVA glue and stir well. Gently squeeze each doily out and lay flat on a sheet of plastic to dry. You don’t want to squeeze them out too tightly that you are not left with much of the glue solution in the doilies, but you also don’t want blobs of glue in the little gaps either. 

    Leave them to dry completely. Once dry they can be pinned up to the wall and will hold their shape. I think they look great in clusters. The more the merrier. I must get my hands on some more!

    Jules :)

    You can find more of Jules here:

    Wednesday, August 09, 2017

    creating a kid- use those feet

    As many of you know, we love making a creative mess around her and one our favorite things to do foot painting, yep you read that right...painting with our feet. It is a process that feels silly, messy and totally weird and Lucy has loved it since she was a toddler! It's also a process that is WAY more fun with friends so recently we invited some of our favorite kiddos over to experiment and stomp around in paint. And let me tell you it was a BLAST! Here are three of our favorite ways to use those feet to get creative-

    A fun things to do is to use your shoes as a stamp! You could use an old pair of shoes with interesting texture on the bottom but I thought it would be fun to transform some cheap flip flops into stamps. I cut out shapes from craft foam and glued them to the bottom of the sandals. Then we dipped those shoes into paint and went WILD walking and stomping around on a big piece of butcher paper. The result is a surface filled with stamped pattern!

    Wrapping those footies in bubble wrap is one of my personal favorite things to do- yes, I do this all the time! It's so much fun to walk around with that bubble wrap popping as you add colorful pattern and texture to a surface. Kids love this process because it's totally wacky, weird and tons of fun!

    Using those toes to hold a brush is another really fun way to explore painting. This process actually takes a lot of focus so it's a great way to get kids to embrace abstraction and expression while having fun.

    You can check out my entire series of "Creating With a Kid" HERE


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