Wednesday 30th April 2014Online Art Sales Don't Threaten the Offline Art World
Much has been made of the e-commerce revolution, and with good reason. It has completely changed the way we interact with businesses, whether they are retail stores or service providers or any other kind of business. But one of the downsides to the widespread adoption of e-commerce has been the way that it has negatively impacted stores in the physical world, so-called 'brick and mortar' stores (as opposed to digital storefronts, aka websites). Stores have been closing doors left and right as they struggle to stay afloat in a tricky economy, especially when it's so much cheaper to move an entire business online in order to save money.
While it's taken certain areas of the retail economy more time to move towards a digital marketplace, the art world is no exception. It's now possible to buy prints from thousands of different online stores, and as you've probably learned from your Gallereo page, it's equally easy for individual artists to begin to make a name for themselves with a little bit of digital know-how and some sales talent.
Interestingly, though, instead of online art sales replacing the traditional offline world of galleries and auction houses, it appears that both sales channels are able to operate side by side with a minimum of interference. According to a report released this week by British insurer Hiscox, online fine art sales are going to more than double in the next five years, reaching an impressive $3.76 billion USD, up from its 2013 market value of $1.57 billion USD.
The reason the two markets don't collide, according to Robert Read, head of fine art at Hiscox, is “Young collectors are looking for artwork which is easy to buy and available at a wide range of prices," and when that fact is coupled with the comfort level of younger generations when it comes to making online purchases, there is a whole new market being created. So rather than supplanting the world of auction houses, the online art market should rather be considered an expansion of the art market as a whole, which makes it relatively unique in terms of the e-commerce world.
"The findings indicate that online art e-commerce will not exist as a separate entity – it will augment and co-exist with what is happening in the real, physical art world," Hiscox said.
So digital artists, take heart! Your prospects only stand to grow in the coming years, so make sure that you read up on all the best tips and tricks to ensure your digital sales success!
Posted on April 30th 2014 on 11:33pm
Tuesday 08th April 2014Drawing Tablets
Ever since the first days of computer graphics programs, when Andy Warhol and his contemporaries were just beginning to dip a toe into the pool that would become the wonderful world of digital art, people have struggled with input devices. The mouse, invented by Doug Engelbart, is a great device for using programs and generally interacting with a graphical user interface, but it really starts to fall down on the job when it comes to the type of precise, artistic movements that artists demand in their work. Enter the drawing tablet, stage left.
The first drawing tablet for home use was designed for the Apple II and its generation, and was known as the KoalaPad. In 1984, a reviewer in Byte magazine (one of the biggest home computing magazines of the day) was rather unimpressed with the capabilities of the technology, and said that he found he had better luck using a mouse. Those days are long gone.
For any serious digital artist, a drawing tablet is a must in today's digital world. The technology has progressed to a point where there is no way that a mouse can provide the level of control that a drawing tablet offers. Even the most basic tablets in today's market provide pixel-perfect positional control, and most (if not all) also provide some level of pressure sensitivity, allowing you an additional degree of input control. The more advanced (and thus more expensive) tablets have additional degrees of sensitivity, and many of them are even capable of detecting the angle at which the stylus is held, for a third level of input control. If you're a truly serious artist, or if you just like to have all the best equipment, it's even possible to purchase a drawing tablet that is directly integrated with a tablet computer and its screen, meaning that you can run your applications directly on the tablet, and draw right on the screen for perfect accuracy. The downside to this power, naturally, is that they are incredibly expensive.
Whether you're hoping to explore the world of digital painting (the "undo" command makes it much more accessible for beginners), or doing regular retouching work in Photoshop, a drawing tablet will completely change the way you interact with your computer. Smaller tablets can be purchased for under £100, so there's no longer any excuse to avoid having one! If you're still not sure, many shops have demo models available for customers to test, so give it a shot, and see what you're missing!
Posted on April 08th 2014 on 01:30pm
Friday 20th December 2013Digital Workflow Basics for Artists
Those of you who are used to working in digital media will no doubt have already heard the term 'workflow' bandied around quite a bit, and those of who you are used to more traditional media may have run into from time to time and been a bit unclear on what it means. Really, though, it does what it says on the tin - it's a way of describing the art process from creation to digitisation (if necessary) to editing to finalisation to production (again, if necessary). The term is most popularly used by digital photographers, but anyone looking to sell artwork online has to dabble in at least some aspects of a digital image workflow in order to get their work onto the web.
Taking a look at your digital workflow is especially important when you have a large number of images to work with - this is probably why it's of such importance to digital photographers, as dealing with thousands of images can quickly grow difficult if you don't have an optimised workflow. Most of you probably won't have that many images to work through, but a good workflow can still save you a lot of hassle and headaches, and ensure that your output is consistently high-quality.
First of all, when you're digitising your physical pieces, ensure that your photo settings remain consistent throughout the process. If you have to switch things up for any reason, try to group as many images together as possible so that you wind up with as many files as possible that share settings.
Once you've digitised everything and you're ready to work on the computer, open your first couple of images from your first group of photo settings and make whatever edits you think are necessary to give your photos the most accurate colour and contrast. Most good quality editing programs will allow you to save these settings as presets, which will then allow you to import all the rest of your photos using those same settings. (Note: if you have never bothered to experiment with using dual monitors for your computer, you should definitely give it a shot - it makes the editing process infinitely more enjoyable, as you can dedicate an entire screen to your image and keep all your toolbars and palettes on the other monitor).
Do this for each of your photo groupings. As you go through and review the results, you'll probably want to make minute adjustments to some of the images - this is totally fine, but you'll have saved yourself hours of effort by using these presets instead of going through your images and customising each one.
The same concept applies when it comes time to save your photos - establishing the proper presets and then using what's known as a batch process to save your outputs will save you even more untold hours of work. As you get more comfortable working with your image editing program, you'll be able to expand the process even further by automating the process of adding in digital watermarks to protect your images from theft and any other enhancements you want. Happy automating!
Posted on December 20th 2013 on 08:18pm
Tuesday 17th September 2013The First Steps for Artists in the Digital Age
As an artist, one of the most important things you can do once you’ve created your masterpiece is to get it into the public eye. While the traditional art gallery can be a useful tool if you're lucky enough to know the right people, the Internet has opened up huge new areas of opportunity for artists, no matter who you know or what media you work with. We’ll take you through some of the quick and easy ways you can start to promote your work online and start gaining the recognition – and sales – that you deserve.
First and foremost, the most important element is to start developing a presence on the web. Gallereo offers a simple way for artists to showcase their work online, without having to learn how to create websites. This allows you to point potential fans - and potential customers - to a website that showcases your work in a beautiful gallery template, and even makes selling your work online simple and painless.
If you work in any kind of digital media, it will be fairly simple to upload your work. If you work in any of the traditional physical media, however, it's important to make sure that you take high-quality photographs of your work for uploading to your gallery. Pay close attention to how the colours are represented, and consider taking multiple photographs of a single piece to show detail. If you work in sculpture or installation pieces, be sure to show multiple angles to really capture the feel of the work. (Sculptors and jewellers! Stay tuned for our upcoming post on how to construct a simple lightbox using materials from you've got around the house, and turn your sale photographs into works of art in their own right!)
Once you've got your Gallereo page set up, the next crucial step is to start creating some buzz for yourself and your artwork. Social networks are one of the most useful tools for creating buzz, and Facebook makes the process simple, especially if you already have a personal Facebook account. Simply create a new page dedicated to your artwork, upload a few pictures of your work, and link the page to your Gallereo account. Start reaching out to other artists online, and start cross-promoting each others work - you'll be amazed how quickly you can build up a dedicated following of fans. There are many opportunities to receive free Facebook ad credits to help bring fans to your page, and Google Adwords also regularly offers free advertising credits which you can use to send art buyers directly to your Gallereo page.
As with most types of sales, the key steps to success are showcasing your work and making sure people can find you easily. With a bit of careful attention to detail (and some shameless self-promotion!), you can rapidly turn your artwork into a viable career. Many artists, paradoxically, are a bit shy when they first start showing off their work, but it's important to get over this and really show off your talent - so get yourself out there and enjoy it!
Posted on September 17th 2013 on 02:33pm