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Label: tips

Saturday 29th November 2014Holiday Gifts for Artists

It's that time again - and this year, with our suggestions, every artist in your life will be sure to appreciate their gifts. Whether they're for a loved one or a special treat for yourself, this is a fantastic time to get great deals on art supplies, no matter if you're restocking your supplies or branching out into some new experiments you might otherwise not bother with.

Winter can be a creatively bleak time, and even though the bad weather tends to lend itself to extra studio time, the holidays tend to be full of bustle and family and friends - all lovely, of course, but not always the best way to produce new work. Take it as an opportunity to explore new media, or try out new projects that require supplies you might not buy. Give yourself a budget, and drop by your local art supply store or browse the net for some new and interesting ideas, and give them a shot!

Tech toys are one of the best items to pick up around the holidays though, as the combination of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and all sorts of holiday deals mean there is a huge section of time when tech products are on sale. While they might not seem like the first choice for artists, you can be sure that you'll get some great deals they'll love.

One of our favourite deals for the burgeoning digital artist is a tablet. Not a drawing tablet, although those are awesome too, but actually a tablet computer. Thanks to the various deals, its possible to pick up a cheap tablet for under $50, making it affordable to even the most starving artist. Add in a free sketching application, and suddenly they have a digital sketchbook that never runs out of pages - and comes with an 'undo' button!

Digital picture  frames are also a great gift idea for artists, who often have difficulty choosing between the various works they love to display around their homes. With a digital picture frame, you no longer have to choose. For an even better gift idea that's a sneaky promotional idea to boot, buy cheap digital frames, preload them with your own artwork, and give them to friends and family in the hopes of generating some sales for your larger works!

And of course, if none of those ideas suit, it's always a good idea to help the artists in your life with a Gallereo subscription! ;-)

Posted on November 29th 2014 on 05:07pm
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Monday 27th October 2014Your Guide to Gallereo: A Retrospective

It's been just over a year since we started doing regularly postings here at the Gallereo blog, and after our recent post about looking back over your artistic career as the year draws to a close, we couldn't help but look back at our own postings. We've covered a number of tips for getting your Gallereo page up and running as quickly and effectively as possible, and many of you new readers (welcome!) may not have had a chance to read them, so we thought we'd put together a quick guide to some of the highlights that will help you get the most out of your Gallereo page.
First steps are the most important, so for those of who are brand new to Gallereo, get a quick rundown on what you need to know with our post on first steps for digital artists. It's just a quick overview, but if you're new, it's the best place to get a sense of where you need to direct your energies.

Once you've got the basics down, you'll want to dig in to learn more about digitising your work to get it up on your Gallereo page. Fortunately, we've got a quick guide for you on that score as well. Getting your work online isn't all there is to it of course, so next you'll need to generate some buzz.

There are a number of ways to do start developing your following, and using social media to drive sales can be a powerful tool if you handle it properly. You will also want to make sure that you take full use of the blogging feature on your Gallereo page, and we've got some blog post ideas and inspiration for those of you who aren't natural writers.

Don't get so caught up in developing fans that you forget to tell them about yourself, though. The story behind your artwork and your artistic career is one of the things that helps sell pieces - buyers love to hear the root beginnings of the artwork they purchase.

This is just the very tip of the iceberg, of course, and there's a ton of great content going back through the the last year, but this quick guide should put you on the right track with a minimum of fuss. Dig in, do some reading, and then start putting the ideas into action, and you'll start making sales in no time at all.

Posted on October 27th 2014 on 04:17am
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Wednesday 15th October 2014Framing Your Work

As artists, we are often completely obsessed by our own work. It's a bit embarrassing to admit, but most of us are extravagant showoffs - that's part of why we're compelled to create in the first place. It may not be immediately obvious, but at some level, that's what drives us to share our views, our experiences, and our reflections with the rest of the world. But there are many steps beyond the actual creation of our artwork that can have a huge impact on the way they are received by our hopefully adoring public. Depending on what medium you're working in, framing can be one of those critical elements that can take a great piece of work to the next level or completely ruin it for the viewers, so let's take a quick look at some of the basic principles behind framing your work.

Obviously, the idea scenario is not having a frame around your work, so that nothing will distract from the piece itself. This is extremely easy to do if you're a painter who works with stretched canvases, but much more difficult if you're a photographer. It's possible to get your prints made in the style of a stretched canvas, but the expense is often prohibitive, especially when compared to that of a decent frame that will provide an acceptable background.

The most important thing to consider is how the frame will change the way the viewer perceives your work. If you're recreating the works of the European old masters, a richly carved gilt frame may help create the right sense of baroque gravitas, but it isn't likely be as effective on any kind of more modern artwork (though as with every rule, there are bound to be plenty of exceptions). Generally speaking, the more neutral the frame the better, as it will have less of an impact on the work. A thin frame was a popular style in past decades, but often seems a bit cheap and tacky today. A width of at least an inch is a good general rule, although your tastes may vary depending on the size of your piece and the effect you want to achieve.

Choosing the matte surrounding your work is equally important, and typically follows similar general principles to choosing a frame - keep it low key in a neutral colour, and pay careful attention to the balance of the widths in relation to the size of your work. A large amount of matte can combine nicely with a smaller image to increase the visual weight of the image itself, and too little matte can make it seem like a poorly planned afterthought.

So experiment with various combinations before you make a final choice, and you'll be another step along the way to getting the adulation your masterpieces truly deserve.

Posted on October 15th 2014 on 08:14pm
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Labels: framing, tips

Saturday 10th May 2014Choosing the Right Monitor

For many artists working in the various digital media, there is one thing they can't live without - a good computer! For some people, a laptop offers the best balance of portability and power, but in many cases a laptop can't provide the raw power necessary for working with extremely large and complex files. This leaves them with the choice among desktop computers, which tend to offer a great deal of flexibility and customisability, as well as the capacity for truly impressive computing power. For a digital artist, one of the most important choices in a computer setup is the monitor.

Even for those artists who choose a laptop, the amount of available screen real estate can often be a huge productivity block. Almost all laptops offer some kind of functionality for attaching an additional monitor, which can dramatically improve your workflow. But what to buy? There are a bewildering number of options available, and tons of competing technologies. Fortunately, we can help you wade through the hype and get to what really matters.

There are a couple of basic decisions that you have to make when you're buying a monitor. Primarily, what kind of connection does your computer require? DVI (digital video interface) and HDMI are the most common, but VGA connectors are also common on older laptops. You can check out your laptop or your video card to see what connectors you've got to work with.

Once you've sorted that out, the next step is to choose the right size. If you commonly work with extremely large digital images in minute detail, naturally the bigger the monitor the better, as you'll be able to zoom in close and work more freely with them, but it's important to consider your available desk space at the same time.

Next, consider the quality of the pixels in the monitor itself. Dot pitch determines how close the pixels are to each other in the monitor, and the higher the dot pitch, the clearer the image will seem. Be sure to also consider the maximum brightness of the monitor, measured in 'nits', although if you're intending to do much work for print, you'll be adjusting these settings well below the maximum capability in order to get accurate colour representations.

Once you've chosen your monitor, make sure you take the time to use a colourimeter to calibrate your screen!

Posted on May 10th 2014 on 08:08pm
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Friday 14th March 2014The Best Cities for Art Lovers 6: Cologne

When most people think of Germany and art, they think of the famous museums in Berlin and they think of the world-renowned Bauhaus art movement. There is a lesser-known artistic gem in Germany, tucked away in the western end of the country near where the borders of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands intersect. While it's a relatively large city, it still doesn't typically make the usual top lists for art lovers to visit, which is a true shame.

Partly due to its interesting cultural fusions due to the border proximities, Cologne is a burgeoning center of contemporary art, and there are more than 30 museums to visit, as well as hundreds of galleries, with new ones opening all the time. The Museum Ludwig is one of the most well-respected museums in Cologne, featuring a stunning collection that bridges a number of artistic sensibilities in the contemporary era, from pop art to surrealism and abstract art, as well as one of the largest collections of the works of Pablo Picasso in all of Europe.

If more traditional European artwork is your style, visit the Wallraf-Richartz Museum, which hosts an equally impressive range of works dating from back to the 13th century up to the current artistic era. Most notably featuring works by Peter Paul Rubens and Rembrandt, there is something to satisfy every traditional taste, from Bosch's "Adoration of the Child" to "Langlois Bridge at Arles" by Vincent Van Gogh. There are also a number of Monet paintings, although the museum was recently forced to admit that a sixth Monet was a forgery when it was examined prior to restoration in 2008.

For those who prefer a different way to experience art, Cologne is recognized by many as hosting the world's original annual art fair, Art Cologne, which began way back in 1967 as Kölner Kunstmarkt. Open to the public, the fair runs for 6 days, and attracts upwards of 60,000 visitors to view contributions from galleries from around the world. This year, the Art Cologne fair will be running for a shorter timespan, from Thursday, April 10 to Sunday, April 13, 2014 - so if you're planning a visit, see if you can get a last-minute flight in time to visit the fair! Booking last minute  can be a great way to save money, as airlines and hotels are eager to fill up any empty seats and rooms. What better way to celebrate spring than by a whirlwind weekend trip to Germany's beautiful artistic side?

Posted on March 14th 2014 on 08:28pm
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Tuesday 11th March 2014Licensing Your Work

The dilemma of whether to license your work or not is one that most artists dream of. Of course, some artists find the idea almost insulting, a dilution of the power of the original piece of work. However, not everyone has such high-minded ideals about every single piece they've ever done. As lines between art and design and other "art-ifacts" become blurrier in the digital era, it's a question that more and more of us can hope to have to answer. It seems almost like a dream come true - you create one piece, and get to sell it over and over again, getting your work in front of as many eyes as possible. However, there are some tricky things to consider when it comes up.

First of all, there is that issue we mentioned earlier: does plastering your work over cheap posters and coffee mugs and t-shirts somehow diminish the value of your work? That's up to you to decide, of course, and it probably also depends a bit on who wants to license your work and how much they're willing to pay for it. It's not impossible to realize the dream of using licensed work to pay for day to day life, and enable you to spend more time on the art you refuse to license. That's the dream, as long as you can keep your "serious" art separate from your licensed works.

That possibility raises the next issue, which is a very serious one: what kind of terms are you willing to accept? Before you sign any kind of licensing agreement, make sure you examine it very carefully, or better yet have a lawyer look it over for you to make sure there are no hidden pitfalls that could trip you up later down the line. Make sure that your percentage is fair, and that you are allowed to create work that falls outside of the agreement - if they want the rights to everything you produce, suddenly you might find your 'serious' art on coffee mugs across the nation. (Note: this isn't legal advice, we're not lawyers - so be sure to consult with one before signing anything).

Another thing to consider is the possibility of using a fulfillment house to let you cut out the middleman and sell your artwork directly on a huge variety of different objects. There are a number of companies that work with your digital files to produce anything from iPhone cases to sweatshirts, although they all offer varying degrees of cost and compensation, so make sure you take the time to find a production company that makes it worth your while. If you have to sell 1000 of something before you see a profit, you might be in for some trouble. With a bit of careful searching, you can find a way to turn your art into money without the fuss of having to produce the final products all by yourself. Good luck!

Posted on March 11th 2014 on 08:06pm
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Thursday 27th February 2014Shipping Your Masterpieces to Your Buyer

If you've ever tried to ship something delicate before, it's almost a guarantee that you've had a bad experience. It's a frustrating but almost inescapable law of modern logistics that the more fragile something is, the greater its potential for having a warehouse worker drive a forklift through the middle of it or accidentally drop it down a flight of stairs. So once you've made your sale, said goodbye to your beloved masterpiece, and actually come down to the 'How' question of shipping, be sure to take all possible precautions. (Note: we're sorry, but we can't be held responsible if you follow these methods and something bad happens to your work - these are intended as general guidelines only.)

If you're working a digital medium, and selling prints to your buyers, your life is considerably easier. Most shipping stores and post offices sell shipping tubes for just such eventualities, and they tend to be made out of extremely durable cardboard. Ensure that you don't skimp out on expensive shipping materials, and buy a tube with adequate structural integrity. Depending on the type of paper you've chosen to print on, you should also be wary of buying a tube with sufficient diameter to prevent any print coatings on the paper from being damaged while rolled, as the coatings may compress and crack when unrolled if they are rolled too tightly. Even if you make all the right choices, accidents can happen - but at least in that case, you're only out a single print of your work, and the original hasn't been lost forever.

When you're shipping something like a framed work, a painting, or anything on stretched canvas, for example, shipping tubes are clearly not an option. However, with a bit of creative thinking and a trip to your local hardware and/or shipping store, you can quickly construct something that will prevent even the most delicate piece from being damaged by the most careless employee. First, wrap your piece in some type of thin plastic to protect the surface. Follow this up with a couple of layers of bubble wrap, paying close attention to the corners. Next, take some thick corrugated cardboard and cut a custom-sized set of panels, one for each side of your piece. Ensure that there are several inches of extra cardboard around each edge. Take these two pieces and carefully fold the edges over to create an internal protective layer. Wrap this whole thing in bubble wrap once again (you'll want the kind with large bubbles, not the smaller types use in electronics packaging), and place it in a telescoping shipping box, which any shipping store can provide. Voila! Don't forget to buy some shipping insurance when you send the package, just in case the worst should happen - the world is governed by Murphy's Law, of course.

If you don't want to deal with the hassle of all of this, it's quite possible that you'll be able to find a shipping company near you who specializes in transportation of artworks and other extremely valuable and fragile one-of-a-kind items. They're definitely more expensive, but when you're shipping a piece worth thousands of dollars, it's better not to mess around and hope for the best. Even the best insurance in the world can't bring your piece back from destruction. Remember - this is only a guide. If you're not certain you can do it yourself, hire a professional shipper.

Posted on February 27th 2014 on 08:06pm
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Labels: art, sales, shipping, tips

Friday 21st February 2014Making the Best Prints for Your Buyers

Congratulations! You've made your first art sale on Gallereo as a digital artist! The client's money comes through and - wait a second. They want a real, physical print, not a JPEG file - and it has to be absolutely pristine, premium quality, because you want them to be appreciating it for years to come, instead of having it fade and lose its lustre. With only a short turnaround time before you have to get the piece in the mail, what is your best option for producing a high quality print quickly? Fortunately for panicking artists and designers, there are a number of possible solutions.

Perhaps the quickest solution is to find a local print shop. This might be acceptable to some, depending on how much pride they take in their work - something above a Kinko's but not as nice as a proper offset printer. The problem with these places is that they tend to specialize in one-off projects that aren't intended for long-term display. They're produce a decent quality print, with decent colour accuracy and if you're lucky, they'll even be using a high-quality ink that won't start to fade after a couple of months of light exposure. But your choice of paper is going to be fairly limited, and they can get expensive quickly, eating up the profits from your hard-won sale.

The best choice for making art prints is to find a local offset printer. These are the companies and technologies that create most of (if not all of) the high-quality art prints you've ever seen or purchased. An offset printer is a huge device that can print massive quantities of an image or design in a relatively short period of time. Because their one job is printing, they typically offer an impressive array of paper choices in terms of weight, texture and size, and can meet any custom requirements or specifications you may have. The downside, of course, is that they are in high demand, and don't lift a finger if you only want a single copy of something. However, if you can establish a set number of prints that you plan to sell, in what's known as a 'limited run'  - 250, 500, and 1000 are common numbers, although lower volumes mean each print is worth more - you can treat the initial outlay as an investment and make the money back over the course of each sale.

Alternatively, of course, the field of home printing has come quite a long way. Depending on the size of prints you plan to sell, many of the high-quality large format printers produced by famous brands like Epson and Canon can create beautiful prints right at home - but the cost of these printers can be a bit shocking when you first see the price tags, and the cost of ink refills can be almost as shocking. If you plan to make lots of prints, though, nothing beats the convenience of being able to simply click 'Print' from your computer chair, and then wrap up the finished piece a few minutes later. The quality may not be as good as an offset press, but the technology is always improving.

Optimally, of course, you'll have planned this out all in advance and advertised the style of paper and print quality as a part of your sales pitch on your Gallereo page itself - but don't worry, we've all been there at one point or another. Once the initial surprise at your first online art sale is over, you'll have a bit of time to take stock of the situation, source the best possible offset printer in your area and find out what papers they offer that would best suit your style of work. If all else fails, remember that the cost of these expenses can probably be written off on your taxes!

Posted on February 21st 2014 on 02:08am
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Wednesday 19th February 2014Keeping Your Gallereo Page Looking Current

One of the most common mistakes made by artists who are new to the digital world make is also probably one of the most understandable ones. Not being zoomed in to the world of the web and the extremely rapid stylistic evolutions of digital design means that many artists are suddenly left with websites that look outdated and even antiquated to the public. The general web-going public may not be able to put their finger exactly on what seems 'off' about these sites, but the average art buyer is a little more savvy when it comes to current trends in design, and at the very least, they are deliberately conscious of what what they like and what they don't. This begs the question - when is it time to update your Gallereo page design?

Somewhat frustratingly, there isn't an easy answer to this question. Some people in the web design world offer a general rule of thumb that maintains updating your website every two years will allow you to stay on top of current trends, but considering the amount of time and effort that many people put into their sites, this isn't really practical. This is doubly true when (like most artists) you're not working with a professional web designer, and have to do the work yourself.

That being said, it's important to pay attention to the latest design trends to ensure that the contemporary feel of your website is maintained. Unless you're going for a specifically retro look, it's best to pay close attention to the design styles of some of the most popular websites to determine where they're going. For example, Apple's website design style used to correspond with their launch of the OSX operating system, featuring clean, rounded-glass styled buttons that leapt off the page in 3D.

In today's world, however, buttons like that tend to look a little over-designed and flashy, and the latest trend leans towards what is known as 'flat' design, with slight to minimal gradients on buttons and a greater emphasis on usability and clarity instead of needless flashiness. There is an added bonus to this recent emphasis, of course - clarity and well-planned sites are much, much  better at turning visitors into buyers.

Like the fashion world, design styles often seem cyclical, which can bring trends back around into vogue that were popular years ago and died out for a while. Even still, it's a long cycle, and while it may seem like forever, the web has only been around in earnest for a little over a decade - it's better to stay current with your Gallereo design in order to maximize your sales and attract the most visitors.

Posted on February 19th 2014 on 01:41am
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Thursday 30th January 2014The Changing Art World

It's no surprise that the art world changes regularly - innovation, re-examination and remixing are three of the main driving forces behind artistic vision, and have been there in some form or other since the very beginning of recorded history. It should come as no surprise, then, that the way both artists and viewers interact with art is also undergoing a change. To any of you who already use a Gallereo page to sell your work, whether in conjunction with offline galleries or not, this should come as no surprise. After all, you're already adopting one of the major changes that have shaken up the traditional gallery model. Online art sales are booming, and while many buyers don't want to buy artwork without seeing it 'in the flesh', this attitude is also changing.

Online galleries are the only shakeup going on at the moment, as the growing popularity of the art fair has begun to change how galleries operate. Instead of relying on general foot traffic and industry parties to generate buzz, many gallery owners - and independent artists - are finding great success from the consolidating opportunities offered by art fairs. In the same way that online art shopping allows potential buyers to browse a virtually unlimited selection of work, art fairs are offering the chance to browse a massive selection while still actually being able to inspect the pieces firsthand before purchase. For gallery owners, the potentials are just as tantalising, with some gallery owners able to earn as much as they normally would in an entire year from a single successful art fair.

Now, you're not going to stumble across a Van Gogh or a Picasso, even at as prestigious a fair as the recently completed London Art Fair, but as the number of works by the most well-known world famous painters are increasingly becoming unavailable as they get picked up by private collectors and museums unlikely to sell, the demand for contemporary work is growing by leaps and bounds. It doesn't hurt that many different cities around the world are beginning to catch on to the trend, making local contemporary work available to a much wider audience than galleries have been able to reach traditionally. Artists who take the time to combine an online presence with appearances at local art fairs are likely to dramatically increase both their sales and general exposure within the art world.

Posted on January 30th 2014 on 03:08pm
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