You purchased a print or an original artwork from the [email protected] shop. Now what?
How do you protect your art until it is time to put it on the wall? What do you do to protect your art once it has taken up its permanent place in your home? What happens if you move or need to put your art into storage for a period of time?
Artwork can be beautiful, but it’s also fragile. It’s best to keep your original pieces in a safe place so they don’t get damaged. The best way to protect art is with these tips:
Protect art from the elements
Keep art away from direct sunlight or artificial light. Sunlight can fade colors and discolor your paintings, while artificial light can make them brittle and damage the surface of the work. Further protect art by storing it in a frame that has UV-blocking glass.
Keep art in a cool, dry place away from moisture. Never display original artwork in bathrooms. No matter how well-ventilated, steam from the shower or bath can cause irreparable damage. When not on display, protect art by storing it in a temperature-controlled environment. This will help make sure that it doesn’t crack or warp over time due to weather changes, and avoid mold growth. It’s also important not to put your art near windows or vents, because these areas are susceptible to fluctuations in temperature and humidity levels.
Make sure to avoid touching the art with your bare hands. The oils in our skin can interact with other materials and wreak havoc on artwork.
Protect art from dust and other debris
Using frames & sleeves
Frames and sleeves are a great way to protect art from dirt, dust, pet hair, and many other contaminants. Frames are particularly good for hanging on the wall, especially if you want to showcase the artwork as a centerpiece in your home.
Good quality frames do not have to break the bank. I have found a great site that provides custom framing options for decent prices. Check them out at: CustomPictureFrames.com.
One of my own paintings framed using CustomPictureFrames.com
Upgrade frames with museum-quality glass
Glass adds an additional layer of protection, and museum-quality glass significantly reduces glare and filters the amount of light that touches the artwork.
Dust open-framed or un-framed artwork regularly
When glass is not a logical choice (such as with stretched-canvas paintings), make sure to dust art regularly. Don’t use a dust cloth, which has threads that can catch on rough spots of paint, or with a feather duster/stiff brush, which can scratch the artwork. Instead, use a soft, natural-hair bristle brush that is one to two inches wide and dust with a light touch.
When framing, always use a mat to separate glass from the surface of the art. Use an acid-free matting system that will keep the piece clean and further protect the art from outside elements.
Also, make sure not to use too much tape or glue when framing your artwork. These adhesives can cause damage over time, especially if they’re applied directly onto the surface of the painting itself (rather than onto cardboard backing). I highly recommend the use of acid-free linen tape specifically designed for matting artwork.
Using protective sleeves
For storing art long-term, protect art by sealing them in protective sleeves. They’re easy to store when not in use, and they provide ample protection for the artwork inside them. (Make sure to use archival-quality, acid-free sleeves. Otherwise, the protective sleeves will degrade over time and interact with the paper and media of the artwork.)
Also for long-term storage: Don’t put anything on top of your work that might scratch or damage its surface (like another piece of artwork). It’s also best not to stack things on top of each other so they don’t get crushed under their own weight—this could loosen screws or break off pieces from underneath them!
Mount art on a wall with proper hardware
Like frames themselves, proper hardware can help protect art from fall damage. If you have a large piece of art or something that needs to be hung on a wall, make sure you use a frame that’s designed for hanging heavy objects or has reinforced corners so it doesn’t rip off the wall if someone bumps into it accidentally. Heavy artwork should be mounted on the wall through studs or using wall anchors.
I always recommend getting an original piece professionally matted & framed to ensure the highest quality materials, proper handling of art. However, if you’d prefer to do-it-yourself, there are several tips and tricks on how to mat and frame art for proper display.
I hope that these tips help to protect your art so that it lasts and can be enjoyed for generations to come!
Mind mapping: ditch the list & unleash your creative thinking
What is mind mapping, anyway?
A visual, organic way to organize information
Mind mapping fell into my lap a while back during a time when I felt scattered and undisciplined (or maybe I came across it while pinning random pictures on Pinterest, I can’t remember). Lists no longer worked for me, if they had ever worked at all. And, that is a difficult thing for me to admit. Because I, being the true nerd that I am, have always had a thing for lists. Or, maybe I’m a perfectionist… maybe I’m just weird. Either way, I love nothing more than planning things with nice little checklists. Sometimes (okay lots of times) I will even add a task I have already completed just to have the satisfaction of crossing it off my list.
But lists and I have a love/hate relationship. For one thing, order has always been important to me and if I thought of an item that belonged somewhere in the list but there was no room to add it – well, that drove me to distraction and I often had to rewrite the whole list from scratch. For another, I would often get so hung up on making the list perfect that I would never get around to actually doing any of the items ON the list!
But what makes mind mapping so great?
The *idea* of mind mapping has been around for centuries, but the term and the practice we know it as today was coined by author Tony Buzan: “A Mind Map is a visual thinking tool that can be applied to all cognitive functions, especially memory, learning, creativity and analysis. Mind Mapping is a process that involves a distinct combination of imagery, colour and visual-spatial arrangement. The technique maps out your thoughts using keywords that trigger associations in the brain to spark further ideas.” (From the iMindMap software from Tony Buzan)
Simply put, the process goes a little like this:
You have an idea
You write the idea in the center of a piece of paper
You start to connect other ideas that branch off of the central idea as keywords, pictures, etc.
You fill up the paper with these word-associations, which spark more ideas, and more associations.
Think of a mind map as just that — a map. Maps use roads and paths to connect us from one place to another. Mind maps use words, thoughts, images, and color, to connect our thoughts together into one cohesive idea.
Have you tried mind mapping? If so, what are your thoughts? If not, what are you waiting for?! 😉
I have been asked many times for advice from artist friends, or artists I have mentored in the past. When someone came to me recently with the same request, I jumped at the chance to offer some of what I have learned over the years — and decided why not post it on here, in hopes that my advice it may help other artists out there.
The most important advice I have learned so far:
Create for you, not for everyone else.
Being an artist is rough at any age because we creative types crave affirmation and praise – sometimes to the point that when we don’t receive much, we start to doubt our own talent and self-worth. Don’t fall into that trap. You would not be creating art if you did not love it. Maybe you started because it offers stress relief. Maybe you started because it just came naturally. Think of those reasons when you start to get discouraged, then pick up a pencil, or pen, or whatever your tool of choice is, and just keep at it!
If you are unsure about something, learn.
There will always be those who are more skilled or more talented. Don’t be discouraged by them – learn from them! This was a hard lesson for me, but it’s been a good one. Once I let go of my need to be “the best,” I actually began improving tenfold because the insecurity wasn’t holding me back.
Always strive to be better, but recognize the value in your own work. You have a style that is all your own. Embrace and nurture it. Definitely learn new things, but don’t try to be something you aren’t.
Surround yourself with positive people.
If someone tells you that you can’t do something or that you’re no good, ignore them and try harder. Oh, and kick them to the curb. You do not need that kind of negativity (we usually do a much better job at being our own worst critic, anyway).
Figure out your personal brand.
This is important when you start marketing yourself. It’s important to think of you as a business and your artwork as the product it sells. How will people know what accounts are yours, that a site is yours? Not only by your unique art style, but also by how you market yourself. That means your “business” name, logo, color scheme, etc.
Many artists I know use their own name, which is the common thing to do. You can also make it more of a business-style name – for instance, my brand is [email protected]
Trust me on this. It doesn’t mean that your art is no good, it just means that we as a society are over-saturated with – well, everything. Just keep at it. Engage your followers. Post as often as you can (but not too often! I’d say no more than once or twice a day) – and definitely look at the best days/times to post based on the social media platform. There are lots of resources that can help schedule posts in advance and whatnot.
Anyway, I hope that this helps! If you like, I’ve got lots of other resources on my site. And I’m always available if you have any questions, need a critique partner, or just want to chat about art.
If you’re anything like me (and you probably are not, because I’m completely strange unique), then you like to find tutorials on the web and try them out. Or, you know, buy those Disney “How to Draw” books. Does anyone else remember those? Are those still a thing? I need to see if I still have mine. I’m pretty sure I got twenty.
(No, that wasn’t a reference to Little Mermaid. I swear.)
Ehem. Anyway, the point being, I love tutorials. And so, I’ve scoured the web for days on end (translation: I googled for about ten minutes) and found a list of art tutorials and projects that I love and want to try — and I hope you try them, too!
Tips for drawing backgrounds: I will be the first to admit that I hate drawing backgrounds. I don’t know why, but I do. So, that of course means that I should be practicing drawing backgrounds as much as possible because if it’s not something you love doing, you aren’t going to do it, then it’s going to suck, and then all your art is going to suck, and then you’re going to curl up in a ball and cry. So.
Step-by-Step Digital Painting Tutorial: Not only do I love this artist’s style, but the infographic-style of this tutorial is beautiful to look at and extremely thorough. I already follow several of her steps, so it will be easy for me to try this one out and tweak my current process!
Head over to Clementine Creative for a list of 12 watercolor tutorials that you can check out. (I, for one, want to strengthen my weak skill in watercolor. It’s a medium where you kind of have to let go — which I have a hard time with!!)
Talking about references… Looking at other artist’s work to help your skill along is never a bad thing (we all do it, and these tutorials are a great example). But, when at all possible, use live references (or at least photographs of live references).
Not only will you ensure that your style remains your own, you will also make sure you don’t inadvertently pick up any bad habits from other artists, either. (Sorry. We ALL have them.)
Along the same vein as clothing, shoes are something I am always trying to improve on. Well, feet and shoes. And I was going to look for a specific tutorial when I came across this link to a bazillion (okay maybe not quite that much, but close) tutorials and references on Pinterest. So, why try to invent the wheel?
Another aside on clothing: this book by John Peacock is amazing! I have one of its older siblings, but I may have to upgrade. It’s a great reference on different clothing styles throughout (most) of history.
One final tutorial on drawing figures – this article on Design Your Way has a ton of video tutorials on everything from eyes, to faces, to gesture drawing and poses.
You can also view more art references and tutorials on my Pinterest board, Art Reference – I update fairly frequently.
So, about those tutorials… Seriously. Try them. And let me know how they are in the comments.
I’ll wait. 😉
(P.S. If you have Netflix, they now have the entire Bob Ross series available to stream. That man fostered my obsession with art at a very early age. And, c’mon. Bob Ross. I dare you to watch it and not laugh you @$$ off or end up in a good mood by the end!)
“Why have a brand?” you ask. “I’m only an illustrator/writer.”
Good question! Personal brands are great for establishing a professional image. They help you to stand out from the crowd.
But where to start? Design is an evolutionary process. It starts with a whisper. Ideas emerge from that single thought and we let them roll around in our minds, where a small number start to take shape. We mold them. Then, when we have the idea in just the right atmosphere, we move it to pen and paper.
Half of the time we shred that paper into tiny bits and throw it into the wastebasket.
No? Just me? Okay, okay, maybe not quite so dramatic. But, I have never taken an idea from thought to reality without multiple revisions. It starts as one thing until I change this or switch that.
Branding has no magic pill. And, what works for one person may not work for another. But I can give you a few tips that I think will help – at the very least, it might give you some food for thought!
Check out the infographic below for more information:
As you can see, I have tried to keep my look consistent across my blog posts and various social media sites. I have:
a designated color scheme,
a basic look and feel to my graphics so that someone looking at them can easily distinguish this is something that I created,
I have always stressed the importance of keeping a sketchbook. My studio at home is jam-packed full of sketchbooks – big ones, small ones, skinny ones, fat ones, (yes, this is sounding like a Dr. Seuss book…)
Karen Elaine’s idea of nano sketching, though. I admit I fell in love with this idea as soon as I read about it! Sketchbooks, minified! Sort of like flash fiction, only for art. And like flash fiction does for writing, nano sketching condenses your art into a small, confined area, which helps to tighten skills and sharpen focus.
So, what is a nano sketch?
Nano sketches are quick gesture drawings done with a pencil (no erasing) keeping the lines loose light and free.
Sounds pretty simple. We used to do exercises like this in art school. Sometimes we would have to look only at the subject and never down at the paper – you know, if you want to take this to an even more advanced level. Or are a bit of a masochist. Either way.
Nano sketches are quick and usually done in a public place.
Since the journals themselves tend to be so small, this makes sense. Think of the possibilities! I would love to take one of these on vacation with me and do sort of a sketch-journal about my experiences!
A real useful trick is to photograph your subject first so you have an image to refer to when things change (and they always do) and if you want to complete the sketch at a later time.
I love the above piece of advice. I almost never finish a sketch in time — and when I am drawing active scenes, it’s great to grab a shot of the instance for future reference. I don’t know about you, but it’s kind of difficult for me to sketch someone jumping in mid-air in the nanosecond it takes them to jump up and then hit the ground again.
If you can do that, you must be some sort of superhero, and you should be out fighting crime instead of sketching.
Making time for nano sketches every day is a quick and easy way to practice drawing and painting skills and to observe the world in an entirely different way.
Seriously, though, I have been trying to make it a goal to draw something daily. Even more so, to draw things I actually see (as opposed to things from my crazy ADHD mind) to help hone and refine my skills. Art is kind of like riding a bike. If you stop riding, you start to lose the basics and you don’t ride nearly as well as if you had ridden daily.
Or something like that. I’m bad at metaphors.
Anyway, I highly recommend you check this guest post out at Doodlewash! Karen goes into much more detail, and her sketches are lovely! (I mean, just look at that cat. So adorable!)
Scroll down to the end of the post for the link to the full article. And, enjoy!
Greetings, my name is Karen Elaine and I am an artist, author and teacher living in the mountains near Sedona, Arizona living with my husband and cat (follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and visit my website!). I’m the author of Origami Card Craft and The Art of Kumomi as well as other books on paper crafting […]
via GUEST DOODLEWASH: Nano-Sketching by Karen Elaine — Doodlewash
I am a professional artist who specializes in pop art, illustration, and graphic design. Much of my time is spent creating whimsical portraits and fantasy art. My work includes both digital and a mix of traditional wet media. (Check out my art gallery to view my work!) I find inspiration from animation (e.g. Disney and Japanese anime), fantasy, fairy tales, and especially those magical little moments in everyday life.