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!
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.
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
As artists, we get asked this question a lot: “What is your favorite medium?” or, slightly similar: “What art tools do you prefer?”
Well, my lovelies, I have decided to compile a list of my absolute favorite tools of the trade, and why I love them, just for you. 🙂
I am a huge fan of mixed media art. For me, no one medium does absolutely everything I want it to do — but combined… well, then all bets are off. By itself, I’m not a huge fan of watercolor. I appreciate the beauty of the medium and I love looking at watercolor illustrations. But, it’s too fluid, and it doesn’t do what I want it to. (Stubborn, remember?)
However, watercolor paint makes a wonderful, ethereal backdrop and I will often use it to start color blocking my pieces. (I also reserve watercolor for larger pieces.)
Copic markers are like watercolor’s richer, denser cousin. Still liquid, still easily blended, but much more saturated. I usually start off with neutral gray hues to shade my piece and tone down the colors so that they look more natural. Then, I layer up the colors to add life to the piece.
This is my third tool of choice. Colored pencils are a great way to add detail to an illustration and to further pull out the colors that lay underneath.
I don’t always use acrylic paints, but sometimes an illustration needs a little extra texture and lift. Acrylics allow me to really pull out the highlights and give the piece an extra 3-dimensional quality.
Hot-press watercolor paper.
This is my preferred surface to work on. Watercolor paper holds all of the liquid media well, minimizes bleeding, and allows for easy blending. I prefer hot-press because there is a little less texture and tooth to the paper. However, I have used both and sometimes the extra texture is a good thing!
As a die-hard digital painting fan, I cannot even begin to remember what it was like before pen tablets. My preferred brand is Wacom, the industry leader in tablets for professional artists. I personally have the Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Medium Tablet (CTH680) and I couldn’t be happier. Well, that’s not completely true. I have been eyeing that Cintiq Companion 2 Intel® Core™ for a while now. Maybe Christmas? (I’m looking at you, dear husband…)
Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2.
I have recently become more interested in sketching out drawings digitally. Call me a traditionalist, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to completely do away with good old pencil and paper for my initial sketches. But I have found the iPad to be a freeing way to sketch — especially when coupled with good drawing apps that can transfer easily to Photoshop (more about that below).
I love this stylus for drawing on the iPad. It’s easy to use, it has pressure-sensitivity, and it moves like butter across the screen. (Not that I’m putting butter on my iPad. That’s just gross.)
I know there are lots of other tablets out there nowadays, but I admit I’m a bit old fashioned when it comes to digital art and computers. While PC has come a long way, I’m just way too in love with Apple (all you PC fans, don’t freak out too hard — I love PC, too. I AM a Microsoft developer, after all. I do all my paintings on the PC!).
With retina display for stunning high-quality visuals, and mixed with the stylus I mentioned above and Adobe’s Photoshop Sketch app, the iPad is pretty tough to beat, in my opinion!
The only downside (currently) is that the drawings done on the iPad are not high-resolution. This isn’t an issue if you’re just sketching and moving into Photoshop for the final piece — but it would be nice to see this become available at some point in the future…
Adobe Creative Suite.
What digital art list would be complete without good old Adobe (especially Photoshop and Illustrator)? I love the new creative suite and how it gives you cloud space. It’s a great way to keep projects available on more than one device! For instance, I can start a sketch on my iPad when I’m out and about, save it, and load it into Photoshop later to start doing the detail work!
We all have those moments when inspiration disappears into a black hole of drudgery. “I’ve got writer’s block,” we say. Or, “My muse has left me!”
Whatever we may call it, the dry spell that comes every so often in every creative’s life is nothing to laugh about. For many of us, the act of creating is akin to the act of breathing. It is vital to our survival.
The inevitable always happens. When it does, what can we do to keep the creative oxygen flowing? I have compiled a list of tricks that I have found over the years to keep me creating, even when I have no creativity left. (Most of these will be geared more toward visual art, but almost all of them can be interchangeable to different types of creative avenues).
Keep an ideas journal. Recently, I have started jotting down ideas as they come to me into a sort of scratch-pad journal. This is great for a couple of reasons: A) I don’t forget ideas that I have (because, let’s face it, I’m a total scatterbrain); and B) I can reference those ideas during times when I can’t think of a good idea to save my life.
Look at art/writing prompts. Illustration Friday is a wonderful resource for artists and illustrators! Each Friday, they post a word, and thousands of artists create something to illustrate that word. There are also many posts on Pinterest for writing and art prompts. You can do a search, or follow me to see things I’ve pinned already.
Read abook. Research a particular subject matter. Start reading through books of a similar genre. Whatever the type, just read! I often get ideas in the middle of reading a really good story. And, you could take it a step further and expand on the type of entertainment. Movies, TV, plays, concerts — all of these are great avenues to foster creativity.
Immerse yourself in learning something new. Do you prefer writing fiction? Try your hand at poetry. Do you draw people really well? Try drawing animals or machines. Take a class. Learn a new technique or medium. The opportunities are endless!
Change your location. Even if inspiration has not struck, the simple act of stepping outside of familiar settings with a sketchpad in hand can be beneficial. There is never a shortage of things to draw, both inside and outside.
Look at things from a different perspective. I mean this literally and figuratively. Even if you have drawn it a thousand times before…draw it again! Try a different view. Use different colors. Try different times of day. I guarantee you will learn something new every time.
Learn from others. “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” (Charles Caleb Colton.) So, go out and imitate! Write fan fiction. Sketch some of your favorite characters. Watch biographies of your mentors. Not everything you create has to be 100% absolutely unique (and there’s a pretty good chance it’s not, anyway. Only five plots and all that jazz). The important thing is to make it yours.
Try philosophy. Sort of. I just mean, ask questions. Hard questions. Make yourself think. Things like, “What would happen if I___?” or “What does it mean to___?” Often just asking questions opens up a whole new world full of possibilities.
Listen to music. There have been so many times that I will be staring at a blank page in horror, with no earthly idea how to manifest something from nothing. Those times, I often turn to music. Whatever mood I am trying to convey, that is the genre I choose. It usually doesn’t take long for things to take shape in my mind once the music starts flowing.
Take a mini break from life. I will be the first to admit that stress stifles creativity. Sometimes, in order to break through a dry spell, we must get away from the things that cause us stress. Whether a stay-cation, vacation, excavation (okay, maybe not that), do something you enjoy and leave work at work.
“We shall not cease from exploration And the end of all our exploring Will be to arrive where we started And know the place for the first time.”
Those are my favorite things to try when I am struggling to find inspiration. I would love to hear your thoughts! What sort of things to you do to tap into your creativity?
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.