Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Art magazines in the UK and USA - can you help?

Can you help me please?

I've subscribed to a lot of art magazines and journals in the past and currently subscribe to none .

I'm wondering if others are pondering on subscriptions in the same way as me. I've decided that I want to do an opinion polls(s) about art magazines and journals. To do that, I want to make sure I include all the ones which people who read this blog read on a regular basis.

Three caveats - in relation to where I'm going to draw the line about what's in and what's out of the sample:
  • Basically I'm aiming for all the ones typically read by the serious amateur artist, semi-professional and emerging professional artists who major in drawing and/or painting.
  • Hence I'm not going to include the very basic ones for complete beginners, or any craft-oriented magazines, or magazines for the very arty farty galleristas or the seriously academic.
  • I'm also not including anything which is more generally 'arts' in a generic sense - so if it's got reviews of musc or theatre it gets ruled out.
The above is shorthand for the fact that I want to try and include the magazines about drawing and painting which people like me might read - and which are accessible via a good newsagent or online.

So far these are the ones I've got listed. I have to tell you I've subscribed or bought about 80% of these at one time or another in the past.

UK Art Magazines/Journals

USA Art Magazines/Journals

The one thing I really don't understand at the moment is why so many of the American Art Journals have websites which don't have a good quality links which lead straight to an informative page about the magazine. (I spent some time sussing out some of the links you find above.) Instead so many of them take you straight to a subscription page before you even know what the magazine is about!

Now I don't know whether anybody in the American magazine industry has heard of the quaint notion that you show people what's on offer and describe the benefits before you tell them the price and take the money. It certainly strikes me that a number of the websites could do with a consumer audit.

Now there's a thought..........


Tina Mammoser said...

The only thing I actually subscribe to is The Art Newspaper.

Otherwise I randomly pick up once in a while:
Modern Painters
Printmaking Today
Creative Review (not fine art)
Art in America (US publication)
ArtNews (US publication)
Art & Antiques
Turpsbanana (have picked up for the 1st time)

I prefer mags with a larger scope to their content though, not just painting but critical review, market/auction news, and I also like design publications - they often inspire my artwork. Perhaps that's because I used to be a designer though.

As for the UK ones they just all seem "how to" type mags for leisure artists (A&I, the Artist, Leisure Painter). Keep in mind that Galleries is primarily paid listings, not really an editorial magazine (even the articles tend to feature advertisers). Art of England is the same - you'll notice all the editorial is about advertisers.

So there are few UK magazines that are true editorial for working artists. The only one I can think of offhand is AN which isn't in your list but I'm sure you probably read! But I changed my subscription for that to digital only because I never read the mag anymore (it's far too trendy/graduate type work for me), just want the listings, online resources and insurance. (which are all excellent and there's no substitute)

Making A Mark said...

Many thanks Tina - great comments - just the sort of thing I was after!

I came to the same conclusion about AN which is why it's not listed! I guess the subtext of my listing is that this is less about the trendy twenties/graduate type of magazine and more about the magazines for artists with a few more years/inches/hair issues!

If people can list the other magazines they read irrespective of whether they've already been highlighted it'll give me some idea of which are the more popular extra ones

Tricia said...

How about International Artist Magazine? That seems to cover a lot of artists work from all over the world. The current issue has work by Carol Carter I think.

Anonymous said...

Hi Katherine, I currently subscribe to both The Artist's magazine and Artists and Illustrators. Over the last year or so I've found they have jumped more onto the 'how to' bandwaggon so I don't think I'll be renewing my subscriptions when they are up.

To be honest, I'm finding more and more that I can get access to the content I would want from a good art magazine through the large number of artist's and art blogs I'm subscribed to in Google reader. It's become my own personalised daily art magazine!

Sophie said...

Hi, I subscribe to International Artist Magazine and so far its the only one I like and have liked for a long time. The style fits my style. I also subscribe to A&I but dislike the 'how-to' features aimed at leisure painters, as Tina describes, otherwise: nice magazine. The Artist and Leisure Painter are not aimed at professionals and not that interesting. AN seems to be on a different art planet than I am (very 'contemporary' art stuff). I have trouble 'picking up' magazines as the average WHsmith does not stock much else. I've subscribed to the Pastel Journal for one year but thought the content was a bit one-sided (style wise) although otherwise a nice magazine. Hope that helps.
Your blog replaces a lot that a magazine could do....

K. Henderson Fine Art said...

The only art mags i read these days is American Art Collector and Western Art Collector. Also Art of the West is good.

Janet Pantry said...

The only magazine I subscribe to is 'Drawing' which is from the USA, an offshoot from American Artist. I really like it, it has quite a few in-depth articles, and relatively few adverts! It's the only magazine I've found which focuses on drawing in all its forms.

I agree, though, Katherine, with your point about inadequate linking and info when buying mags online. Also agree that there are no mags in the UK for artists who want something beyond the basics. We are not all beginners but many of us, I think, would like a mag which broadens our knowledge, shows us new ways of working, reports on notable artists working today - particularly in the drawing field. I can't believe there's not a market for this kind of mag in the UK.

ZanBarrage said...


I stopped subscribing to magazines about 5 years ago after many years of frustrated hopes for a meaningful article. All I saw were articles pushing product, workshops, books or DVDs. What I found is that no one really wants to deliver the goods in a magazine; that the function of these magazines is to tease you into buying the underlying product. As catalogues, they work very well, but that is not what I was looking for so I have stopped subscriptions all together.

Occasionally I do pick up a magazine when I am about to board a plane, only to confirm that the methodology has not changed.

I wonder why you stopped subscribing and we have a shared experience.


v42no said...

Two of my favorites are International Artist Magazine ( American Art Collector ( both of which allow one to page through a thumbnail version of the current issue online.

I also hate how difficult it is to see what the current American magazines have in them before getting sent to the subscription page.

Due to overwhelming size of my art magazine collection, I'm switching to the annual CD versions, too.

Felicity Grace said...

I subscribe to Artist's & Illustrators and just took out a subscription to The Artist. As a beginner with watercolours, I'm quite happy with the how-to's (unless it's pencil but I won't go into that!)and I tend to think of magazines as showcases of products with a bit of info here and there. I don't think of them as any more than that really - it avoids disappointment! I'm reminded of your coloured pencil survey because I think if the US mags were more widely available they would be high up on UK readers' lists (Prismacolors perhaps being popular due to difficulty of finding European brands). A friend sometimes brings me 'Watercolor' and 'Drawing', the offshoots of American Artist and I like these a lot, the standard of work is pretty high. Very occassionally I've come across International Artist here and would buy it regularly if I saw it.

I used to get AN but found it impossible to read - certainly not something curl up with and get inspired by!

My one big gripe with Artist's & Illustrators (which I've been reading for many, many years) is that it has become dumbed down somewhat and has far too many celebrity features. I feel making it in the art world is hard enough and that same publicity could make a difference to someone who needs it.

Just for your information, the magazines from France, that I see here, are much the same with the focus on tutorials and products! Then there is the high brow stuff, but again, there is that huge gap in between for the serious artist looking for something more than the 'how to's'.

Making A Mark said...

It's rather beginning to sound like the issue with books all over again - a big gap in the middle for the serious hobby artist/artist trying to make it professionally.

I knew I'd forget one - and of course I know about International Artist!

Mind you since it's an Australian publication I guess I've got an 'out' on that one. But I will definitely make sure it gets included in the opinion poll

Anonymous said...

No one has mentioned Palette Magazine, a magazine devoted to watercolors and produced by well known artists, Christopher Schink and William Lawrence. It has lots of interesting articles covering anything from figure drawing, abstract art, the use of color, to everything you ever wanted to know about shadows. The articles go in-depth, with lots of examples from famous painters. It is a quarterly magazine, well worth subscribing to.
Jean Lurssen

Making A Mark said...

I've not heard of that one Jean - I'll take a look said...

I got the trial subscription to classes online - working my way through almost 80 video workshops in 3 months. Better than a subscription to a magazine any day.

njart73 said...

Hi Katherine,
I subscribe to a lot of art magazines ! Among them are American Artist, American Artist Watercolor, Workshop, Artist Magazine, Watercolor Artist, International artist and The Pastel Journal. Even though I do not work in soft pastel The Pastel Journal is very informative no matter what medium one works with. Depending on what is featured in the issue I buy at the store The Artist an instructional magazine from your side of the pond. That magazine showcases some very good artists.
If I want to look at and be inspired by fine art alone without added instruction I subscribe to American Art Review, Art Of The West and Southwest Art. I buy American Art Collector and Western Art Collector. These magazines feature for the most part art that can be considered "traditional" Although I work in what I consider to be a more expressive abstract manner these magazines are inspirational. When I need an artistic pick-up these
are the places that I can go right in the comfort of my studio. Art Forum, Art in America and Art News
offer very little if any inspiration. Those magazines
may work for some but for myself they are a lot of
empty pages.

njart73 said...

Hi Katherine,
I just wanted to add that I agree with the comment posted by Watercolorist. She mentions The Palette magazine. If one has to choose only one or two art instructional magazines they will find that The Palette
magazine is a top choice. I have been a subscriber for many years and I am always referring to back issues.
Each issue contains a lot of really good ideas and gets you thinking.

Tracy Wall said...

Ditto others' suggestion of American Art Collector mostly for the visuals of what's out in galleries around the country, though an occasional interesting article about other topics. Prefer artist interviews and not just gallerists.

Looking forward to the poll!

Making A Mark said...

Thanks for all the comments so far.

This is absolutely fascinating - even more than I was expecting it to be! At the moment I'm rethinking how the poll(s) might go!

If you can say whether you're an artist or a collector and where you are on the student through to full time professional artist that would also be most helpful.

adebanji said...

There is also ART of THE WEST- I used to buy this in the UK from Borders until Borders went into admin.

Art with Liz said...

Hi Katherine, down here in the Southern Hemisphere we tend to favour International Artist, The Artist, and Australian Artist. International Artist certainly seems the most popular in our art society.

Tracy Hall said...

I don't subscribe to any, and haven't been that impressed with the few I've seen so will be very interested to see the results of your poll.

Gillian McMurray said...

Wildscape is a wildlife art magazine which covers current artists with a little 'how to'. A nice publication. I'm with those folks who said that A&I has become a disappointing. I have subscribed for years but it has recently had a revamp and has become dumbed down alongside a cut of 14 pages and a price rise. I'm contemplating stopping my subscription.

Olha Pryymak said...

An addition from an artist: AN is great for listings indeed, but not worth the paper version either. I suggest you attempt a poll of online resources for the same type of artist needs you've listed above, since most of us do just that - look online instead of in print.

Making A Mark said...

Great idea Olha - thank you

I've only ever had the online version on AN. I don't see the point of a paper version if you've got a computer.

Parisbreakfasts said...

I like Art calendar, but hardly have time to read all the info provided. I agree the US art mags sites usually stink.
They are rarely user friendly, which is pretty disappointing IMO.
I have no idea why they follow this pointles route??

Astrid Volquardsen said...

Really good and intersting post!

I've subsbribed to the Pastel Journal.Concerning that there are probably fewer pastel painters among the artists world, I'm glad that it still excists. What I really like about the articles is, that the artists talk about the material they use, without pushing a specific product.

Variuos thoughts:
Maybe it's hard to please the "gap in the middle", because artists at this point just need to paint, paint, paint and an art magazine can't substitute the inspiration and guidance we're looking for.

How to represent an artist in a fairly short article? In a lot of articles, it's almost the same procedure, so the reader gets kind of bored, because he already knows what's coming.

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