Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Learning about Art & the Art Business - Making A Mark Art Blog Awards 2013

The third section of the 2013 Making A Mark Art Blog Awards is about Learning about Art and the Art Business.  There are three awards:
  • The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
  • The Make Me Think Gong
  • The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon
This particular section of the awards focuses on our personal development - whether that's via:
  • regular posts on a blog wholly focused on the development of artists
  • a really good series of posts on a particular topic of major relevance to artists
  • a new art instruction book
  • a new book about the artist and the art business
For some reason there's a very strong art business flavour to this year's award winners.

The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal

The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
values those art blogs which aim to share useful information for artists - including what they have learned with/from others

Previous winners are:

Sharing is a frame of mind - it's a mindset if you like.  You've either got it or you haven't.  If you've got it, sharing just seeps into everything you do!

I've got a number of recommendations for this award
The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal: for her video blog tutorial Grow your art business online. Full of hands on and detailed information how to set up an online shop to increase your sales. I definitely will do this in January.
  • Artists Helping Artists was nominated by Susan Williamson (however they won in 2011 and hence are ineligible for the award this year)
  • Painters-table.com was nominated by Ilaria Rosselli Del Turco (I think it might have been better if the Painters Table had been nominated for the Showcase Shield under the Generating Art category - however I've got it noted as a contender for 2014 and will be keeping an eye on it over the course of 2014.)
Painters-table.com is a blog of blogs that selects all the most interesting blogposts of the day. I am an avid reader because it covers figurative, abstract, contemporary and old masters painting.
For the FAQ's award, I'd like to nominate http://ilardt.blogspot.co.uk/ - for her progress with monoprinting over the year, from starting out to selling on Etsy, as well as her lovely "my blog is your blog" feature, where she shares lovely work by other artists. Would nominate a fair few of her paintings, too, if I had the time and permission . . .
I've not reviewed all of Roos Schuring's videos - I've only been able to dip in and out of three of them - and that's because we are talking lengthy videos.  It certainly appears she's made a huge effort to address the type of questions which come up again and again for those trying to sell their art. To then invest her time as a professional artist in making the videos and the supporting documentation and then make all the videos available for free is definitely going above and beyond in the "helping out your fellow artists" stakes!

I'm certainly not a fan of all of her presentation techniques but I'm very used to doing presentations so I guess I'm being picky (but I am a strong believer in outlawing  loud music from all educational videos!)

She's just published a recap of the story so far - which I think might actually be a very good place for people to start. It's called 4 Steps Towards Success to Sell More Art.

So for the effort and the content....

The 2013 Winner of
The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
Roos Schuring

The Make Me Think Gong 

The Make Me Think Gong
for the person who makes me (and others) think and offers insights that are transferable to the activity and business of being an artist. 

One of the awards had to be more about matters relating to the career and art business end of things - and this is it.  It's less "how to paint" and more "how to avoid being a starving artist".

This award is also for independent as opposed to paid bloggers which means that this rules out some good blogs (eg the Seller Handbook correspondents for Etsy's The Storque) and some not so wonderful blogs e.g. all newspaper journals with a blog online.

Previous winners:
An art business magazine recently identified what it saw as the 10 Best Art Blogs to follow. Naturally, given the title of the magazine, I assumed they'd all be about the art business. Except they weren't. Only four of the ten were genuinely about the art business. One of the other six had only produced five posts in total in the last year. 

The fact of the matter is there aren't that many blogs out there which provide consistently good content with practical advice and the advice about which ones are great isn't always that marvellous either!  Which is where this award comes in......

Nominations received included
Hands on and detailed information how to set up your own online shop in order to increase your sales. I will follow her advise and set mine up in January
Maria Brophy is a no-nonsense businesswoman and blogger, who not only helps direct and maintain the career of internationally-known artist Drew Brophy, but frequently presents helpful guidance to avoid pitfalls of incorrect business practices where artists are concerns--invaluable lessons, illustrated by real-life experiences and examples.
I'd like to nominate Susan Mumford for her Sunday Reading blog. It's being going for a bit over a year, and provides weekly insight into the art world.
I have to say I also had Be Smart about Art on my list - however it's still a relatively new setup and I'm adding it now to my list for this award for next year!

That's because I've had somebody in mind for some time as being somebody who should be awarded the Make Me Think Gong for his contributions to thinking about art business.

Alan Bamberger's ArtBusiness.com provides very helpful and consistently good advice - even if the frequency of posting is infrequent.  In terms of the content that's likely to interest artists it's more blog than website but, that said, it's not a lot like most other blogs.  For example, both Feedly and I have looked in vain for an RSS feed. 

Artists need to focus on this link Articles for Artists: Resources to Present, Promote, Market Your Art. I think I've recommended every article in that list at one time or another and some more than once.  He's very much labelled as an expert on my various websites about the art business.

The key thing to remember is Alan packs in enough content to one article to provide a series of 5-10 blog posts by other bloggers.  He's sort of the obverse of Twitter and very short daily tips - he's consistently long on length with lots of solid content. Read his most recent article on Everything You Need to Know About Pricing Your Art and you'll see what I mean.  (By way of contrast he is brief and to the point on Facebook - see his Facebook Page for Alan Bamberger artbusiness.com). I'd go so far to say that if Alan ever got round to compiling his advice to artists in a book format he'd very probably have a bestseller on his hands!

The 2012 Winner of 
The Make Me Think Gong 

Alan Bamberger (ArtBusiness.com)

The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon

The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon
for the most helpful book written/produced by an art blogger 

Previous winners
The criteria are that
  • the author MUST be somebody who blogs about art - BUT they don't have to be an artist.
  • the book MUST 
    • have been published in the previous two years ie after 1st January 2012 in the case of the award for 2013. This is to avoid any bias towards books published in the early part of this year as opposed to those which have not yet had time to build a following.
    • add value as opposed to being more of the 'same old, same old'. or just nice to look at.
My aim is to find a book which does NOT follow the conventional publisher's recipe for a lot of art books. 

Typically a "blue ribbon book"
  • will have a structure, content and design which speaks of the passion and priorities of the artist blogger who has written it (ie "identikit books" will NOT win this award!)
  • may have been produced and marketed by the artist blogger. 
I also don't apply the three year rule to this award on the basis that there's only a small set of people who write art books!  

Clara Lieu's book Learn, Create, and Teach was nominated by Rose Welty
The book is very honest about living the creative life from someone who is doing it. It is very approachable but still informative. e.g. She answers the question "can artists have it all?" with "yes, but not all at once." The book has helped me more accurately assess where I am and what I need to be doing to move forward.
I'll certainly endorse Clara's blog as being a very interesting read - it's one of the blogs I follow.  If you've not read her before try her most popular posts

The winner of this year's award published the Kindle Edition of the Second Edition in January 2012.  When first published I'd Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion by Alyson Stanfield had no chance against the juggernauts of Gurney and Urban Sketchers which were 'one horse races' in both 2011 and 2012 - with both books being best sellers before they'd even been published!

However it's very important to note that nearly two years later that this is a book which is a steady seller and a stayer. It has proved to be consistently popular and highly regarded by its readers. It currently enjoys 84 reviews on Amazon.com rating it an average of 4.9 out of 5 stars - which is an absolutely stellar performance. It also means it now outranks 'The Art of Urban Sketching!

It's also important to remember that this is yet another book which was written according to the author's idea of what was important. Design and content were not dictated by a publishing house.  Alyson set up her own publishing company to produce this book. What is very evident from some of the previous winners and this book is that when the experts in their field are allowed to write what they want to write and what they think is important then their books for artists often become best sellers. However it does help if you already have a following!

The 2013 Winner of 
The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon


I'd Rather Be in the Studio: The Artist's No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion 

by Alyson Stanfield


  1. YEEEY!!@!! I am so happy! Thank you dearly! Thanks to supporters, and Astrid for het nominating/text. Blown away! Roos Schuring.

  2. A Very Happy and Successful New Year! .... May The Art Force Be With You!

  3. I cannot tell you how glad I am to have just recently discovered your blog. You are now in my feedly!

  4. Roos - glad you're pleased! Astrid was certainly going the extra mile for you this year - I think she nominated you in three different categories!

  5. Thank you John - may the Art force be with you too

  6. Roberta - it's always lovely to have another follower. Thank you for commenting and letting me know you're on board.


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