Artists on the Web - Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
Home Artist Blog About Me Life in Alaska Purchase Site Index Speak





























































































































































Artists on the Web: Web-based Marketing for Artists

Buying a Digital Camera for Shooting Art:

There are an number of important factors to consider when purchasing a digital camera for photographing artwork.

  • Number of megapixles (5.0 million effective pixels = 5MP = 5 megapixals
  • Image sizes, for example: (2560 x 1920 - 640 x 480 is a good range)
  • Type of lens (removable lenses?, optical zoom, etc.)
  • Auto and manual options?
  • barrel distortion - this one is important for photographing square artwork.

Digital Photography Review provides excellent reviews of the latest digital cameras including side-by-side comparisons and a comprehensive database of digital camera features and specs.

My camera is a Panasonic DMC-FZ20 which I bought for around $500 3 years ago. You can check the price history of any particular camera at Nextag.

The max resolution of your images will be dependant on the overall megapixles and the max image size settings on your camera. Here is Zazzle's image FAQ about required image resolutions for ordering their products. Galleries who allow image upload or digital images on CDs also tend to have size and resolution specs. Keep requirements like these in mind when deciding how large to make your digital images.


Image Optimization:

There are many image editing software packages to choose from for optimizing your digital images. I prefer Adobe Photoshop. There are several different versions and prices range from $25 for Photoshop Elements, to over $600 for the newest Photoshop CS3. Adobe will be coming out with a *free* software-as-service entry level version of Photoshop within the next 6 months!

In Adobe Photoshop you can:

  • Crop (Image > Crop), resize (Image > Image Size), and File > "save for web" in order to create the smallest file size possible for faster downloads.
  • Take poor quality digital photos of your work and use the "autolevels" adjustment tool to correct for lighting and coloring problems: image > adjustment > autolevels
  • Batch process an entire folder of images: File > Automate > Web Photo Gallery. A sample webpage made from this process.

How to continue to optomize your images when editing your website:

Make your photos load faster you should always define the image height and width in your website's HTML.

To make your images easier for people to find through image search engines, name your image files descriptively...such as "blonde-woman-playing-fiddle.jpg" as opposed to the title of the painting if it's something non-descriptive, like "morning music".

Also, *always* add a description of your image in the "alt" tags on your artist website:

<img src="images/lupine-slumber.jpg" alt="Painting of a woman sleeping with her cat and an open book in an Alaskan Landscape" width="190" height="240">


Convert Digital Photos to 35mm Slides

Many galleries and museums today will accept images of work submitted on CD ROM or through email but many still require traditional 35mm slides. I get my 35mm slides created from my high resolution digital photos at

Many galleries and art competions are now allowing digital images instead of 35mm. Sites such as Juried Art Services allows artists to upload high resolution versions of their artwork for jurors to view online. Remember that just because your image looks great on your home monitor, you can never control how it will look through someone else's monitor or online projector.


How to Create a Good Artist Website:

First, read Avoid Common Art Web Site Mistakes by art consultant Alan Bamburger

Next, decide on a design and layout for your new website. This can be a daunting process. Many webhosting companies give you various layout options to choose from, along with a guided method for creating web pages. Depending on your experience level, you may want to go for something unique. In order to find websites by other artists that you like, one option is to use Google's Visual Arts Directory at:

As a figurative painter, I follow the path: Painting > Painters > The Human Figure

This gives me an A-Z list of all the figurative painters out there who have websites indexed by google. The most popular ones are always listed on top. This allows you to browse through hundreds of artists websites to see how they have layed out their websites. Some that I am particularly impressed with are:

If you are interested in creating simple image slideshow effects you may want to consider using DHTML.

For some excellent examples of what not to do, see: Web Pages that Suck

Also, you may want to read resources like How to Create a Google Friendly Site to learn tips for increasing your web site's page rank.

Web Hosting and Domain Registration Pricing:

Having your own website domain name such as is highly preferable to having a subdomain, such as However, if you can not afford web hosting and domain name registration fees, you may want to sign up for a free tool called Google Page Creator, that allows you to "create web pages right in your browser and publish them to the web with one click. There's no software to download and no web designer to hire. pages you create are hosted on Google servers and are available at for the world to see. "

A better option for the serious artist is to have your own website domain. A good web hosting company is bluehost: for $6.95 a month with no additional set-up fees you get:
1 Free Domain Name (such as puls you can add 5 more domains on same account
Content Package
Promotional Package
Free eCommerce/Cart
Free Blog, Chat, Boards
Support Services
Plus oodles of features:
They also include templates for WYSIWYG editing.

Option for people who don’t want to learn web design: There are several companies who will host your own www domain name but help you design your site using templates.

Other People’s Pixels $15.00 a month

up arrowBack to Top


Artist Blogs:

A blog can be in addition to your website, or if you can not afford a website, it can be used in place of one. My favorite free blogging site is Blogger:

Click on "Create your blog now" to get started. Upload photos of work, write daily entries about your work or creative process, and best of all, no HTML required!

Why blog?

I blog because I enjoy writing about my artistic process. It is also a way for me to tag ideas for later use, and keep track of when I did certain works and also keeps a visual record of the various stages of a particular piece on the way to completion. Also, it helps build a rapport with my readers who become potential art collectors.

Need more reasons to start a blog? Read Artist Blogs: Why Every Artist Needs a Blog

Some sample posts from my blog from July 2005 and April 2006

up arrowBack to Top


Art Related RSS Feeds

Use bloglines to "subscribe" to blogs, newsletters, and more then access all updated content from one customizable page at

One feed I highly recommend subscribing to is Art Competitions List: "Art contests and competitions, art jobs and internships, art scholarships and grants and fellowships, art festivals, call for entries/proposals/projects, and other opportunities in all disciplines, including art students, art teachers, and artists of all ages."

up arrowBack to Top


Sale You Art Online:

The main way that I sell work is through my website. I accept payments through PayPal , for a small fee they will process credit card transactions for you on their secure server. They also accept transactions in the following currencies:

Canadian Dollar
Pound Sterling
U.S. Dollar
Australian Dollar

It is incredibly easy to set up as well, under Merchant Tools they give you step by step instructions on a variety of different means of collecting payments online. You can also use them to email bills to customers who buy your art work locally (if they need to pay by credit card). The person making the purchase doesn't even need to have a PayPal account.

Also see their Website Payment Standard list of features or see their technical overview.

I have recieved mixed reviews from artists who have tried to sell their work through ebay. You can either post individual works for sale as auction items, or you can have an ebay store where customers have the option to "Buy it Now".

I have not sold through ebay yet, though I hope to experiment with it in the next month or two. Selling through an ebay auction is probably better for non-represented artists. I personally think it would be unprofessional to sell work in two different places at different prices, which is always the risk if you sell through an auction unless you set a "reserve" price, (the lowest price you will sell the work for).

See additional information about selling on ebay from their Selling Resources page:

Free Online Art Galleries:

There are also a number of free and fee based online galleries that you can sign up for. I have used a couple of free online galleries but I've never sold anything through them. Below are a few that offer limited free gallery services:

Additional tips about selling art online:

“Sell Your Art Successfully at Online Auctions ” by Alan Bamburger

up arrowBack to Top


Copyright and Creative Commons Licensing:

As artists on the web, it's important to understand your rights under US Copyright Law.

The Artists Rights Society has excellent information on the implications of copyright law for visual artists. Also, Pierce Law has a straightforward explanation of copyright in the visual arts.

Creative Commons licensing allows artists to set limits on how and under what conditions their work may be used by others.

ebay Art Fraud! San Francisco artist Anna Conti finds out cheap knock offs of her originals are being sold on ebay!

Once or twice a month I do a "vanity search" in major search engines such as Google and Yahoo on my name: "elise tomlinson" in quotes. This pulls up any website linking to my site or using my name on their site. Here are some examples of people displaying my artwork without permision, keep in mind it is nearly impossible to find those using your artwork who are not attributing it to you!


Art Reproduction Prints

I get my reproduction prints (Giclees) done here in Juneau at Lemon Creek Digital. There are initial fees involved for scanning and color correcting but they produce superior inkjet prints using acid free paper and archival quality pigment based inks.

The advantage of inkject reprints is that once the initial set-up is completed, you can order your prints only a few at a time, rather than having to order in bulk. The price per print does not change. Just remember that if you're doing a limited edition reproduction print, that you keep careful track of your numbering and do not go over the limit you set for yourself. I also make a point of telling customer that they are reproduction prints, and not original fine art prints.

There are other companies such as Zazzle and Kodak which allow you to upload a digital file of your work and you can have people interested in buying art cards, prints, or t-shirts with your image on it, order directly from their store. They will ship the item to your customer directly so you do not get stuck with a lot of expensive inventory if your art doesn't sell. Something else fun you can order from Zazzle are US Postage Stamps with your own art on them.

Here is Zazzle's image FAQ about required image resolutions. Keep requirements like these in mind when deciding how large to make your digital images.

You may also want to upload your images into free photo databases such as flickr

up arrowBack to Top


Art Exhibition Timeline:

The following exhibition checklist and timeline is from the Chicago Artists Resource but is an excellent example of how to prepare for your show. Remember they are only guidelines and don't panic if you wait the week before your show to turn in your press release to the paper, or if your paintings are still a tad wet when you hang them!


Business cards:

Avery Inkjet Clean Edge Business Cards, 2" x 3 1/2", White, Box of 200 $9.00
Tools > Letters and Mailings > Business Cards 8371
Use Format > Text Direction (to change text direction based on image)
Use Insert > Picture > From File (to select images to insert into business cards)
For added umph, add adhesive magnetic paper to the back to turn your business cards into refrigerator magnets. I use my website as my main means of marketing for my work so I include very little information on my business cards, my name, email address, website and phone number.

Sample Business Card Template (Word Doc, replace my images and text with your own)

up arrowBack to Top


Mailing Lists:

I keep separate mailing lists of physical addresses and email addresses of people who regularly attend my openings or have purchased my work online. It is a good idea to have a guestbook at your opening where you can offer to add people to your mailing list. I have mine color coded as follows:

  • Yellow: International
  • Pink: Inter-campus
  • Purple: Local Galleries
  • Black: Out of State
  • Orange: Out of State Previous Buyers
  • Brown: International Previous Buyers
  • Grey: Local Previous Buyers
  • Green: Local
  • Blue: Anchorage Galleries

But you could color code yours however you like. It is a way for me to prioritize when I send out mailings, as sometimes I can afford large mailings and sometimes more modest sized mailings. I keep the addresses in a word document set up for mailing labels: Tools > Letters and Mailings > Avery Standard Address 8160

Whenever you meet anyone who seems interested in your art work, ask them if they’d like to be added to your mailing list. Tell them you will keep their address confidential and only use it for sending out invitational postcards. Also, mention that you’re an artist when you meet new people and keep your business cards handy in case they seem interested in your work.

Mailing List Template (Word Document)

up arrowBack to Top


Exhibit Invitations:

If you’re like me you may work on your paintings up until the day you hang your show. It’s important to keep in mind that you will need to do your show invitations well in advance of your opening so at least one of your pieces needs to be finished fairly early on. Try to get your invitations to the printers a week before you need to mail them. I usually mail my invitations a week and a half before the opening.

Exhibit Invitation Template (PSD PhotoShop Document)

Replace my image and info with your own. Make sure to have the print shop show you a proof before you order all your invitations. This template should print out 4 invitations per 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper. Check to make sure that the "side to side" option is selected or the address / postage side will appear upside down.

up arrowBack to Top


Press Release:

My sample press release (Word document, replace with your own press release)


Artist Statement:

“Your Artist Statement, Explaining the Unexplainable” by art consultant Alan Bamburger,

Artist statement writing exercise by art coach Molly Gordon

See my current artist statement on my website's bio page where I have incorporated photos of my studio.

up arrowBack to Top


Art Title Cards:

I use the same Avery Inkjet Clean Edge Business Cards for printing out the title card of each piece in an exhibit: Tools > Letters and Mailings > Business Cards 8371. I include the title of the piece, the medium, my name, and the price. After I print them out, I glue them using spray adhesive, to squares cut out of black foam core that are about a quarter of an inch bigger on each side, than the actual title cards. They end up looking like this:

I cut out an additional small square of black foam core that I glue to the center of the back of each card so it will float off of the gallery wall a bit. After the show, simply peel off the white business card portion of the title card and keep the foam core for your next opening.

Title Cards Template (Word Document, replace my titles with your own)

Back Title Plates (Word Document) I normally glue a title plate to the dust protector on the back of the framed piece of work. I also register each painting now with the National Fine Arts Title Registry which has a subscription or per transaction fee structure.

up arrowBack to Top


Art Sales Contract

I use the following sales contract which I pieced together from various free online samples, I only kept the language that was important to me and had a lawyer look over it afterwards.

My Sample Sales Contract (Word Document)

up arrowBack to Top


State of Alaska Business Licenses:

The cost is $100 a year for a state of Alaska business license.

City and Borough of Juneau Finance Department:

Business Registration Form: (PDF Document)

Areawide Sales Tax Return Form: (PDF Document)

Resale of Goods Certificate Application (PDF Document)

up arrowBack to Top


Tax Advice for Visual Artists

Riley & Associates from Newburyport Mass have a wonderful website with tax information for visual artists in the United States. This includes PDF and Excel versions of expense checklists and income worksheets. It also answers many frequently asked questions about deductions, the home studio/office and more.

Art Marketing Books in Juneau Area Libraries

The following books are available for check out from Juneau area libraries: Art Marketing Books Available in Juneau Area Libraries (Word Document)

Some of my personal favorites that are not necessarily available in Juneau are:




Just for fun: Cool websites for Artists

Art Critiques Upload images of your artwork for review by other artists


up arrowBack to Top