Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Write a Blog

I just looked around the web to see what makes a blog successful. The answer?

You need the three Cs: content that is unique and communicates to interested parties; consistency, which means frequency; and closeness, meaning you should stick to your niche. My niche is creative subjects such as art, helping people, and working with words and images. This is the perfect medium!

I've seen some artists put a painting a day up on their blog, but choosing to post something worth reading every day and keeping it up is not an easy task. For now I'll try to add a post once or twice a week and maybe it will become more frequent.

Tip of the day - when you send an article to a newspaper, copy the content into the body of the email AND attach the word document. Tell them right up top that you're attaching the doc. This way the editor can review the content and have a good idea where he/she can file it.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Polyvore - Explore the Creative You

My old art school friend, Harriet, has a blossoming gardening glove business called Foxgloves (foxglovesinc.com). She asked me to take a look at a new (to me) and novel place for creative people with an interest in fashion to make online collages. It is called Polyvore.

Polyvore is for fashionistas who can choose any online image, such as a catalog picture, by using a tool provided that rests in your toolbar. A link is made to your own page at Polyvore, and you can use that image, plus any in their enormous image bank, to choose, edit, resize, layer, and 'publish' a set.

All of the linked items appear next to the published set so all viewers can, potentially, go directly to that vendor's site and purchse those fab shoes or overpriced skirt. I created a series of background patterns, put them on a new page on my aikmandesign web site and added the URL to my profile. I also added some of my photos and some clip I had. Within a couple of days, my 'clip art' backgrounds had been linked and used by Polyvoristas about 100 times.

The sets made are both fashion plates, reminding me of paper dolls' clothes, and also some more avante garde arty sets - clothes and cosmetics collaged to resemble a dog, e.g. And the link to my site appears on every one of those published sets.

Polyvore has encountered bumps in the road with regards to copyright, especially when people linked artwork from Etsy and used that art in their collages. You can search for discussions on the web about this subject. I did make it clear that all of my designs on the page I provided were to be used freely.

Go and give it a try- it can be addictive! These are some sets I made - using Foxgloves in most of them. Link Here.


Saturday, September 5, 2009

Creative versus Business

Blogging is only successful if you keep on top of it and I've been a slacker in recent months. Like many artists I am torn between the need to create and the time-consuming need to work the business side of art. How do you juggle the two? I find that I need to separate the two things or else I'm constantly bouncing back and forth and don't get a lot done. Or, worse still, I leave a trail of not-quite-finished projects in my wake.

My friend Steve puts aside one day a week to do nothing but self-promotion, and he regularly attends a networking group. The rest of his 'free' time is dedicated to creative activities. Although he has changed his direction from fine art to writing, the good habits and structured work plan remain intact.

I find that I prefer to dedicate a block of time to each project. I get involved in painting, or a photo-editing task, and so when I take a break for yet another cup of coffee, I'm thinking about it. So whether it's for a day or a week, I immerse myself in one project until it's done. Or, I should say, that is my goal! (I had to add that because I could hear everyone who knows me laughing.)

Break up large projects into smaller tasks. Write a to-do list and even if you don't look at it again, writing out a plan can help get your thoughts organized. Email me with your thoughts on this, or to tell me what you're doing creatively, or to promote your business!

This illustration was done for stock art by painting in gouache on paper. I then overlaid acetate, inked it, and scraped the ink away.