How To Make People Care About Your Art

Connection = Caring

So I was perusing the Internet yesterday thinking up a new side-hustle, when I found someone else had already taken my idea!

This happens to me all the time, but this time was different.

The blog I came across was featuring an artist — the artist with my idea — and all they talked about was their childhood and how it’s affected their current work.

Easiest branding tips for artists | Best marketing tips | How to promote your art when you have no time | How to market your art on a budget | an artist's guide to marketing without being salesy | How to sell art online without selling your soul
How to make people care about your art – Instagram Post

They neglected to give any contact info, despite saying they’re open (and desperate) for commissions numerous times.

This artist even neglected to list their subject matter, themes, or any mediums they used.

To top it off, the few pictures included were poorly lit snapshots of some comic sketches and sloppily edited photos of a few paintings. You could tell they were all taken in their poorly-lit NYC apartment.

They didn’t have a Website, Twitter, Instagram… nothing. All they had was a Tumblr page they posted to every week or so making it basically impossible for clients to reach them. There wasn’t even an email address listed, what a PR disaster!

I can’t imagine being a showcased artist in an article — the opportunity to meet hundreds, if not thousands of new clients at almost no cost — and not providing any contact information!

It’s artists like this that get stuck in that “starving artist” mentality, thinking you need to beg everyone to look at your work. They advertise themselves as a walking mess because they don’t take themselves seriously enough to be credited as anything else.

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.

Andy Warhol

Employers can smell this desperation, and will most often write you off as inexperienced, or try to talk down your rates.

Making art has never been about the money, money is merely what we use to obtain the things we need to survive (if you’re in the art world looking for money, let the rest of us know where you find any).

Making enough to survive as an artist is challenging, but not having a website is like shooting yourself in the foot with an arrow before your Olympic 100 m dash. You’re fucking yourself over.

Easiest branding tips for artists | Best marketing tips | How to promote your art when you have no time | How to market your art on a budget | an artist's guide to marketing without being salesy | How to sell art online without selling your soul
Top Tips For Free Marketing Online –
Pinterest Post

An artist website is incredibly important for gaining new clients. Someone who has never heard of you or what you do should be able to see all that on your site, preferably clicking through your about page, portfolio, and social media links. I’ve had almost all of my button-pressing inquiries via email, from my contact form on my site.

Most employers won’t spend the time clicking through your site; make sure to keep that in mind when setting up your home page.

Maybe you have a drop-down menu to access your archives? Perhaps you want everything on a single minimalist landing page?

Just as when making art, there’s more to consider than just “what looks good”.

What (or who) is your website for and what do you want out of it? It can be intimidating, but a little thing called Design Thinking can make answering these questions a bit easier.

This also opens up a dialogue to talk about your design process and how you make art! The more questions you ask, the more connections you can make between your work and your experiences.

Adding more real-world connections to your work makes for more opportunities to engage with your audience.

Our struggles define us as artists, but let’s face it nobody cares you were bullied in elementary school (who wasn’t) and are still bitter about it 20 years later. No one wants to read about your parents divorce or your father’s drinking problem.

I especially don’t care where you went to school, if at all. And you guessed it, neither does anyone else!

So what makes people care about art?

Easiest branding tips for artists | Best marketing tips | How to promote your art when you have no time | How to market your art on a budget | an artist's guide to marketing without being salesy | How to sell art online without selling your soul
5 Easy Marketing Tips for Artists – Pinterest Post

You need a kick-ass story.

Your story needs to be compelling, original, and have substance. You’re not writing an essay about your life or a bland biography for your grade 12 History class.

You don’t start at the beginning.

You start when you first became unique. When you finally started making different art — art that stands out, has a style — is when you’re worth people’s attention, or even worth mentioning. Before that, you are just like everyone else who says they’re an artist on the internet.

Your art is beautiful, but words will always take your work to the next level.

Craft a dialogue for your work of art.

People love stories. Words have effect, emotionally impactful effects that can generate inquiries, discussions, and (most importantly) sales. You’re literally adding a new dimension to your piece by giving it the soul it deserves through written language.

Another effective way to communicate what you and your art is all about is through branding.

The idea of branding, or becoming a brand, is seen as a bad thing by many artists I talk to… but guess what? It is the most important thing. Period. You, as an artist, are a brand. You represent your art business and your art represents you in return.

Shying away from branding yourself is holding you back. Embracing it will make you flourish!

A simple social media strategy could be the breakthrough marketing plan you need. With a bit of creative discipline and vision, your social media feeds could look calm and compelling. This creates a great energy, putting your work in the spot-light.

Developing interpersonal relationships on social media is also another great way to receive free exposure from authentically engaged audiences. Hyperlinking to other people’s work is a great way to make connections with people whose work you admire. Make sure your links are all clickable, meaning none of them are broken links!

Easiest branding tips for artists | Best marketing tips | How to promote your art when you have no time | How to market your art on a budget | an artist's guide to marketing without being salesy | How to sell art online without selling your soul
Stop hurting yourself, start embracing your brand.

Here’s 5 things you can do right now to improve your artist branding and online presence:

  1. Have a website. Make sure your website acts as a tool for your viewers. Make everything clearly identified and easy to find. Be sure to include EVERYTHING! Bonus: Get your own domain to look like a total pro.
  2. Have a custom colour pallet to use for everything. Subtleties like custom colour themes across all your platforms can create a cohesive feel for all your online work.
  3. Display the same logo/profile photo everywhere! You want people to recognize you and your work and the best way to do that is with a killer logo or clear headshot. Whichever you choose is based on your audience and niche.
  4. Bump up your social media profiles right now! Use every word to mention the coolest things about what you do. Take the chance to make an impression. Convert a stranger into a follower simply by writing yourself a killer bio!
  5. Most importantly, keep it consistent; post content every day! Keep your content consistent in quality. As in, use similar lighting, fonts, editing presets, and filters on your photos. Bonus: If you can make your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and website all visually similar and still compelling… I forgive you for all your previous discretions because this is some next-level shit!

In the meantime you can keep up with my creations on Patreon, follow my artist travels on Instagram, and see me live-stream video games on Twitch!

Until next time,


Artist Journal Initials circle logo
The Artist Journal initials blog logo
About the author title card: Joey Dean
About Joey.

A Gift Guide for Artists: Top 10 Gifts For You or The Crafter You Love

A gift guide for people who have no idea how to buy art supplies — what do they even want anyway? 

Because gifts aren’t about what they need, it’s about what will light up their face and make them feel special — like it was picked just for them!

In this guide I’ve included the following, so you can find what that person is looking for with ease!

  • Who the gift is best suited for
  • The gifts’ suggested uses
  • A simple price-point guide [$-$$$]

*Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. You will not be charged extra, and you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine. It’s a win for everyone, really.

For the avid illustrator:

KOBWA Professional 100% Log Anti-breaking Pen Charcoal Sketch Set is an excellent holiday gift for illustrators, students, and artists alike!
KOBWA Professional 100% Log Anti-breaking Pen Charcoal Sketch Set: Portable Multifunction 18 Pieces

Important for anyone who draws anything, keeping your tools safe is a must! Too many of my favourite pencils have been lost, stolen, snapped and broken — but ever since I got a “roll” for my pencils, it’s been great!

This set covers all the bases; including 18 sketch pencils, 3 charcoal pencils, 3 paper erasable pens, 1 pencil extender, 1 craft knife, 1 eraser & 1 rubber moldable eraser. With 18 sketch pencils ranging from 8B-2H, as well as the 3 charcoal pencils (Soft, Neutral, Hard) — this set of pencils has you covered, not needing to worry about what any of those numbers mean. [$]

The Togood 60 Sketch Twin Markers with Dual Tips (Broad/Fine) Professional Alcohol Marker Set is a great gift for calligraphy and manga artists this Christmas!
Togood 60 Sketch Twin Markers with Dual Tips (Broad/Fine) Professional Alcohol Marker Set

This impressive pack of markers is great for animation students, paper crafters (like scrapbooking and journalling), and professional artists alike. This gift will also be sure to make a large impression! These double-ended markers are ideal for character design, comic book drawing, fashion design, and for student and general use. [$$$]

There’s also a smaller 36-pack available if you were going for something more… subtle. [$$]

Prismacolor is where it’s at!

Every artist goes ga-ga when they see or hear “PRISMACOLOR”, and that’s because they’re worth that much attention. Prismacolor pencils are what I have used for years… But now they have these?! The Prismacolor Art Sticks pique my interest in particular because of how much time they would save me when I have to colour-in huge areas.

Art sticks have the quality of Prismacolor’s regular pencils — much like pastels, they work best on large areas, as foundations for layering, or quick turnaround projects. Because of their soft core, they can be used for superior blending and shading, endlessly.

As a pack of 48, this one is a steal! [$$]

For the portable painter:

Watercolor Brush Pen by Ohuhu are excellent for painting with water on the go and could be the perfect gift for the creative person in your life this holiday season.
Watercolor Brush Pens, Ohuhu 20 Colors Water Color Painting Markers With Water Coloring Brush

This gorgeous set of 20 watercolour brush pens is odourless, non-toxic, and washable! This set is great for adult colouring books, doodling in a journal, manga & comic illustration, and even calligraphy! [$]

I would recommend these for artists with only a limited workspace or for those who want a portable painting experience. 

Be sure to grab the right paper to go with it. If it’s a gift, you might as well make it beautiful. I personally love these watercolour paper Art Journals the most in the world (not exaggerating)! [$$]

Presents are made for the pleasure of who gives them, not the merits of who receives them.

Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

An adjustable aluminum painting easel is a staple for any painter, especially this one which is suitable for table-tops and floor display, making this perfect for travelling artists. The telescopic legs can be adjusted from 25 to 73 inches! Each leg can be adjusted individually to provide an even surface, even on uneven terrain. [$$]

A collection of brushes that offer a variety of sizes to choose from both Flat and Round. Whether you’re applying minor details or large strokes, our brushes are versatile enough to handle any task. Making these a perfect gift for painters this holiday season!
A lovely customer photo By Zoddo of Artify 38 Pcs Paint Brushes Art Set

This collection of brushes offer a variety of sizes to choose from both Flat and Round. Whether you’re applying minor details or large strokes, these brushes are versatile enough to handle any task. I haven’t used them personally (yet), but the reviews are very encouraging!

They come in a canvas wrap; you roll them out and you’re good to go! The wrap makes them easy to store in a bag or backpack, while also providing essential protection from unwanted damage. This design makes it ideal for students commuting to and from school, and hobbyists who regularly travel. [$$]

For the diligent designer:

Made from Hardened acrylic material, with ultra-thin design, and wear-resisting materials, it feels like a glass panel without chipping or cracking.
A4 Ultra-Thin LED Art Stencil Board Light Pad Tracing Drawing Pad Board Light Box for Artists, Drawing, Sketching, and Animation

This A4-size portable light box totally changes the game for stencilling, calligraphy, comics & animation, and design! You can now get these crazy things, light-pads for drawing anywhere you have a USB connection: using only 5 V, these babies can be run off of only a power bank! [$$]

A fresh Moleskin Art Pad is the accessory for any designer. Something simple and practical, yet beautiful. Even KonMari couldn’t turn this down. [$]

For the crazy crafter:

Ever art for “365 Days of Creativity” by Lorna Scobie

365 Days of Creativity is a thoughtful and inspiring book designed to help you carve out moments of self-expression and unlock your creative potential. Award-winning illustrator Lorna Scobie shows you that art does not have to be scary — it can be done with any materials, in any colour, in any style and, most importantly, it can be done anywhere! With themes that look at imagination, nature, memory, and pattern, this book is designed to encourage you to think outside the box and spark the artist within. Featuring a creative thought for every week, goal-setting, and mood-based activities, as well as plenty of supportive prompts and tips, this fun and inspiring book will make a perfect gift and keepsake as well as being a powerful tool for positive change. [$]

Item description of “365 Days of Creativity

For the babe busting their butt and rubbing elbows in the art scene, this ArtBin Express Tote is the best way to wheel around valuable creations, bulky displays, and hard-earned-dough from show — to show — to show… The priciest on my list, but still has huge savings and is a sure-fire way to become their “total life-saver”! [$$$$]

26 individual loops on inside cover for markers, brushes, etc, and large back pocket holds up to 12-Inch by 12-Inch books, papers, and projects! Perfect for your professional artist on the go, workshop leaders, and portaging your scrapbook club materials.

ArtBin is a great brand that I swear by and would honestly love one of these for myself… Like, really bad. To fan-boy a bit, this thing packs:

  • 26 individual loops on inside cover for markers, brushes, etc.
  • A large back pocket that holds up to 12-inch by 12-inch books, papers, and projects
  • A shoulder strap with shoulder pad to easily transport the top unit that is detachable
  • Double reinforced side handles for secure lifting
  • and sturdy double skate wheels!
3D Pen, Duoles 3D Doodler Drawing Printing Pen, Christmas Gifts/ Present and Toys for Boys & Girls - Modern Arts and Crafts Tool. CREATE IN 3D - Duoles 3D printing pen extrudes heated plastic which instantly hardens, allowing you to literally draw in 3 Dimensions, freehand or on paper.
This 3D Pen, Duoles 3D Doodler Drawing Printing Pen is perfect for wild imaginations!

3D drawing pens were a hot gift last year — and they still are! For kids and adults, it’s easy for a crafty mind to get their hands on this and make something it was very much not intended for… Give the gift of crafting in a new dimension!

Duoles claims their pen is light, slim, and easier to handle. It boots up in just 30 seconds to get you creating quickly. You can easily control extrusion speed for smoother operation and endless creation. The best part is it will auto-off if not used in over 5 minutes, making it safer than a hot glue gun! [$$]

That’s my Artist Gift Guide for 2019!

I’m always curious as to what you are curious about!

You can find me active on Facebook and Instagram as well as posting more blog content on my personal Patreon page. Reach out to me; I respond to all comments and questions!

Until next time,

-Joey @ The A/J