Artwork by Nancy Freeman.
Artists: do you blog? Have you considered starting one? If you have spare time, blogging can be a great way to keep in touch with the people who follow your work, and a place for new people to find you.
Why start an artist blog? There are lots of reasons, but here are a few:
- Share the why and how behind your artwork.
- Show works in progress, and connect with your fans and buyers. They can keep up to date on your new work and shows by signing up for your RSS feed or an e-mail newsletter of your blog posts.
- Ask your readers questions, and get comments on your posts.
- Improve your search engine rankings and make it easier for people to find you online.
That said, blogging isn’t for everyone. You should blog only if you have the time and energy, and something to say.
If you already have a website, your platform might include a blogging function so you don’t need to maintain a separate site. If you don’t have a website, try WordPress (which is what this blog runs on) — it’s free, and you can use it for both your blog and the rest of your website. (Other popular options are listed below.)
We asked some Art League artists who blog for their perspective on everything. Read to the end for some resources that can help you with starting an artist blog and ideas for what to write about.
“Reston Founder Robert (Bob) Simon: Face #100” by Jill Banks. This was the final painting in Jill’s 100 Faces in 100 Days project, which was chronicled on her blog. You can read about this final piece here.
Jill Banks never read blogs before starting on the suggestion of another artist, but she says she finds it easy and interesting to write about life as an artist. Artists, collectors, and people who are just interested in art read her blog. She says people get attached to paintings when they are just images of works in progress, then they are thrilled to see them in person: “it already feels like it’s a part of them.”
Jill’s “100 Faces in 100 Days” project, in which she painted 100 volunteer models from January 1 to April 10 last year, was announced on her blog and featured every day there while it was going on. That’s probably when her blog was most popular, she says, with people checking in to see the latest post and see photos of the portraits. (Jill includes an image with every post, which is considered blogging best practice.)
“It really built a following,” Jill said of the 100 Faces chronicle. Articles like these, which allow readers to follow an ongoing project and to connect with the stories behind artwork, are perfect for artist blogs.
“And Not a Drop to Drink” by Cindy Packard Richmond, from this post on her blog.
Like Jill, Cindy Packard Richmond uses Blogger, Google’s blogging platform, for her blog. But she says she doesn’t like it, citing concerns over difficulty in readers leaving comments and about image copyright. (We’ll feature tips about how to protect your art online in a future post.)
Cindy writes that she tries to blog at least twice a month, though she blogged more frequently during her solo exhibit at The Art League Gallery last year. She says her posts are more about her life than art, specifically. “My blog is not a true artist blog,” she writes. “Artist block comes up now and again, but I am more likely to grouse about tenants of our summer house or my son’s dog. I try to be droll.”
Nancy Freeman says that while her blog is only one part of her site, it’s by far the most active part. She tries to update it at least twice a week. Using Weebly, the system her site is built on, has been straightforward; she says that it’s producing the content that’s been time-consuming, in particular, photographing and editing images of her artwork.
“My site is a lot like a garden;” Nancy writes, “it’s more of a process than a product and is always a work in progress. And as with a garden, the rewards are in direct proportion to the time and effort you put into it.” You can read more of Nancy’s thoughts about her new website on her blog.
For other examples of artist blogs, Google some of your favorite artists or check out the links to Art League blogs in the right sidebar.
Thinking of trying blogging out? Here are some resources to help you get started:
- Some of the most popular blogging platforms — see which one looks best to you:
- If you’re interested in WordPress, The Abundant Artist has many useful posts to help you — as well as other advice on websites in general. Here is their video on how to set up your site, and this post has examples of themes that work for artists.
- Here are six simple ideas for artist blog posts from Empty Easel. Remember, if it’s about art, and it interests you, it will interest your readers, too!
- Kirsty Hall has excellent articles including Different Forms of Art Blogs and Getting Started With Blogging. If you poke around on her site you’ll find lots of helpful stuff.
If you have any thoughts or questions, let us know in the comments!