Marketing Your Art, Creatively

Most of us think of handmade cards as ones that incorporate our favorite mixed-media techniques. But have you ever thought about marketing your art through handmade cards? You don’t have to be a professional artist to do this, and you can use your artwork, supplies, and even your favorite collections to get your creative voice out into the world. An article in the January/February 2018  issue of Cloth Paper Scissors inspired me to try it myself, and the results were fantastic!

The idea came about when two contributors to the issue, artists Ailish Henderson (Jumpstart: Stitched Collage Portraits, page 45) and Rachel Hazell (Books that Speak, page 80) sent folded photo cards and postcards of their art and tools, along with their artwork, to our offices. The cards were designed and photographed by the artists and produced by the custom online printing site MOO. The cards were such a lovely addition—kind of like an exclamation point on their work.

You can read more in the issue about how these cards were produced in the Collage section (page 6). I thought the cards were a terrific marketing tool, and decided to try something similar with some of my own artwork, collections, and tools. In addition to using these for marketing, they also make really nice cards to send to family and friends.

I came up with four vignettes: a watercolor sketch, a collection of natural items, a gathering of vintage books, and one featuring the magazine. I waited for a sunny day and gathered artwork and props. Being in the magazine world I’ve learned a trick or two about styling photos from some great pros, and I put some of them to good use here. It’s so easy to find inspiration photos for marketing your art; try Pinterest, Instagram, and magazines (including Cloth Paper Scissors, of course!) to start. You don’t need to make the setups complicated, and you don’t need any fancy equipment—I took these with my smart phone, using natural light. Of course, if you want more professional results, use a 35mm camera.

Gathering mixed-media art supplies for photo vignettes
Gather your favorite artwork, supplies, and tools, and have fun arranging them into different vignettes.

For the first vignette, I featured a page from my color sketchbook and added a watercolor palette, watercolor paints, and a brush. The props were arranged a few different ways to see what worked best, and I shot straight down on a white background (a sheet of watercolor paper), which added to the clean, modern look.

Choose favorite artwork when marketing your art via cards and postcards
Use your favorite artwork for marketing your art, and add relevant props to the photo.

For the second vignette, I wanted to show off my vintage book collection. I love old books that are falling apart, with foxing on the pages and worn spines. Books were arranged on top of a piece of antique linen, and I added a paper rose I made from book pages. As a final touch, I used the Blur Tool in Photoshop to soften the edges.

Vintage book vignette
I made this rose as part of another project, but thought it worked well with this grouping of vintage books.

For the third vignette, I arranged twigs (some painted), stones, sea glass, dried leaves, and feathers on a white background. I love this one for its simplicity. Any nature grouping (shells, acorns, flowers) looks great and is super simple to do. Just play around with the composition until it looks right to you.

Nature vignette for cards
A tiny bit of my artwork is in this photo–the painted twigs.

For vignette number 4, I used the January/February issue of Cloth Paper Scissors as the focal point, and added a few representative vintage tools and supplies. A large sheet of handmade paper served as the background.

Put your artwork front and center when marketing your art
When marketing your art via cards and postcards, make sure that artwork is front and center!

Needing some instant gratification, I printed the photos out on my own printer on white cardstock, making some into folded cards and some into postcards. For the postcards, I glued the images to a same-size piece of watercolor paper to give them more heft. If you’re going for a more polished presentation, and you need cards in multiples, have your images printed professionally.

I embellished the backs of the postcards with stamps to make them more fun. You can decorate these cards and postcards even more with stitch, paint, markers, and ephemera. Like I’ve said before, inspiration can be found all through Cloth Paper Scissors, so don’t miss an issue, and don’t miss an article. I hope you discover some fun ways to show off and share your artwork!

Decorating the backs of handmade postcards
Don’t forget to add a little something special to the backs of your postcards!

Making a vision board is a great way to keep you focused on your creative goals. Learn how to make one yourself using great mixed-media techniques from Rae Missigman!

January/February 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine
Get great ideas for marketing your art, plus amazing mixed-media projects and techniques, in the January/February 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine!
Sales Success for Artists & Makers with Carolyn Edlund
Sales Success for Artists & Makers with Carolyn Edlund offers great advice for marketing your art and growing your audience.
Art of Everyday Photography by Susan Tuttle
In Art of Everyday Photography by Susan Tuttle, discover great ideas for shooting still lifes and more!


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