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Blogging for Artists Part 2 – What to Blog

August 26, 2010

(Illustration by Gonçalo Viana)

What follows is Part 2 of the Blogging for Artists series, which will explore the ways that Illustrators and other creative professionals can use a blog to promote themselves and build a better business.

In case you missed it, read Part 1 here and Part 3 here.

Once you’ve decided that you want to start a blog, or get more serious about a blog that hasn’t been getting much of your attention, the next decision you have to make is what to blog/write about. Assuming that you want to maximize the promotional potential of your Illustration blog, it’s a good idea to have a basic plan or idea of your general focus.

News/Updates

At the very least, you should be using your blog to make announcements about anything exciting that happens in your Illustration business, such as new work that you’ve created, awards you’ve won, or interviews and articles that have featured your work. This helps to keep your audience up to date and encourages them to subscribe to your blog via email or RSS if they want to follow your latest developments.

Tutorials

Posting video or text tutorials on your blog can go a long way towards presenting yourself as a professional in your field and connecting you with your artistic peers. While your main audience for tutorials will generally be other artists, it’s important to remember that even Art Directors and other potential clients will see your tutorials as a sign that you have some level of expertise.

Reviews

Writing reviews about various products, websites, or events can further provide interest for your fellow artists, as well as other professionals in the field. Along with tutorials, reviews can make your blog more of a “useful” place that people will want to return to. Not to mention, they can give you a break from always blogging about yourself.

Process

Blogging about your creative process is another way to promote yourself to both Art Directors and your fellow Illustrators. Potential clients appreciate any chance they come across to get an inside look at the way you work, even if they don’t consciously realize it. This is especially effective for those who aren’t quite familiar with your work, or even with the creative process of an Illustrator.

Experiments and Personal Projects

Unlike the formal atmosphere of your portfolio website, your blog is the perfect place to loosen up a bit and share sketches, comps, and other pieces of more experimental or personal work. Like process posts, this helps to open a window to your creative spirit and tell a more complete story about yourself.

Personal Touch

In addition to the previous examples, it’s a good idea to try and come up with your own creative ideas for blog posts. After all, your blog is the perfect place for expressing yourself to your audience in ways that you might not be able to through your portfolio website or social networking. Try and use your blog as an excuse to take chances and try something different.

What do you blog about? Please feel free to share your thoughts, and a link to your blog, in the comments section of this post.

Special thanks to Gonçalo Viana for providing the artwork for this post.
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About Gonçalo Viana: Gonçalo Viana is a freelance illustrator based in Lisbon. He started off as an architect and since then geometry keeps seeping into his illustrations. He’s been doing mostly editorial work, working for publications both at home and abroad. He shares a love for all themes and subjects but business magazines seem to love him and he loves them back. It’s an open relationship though. Gonçalo has stranded himself on illustration island out of free will and has no desire to escape!

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24 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2010 10:25 AM

    I’m loving this article. For those of us who blog it’s kind of obvious that you should be doing it, but sometimes I have a hard time explaing it to my friends. Mostly they think it’s very hard and time consuming, but it dosen’t have to be that way.

    • August 26, 2010 10:31 AM

      Agreed, Jimena. It’s both a creative outlet and a great promotional opportunity. If you update on a regular basis, it can even inspire people to subscribe to it, making it more of a newsletter.

  2. August 26, 2010 10:48 AM

    The “About” section of my blog says “Ramblings of my life as a visual artist.” And so without rambling too much, I simply try to share the latest art projects I am working on. Because my approach to using pen and ink with watercolors is a little diferent from the usual, sometimes I share the process of my projects. I even have a couple of slideshows from an ongoing painting series. Basically, my blog is an outlet of sorts where I can write down my thoughts and ideas. I am appreciative of those who find it interesting and share their comments with me. http://tactilblog.blogspot.com/

  3. August 26, 2010 11:33 AM

    Very good post Thomas. Do you buy books on great artists to look at their images? No, you buy them to learn more about the person.

    Ask yourself, How can I make my customer’s life better? What does my customer want from me? The answer…to be TRUSTED. After all it only takes 1,000 GOOD followers to make a career as an artists. Key work GOOD. Oh yes, TRUST…

  4. August 26, 2010 12:40 PM

    Awesome post. I’m going to recommend it to my friends.

    I blog about, all of the above, except tutorials. I suppose, at some point, I should get to that too.

  5. August 26, 2010 1:18 PM

    Definitely great tips from this post! I just started my blog a few weeks ago, and the Blogging for Artists articles are really helpful. Cheers!

    http://justdoodle.wordpress.com/

    • August 26, 2010 9:39 PM

      Awesome! Good timing, then. Good luck with your new blog, and thanks for sharing the link.

  6. August 26, 2010 1:29 PM

    Nice blogs everyone. I enjoy reading about everyone’s process, challenges, business ideas, etc, but the personal stories is what really expresses the value of a blog to me. I like the contrast to a professional business portfolio site. It’s almost like an “about” section where a client gets a feel of your personality. With that said you have to be really conscious of what you write about as well.

    I try to keep mine well rounded with news, new work, process posts, and adventures/stories.
    Here’s two of the more ‘entertaining’ types:

    Here’s what happens when a friend gives you a gift from Africa that has a crazy bug hiding in it – that comes to life in your house:
    http://mikesudal.blogspot.com/2008/09/disclaimer-i-have-been-known-to-do-dumb.html

    Outdoor adventures: Breaking a surf rod on a giant fish:
    http://mikesudal.blogspot.com/2010/02/2009-surf-fishing-review.html

    • August 26, 2010 9:38 PM

      I agree that personal stories can really help a blog to stand out. The challenge is balancing personal with professional. Thanks for your comment.

  7. August 26, 2010 2:26 PM

    What makes a good blog or personal “brand”? A personality that people want to be with…

  8. August 26, 2010 8:09 PM

    Hi there Thomas once again another excellent article on blogging.

    But the one draw back of a blog is you can have excellent content but you need to get people to see it.

    The idea of attaching it as a email signature as Mike Sudal brought up in the blogging for artist part one comments is an excellent idea which would work when you are working in the field. The problem is when you are a student or self teaching as I am your over all contact list is very small and trying to drum up interest in your site.

    One of my ways to tackle this is I am posting links to my blog on the other sites I can be found ie I’ll post the link on my deviant art page where I put my note worthy pictures leading to my blog which leads to all my other sites which also have links to my blog. Who would have thought self promotion would be so hard and complicated.

    Also I am writing comments on sites like this and placing links to my blog (here it is by the way :)) http://chibijanine.blogspot.com/ ) to try and get a little bit of an audience as even though I may not have much to contribute yet to the artistic field having an audience would provide an opportunity for constructive criticism of what I produce and also others could provide hints and tips on where I could go next.

    I would welcome any recomendations on how to get your blog out there.

    Janine

  9. August 27, 2010 7:54 AM

    Thank you for very inspiring and valuable suggestions and tipps. I feel inspired to blog more art now – I have recently not done that too too much. Thanks, and if you’re interested feel free to check out my blog http://pocket-universe.blogspot.com/

  10. August 27, 2010 4:40 PM

    Thanks again for the forum, Thomas. And everyone’s thoughts on blogging. After six months, my blog has finally found a rhythm, generated some new business and become a much needed discipline. Yes, I highly recommended this practice.

  11. August 27, 2010 6:46 PM

    Great article.

    I recently started a blog that combines a few of these types of articles that you talk about.

    It’s been a little hard to keep it up to date, but hopefully I can start making a progress soon.

    Thanks for the advice though.

    oh and if you want to check it out go to http://www.bahbel.com

  12. August 27, 2010 9:22 PM

    I sorta feel I’ve painted myself into a corner with my blog, I’ve set it up to be nothing but a showcase of my latest work and news etc. I’ve been wanting to blog about other things, but feel it woudl be out of place on my “official” blog. However, I have set up my tumblr blog as catch-all space where i share work by other artists, as well as automatically re blogging all the content from my other sites.

    Guess I’m just curious how others might deal with this compartmentalization issue.

  13. August 28, 2010 9:06 AM

    Great Article! I have been massively tentative with my website, but blogging seems easier. As an illustrator and graphic artist, I find that everyone expects me to be a website guru, alas, not so… Also as a teacher, I want to get others involved… How do you recommend getting people to comment and participate?

    Thanks for the article, Sincerely, Li

    http://photoshop4artistsworkshop.com/Wordpress_PS4ART/BLOG/

  14. August 29, 2010 5:47 PM

    Excellent posts on the blogging for artists topic.

    My blog has helped me examine my own work. Why do my illustrations look the way they do? What are my inspriations? Why do I make the choices that I make when creating?

    Taking a moment to try to explain my thoughts, feelings, and processes has given me a better understanding of my own artistic output. Before I started my blog, I had a difficult time talking about my work; I didn’t think about where it was coming from or how I was doing it. I’m more comfortable and more confident in my ability to verbalize (or at least type) about my art.

    http://jeffdurham.blogspot.com

  15. September 1, 2010 6:17 AM

    This is a great post! I have actually had a blog for myself for awhile, but have not been using it much at all, and never linked it to my website. So now ive linked it and am trying to update as much as possible now. I don’t find it easy to write about what I am going thru or have done with my art, but I can see how well it works, as, every morning I end up going thru other artists blogs to get inspiration! I want to add some tutorials, or breakdowns on how I go thru my process aswell!
    You can check out my blog at: http://clintsutton.blogspot.com/

  16. February 18, 2011 2:53 AM

    Thank you for the shares in this blog. I will visit it again.

  17. September 17, 2012 12:10 AM

    I confirm. And I have faced it. Let’s discuss this question. Here or in PM.

    P.S. Please review icons

  18. September 17, 2012 2:44 AM

    I think, that you are mistaken. Let’s discuss.

    P.S. Please review icons

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