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Buying Art: Originals or Prints?

When purchasing a new piece of art for a room in your home, there are certain things you must consider. First, of course, is the size of the piece of art that you want for the space. Do you have a huge wall that needs to be filled by one piece, or would you rather have several smaller pieces and make a collage wall? What subjects or color schemes do you want? Once you answer these questions, you then have to decide whether you want an original piece or a print. There are pros and cons to both options! Let’s explore them below.

Original Art

Pro #1: You get the piece that the artist actually worked on.

When you buy an original, you get the one-and-only original. With originals, you can see the brushstrokes (or pen strokes, or pencil marks) of the artist. Some mediums, like acrylic or oils, can have a dimension to them and will show the hand of the artist in how they apply the medium to the canvas or paper. When you buy an original, you are not just buying a pretty picture, you are buying the distinct way that the artist uses their chosen medium. 

Pro #2: Originals make a room special.

Original art pieces can take a room and make it into something more. When you buy an original and put it somewhere special, you elevate that space and make it even better. Originals can be an incredible statement in a living room or office, or even your personal room for your art collection. If you have a very special spot to hang art, you may want to consider investing in an original.

A print next to an original. Which is which?

Pro #3: The colors and textures are exactly the way the artist intended them to be.

Modern technology and printers have made it much easier to recreate art as prints. Prints can now be done on specialty papers, metal, canvas, or glass. But even though the technology is much better now than it was in decades past, sometimes there are differences between the original and the print. Colors may be slightly off, and a print can’t capture the texture of an original painting. 

Con #1: Originals can be very expensive.

Original art is an investment, especially for large pieces. Originals can run from the hundreds to the hundreds-of-millions of dollars, depending on the size, medium, and how well established the artist is. 

Con #2: Original art can be difficult to frame or ship, depending on the size.

Depending on the size and media that the art is done on, originals can be difficult to frame or ship, depending on the size. Obviously it’s going to be difficult (and expensive!) to ship a 6-foot-by-8-foot canvas painting across the country, and equally as expensive and difficult to get a frame built for it. 

Texture on the Appaloosa original drawing

Ready to purchase some of my original art? I have many available in my Etsy Shop!

Art Prints

Pro #1: Prints are much cheaper than originals.

Well, for the most part. I’ve seen some printing methods that can make a print almost as much as an original! But most art prints that are not done with high-cost printing methods are much more economical than buying originals. This makes prints a better option if the space you are decorating is less “special” and would benefit from having lower-priced art. For instance, when buying art for a child’s room it may be better to go the cheaper route than to spend the money for originals because children can change interests often.

Pro #2: Easier to frame and ship than originals.

If your chosen artist chooses to print on standard photo sizes, it can be much easier to find a frame and also to ship the print than it would be to ship a large original. I try to keep my prints and my originals to standard photo sizes when possible to make matting and framing easier (all my originals and prints can have frames purchased at any store because I stick to common sizes!). This also makes shipping easier as well, without needing special packaging and also keeping it economical for my customers.

Pro #3: Prints aren’t the only one available.

If you find a painting that you love, but the artist has already sold it to someone else (or they don’t sell their originals), then you can’t purchase the painting. But when the artist offers prints, you still have a chance at owning that image. Unless the artist does limited edition prints and they’re sold out, but we’re being positive here.

The print looks almost as good as the original, but misses some of the texture.

Con #1: Prints sometimes have noticeable differences from the original.

As stated above, the technology used for creating art reproductions has really improved in modern times, to the point that some prints look almost identical to the original. But sometimes there are noticeable differences between the print and the original. This may or may not be a dealbreaker for you though, but some art collectors can tell!

Con #2: Prints may not last as long as original art.

Prints can be more prone to color fading and other damage, depending on the printing method, media, and how they are stored. But originals can hold their color and quality for much longer if they are displayed and handled correctly. 

Ready to purchase some art prints? You can buy prints of my art through my online shop or from my Etsy store!

 

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Five Mistakes Artists Make When Starting Their Career

I have made a lot of mistakes when starting my art career. I’d say that I’m still in the process of really starting my art career! Or, at least, getting it to where I want it to be. Because I’ve been trying to really start my career, I’ve been doing a lot of research about how to do it and have found out there are some mistakes that are pretty common to make when starting an art business! So I wanted to share a list of five common mistakes that artists make when starting their career that I’ve made too. 

Mistake #1: Selling Themselves Short

One of the biggest mistakes that artists make in their career is selling themselves short. I still see artists (especially in the anime and comics community, but it happens elsewhere too) who are selling their art for literal pennies. Some of these artists are hobbyists who aren’t looking to make a living and I think they still shouldn’t be selling their work for so low, but many of these artists are trying to make creativity their career and are making the equivalent of $2 an hour in some cases because they’re selling themselves short! Your skills and your time have worth, and you must take this into account when doing your pricing. MessyEverAfter has a great post about how to price your art, complete with ranges for everyone from the art dabbler to the seasoned artist.

Mistake #2: Not Tracking Finances

I get it, looking at the numbers isn’t fun for most artists. I’m the stereotypical type of artist who hates numbers. I’m still completely intimidated by looking at the money side of things. But the truth is that you MUST look at the money aspect when trying to start a business. And the earlier you start the easier it will be to keep up with. If you’re trying to make a living from your art, you need to know where your expenses are and how much profit you’re actually making so that you know if what you’re doing is working or not! You can find Studio Expense and Income spreadsheet templates online, or if you want something a bit more detailed, I use Wave Accounting to track my income from various sources and my expenses. It’s pretty easy to use and I can see where my money is going and where it’s coming from. I like Wave because I can set up my bank account with it and it will automatically import my transactions, so some of the bookkeeping is done automatically for me, and I just go in and add cash sales, PayPal sales, and double-check the bookkeeping monthly to make sure everything is accurate.

Mistake #3: Not Taking Deposits for Commissions

One of the biggest mistakes that new career artists make is not taking a deposit on commissions. I’ve seen so many artists get burned on doing custom work! If you are going to take commissions, you MUST get a deposit before starting work. I know that seems uncomfortable for some artists! They think about what would happen if they can’t complete the work or if the commission turns out poorly. Deposits are crucial though, for several reasons. First, they weed out the customers who aren’t serious about commissioning you and may otherwise waste your time. Some customers are excited by the thought of commissioning an artist, but they never follow through on the money exchange. Requiring a deposit also ensures that you don’t waste your time and materials on a piece that you’re not going to get reimbursed for. Remember, your time is valuable! If a customer is serious about getting a commission from you, they should be willing to give a deposit.  It pays you for the time you’re going to spend on their art. I require a 50% deposit that is not refundable before I even put pencil to paper and begin a sketch. This ensures that my materials are paid for in case the customer vanishes on me once the piece is done. 

Take a look at my commissions page for an idea of my prices and policies!

Mistake #4: Trying to Sell “What’s Popular”

Another big mistake artists make when starting their career is trying to figure out what’s popular. They then draw that in an attempt to cash in on that subject. I see this in both the “fine art” community and the anime and comics community. In the community of pop-culture convention artists that I’m part of, posts abound that ask “what shows are popular right now?” One of my favorite art YouTubers, Rafi Was Here Studios, talks often about how he was told to paint “beach scenes” when he began because he’s based in Florida and beach scenes are popular there. Now, I’m not saying to never, ever draw or paint what’s popular. However, you should create things that you are passionate about instead! If I create art of snakes because snakes are popular, but I’m not passionate about snakes, then it’s probably going to show in the art and in my interactions with customers about the piece. Your passion for the subject will come across in the finished piece! 

I actually made this mistake back when I was still heavily in the anime art community. I drew a lot of “chibi” characters, some from shows that were popular at the time but that I hadn’t seen. Fans of those shows at my convention tables trying to talk excitedly about the characters and show to me. But I had to admit, sheepishly, that I’d never watched the show and had no idea who the characters were. It was pretty embarrassing and not something I’ll be doing again!

Mistake #5: Using cheap materials

The final mistake that I see a lot of new artists making is cheaping out on their materials. I am absolutely not saying that you must go buy the most expensive materials to be a successful artist! I’m also not saying that expensive materials will make your art better. However, if you’re trying to get collectors to pay a premium price for your art, but you’re purchasing your materials from the Dollar Store, the art isn’t going to hold up. Try to buy the best materials you can if you’re doing traditional media (paint, colored pencil, pastel, etc). Try to get the best hardware and software you can afford if doing digital art. Not only will your art pieces last longer because of light-fastness and acid-free materials, but you’ll save time too! When I first started my horse drawings, I used a mid-range set of beginner colored pencils from the art store. They weren’t spectacular, but they weren’t the cheapest pencils ever. Then I was lucky enough to get a set of Prismacolor Colored Pencils and the amount of time I’ve saved is crazy! Because they have more pigment and better coverage than the cheaper pencils, I can create my pieces faster. So get the best materials that you can to start out with, then upgrade as your income grows. You’ll thank yourself later, and your collectors will appreciate the better materials too!

Which of these artist mistakes have you made? Or have you made some that aren’t on this list? Let me know in the comments below!

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Birthstone Horses T-shirts Back in Stock on Amazon!

My merch on Amazon was down for a while because of the pandemic going on, which is why I haven’t spoken about it for a few months. The shirtmaker had reduced staff so a lot of the available designs were down for a few months until production could get back to normal. I’ve been doing periodic looks to see when my designs were back up to the public, and this morning they had reappeared! 

At the moment, I only have 10 design slots available on Amazon, which is why all of the Birthstone Horses designs aren’t available. If I make more sales on Amazon, I will unlock more design slots and be able to offer more shirts, so if you see a design that you know a friend will like, please share it with them! You can support an independent artist AND get Prime benefits.

I have the “February” shirt from Amazon and the quality is AMAZING. The print is big, crisp, and colorful and has held up to multiple trips through the wash. The shirt itself is a soft but thick high-quality fabric that feels amazing and isn’t transparent at all. I have a very thorough review of these shirts here on the blog if you’re interested in reading more about them.

Purchase a shirt on Amazon now!

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Now Pinning on Pinterest!

I’m so excited to be sharing my art on Pinterest! If you’re an avid Pinner, please come follow me there. I plan on sharing not just my art, but also things that inspire me, products I love, funny things, and more. I’m still getting my boards and pins in order so please excuse the dust in my profile. 

I realize that I didn’t post a blog on Wednesday. I injured my back on Monday and have been taking it easy this week when I can. This means lots of laying on the couch, taking Tylenol, and not sitting up at my computer much. I’m feeling a LOT better today, but still not back to 100%. I’m hoping that by next week I’ll be back to myself and will be able to do all the things I normally do. 

I hope you’re all doing well right now. Please tell your horses that you love them! 

And remember to follow me on Pinterest and help me share my pins there if you want! It’s a great, FREE!, way to help out my small business.

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New Horses of the World: The Ardennes Draft Horse!

This week I was able to start working on new Horses Of The World drawings! I have several planned, but was able to film the complete process of my Ardennes horse and turn it into a time lapse. You can watch the video below!

 The Ardennais or Ardennes is one of the oldest breeds of draft horse in the world. They originate from the Ardennes area in Belgium, France, and Luxembourg. The Ardennes history spans back to Ancient Rome. Throughout the years, many other breeds have been introduced to the breed, but only the Belgian breed has had any impact. The first breed registry was established in Europe in 1929. 

Read more about the Ardennes horse on Wikipedia.

You can purchase prints of this Horses Of The World design by clicking on this link or on the photo below!

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Hibiscus Horse Timelapse Video While Talking About Failure

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope you had a great weekend. I finished up the “Medicinal” series this weekend with Hibiscus, which I filmed and turned into a timelapse for YouTube. You can watch it below! I even have a new video intro and an outro, so I’m feeling pretty fancy right now!

I also talk in this video about blogging, my struggles with blogging, and my past failures at making art my career. If you aren’t interested in that topic, feel free to mute the audio! 

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How I Got into Horses and Riding – YouTube Video with Storytime!

It’s time for another YouTube video! In this one, I am working on my “St John’s Wort” horse, the 5th in my “Medicinal” series. I decided to do something different with this video and tell the story of how I got into horses, how I met Glory, how she became my horse, and how I started my horseback riding journey. Please let me know if you like this type of video more than the ones with just music! If so, I’ll do more like this.

 

We had a scare with Glory this weekend where she wasn’t acting like herself and it was really scary. So instead of the blog post that I wanted to write, I have only this video to offer. I hope you enjoy it! If anyone wants, I’ll blog about the health scare on Wednesday. It was really awful and I was afraid I was going to lose my horse. 

What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to your horse? Let me know in the comments!

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3 Things That Art And Horses Have In Common

If you know me or you’ve spent any time at all on this website, then you know that two things are really important to me: horses and art. Some people would think that those things weren’t alike at all, but they have more in common than you’d think! In my opinion, they are very much alike, and here’s three reasons why I think so!

1. You’ll never know everything there is to know about either.

I get bored and lose interest in things pretty easily, unless there’s something more to learn about that thing. If I get interested in one subject and then run out of things to explore about it, I’ll stop being interested in it. But with art, you’re always learning something new and refining your skills and style. The day an artist stops learning is the day they stop growing and improving their craft. 

I feel like it’s the same way with horses! Even after seven years of being around them nearly every day, I still learn new things about them, their care, and about riding. I absolutely love that! I’m always researching something new, learning something, and getting better at what I love.

2. Both are great forms of therapy.

Art has often been a form of therapy for me. When I’m feeling sad, or happy, or angry, I can channel that into a piece of art and work through those emotions. As long as I can remember, I’ve turned to art when I’m feeling bad. 

Horses are also amazing therapy! There have been studies to prove it, but I don’t need a scientific study to tell me that horses have therapeutic properties. Horses make me laugh when I’m feeling down, they calm me when I have anxiety, and they are always there to listen when I need someone to talk to. Over the past few years I have cried into several furry necks when I just couldn’t handle things any more. 

3. You can see the progress you’re making.

Looking back over the pieces I’ve created just in the past three years, it’s nice to see how my style and skills have evolved. As an artist, you evolve over time as you practice and hone your craft. I feel like the same is true when you ride horses (and even if you just care for them and do groundwork!) 

When I first started being around horses, I was very timid around them. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t even know how to lead a horse, much less how to brush or tack up or care for one! Just a few years ago, I was too scared to canter my horse, who is notoriously difficult to get cantering because she rushes into it. But now I can canter around and around the arena until we both get tired, without fear of going too fast or losing control! Thinking about how far the two of us have come in the past years as a team is just crazy, and it gives me the confidence to keep on going forward and improving- in both my art and with my horse life!

In what way have horses taught you things about other areas of your life? Let me know in the comments!

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Feeling “Necessary” as an Artist in the time of Corona

I’m trying to think of a way to start this post without saying, for the millionth time, that this year has just been crazy for the entire world. Australia was on fire in January, now the majority of the world is on lock-down and trying not to get sick and die, but in a lot of places people ARE dying and it’s horrible. It’s hard just being a human being right now, much less an artist who has depression and anxiety problems. 

Many people would tell you that art is a luxury item and not a necessity. I think this pandemic has proven that art is much more necessary than lots of people would think. Not only are people streaming shows and movies, but I’ve also seen an amazing outpouring of artists offering free online painting classes, coloring pages, art lessons, and more. The local co-op I’m part of did a drop of free art supplies and they were snatched up in minutes. Even if you’re not creating art right now, you’re probably using the creations of artists to get through this time- whether those artists are movie directors, actors, costume designers, writers, musicians, game designers, illustrators, YouTube creators, or bloggers, you are most likely using the creations of at least one artist to get through this stressful time.

And even though I know all of that, it’s been very difficult to see what I do as beneficial to anyone at this time. I know I have some people who enjoy my creations, and even a few who read this blog, but it’s been so hard for me to feel like I should even be writing or drawing at this time. Part of that is stress and depression and too much bad news on social media. Part of that is just my brain telling me that there are more important things right now than horse drawings or YouTube videos or even blog articles about whatever I’ve got on my mind. I see my friends who are much more successful artists than I am also having a hard time right now and think to myself that if they’re struggling, of course nothing I’ll do will make any difference at all and I should just stop creating, stop writing, stop posting for a while. 

Then, a few days ago, a local therapeutic riding center I’ve had some dealings with posted this…

This post nearly made me cry, because I could see that SOMETHING I was doing was being enjoyed by at least one person. I released these coloring pages several weeks ago, and had no idea if they had even been looked at by anyone, much less printed and used. 

This comment was also made on the same post:

It’s amazing what a difference just a small thing can make. If you are enjoying the work of an artist during this time, please reach out and let them know if you feel comfortable doing so. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, and it doesn’t cost a cent. But it can make that artist smile and encourage them to keep doing what they’re doing. 

What artists are you enjoying during this time? Let me know about them in the comments! (If it’s a music artist, let me know what songs you like! I’ll check them out!)

Featured photo created by freepik – www.freepik.com

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Making a Horse Drawing Using Only Free Art Supplies!

Sometimes making a video or a piece of art can take a while… in this case, it took me about 9 months to actually sit down and record this video. Last summer I ordered 6 items from Wish.com, all “free” items, to try making one of my horse artworks with. The video below shows the results!


But I hope that this video shows you can make art even if you don’t have the most expensive supplies! Where do you like buying your art supplies from? Let me know in the comments!