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How To Host Images

Erin from the Sculptress blog asked:

Would you clarify something for me? How do I know for sure I am hosting an image, do you mean save the image as a file on my computer and then repost it from the computer file?

Good question, Erin – it was something that confused me a bit at first and my web designer had to walk me through it several times until I got it.

…do you mean save the image as a file on my computer and then repost it from the computer file?

Yes, that’s exactly what you do, Erin – from the way you’ve phrased the question it sounds like you may know how to do that already but I’ll run through the exact steps just in case other people are a bit unsure about it.

What I do is this:
1) Find an image I’d like to use
2) Drag and drop the image to my desktop
I do this by left-clicking on the image, holding down the mouse button and dragging the image until it’s off the browser and onto my desktop. You can also do it by hitting the right mouse button and clicking on ‘copy image’ but I think dragging and dropping is quicker. Make sure that you’re dragging a reasonably sized image and not a thumbnail.

The image file is now on my computer. If it’s too large and I need to make it smaller I can edit the size in Photoshop but I usually don’t need to do this.

Next I need to get it onto my web server:

In WordPress there’s an upload section just beneath the text box where you write posts. Hit the ‘browse’ button, locate the image on your desktop and click on it to select it, write the artist’s name and the title of the work where it says ‘title’ (this is optional but I always do it), then hit upload. After a few moments a thumbnail of the image will appear in the ‘Browse All’ page – the file is now loaded onto your server. You can put the image in a post by selecting ‘show fullsize’, followed by ‘link to file’ and then hitting ‘send to editor’. You’ll see that a bunch of html appears in your post, this is the image file, it’ll become an image when you publish the post.

If you’re using Blogger you do the following: Go into dashboard and select new post. Now hit the little image button on your blogger toolbar – this is the 6th button along or the second from last. This will bring up an image page. You’ll see that it says ‘add an image from your computer’ on the left, hit the browse button next to it and select the image from your desktop by clicking on it. Now choose the size and layout you want and then hit the ‘upload image’ button at the bottom of the page. Your image or the image html should now appear in your blogger editing software. This article from Blogger give more details on uploading images, including where the images are stored and how you can check how much room you’ve got.

The only thing left to do is to add the artists name and the title of the work – oh, and write the rest of the post, of course!

Get more help
If you’d like more information about building your online presence, check out the free resources section.

I am also available for online consulting if you need one-on-one help.


Craft Boom Blog

Lisa Lam, who runs U-Handbag has just started a new blog called Craft Boom, which is all about marketing for craft businesses. There’s some great stuff over there that ties in nicely with what I’ve been writing in my Artists Online series. I spotted Lisa’s announcement over on Flickr – yet another confirmation that Flickr really can help artists publicise themselves and their projects.

Print Gocco Exhibition Opportunity

If you’re an artist working with Print Gocco, Bristol’s Here Shop & Gallery has an opportunity for you.

We’re looking to do a show in 2008 provisionally to be staged in March – June time for a period of 3/4 weeks with (hopefully) all works for sale to the public.

It’ll be a group show with works from as many artists as possible on any theme you like, highlighting your own particular style and demonstrating the breadth of versatility and styles displayed by print gocco artists.

We’re open to submissions from anyone anywhere.

If you can email us with links to examples of your work and a short blurb about you at heregallery@yahoo.co.uk then that’d be great!

Cara Barer

For some reason, I seem to be very attuned to art made from books this week. Cara Barer is a photographer who often works with old discarded books, which she soaks in water and shapes into new forms before photographing.

She says:

My photographs are primarily a documentation of a physical evolution. I have changed a common object into sculpture in a state of flux.

Cara Barer - Found Reference
Cara Barer – Found Reference

This one really stood out for me, it reminded me strongly of a mushroom, so it was no surprise to find that she’d also taken pictures of fungi.

Cara Barer - Mushroom Dust
Cara Barer – Mushroom Dust

Link found on the Daily Poetics blog.

Email Update

OK, after nearly two weeks of hassle, it looks – fingers crossed – as though my email is now working properly again. If you’ve contacted me by email in the last couple of weeks and I haven’t got back to you then I probably didn’t get it, so please do send it again. I’ve also just realised that there were a bunch of comments on one of the blogging posts that I missed seeing, so apologies for not replying to those sooner.

I hadn’t realised just how much I rely on my email until it went so badly wrong, in fact, I still feel rather insecure about it because I don’t know how much stuff went astray after our stupid email provider ‘upgraded’ their spam filters. I’m still hoping that they’ll be able to send me the stuff they filtered out but I’ve got a horrible feeling that they probably just threw out several hundred genuine emails.

Brian Dettmer

Brian Dettmer makes wonderfully intricate work using found books and maps, which he carves into to reveal the illustrations within.

Brian Dettmer
Brian Dettmer – Untitled

Needless to say, I love the obsessive quality of this work but the results are stunning too – he’s clearly got a strong eye because the pieces also work well as collages. I particularly love his map pieces where he’s dissected maps leaving only the road systems, which he’s layered over each other to make works that seem far more related to anatomy books than cartography.

Brian Dettmer
Brian Dettmer – Untitled

There’s an interesting little discussion of his work here, with comments ranging from ‘wow, that’s amazing’ to ‘it’s horrible because he’s destroying books’. What do you think? Is it a valid form of art if you destroy/seriously alter other creative works to make it? I think so but as a confirmed bookworm, I also understand the resistance to reusing books in this way.

Link found on Something To Say

Del.icio.us

So, I’ve just signed up for del.icio.us – I’m kirstyhall if you want to add me to your network – after being inspired by this great little video explanation of social bookmarking from Common Craft. Their other videos are fab too – I love the simplicity of their format. I’m going to have to come to grips with RSS feeds next – it’s one of those things I’ve been meaning to sort out for ages but I feel that I understand it a bit better now. You know, technology can be wonderful for all of us, artists included, but it can also be very overwhelming and daunting so it’s great when other people take the time to explain things in a clear and simple manner like this.

Great Freelancing Article

I read lots of different blogs, not just art based ones. Lately – probably because of starting this blog and writing the Artists Online Series – I’ve been reading a lot of blogs about blogging and business. Even though they’re often describing a different world to mine, I still find it interesting because I do a lot of this stuff too.

I’m always quite aware that artists are professionals. Sure, we often don’t get treated as though we are (“ooh, it must be lovely to be doing something creative all the time, I wish I could quit my job and sit around painting/writing/making pots all day”) but anyone who’s trying to establish themselves as an artist knows that it’s lots of hard work. We do a bunch of stuff that most people probably don’t think is very ‘arty’: answering email, talking with suppliers, checking proofs, designing flyers, writing press releases, sorting out our tax returns, writing proposals and invoicing people – the list is endless and guess what, it looks a whole lot like everyone else’s workday! The reality of being a professional artist is about a million miles away from most people’s romantic view of it, including, unfortunately, the vast majority of art students to whom daily life as an artist often comes as quite an unpleasant shock.

So I was very amused by this article by Fiaz Khan of NextBigLeap, that describes what it’s actually like to work for yourself. I was reading it and to my amusement suddenly noticed that I was constantly nodding my head in agreement. I think this should be mandatory reading in art colleges!

Getting Blog Visitors

OK, so you’ve got your blog started – you’ve set the table and put the kettle on and now you just need some visitors. So how do you go about enticing people to your site?

Obviously you need to have great content but even if you’ve got the best blog in the world, people won’t know you’re there if you’re doing the online equivalent of hiding in the kitchen at parties! You’re going to have to get out there and meet some people. Here’s a few ways to do that…

Link, link, link

The first thing that any article on this subject will tell you is ‘link’. There’s a very simple reason for this – it works. At least a third of my visitors to both this site and The Diary Project arrive here via other bloggers who’ve linked to me in their posts or on their sidebars.

Linking is, quite simply, the foundation stone of the blogging world. Sure, you can blog successfully without ever linking to anyone else but you’d better have another promotional strategy worked out. I don’t use links much over at The Diary Project because of the type of blog it is, consequently I have to work a lot harder at promoting it. This site, where I link to a lot of other artists, has snowballed for me in a way that the Diary Project just hasn’t yet (although I keep hoping it will).

Linking just works. And it’s easy: find someone whose work you like, nab one of their images *unless they prohibit that*, host the image on your site so you’re not stealing bandwidth, write a little bit about their work and what you like about it and voilà, almost instant blog content with the added advantage that you might have drawn the artist or blogger in question back to your site.

Be generous with your linking, link to people you like or who’ve done or said something that interests you. It’s OK to link to people that you’d like to be noticed by but don’t make those the only people you link to. Be genuine and think about linking in terms of good karma, not in terms of what it might bring you. And don’t expect to be linked back – you might be, but it’s not automatic and it doesn’t mean anything if you’re not, so don’t get huffy about it.

Tell People You Know

You’ve already got a ready made audience in your existing friends and family – send them all an email to let them know you’ve got a new blog. You should also change your email signature so that you’re automatically letting people know about your blog every time you send an email. If you’ve got a mailing list, let them know too. Do you have profiles on other sites, especially networking ones? Go round and update them to include your new blog address.

Watch Your Numbers

Get Google Analytics or a similar programme installed on your blog and keep an eye on your numbers. It’s helpful to know your baseline and encouraging to see the numbers gradually rise. Plus you can usually spot when you’ve been linked somewhere. If you are linked, nip over to the person’s site, check it out and leave a comment or email to say thanks. Obviously, if you get really huge, it might not be possible to say thanks to absolutely everyone (you’ve got to leave some time for the studio!) but give it your best shot, especially in the beginning.

NB: If you have already linked to me and I haven’t thanked you either by email or in your blog comments, then it almost certainly means that Technorati has missed the link so I don’t know about it.

Make Some Cards

A couple of months ago I bought a box of 100 Moo cards to advertise the Diary Project and I’ve gone through two thirds of the box already. I carry them in my handbag and give them out to people who seem like they might be interested – you know, bus drivers, random people on the street, small children in pushchairs! OK, I’m kidding, I only give them to people I’m already talking to but I do know that people often do visit the project after taking a card because they often email me to tell me they have.

You don’t have to get Moo cards made (although they are fab) but you should already be carrying some sort of visual card to hand out to people you meet, so you might as well have your blog address on it too.

Leave Comments

Leaving comments on other people’s blogs is a good way to meet people, make connections and get readers back to your own site. If you leave a comment on here, I’ll invariably go and check your site out because hey, I’m nosy! I’m not alone in this, it’s common blogging behaviour. I don’t end up regularly reading everyone’s blog but I have discovered some great new sites this way.

Most blogs have a fairly open comments policy and it’s usually easy to leave comments, although some sites do moderate to avoid spam so your comment might not appear instantly.

Leave your name and URL so that people can find you. Oh, and definitely make sure that you get your own address right – I’d accidentally been leaving the slash off the end of this blog address in other people’s comments for about a month before someone kindly pointed out that hey, they couldn’t actually get to my site that way. Boy, did I feel stupid! I can’t believe that I could make such an elementary mistake despite being on the net for about 12 years, but I did…

Link To Yourself

If you have more than one site, make sure you link to your other sites in your sidebar or profile. All your sites should link up to each other – it sounds obvious but it’s a step that many of us forget about. Looking at my numbers, I can see that both this site and The Diary Project get about 15% of their visitors from my other sites.

Remember my mantra of Make It Easy For People, well it applies here too. If you’ve got a cool project on the go, a nice little blog or a great new site, don’t make people go hunting for them: the information should be right there, out in the open and very easy to spot. When I added a ‘My Other Sites’ section to the sidebar of The Diary Project, my visitors to this site from over there absolutely rocketed. This site was already mentioned and linked to in the profile, which was right at the top of the sidebar but for some reason having that extra ‘My Other Sites’ section made a huge difference. Sometimes you’ve just got to make things really obvious.

You should use this approach in your blog writing too – link to your sites or projects when you mention them in posts. It’s not shameless self promotion, it’s making it easy for people to investigate this neat thing you’re talking about. Treat yourself with the same consideration that you would give to other artists or sites that you were talking about. If you find it uncomfortable to link to your own stuff, then ask yourself, “if this was someone else, would I put a link here?” – you’ll probably find that nine times out of ten, the answer is yes.

The excellent Empty Easel has this to say about general linking and this to say about internal linking.

Submit Your Site

This is something to do with the bigger sites rather than individual blogs. Most of the big hubs on the web have a submissions page where you can enter your details. Work out where your work fits and then submit to those sites. This is something I do regularly with The Diary Project – since I don’t use links much in the project blog, I have to raise interest in other ways.

A couple of weeks ago I submitted the Diary Project to Craftzine and when they blogged it (thanks Craftzine!), I got a big increase in numbers and visits from that site have continued to steadily climb.

You can also submit your stuff to individual blogs but that’s a technique you should use only sparingly because it can be a bit spammy. I know many of you discovered this blog through Alyson Stanfield who kindly blogged about my Why Artists Should Be Online article. I had emailed Alyson directly to tell her about the article because I thought she’d be interested and fortunately she was. However, I already knew her slightly through commenting on her blog and because she’d linked to a previous article of mine, so it wasn’t a complete ‘cold call’. This is yet another good reason to build up your blogging relationships through commenting – it makes approaching possible allies a lot less daunting.

……

I should also point out that there’s absolutely no obligation to try to improve your visitor numbers – if you’re happy with a very personal blog that has a small intimate readership (or even none at all!), that’s completely fine. It’s a valid way to blog and one that I’ve used for many years over at Livejournal. Just don’t expect it to be a particularly effective way to promote your art career.

Get more help
If you’d like more information about building your online presence, check out the free resources section.

I am also available for online consulting if you need one-on-one help.


Abigail Percy

I love Abigail Percy’s jewellery and regularly read her blog.



Geranium Outline Earrings…, originally uploaded by Abigail Percy.

Her latest blog post has some simply gorgeous photographs from a little shop she discovered during a recent visit to Paris.



Paris ~ shop…, originally uploaded by Abigail Percy.

It’s been years since I last went to Paris and now I have yet another reason to want to go – I love shops like this.

You should check out her Flickr too, the sympathetic way she photographs her jewellery is well worth noting.


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