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art Archives | Gigi Kiersten

The Christmas Queen

By | Art | No Comments

Christmas Queen
I know, I know I haven’t updated in like forever. Honestly, this year has been hell and it basically killed my motivation to do art. I also have another real excuse of ‘Dress Them Up’ my fashion blog.  I have been busy trying to build that into a business and it’s sort of took over my life.

I honestly don’t know if this is a comeback, I hope it is. I was just in the Christmas spirit and I was inspired.

The Naked Truth About Book Cover Artists and Designers

By | Art | 10 Comments

If you know anything about me or read any of my other posts you would notice the good amount of Premade Book Covers on my site.  For the moment I got into this Digital Art, my primary goal has been to become a successful Book Cover Artist like Mirella Santana. I thought that there would be support groups, forums, and just an overall community like there is with most artistic communities such as writers, and traditional artists.

You would be wrong. Book Cover Design is a relatively new industry, especially with the flood of Indie Authors who want quality book covers for their books. And instead of their being a community Book Covers helping each other, pooling resources, standing up for another, making sure that newbies are not being taken advantage of. Book Cover Artist are competitive and everyone is out for themselves.

istock_000009432948medium

I personally have tried to do something about it. I had one Book chat, where I only had a few Book Cover Artists join me. I thought that it might because I did something wrong or I didn’t approach them in the right way.  So I mostly brushed it off, and then I recently started a group only a had a few members and no one even replied to any my posts. Again, I thought I was just doing something wrong. Then, I talked to one of the few Book Cover Artists that would actually talk to me. And she told me the real truth about why Book Cover Artists wasn’t reacting to any of ventures: They have no interest in a community at all.

For me, that doesn’t make sense. On my on blog, I’m always trying to reach out and help other artists, because not only its the right thing to do, it also makes senses business wise. There is a reason why there is such a big wonderful artist communities, unions, and advocacy groups. They make workers better if we pool our resources and help one another.

content-writing-that-helps

So I’m making a pledge right now. If you a Book Cover Artist and you need help or support or feedback then email me, or IM me on Facebook,  join my facebook group and post something or just leave a comment here. I’m always here to listen.  I have found that change can often start with one person, so I’m starting a revolution Book Artist by Book Cover Artist.  Will you join me?

 

lock key chains

Protect Your Art Work: Copyright For Digital Artists.

By | Art, Blog | 6 Comments

When you are studying to be a visual artist or a designer no one really takes you aside and tells you about the legal part of the business.  The more exciting part of visual art and design is always the designing and legal talk can bore people to tears. However, despite how boring it might be, the legal side of things is very important. And one of the most important legal issues faces Visual Artists and Designers is copyright infringement and property theft.  I can tell you how many people use image search engines such as Google Images and just save and then repost your hard work somewhere else. I even had this happen to me a few times, and the whole experience is disheartening and frustrating in turns.

However, the good news is with some prevention, a lot of those experiences can be prevented or easily remedied.

Watermarks

watermark photoshopWatermarks are visual signatures that you can draw or paste on top of your artwork. It’s an old age practice that is still one of the most effective ways to protect your art.  I tend to watermark my own images by making a transparent png signature with my name and my website and then manually posting that image on every new artwork.

However, there is an easy way to batch watermark your artwork or designs by making an easy photoshop action.  I I also recommend using the Batch Watermarker software. It’s super easy and the UI is very intuitive.

EXIF/MetaData

FileinfoMetadata and Exchangeable image file format is a tell exactly you what format your image, video, or audio file and also allows you to add information such as date, type of camera or software that was used to create the file, html and the person who created the file.  This often works like an invisible digital watermark, and especially in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Bridge, you can mark the file as copyrighted and that information will show up in search engine results which will greatly decrease property theft.

Also, that information will show up in Alternate Text in HTML any website. So everyone will automatically know who your property belongs to.  The easiest way to edit your file’s metadata is by editing in your window. In PC you can do this by right clicking and selecting properties then select the details tab then press Apply. In Mac, you double-click the photo to view it, then you click the I button or Command-I and then you can enter your information there. You can find more information about this here.

Another way to edit the metadata is by using PhotoMe software, which you find here.

Alternative Text

Another way to copyright your image is by simply adding your name and your website to your Alternative Text or Alt Text in the HTML. It’s pretty easy and simple. If you want to know more about Alternative Text and why you should use it, you can do so here.

Copyright.com

Now, one of these days you might have to actually go to court and sue for copyright infringement. For U.S. law, your art is automatically protected under the copyright law.  However, there is possible that you might have to go to court and prove that you are indeed the original creator. One of the tools you can use is copyrighted.com. Every time you create a new art piece you can register it on the website and if you are sued you will list of who created it when it was created, and any other information to prove your side of the case.

This, of course, is not as good as your going through the legal process of copyrighting your art, but it’s still a free and easy alternative.

Right Click Protection

Depending on your blogging platform or portfolio platform you can easily add right-click protections to your site, which will disable people from right clicking and save your art to their hard drive. There are ways around it, especially if you crosspost to places such as DeviantArt or on social media because those places usually don’t offer such protections.  I use a self-hosted WordPress site for my portfolio, so it’s easy to add plugins that will protect your art from being saved.

My Favorites plugins are Prevent Content TheftWP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click, and CopyRightPro.

 

 

 

Summer Beach Glasses

The Top Ten Summer Color Palettes That You Will Absolutely Love

By | Art | 4 Comments

Summer is just right around the corner, and although I detest the Texan summer heat, I love the color that comes with it. And my favorite place to go for color inspiration is Design Seeds, a blog that is all about color and is run by color expert and designer Jessica Colaluca.  I used the color palettes as inspiration for almost every design and piece I use. I also used design seeds color palettes for this site’s  color branding.

Credit For Featured Images: Beach  Photos by Kent Larsson

1 . Neon Hues 

 

2. Color Currency

3. Color Sign 

 

4. Color Wander

5.  A Door Hues

6. Color Surf

7. Color Frond

8. Color Book 

9. Summer Brights 

10. Flora Brights

Inspiration Artist Mirella Santana

Inspiring Artists: Mirella Santana

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When comes to digital art, especially photo manipulation I can say what a lot of conviction that Brazilian Artist Mirella Santana is the best in the business.  If you walk down any bookstore, especially the urban paranormal romance, or young adult isles, many of the covers on the books there were made by Santana.  Santana has worked with both best-selling authors and well-known photographers.  I know from personal experience that every writer that has hired her just sings her praises.  And rightly so, every piece Santana makes is beautiful and unique.

“Freelance digital artist, specializing in creating cinematographic arts. Graduated in Marketing, born in Bahia – Brazil. I have worked for various independent publishers and best sellers authors. I also work for photographers from around the world, creating manipulations with all thematic (fantasy, dark, sci­fi, romance, glamorous, classic style… etc).”

Mirella Santana’s Website.

When I look at Santana’s career and her art, I know that is the type of artist I want to be one day.  I know I’m gushing right now, but Santana is diffidently the Artist who I look up to and who I admire the most right now in the digital art industry.  If I know if I’m even half as successful as she is in both craftsmanship and financial success then I know that I have made it.  You can follow Mirella Santana on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, DeviantArt and LinkedIn.

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Books

Gigi’s Reading List: Five Books To Help You Become A Better Artpreneur

By | Art | 2 Comments

Two weeks ago, I made a decision to stop whining about how I was not getting any paying gigs. And instead, I promised myself that I would be more aggressive about going after them.  However, I had no idea how to get to the next step, so I do what I did best: I researched. I didn’t have a lot of money and I really didn’t have access to a library. So my next best bet was ‘Kindle Unlimited’, a service hat lets me check out books for as long as I want for a $9 bucks a month.

So as promised here is a list of the books I’m reading right now:


1 ) Selling Art Online: The Creative Guide to Turning Your Artistic Work into Cash  by Dave Conre

This book is really good to tell you the in and out on the best places to sell your art. It was a little thin and I personally felt it didn’t go into as much detail as I liked. However, this book is a good place to start.

2) How to Become a Successful Artist in 7 Steps: All you need to know about building a thriving art career  by
Annelien Bruins

This book gave me some great tips and really laid out the business for me.  This is a really short book (it’s only 39 pages).

3 ) Straight Advice: How to Market Art Online Now Kindle Edition by Barney Davey

Another book that gave me a lot of great advice. The author especially broke down the art print market and how to sell my art on my own site one day. The authors explain the particulars for artists who want to use email marketing and social media marketing as part their own overall marketing strategy.

 

4 ) Social Media Marketing: A Beginner’s Guide to Dominating the Market with Social Media Marketing by Eric J. Scott

Let’s face it social media is really important to the business world, and the art industry is no different. This book gives you a lot of actionable items to make your social media for your business as profitable and successful as a possible. This book is short and goes straight to the point.  It’s a quick easy read and I actually plan on buying this book out right in the near future.

5) How to Profit from the Art Print Market by Barney Davey

This is another book by Barney Davey. This is actually the biggest book on the list (it’s 382 pages). However, this book is stuffed with a lot of valuable information. This book covers the end and outs of the art print market.  And as someone who actually wants to break into this niche,  the information in this book is priceless.


This is the end of my reading list. What books have you read that helped you be a better Artpreneur? Let me know down in the comments!

research vision board

Putting It All Together

By | Art, Real Life | No Comments

Easter is done! Yay! As someone who has five kids, every holiday is super hectic. And yesterday was no exception. For the first time in ever, I didn’t even attempt to open my laptop. I was just swept up in the preparations for the Holiday. My mom decided to dress everyone in yellow, except for me because to be honest I always end up looking like a bumblebee in yellow. And I was out dress to impress my relatives.

Which in the end, I didn’t do at all.  I always feel when I’m visiting my relatives I have to put the fierce queer black woman who I am away and put on the affable ‘normal’ face that they expect me to wear. Then add to the fact that I’m hella socially awkward and yeah it’s stressful situation all around.

To add to complications, my mother was really sick, but she put a brave face and went an easter party that my Aunt S was holding. It was threatening to rain all day, but lucky for us it didn’t rain.  The kids and I lasted about two hours and we went home.

 

So that was my Easter experience, as for the art. Well, as I said in the last post I have been struggling on how to take my art career to the next level. I have decided to do some research on art promotion and social media branding. I think I’m going to rebrand everything in the end, but I’m going to wait until I finish the research. I think my one big thing I’m lacking is that I’m not engaging enough with my followers. I’m socially awkward and I just not good at that, but I’m going to have to suck it up and do it.

I’ m always afraid that I’m going to say the wrong thing and then it will blow up in my face. However, I do realize that business is not without risk. I’m actually got Kindle Unlimited and I got a lot of books on Art Marketing and Social Media Marketing.  I’m actually going to post my book list soon.

 

Read Al The Books

Me right now. Art by Allie Brosh

I also have been wondering if I should branch out. My end goal is to make beautiful book covers for writers. I want to do that for a living. However, I realized this year that I’m pigeon-holing myself with just doing that.  I think I should start offering freebies and also custom social media icons, and banners as well.

I just need to get my name out there more, and it just seems I have so much to do and so little time. I am actually forcing myself to do ‘Todoist’ so I can be more productive and keep track of the things I have to do. I just I need to do things more efficiently. So this is my spring cleaning of my business and brand.

I’m going to research all I can and try to implement them to the best my ability. Hopefully, everything will turn out for me in the end. 🙂 That’s all I have to say for today, but please be sure to check back here on Friday for another post by yours truly.

The Top Five Stock Image Providers On Deviantart

By | Art | No Comments

If you are a digital artist like me, who specializes in photo manipulation your bread and butter are stock images. A stock image can make or break your art piece.  I learned early on that DevianArt has the best unique stock providers on the net, and if you are a starving artist the price to use these stock are usually free. When I choose stock from DeviantArt, I not only look for quality but for diversity in the pose, body shape, and race. So here is my pick of the top five stock image providers on Deviantart.

Warning:  Please check each stock providers term of use before using their stock images. Please don’t download any of these pictures I used from this post. Please download the full quality pictures from the stock providers DeviantArt profile.

1. mjranum-stock

2. faestock

3.  CathleenTarawhiti

4. XxSaraiyu-StockxX

5. liam-stock


So that’s my pick for my top five stock image providers on DeviantArt. What stock providers are you favorite? And what stock providers do you use that are not on the list? Let me know down in the comments!

The Tough Get Going!

By | Art | No Comments

Every artist worth their salt gets depressed, especially when you are like me who is just starting out. I’m not big name artist, I’m not making a lot of money (or any money) right now, and it just feels all too hopeless. It feels like I’m never going succeed. I had that moment over the weekend, my aunt came over and I showed off my art, but after she was gone I realized I didn’t really have to show for all my efforts as an artist.

The thought really made me depressed, because I don’t  have contacts, I don’t a lot of jobs under my belt and it’s getting and closer to my self-imposed deadline. If you don’t know I have until my toddlers go to school to get shit together and be a WORKING artist or I’ll go out and get me a ‘real job’.

But then late last night, I realized that I have to get serious about finding commissions. I have been waiting for prospective clients to come along and not chasing them down. This is why I’m not getting work and I have only myself to blame. So I have decided to some research, to do some email marketing mojo, to promote myself and my work more.

Because to be honest, no one in this business, in any artistic industry makes it by just sitting on their laurels. You have to fight for it, or you’ll never get it. I think for me this realization was the wake-up call I really needed.  I made the mistake of thinking that success was just going to be handed to me on a silver platter and that is not how real life works.

So instead of crying about not being successful, I’m going to go out and make it happen.

 

3 Things To Do To Keep Yourself Motivated as an Digital Artist

By | Art, Blog | No Comments

So being an artist is hard, and motivating yourself to do a new piece of art is even harder sometimes. The truth is every artist no matter what medium goes through a slump, but what separates the professionals from the amateurs are the ways we deal that slump. Especially if you are a working artist, and you don’t have the luxury to just throw in the towel and walk away from a project.  So here are three ways to keep yourself motivated!


1.Keep A Notebook

If you not new to my blog, then you guys have probably seen photos of my little red notebook. It’s where I keep notes when I’m learning a new tutorial, or put in fresh ideas that inspire me. I also use a Pinterest account to do this as well. I actually bookmark a lot of stuff that inspires me so I can come back to it later. This is especially will help you when you have artist’s block.

2.  Look At Someone Else’s’ Art

museum

I love working in digital art. I get a thrill from turning photos into pieces of art. However, I have nothing but awe and respect for traditional artists. It’s one of the reasons I do a monthly ‘Traditional Artists Corner’ here on my blog. Traditional Art can be a fount of inspiration for you as a Digital Artist.  I would suggest taking a stroll through your local museum, or checking out some art history books, or even checking through a few online galleries. We all steal a little bit of inspiration from each other as artists and you might find something that will jump-start your creativity!

3. Go Outside

woman walking down a road

Seriously, I’m always attached to my computer. However, this can become more than a little frustrating when you are stuck on something or if you feel a lack of motivation. The best advice is the advice I got from my mother who is a traditional artist. She basically told me to step away from my computer and go outside. It’simple advice, but I can tell you from experience that it works. I usually take a walk, take in some nature, or go outside and read a book in some sunshine and that usually recharges my muses’s battery.


So what keeps you motivated?  Let me know down in the comments!

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