What do you do after you’ve finished an artwork?
Finish the Details on the Artwork Itself
The work shouldn’t be considered complete until you do the following with the physical piece.
- Sign it! Sign your art wherever you can, and however you do it best.
- Add the date on the front, back, or underneath – where and when it’s appropriate for your medium. Many artists don’t like to date their work on the front because it doesn’t look as fresh. That’s fine, but date it somewhere. Dating is a way that helps you claim credit for copyright and will be used by the curator that mounts a retrospective of your work in 30 years.
- If appropriate for your medium, make an identification card for the back that includes the complete credit line: Name, title, media, dimensions, and price. This is enormously helpful for venues.
Document the Artwork
Don't let the piece out of your hands until you have recorded it in your records.
- Record details in your inventory database. You may be ready to move on, but your future self will thank you for taking this step.
- Have artwork photographed, or do it yourself if you have the proper equipment.
- Name image files according to your standard.
Images are easier to find if they are all named in the same manner. I suggest starting the file name with your name. Perhaps:
- Add the image to your inventory record for that piece.
- Resize images to three or four standard sizes that you use most often. Create a digital file folder for each artwork and differentiate your digital images using your naming convention. This takes some time to do now, but it will save you time and frustrations in the future. Using the example above, your image files might look like this:
- If you're in the U.S. file a copyright claim if this is part of your practice.
Tell People About It
- Blog about the work. If you are a blogger, you can make separate entries about completed work or bodies of work. Be sure the complete credit line is visible with the image, and that viewers will know it's for sale.
- Edit the text from your blog into a descriptive sentence that you can use on your website or social media profiles.
- Add the descriptive sentence to your inventory database. When you do this, the sentence will always be with the work, and you can copy and paste it with abandon.
- Upload the image to your website. Double check to make sure that your name and credit line is visible whenever the image is enlarged.
- Upload the image to any online sales venues you use. (Etsy, RedBubble, Saatchi Art, etc.)
- Share your newly completed work on social media sites.
Did I forget anything? Feel free to let me know in a comment below.
This article was originally posted on January 25, 2012 and has been updated with original comments intact.