Saturday, July 23, 2011

Promoting Your Business on Facebook by Guest Blogger, Zenobia Southcombe!

Today I'm happy to introduce you to an awesome artist and teacher, Zenobia Southcombe. She is here to share vital information on how to set up a Facebook account for your Art (or any other) business. This is the kind of tutorial I was dyyyyying to have when I first ventured out into the Social Networking World! In fact, I'm sure there are things I never did quite get, so let's read this and learn together, shall we?

Using Facebook
  This article is to help you get started with Facebook to promote your Etsy art / craft business. However, it would also be useful if you are using a different platform to sell your art. There are a lot of articles online that can help you grow your Facebook page (so there’s really no point in writing another one!), and Facebook also has a lot of tutorials itself (you can find links at the end of this article). The aim of this post is for people who are new to Facebook, social media, or online promotion.
Getting Started
1.        Make a Profile Page. You need to do this before you do anything else on Facebook. This is simple to set up, you just need to go to enter the basic information shown below, click “Sign Up” and you’re done! You can then edit your profile, add photos & videos, and add your links.

2.       Make a Fan Page. This is your art business page that people can ‘like’ and share with their friends. On the left-hand column, you will see a clickable link “Pages” with a little orange flag.

Click on this, and at the top of the page is a button “+ Create a Page”.

You need to then choose whether you would like to market your page as a ‘local business or place’ or ‘artist, band, or public figure’. When you click on the chosen icon, it will ask you for more information. If you chose ‘business’, you need to enter the category and physical address of your business (so choose this option if you have a physical shop or open studio as well as your online business). If you chose ‘artist’ then it will ask for a category and name – it is very important to note that the name of your page cannot be changed! So choose carefully.
Click ‘get started’ and you’re done -  a series of pages will pop open, and Facebook has some very clear tutorials about how to add & edit information and photos.

How can I connect with Etsy & my Blog?
1.       My Esty. This app links straight to your Etsy store, and shows your banner, items, pricing, and a button to click to go to your store.

You can find this app here:
*Note that when you add Apps, you will be asked to log in as yourself, not your fan page. Once you have added all the apps, you can switch back to your fan page by going to Pages > Switch.

2.       Add a ‘like box’ to your website and blog. If you are on Wordpress add a “Facebook Like Box” Widget, paste in your page’s URL, and you’re good to go! If you are on blogger, go to this site: plug in all the information, and you will get an HTML code. Then go to your blog, add a HTML / Javascript Gadget, and paste in your code. All done!
Where to next?
The following links will help you go further with your page:
This is the absolute go-to for Facebook page help! I suggest that you take a while to read through some of the information on there, and refer back to it as your page grows. I highly recommend looking at the “Pages Guide for Businesses” when you start up.
If you haven’t heard of this duo yet, I advise that you get to know them! They run a show that can be downloaded from their site or through iTunes, and have a wealth of information to share. They have done a few sessions about Facebook, and here is the link to find these: The great thing about these is that you can listen as you work!


Thank you, Zenobia! I certainly found that helpful and will be reviewing my own Facebook set-up with your advice in mind!

Please visit Zenobia at her blog and her Etsy shop, and leave a comment to let her know her help is appreciated!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Artwork Revisited

Warning - Heavy Verbiage - No pictures till the end!

It's not very often that I go back and re-work something I've created before. This has to do with the way I work. When the inspiration hits me to create something, I often work in a frenetic, in-the-moment, spontaneous fashion, as opposed to an organized, steady, planned approach. It's as if the artwork itself is alive and eager to be seen - and it's very demanding! It has a lot to say and, since it's in my head, it's rather hard to ignore! In fact, lately I've noticed that I actually hear a voice. I'm sure it's been there all along, but now that I'm concentrating on creating artwork every day, it's gotten rather loud!

Now, don't get excited - It's not like it's "God" or my deceased Grandmother speaking to me from the other side, guiding my hand, or anything like that. I think of it as my "Inner Artist's Voice". During the creation process, we have lovely little chats, the Voice and I. You know, an inner dialogue. Surely, I can't be alone here. Other Artists must hear it as well. Or, I'm crazy! I'm okay with that. I like being able to hear myself think!
Often, the conversation is about finding hidden significance in the artwork. Apparently, sometimes I subconsciously put things into it and don't realize they are there, until the Voice points them out! ( Huh. I thought I just randomly sketched the hand that way. No - it's clenched for a reason!) Sometimes the Voice draws my attention to random thoughts, stirred up by the creation process, that blossom into realizations about the meaning of life and my/our place in the Universe. (Oh, I see. Sheesh! There are lessons everywhere.) Often, the Voice has a story to tell about the background of the characters in the work. (Alright, alright, I'll note it down so I can write the story later!) Sometimes we discuss how others might react to the work. (I usually get carried away and think it should hang in a museum. Invariably, the Voice cautions me to focus on being inspired by the work itself, not on imagined fame and fortune!) And of course, the Voice insists that I keep on working till it's done; following me into the kitchen ( I'll just get a quick snack and get right back to work.); around the house (I'll just get dinner going - I can work while it's cooking.); to bed (I can't keep my eyes open anymore. I'll get up at 5:30 and get right back to work!). I tell ya, the Voice sure knows how to get that artwork done!

Eventually, as more and more of the artwork is transferred to paper or canvas and less remains inside my head, the Voice has fewer remarks to make, and my pace will slow.  Finally, it all comes to a halt after the Voice and I spend a little time looking here and there for something to add or tweak and we both come up empty.  Then, we're done; the Voice, the artwork and I. Our conversation is complete. There is nothing more to be said. Finis.

It sometimes happens that later (could be days, could be years) I see something in a finished piece that I suddenly wish I had done differently. It bugs me a little, but I don't usually go back and re-work it. It's hard to explain why. To me, each piece of artwork is more than just the solid object I see in front of me. It's also the physical manifestation of all the thoughts and energy that went into creating the piece at that time. The spirit with which it is infused is what I had inside of me then, what inspired me to make it the way I did. The time for its creation is past. I don't like to mess with it. Does that make sense to anyone else?

That being said, there were a few times I did attempt to go back and re-do a couple of things. They were acrylic paintings that once hung proudly on my walls. Now they are leaning against a wall in storage. I keep them to remind me of my folly!

Despite that, this past week I found myself re-visiting a piece of artwork I had done a couple weeks ago. You may remember it. It was an Etsy Team challenge based on the theme "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil". The original idea pretty much popped into my head and frantically drew itself on the paper. I colored it in a frenzy. I remember thinking, as my hand flew back and forth across the paper that it was an "Expressionistic" way to apply color. I felt exhilarated while doing it, and exhausted when I was done. Because of the manner in which I did it, it had a sketchy look - but I liked it. I thought I was done and moved on.

Well, apparently it was not done with me! Off and on, throughout the week, I could hear the Voice calling me; "Look here, there's more to do!" Thoughts about it and images popped up unexpectedly. Intrigued, I kept picking it up and looking at it, and clicking on the online picture to view it there too. Finally, I said; "Okay, I'll do more work on it. When I have time. After I finish this that and the other thing." I put it on a list.

The Voice was not satisfied. Apparently, putting the work on a little shelf in my mind for later was not what it had in mind. I moved it up to the top of the list.

As it turned out, I did have more to do with that drawing, and it had more to do with me! The Voice was right to nag me. I liked the original idea of the girl walking a path through a Forest, the trees dark and tangled on one side and filled with light on the other. I liked the idea of the fork in the path and the choice to be made about which path to follow. I liked the idea of her face having the look of a Yin-Yang symbol on it - half white, half black. So there was nothing about the drawing I really wanted to change. I was just going to give it more definition, fill in more color, and make the dark and light aspects really stand out. Ok - basically it just needs more coloring.

On the surface, that was true. But it turned out to be so much more than that. In fact, I think it was not so much what I had left to give the drawing, but what it still had to give to me. For example, as I colored the girl, I noticed how I had drawn and colored her in a very ghostly fashion. Without really thinking about it, I was illustrating the idea of a struggle of the spirit, rather than one's corporeal self. I noticed how the hand on the "light side" was open and reaching out, while the dark-side hand was clenched in a fist. The light-side foot likewise stepped forward, unnaturally elongated to emphasize the point, while the dark-side foot was planted firmly on its path. As I colored the dark-side trees and brambles, I added deep shades of purple and blue and randomly thought to myself how beautiful the dark side was. ("Aha!" said the voice. "Think about that." I did.) In the end (when the Voice fell silent and I really was done) I understood (on a very personal level) how the drawing illustrated that the inner struggle, in itself, is an integral part of our spiritual growth, as individuals and as a species.

And now my Writer's Voice (What? Is she Sybil?) has fallen silent. Apparently I have said all there is to say about that. So, without further ado, here are the two images. The first "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and the second, which I named "The Dilemma". I enjoyed my time with it. I hope that you do, too!

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil

The Dilemma  (See it in my Etsy Shop)