Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New website design for Kelli’s Pencil Drawing site

Pencilplace.com has been revamped, reworked and redesigned!

In keeping with my philosophy that simpler and cleaner is better, I have re-designed my Pencil Drawings by Kelli Swan website. The new site sports a shorter, more concise index along with more direct navigation. There is also a scroll box on every page, so that users do not have to lose sight of the left index while navigating the site. Custom pencil art was created just for this site, and you will see that in the header design, the navigation buttons and the button rollover effects.

Stay tuned for more site updates soon. I plan to add more dynamic effects as soon as I become comfortable with the new Dreamweaver CS4 application!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Emerging Artist Marketing Tip - Marketing Materials

Artist Marketing Materials

Marketing materials are very important in starting and building an art business. Some of the most important pieces include: business cards, flyers, an artist statement, and a bio/resume.

Create a business card, and keep plenty of them on hand. With the availability of online discount printing sources, business cards are downright cheap these days. Carry the cards with you, attach one to every original, print, necklace or anything else you sell. Hand them out at networking events. Post them on bulletin boards. The card should reflect your name and contact information. A nice slogan or tag line to help people remember you is also a great idea. Try to pick a form of contact that won’t change frequently. That might be a formal address, cel phone number, email address, website address or blog.

A nicely designed flyer is also quite valuable. The flyer should contain information about you and your work. People want to know about the artist! A great flyer would consist of your artist bio, your artist statement, a picture of you and 1-3 pictures of your work. An artist bio (short for biography) is written to tell people more about the artist. The bio can be written in 1st or 3rd person, though it is often found expressed as a third person view (appearing like a publication review of the artist.) The artist statement can be anything you choose, though most artist statements reflect an artist’s philosophy and vision for his or her work. The flyer does not have to be large or printed in full color. A 1/2 letter size sheet works well, and can be reproduced on home printers. On the back you might list your Awards and Accomplishments. (See sample Bios and Awards List for Pencil Drawings of Horses and Dogs.) You will want to include contact information on this sheet as well. As with the business card, attach one to everything you sell.

If you have enough written copy and pictures, consider a brochure. A 3-panel brochure, even a 1-color version, makes a nice addition to your marketing materials. They are also easy to drop in the mail as they fit in a #10 envelope. Add a greeting letter and a business card and you have a complete marketing package!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Methods of Reproducing Two Dimensional Artwork - Drawings and Painting

I am often asked by emerging artists: "How do I make prints?" This post will cover two of the most common forms of reproduction in use today. Many artists use one of the following methods for making print reproductions.

1) Offset Lithography
This is a traditional printing process involving the use of plates and ink with printing presses. Lithography is a great option for quantity if you plan to print at least several hundred copies of a print and have the funds to cover up front printing costs. Your cost-per-piece will likely be the lowest with offset lithography. To find a quality commercial printer, you may want to contact your local chamber of commerce and ask about printers who specialize in artist prints. Investigate mid-size print shops, as high end shops focus on much larger jobs than artist prints, and small shops may be more geared to lower-end production printing like advertisements, flyers, newsletters and the like. You want the best quality/price ratio you can get. My printer of choice for my pencil drawing reproductions is North Coast Litho.

Sometimes artists are intimidated by the higher initial cost of offset printing. Keep in mind that a commercial (offset) printer often utilizes giant sheets of paper. He may be able to run multiple prints on that same sheet (2-up, 4-up, etc.) This brings the cost per print down even further, something to be considered if you want numerous prints reproduced.

You can save some money by doing the pre-press file preparation yourself. If you do not possess the knowledge and skills to prepare work for reproduction, try finding a local graphic designer to assist you.

2) Digital Printing
This term covers ink jet, giclee, and other direct printing methods available today. The big plus with digital printing is the ability to print low quantities - even one print at a time. At the lower end of digital printing, you can purchase an ink jet printer (hopefully with archival inks and paper) and print your own reproductions. This assumes that you or someone you know has the ability to prepare the electronic files for optimal output.

At the higher end of the digital printing scale is the giclee print. While still a form of ink jet technology, the equipment used is geared for high-end output such as art prints. Giclee prints can even printed on canvas. Many professional color labs and some commercial printers offer giclee prints. Your cost/print will be higher than with offset lithography, but you can purchase only the number of prints you need. This can be an ideal way for an artist to get started selling reproductions. The same “pre-press” consideration applies here. If you can supply quality hi-res files, you will save money.

A note about archival inks and paper: I have seen artists selling reproductions printed by standard ink jet printers with regular paper. Look at those prints 6 months to a year later and you will often see a faded image on yellowed paper. It is similar to the effect you see on aged newsprint, and has the same cause - acidic ph of the paper. This highlights the importance of using archival paper and inks for your reproductions. The last thing you want is a happy customer today, who morphs into an unhappy customer next year, because his purchase from you had literally faded away.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Reproducing Two Dimensional Art: Open Edition Prints vs. Limited Edition Prints

In addition to knowing how to reproduce pencil drawings and other 2D artwork (a topic to be covered in detail in an upcoming post), one should consider the category in which the reproductions will be sold. This posting will address the difference between “open edition prints” and “limited edition prints.”

FYI - Two-dimensional reproductions are often referred to as prints, and I will use the terms here interchangeably. The term “print” is not to be confused with the original print-making process where an artist actually hand-creates each print. For this posting, a print will be known as a reproduction of an original painting, drawing or other two-dimensional piece of artwork.

An open edition print is a reproduction of unlimited quantity. You can print as many of them as you like. A limited edition print refers to a set number of copies of the work of art. Each reproduction is then signed and numbered by the artist for authenticity. As the total quantity available for sale is limited, the sale price for limited edition prints tends to be higher than that of open edition prints. This price ratio increases as the artist gains recognition.

The practice of limiting editions and numbering of reproductions dates back to early printing methods - when the quality of the images declined as the printing plates began to show evidence of wear. By limiting an edition to the best examples of an artist’s work, the artist protected both his or her artistic integrity and the value of the work to the collector. Printing methods have since advanced considerably and editions are now often limited for financial reasons. By ensuring the relative rarity of the work, an artist increases its value.

In addition to a fixed number of edition prints, there may also exist AP prints and HC prints. AP prints refer to Artist Proofs. Artist proofs also date back to early printing methods. These were the first sheets off the printing press which were used to determine ink coverage and general quality. As they were the first pieces to be printed, they were considered to be more valuable. AP prints are signed and numbered separately from the main edition. HC prints, or Hors De Commerce (not for trade) prints, are marked by the artist as prints to be used for business practice: such as samples, display only, etc. Occasionally there are also PP or Printers Proofs. These refer to the prints gifted to the printer responsible for printing the artwork.

A hand-tinted print is a variation on reproductions. Hand-tinting refers to the process of adding color highlights to black & white photographs or black & white reproductions. The process usually involves the application of watercolors or dies applied with a brush. Note that in the case of limited editions, any tinted prints are part of the same edition and not a separate edition. In other words, if print #43 is sold as a hand-tinted print, no other print #43 of the same image and size exists.

You can print open editions and limited editions of the same image, by the way. Try different sizes - perhaps an open edition with a small image that can be matted to fit an 8"x10" frame. Then run a larger print size in a smaller quantity and sign/number those prints as limited editions.

A limited edition print should include a “Statement of Reproduction.” This can be a label or certificate that contains at minimum the following information: title of artwork, reproduction method, artist name, publisher name, image size, copyright declaration, edition size and the number of the print. Also include your contact information. If your prints are matted or framed for sale, this statement should be affixed to the backing board behind the print.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Selling Original Art vs. Reproductions

One of the most common questions I have received from emerging 2D artists is whether to sell their original works or reproductions. Another popular question from emerging artists is “How do I make reproductions?”

Before getting into these two topics, let me share a piece of advice I received early in my career. I once had inquired of a mentor: “What should I draw? I don’t know what people will buy.” His reply echoes in my mind to this very day. Very directly he stated, “Forget what people will buy - you draw what you love.”

When one creates from a place of love or passion, the creative power that comes forth is quite strong. When one creates with the intent of manipulating circumstance (i.e. getting people to buy something), the creative process is distorted. Start with what you love or are passionate about in some way, then let the ideas flow from there.

Now, should you sell original works or reproductions? The answer for me from the start was a hearty “both!” Some artists do not like to part with their originals, and that is indeed a personal choice. My own feeling is that too many works accumulated in my storage area creates congestion, both physically and metaphysically. I like to keep the work moving out, so the consequential vacuum allows new ideas to flow in. Nature abhors a vacuum it is said, and you will find that the moving-out process invites the flowing-in process to continue its natural cycle.

Having said that, I always create a hi-resolution (hi-res) image of an original before it is posted for sale. This hi-res image gives you the freedom to reproduce the work later, and can be archived until such a decision is made. In past years a hi-res image meant a 4"x5" transparency shot by a professional photographer. These days it usually means a digital file that is created either with a scanner or a professional digital camera. If you do not have studio photography experience, then pay for professional quality image recording of your work. I repeat, this image needs to be the highest quality possible. It can be used later to make reproductions, advertise your work, apply to a juried exhibit, etc. This is not the place to pinch pennies.

Stay tuned to upcoming posts as I will be discussing some of the options and “how-to’s” for reproducing two dimensional artwork.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

“Honorable Mention” award received at Museum Show

My pencil drawing “The Eyes Have It” has won an Honorable Mention Award at the Massillon Museum exhibition for Stark County artists. The show is open to the public and will be on display during normal museum hours through February 8.

Also available from my website as a matted horse art print, this drawing will be on display as part of the exhibit. If you are in the area, please stop by the opening and enjoy the wealth of local talent in this wonderful show!

“The Eyes Have It”:

Friday, December 12, 2008

“What kind of pencils do you use?”

I often receive emails posing this question. Many emerging artists have tremendous talent. They know the time and energy that goes into a detailed drawing, and they want to use the best materials possible.

My answer to this question surprises some. For the most part, I use ordinary pencils purchased from an office supply store. I like the mechanical pencils, as the leads are quite thin and thus give me a sharp point without wasting hours sharpening and making a corresponding mess. The mechanical pencils are available in several thicknesses too.

Most mechanical pencils come with HB leads. I do 90% of my drawing with this softness of graphite. Then, I use artist pencils in the B to 6B range to “punch out” the darkest areas of my drawing.

Stark County Artists Show Opens at the Massillon Museum

The Stark County Artists Exhibition opens this Saturday (December 13, 2008) at the Massillon Museum. The show opening will take place from 7-9 p.m. and it is open to the public. After Saturday, exhibition will then be on display during normal museum hours through February 8.

My horse pencil drawing “The Eyes Have It” will be on display as part of the exhibit. If you are in the area, please stop by the opening and enjoy the wealth of local talent!

“The Eyes Have It”:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Horse Ornaments are now available!

Many people have contacted me to comment on my fantasy horse drawing “Horsessence”. It occurred to me recently that this piece would make a wonderful horse ornament. So, I have colorized the drawing in red, green and blue versions. The all three horse lover ornaments are now available from my cafepress store. Happy Holidays all!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

See Kelli at the “Heart of the Holidays Bazaar”

Happy Holidays All!

This year I will have many of my prints, note cards, books and ornaments for sale at the Heart of the Holidays Bazaar. The show is on Friday evening, December 5th from 5-9pm. The location is easy to find, as the show is hosted at the UCC church at the corner of 32nd Street and North Market (3129 Market Ave North).

This wonderful event is a fund raiser for the Merging Hearts Holistic Center in Canton, Ohio. There will also be jewelry by Off the Cuff, original artwork from Barb Lord, candles, Princess House items, crystals, essential oils, makeup, and much more! Live music will be provided by Jeff & Chris Kiko-Cozy. And, Jeff and Chris will be selling their great CDs!

Warm cider and yummy baked goods will also be available. Please stop by, do some shopping, and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere!

Black Hound Jewelry - a great new site!

I recently had the pleasure of working with Chris and Patricia Jones on the logo for their new business: Black Hound Jewelry. The logo was inspired by the Jones’ love of their own Greyhound dogs. Chris has designed a beautiful website for the jewelry, and that site is now LIVE! Take a little shopping trip and check out the beautiful chain maille jewelry for sale!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Interview with Artist Kelli Swan

David Kasper interviews Artist and Graphic Designer Kelli Swan. Included in this interview is a discussion about starting an art business and artist marketing. There is also a discourse on spiritual and metaphysical approaches to life and business. Kelli’s pencil drawings and prints are in collections around the world. She enjoys reading inspirational books by modern day teachers like Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle and Abraham-Hicks.

Interview with Artist Kelli Swan was the brainchild of David Kasper. I would like to express my enormous gratitude for his professional approach, thoughtful format and incredible editing skills in producing the final audio track. - Kelli Swan

“David Kasper is from the Madison, WI area. He has been a part-time artist in many forms for as long as he can remember. He is also a successful senior consultant for a trade show display company and is active in his local and online communities. Dave’s passion for success and life principles has lead him to start building a source of useful information to help others find solutions to their life difficulties and to grow in the many ways in which life offers us growth. Through his background in media and writing as well as art, Dave aims to offer this information in various formats to a wide variety of viewers.”

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Kelli's Artwork to be part of '08-'09 Massillon Museum Show

I am thrilled to announce that one of my Original Pencil Drawings have been accepted into a juried exhibition at the Massillon Museum in Massillon, Ohio. Sixty-six Stark County area artists will be featured in the show.

There will be an exhibition opening on Saturday, December 13 from 7:00-9:00 pm. The reception is free and open to the public. The exhibit will continue through January 8, 2009. Museum hours are 9:30-5:00 Tuesday-Saturday and 2:00-5:00 on Sundays.

This is the drawing that will be found in the show:

“The Eyes Have It”

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New website design for Mind and Body Pilates

My most recent website design is now uploaded and active! This site was designed for Mind and Body Pilates in West Palm Beach, Florida. (They also have a new location in Wellington, FL). www.PilatesWestPalm.com - Mind & Body Pilates offers group and private Pilates sessions in Tower, Mat and Ball Pilates.

If you would like to see more websites that I have designed, as well as samples of my other Graphic Design Services, please visit: Kelli Swan’s Graphic Design Services at www.cygnetgraphics.com.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New website design for Deb Simon Photography

Deb Simon Photography is now live! These are some of the most stunning photographs you will find anywhere! Deb Simon specializes in wildlife photography. Her intense images feature tiger, leopards, butterflys, eagles, turtles and many more beautiful animal forms. It's been such a thrill to have the opportunity to work with Deb and help bring her incredible work to the web!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New pencil drawing by Kelli Swan - “Opinions Vary”

Here is my latest pencil drawing, titled “Opinions Vary” -- Prints will be available soon!

And for those in the Canton, Ohio area, please stop by my display on First Friday (October 3rd) at the Ohio Arts and Crafts Guild office on 4th street downtown!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Domain for Gates Automation Inc!

My website design for Gates Automation, Inc. now resides at a new domain! Please visit www.gates-automation.com to visit the site. The folks at Gates Automation and I appreciate any and all visits to the site as we want to spread the word about the new domain. Thanks!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

New website design for CantonMacs.com

My most recent website design is now uploaded and active! This site was designed for iTronics Computers (www.cantonmacs.com) -- a Canton, Ohio authorized Apple Macintosh reseller and service center. www.CantonMacs.com - Home of iTronics Computers sells Macintosh computers and Mac OS software applications. They also have an Apple Certified technician on staff.

If you would like to see more websites that I have designed, as well as samples of my other Graphic Design Services, please visit: Kelli Swan’s Graphic Design Services at www.cygnetgraphics.com.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

New Pencil Drawing by Kelli Swan - “The Eyes Have It”

New for 2008: “The Eyes Have It”

My latest original pencil drawing would not have been possible without a wonderful photo reference, courtesy of Debora Simon. I can't thank her enough, as her creativity with a camera has given me new-found inspiration for drawings. Stay tuned to my future blog postings for more information on Deb's soon-to-come website. You’ll be amazed at her incredible photography! (Deb is a fellow Doberman enthusiast too!)

This drawing will be available as a signed & numbered limited edition in the fall of 2008.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

August 16, 2008 - Art Opening and Book Signing at OACG!

The Ohio Arts and Crafts Guild Office will host an Art Show Opening and Book Signing on August 16, 2008. My book “She drew horses...” will be featured, along with many of my newest drawings. Also featured will be the stunning photographic work of Michael Boatright, with a book signing by Michael as well. Join us at the Guild for what is sure to be a great event!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

New Site design for ShoClothes.com!

I have recently re-designed the Sho Clothes website for Michele Hundt. New color themes are in use along with CSS for faster page loads. The site has also been upgraded to XHTML Transitional.

Sho Clothes has recently opened it’s new “Sho Clothes / Sho Room” in Wellington, Florida. The website features photos from the Sho Room and many wonderful new dressage apparel items. The site also now boasts online shopping carts for popular dressage accessories such as Stock Ties, Stock Pins, Gloves and more.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My Newest Website Design: Pammer's Pet Wear

My most recent website design is now uploaded and active! This site was designed for Pammer’s Pet Wear -- a Canal Fulton, Ohio manufacturer of Dog and Pet Clothing and Accessories. Pammer’s Pet Wear creates handmade pet wear and clothing in beautiful colors and fashions.

If you would like to see more websites that I have designed, as well as samples of my other Graphic Design Services, please visit: Kelli Swan’s Graphic Design Services at www.cygnetgraphics.com.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Now Available - Kelli’s NEW BOOK!

From Creating Art to Creating Income
Marketing Tip for the Visual Artist

“How did you get started selling your artwork?” That is the question that inspired me to write this book. It is a question I have been asked many times over the years. Whether self-schooled or traditionally taught, most amateur artists have been taught little about how to generate income from their work. This book contains a wealth of helpful tips, interwoven with life philosophy, designed to inform and inspire. I cover traditional marketing methods such as art festivals and gallery shows along with modern ecommerce approaches to selling artwork like websites and online auctions. Packed full of helpful information, this book is sure to inspire any artist ready to take the plunge into “earned income” from his or her own creations!

This book is now available through Kelli Swan’s Book Storefront. In coming weeks the book will be available through my website and also all the major booksellers like Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Coming Soon - Assorted Doberman Pinchser Note Cards!

This year I have decided to offer packs of Assorted Doberman Pinscher Note Cards. There are eight different drawings featured - all focused on the beloved Doberman Dog. Each pack contains eight different note cards and eight envelopes. The retail price will be $10/pack. Please check my website soon, as I hope to have these cards from the printer and ready to sell by March 24, 2008!

Coming Soon - Assorted Greyhound Note Cards!

Due to many requests over the years, I have decided to have more Greyhound Note Cards printed. This year I will be offering an assorted pack of notes, with 2/each of four different Greyhound Dog Drawings. Each pack will retail for $10. Check back soon - as I hope to have these card from the printer by March 24, 2008!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Canton, Ohio - First Friday in March

Join me in Canton, Ohio, March 7, for First Friday! My work will is currently displayed at the new office of OACG (Ohio Arts and Crafts Guild) and my drawing “Horsessence” is featured on the promotional mailer. Held the first Friday of each month from 5:30-10 pm, First Friday features a variety of local arts and entertainment. Shop at downtown galleries, stroll down Court Ave and enjoy the sights and sounds of street performers including musicians, artists, jugglers and more. See the Canton Development Partnership for a list of downtown Canton Events. The OACG office is located at 338 4th Street.

Peace and Cheers,

Sunday, February 17, 2008

NEW Doberman Pinscher prints are now available!

I have just released 8 new Limited Edition Doberman Pinscher art prints. Each run is an edition of 300 prints and most of the Doberman images are available in either black/white or with hand-tinted color highlights. Note Cards are in the planning stage, so check back soon to purchase Assorted Doberman Pinscher Note Cards!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Dog Sympathy Card - Pet Loss Sympathy Cards

I would like to introduce my latest design and offering: Pet Sympathy Cards! The idea for this project came from a conversation with my sister Chris. She was talking about the difficulty of finding nice pet sympathy cards, when it hit me -- I have the perfect design and message for just such a card.

The outside of the card shows a sleeping dog, and the phrase “Good Night Sweet Prince.” The inside of the card features a saying inspired by my father: “Never say Goodbye. But rather - Until we meet again ... across the Rainbow Bridge.” (I also have cards with the phrase “Good Night Sweet Princess.”)

Now offered through my Sunny Sense Cafe Press Store, these cards are available as pet sympathy cards - greeting card size, or, dog sympathy cards in 10-pack notecard size. You can also purchase "10-packs" of the greeting cards. Feel free to contact me with comments on the cards, or with suggestions for new pet sympathy cards.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Local News - Kelli’s Work Featured at new OACG Office

Head’s up to anyone living in or near Canton, Ohio! My work will be featured at the new office of OACG (Ohio Arts and Crafts Guild) for the months of February and March. Stop by anytime! Or, better yet, plan a trip to one of the First Friday events in downtown Canton. Held the first Friday of each month from 5:30-10 pm, First Friday features a variety of local arts and entertainment. Shop at downtown galleries, stroll down Court Ave and enjoy the sights and sounds of street performers including musicians, artists, jugglers and more!

I will be attending the February and March First Friday events -- stop by the OACG office at 338 4th Street and introduce yourself!



Thursday, January 24, 2008

“The most fantastic equestrian and canine art on the web”

I am thrilled to announce that The Public Arena magazine (official magazine of the Equestrian Federation of Australia) has honored me with this wonderful distinction (“The most fantastic equestrian and canine art on the web”) accompanied by a lovely half-page display ad in their January 2008 issue.

My many thanks go out to Jan Smith, Public Arena & Show Horse Co-ordinator, for finding my work and selecting my site for this honor!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Custom Thoroughbred Race Horse Portrait

Posted here is my latest Custom Portrait in pencil - a drawing of the Thoroughbred Race Horse “Tough Kid.” To see an enlargement of the drawing, please visit my website. Each of my custom drawings is a unique creation and a truly special gift. In addition to the custom portraits I offer other services, such as scanning the portrait and creating a hi-res image so that you may make note cards or other specialty products. Feel free to contact me to discuss the possibilities!

Sample Pencil Portraits:

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Introducing Sunny Sense! Dog Lover Gifts inspired by a Doberman Pinscher!

I am happy to announce a new line of fun and inspirational Dog Lover Gifts -- Sunny Sense!!

Inspired by "Sunny," perhaps the world's happiest Doberman Pinscher, these delightful images feature doberman lover and dog lover themes on mugs, shirts, tote bags, coasters, sweaters and more! To read more about this exciting new line of designs, please visit the new SunnySense.com website, and its online store: CafePress/sunnysense.

"Sunny Sense"