Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Can Pinterest Help Your Art Get Better?

Well obviously I must think so or this would be a really short post right?

First let me just say that I'm like a lot of you - "NOT ANOTHER SOCIAL MEDIA SITE!!!" I know I know - but trust me - Pinterest is worth it...and you can get in and out quickly!

For starters lets deal with that title - what if I told you that there is a way to see how your art stacks up against your competition? What if you could be that fly on the wall in the office of an editor, art director, agent, or fellow artist? What if you could know what people really think of your work? I'll show you a very simple way to use Pinterest to do just this.

1. Make your own Pinterest account BUT do it by logging in from Facebook or choose the setting so that every time you make a "PIN" it updates facebook - reason? - so people see your pins, visit your board, and re'pin your pins.

2. In the "search" bar at the top of the Pinterest page after you're logged in - type in something like "illustration" or "Children's illustration" or "characters" and hit enter.


3. Click on "boards"


4. Click on a piece of art that interests you - you might want to scroll a little - pick a goody! Ok - now pick five images to "re-pin" AND - pin them to your illustration board.  (I figured all this stuff out so if I can do it a snail can do it - sorry snails :( ...make sure you REALLY like the images you're re-pinning. These need to be images that you really admire and perhaps wish you'd created so be picky!  Also - if you don't pin really good stuff people will ignore your board and that will kill this whole experiment.

5. Ok - now pin one of your own images and then over the next year repeat this ratio - a handful of other artist's images to one of your own.  I suggest you pin from your website or blog so that if people click on them they come back to your portal - but that's not what this post is about but you should still do it for marketing reasons. (There's a way to download some thing-a-magiggy to your browser so you can "pin" from any site - I don't remember how I got it to work - I think I googled "how to pin with Pinterest")

6. Here's a look at my illustration board on Pinterest. If you zoom in you can see how many times each image was "re-pinned" - and here in lies the magic! You get to see how many votes or "pins" each image gets including your own. In a way people are casting their votes in an impartial way - self serving! They see something they like and they re-pin it for themselves. This is more valuable than a critique from friends in some ways because it's a rather large sample size and it's honest. The people pinning don't really know or care that you're looking at the data this way -they're just grabbing images for future consumption on their own boards.


So how can Pinterest help you improve your art? You can learn a lot by seeing what people like and don't like. If you're work isn't getting re-pinned as much as the other work you pin you have some work to do - but not in the blind - because you can see exactly what images people respond to the most. You might want to make a list of the things the popular images have in common - then compare to your work. However, this could also be a little dangerous if you follow it too closely and copy what is getting votes - you could become a follower- you still have to innovate but in order to create great art you have to consume great art!

Pinterest is in my opinion a very valuable tool for inspiration, strategy, and marketing - I'm starting to get emails and messages from customers who are finding me on Pinterest - and I hear it's the fastest growing website! so get pinning!

24 comments:

  1. That's really interesting. So far I have just used it to find what people are currently loving for design research, hadn't thought of uploading my own images to there.

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    1. I'm selling videos now from Pinterest after only using it for 2 months now - I'm getting emails from people - "I found you on Pinterest..." Who knew right?

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  2. Also great for photo reference since it's categorized.

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    1. So many handy reasons to use Pinterest!

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  3. It is so much easier to create an illustrators morgue using Pinterest than by having a file cabinet filled with stuff.

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    1. It's amazing - I had a whole file system on my comp for inspiration, reference, ideas - problem was it was on my comp so when I traveled or was teaching I didn't have my files so it was work to select out images for lessons...Now I just get on and type in Russ Cox and raid your files! Have em anywhere!

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  4. You can also include a dollar price band on the image so people realise the original or prints are up for sale - try typing in a dollar amount anywhere in the description box and a sign appears on the image - go try it! That way you can link straight back to your art/prints/crafts store and people will know how much they'll be spending. I don't sell any art prints but I know a lot of others do! Hope you are well,
    Dan.

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  5. If you want to pin from Safari on your iPad, you can create a bookmarklet by following the instructions here...http://nali.org/ipad-pin-it-pinterest-bookmarklet-in-safari/ It is a nice complement to the Pinterest app.

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  6. I love your boards, Will. I always find loads of illustration inspiration there.

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  7. Thanks for the reminder, I have used Pintrest for my own art a little, but not very extensively. I really hadn't thought about it being an impartial feedback area. And mostly felt sheepish when I pinned my own art. But... now I won't! I already pin plenty of other people's awesome art. Great suggestions! (and now I want to find your pintrest boards, where are they?)

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    1. Agreed. I pinned my own stuff, but I felt BAD about it!! To hell with that!! I have to promote myself and my work any way possible!!

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  8. I've been avoiding pintrest because it is a black hole! but I have secretly wondered what it could do for my art and I think its time to bite the bullet and get my stuff out there! thanks will. about to follow you on pintrest soon, you always have the best stuff (not just images, your words never fail to inspire!)

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  9. I turned off the facebook option because I didn't want to annoy my friends with all my pins. But your work is already admired. So you aren't going to annoy people. I'm not sure I would get the same result. But this post was so interesting and helpful. I like the way you think.

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  10. Thanks Will! What a great suggestion to help improve and learn. Once again you have completely opened my eyes and gave me a new way to look at and use a great tool. Thanks!

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  11. Pinterest is amazing for inspiration, though often I am left with an "oh, why bother?" feeling about my own art, which seems to pale in comparison to what I like from other artists. That said, people have been pinning my stuff for a long time, it just isn't stuff I'm all that proud of even it I am "known" for it. I've found it is helpful to keep a sense of who you are as an artist; remember that your strength might be in characterization while that amazing landscape artist you envy (and pinned) might wish they could do something a bit funnier sometime.
    Also, I often find uncredited Pins when I browse. If you click on the image it can lead you to a website that identifies the artist. I always try to follow the bread crumbs until I can properly credit an artist before I Pin. Good karma and all that. Also, I love and follow your board already. Man, did your tree character ever get re-pinned a bunch!

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  12. Awesome post Will! Can I share it?? ;)

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    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  13. I did my first 5 pins (actually 6 because I lost count), and then one of my own. My immediate thought when I looked at the board was that I need to work MUCH harder. That my work looks very amateur compared to what's around it. *sigh*. Great motivation though.

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  14. This is the first good reason I've come across to join pinterest! Thanks for posting!

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  15. Only just got round to watching this one. Another great post and tip, I will be trying that when I get some time. Thanks again Will.

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  16. Thanks for another great idea, Will! I had made, and abandoned, a Pinterest account quite a while ago. Didn't quite know what to do with it. Now I do! I revisited it last night and started using your approach. I'm excited to see where it leads and what I learn!

    I also recommend tumblr. I've just been on there for a week or so, but it's proving to be helpful, too...a different slant on a similar concept.

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