As artists we end up needing to be able to do a multitude of things for working in the real world. Portfolios need to be sent out for various shows or calls, websites need updating, pictures of our work need editing, these are just a few things that I can think of. While going through some of the adobe suite I realised that not all artists are taught about some of the professional skills that they need for living and working as an artist (whether that’s full time or part time). Here are some things that I think you should learn for enhancing your professional skills as an artist.
1) Photoshop or Lightroom: Don’t feel overwhelmed by this. You just need the very basics in this in order to edit your photos. Much can be done with the yellow to blue or green to pink adjustment as well as contrast, brightness, and saturation. If you can, its best to take photos of your work from as DSLR in raw format. This format provides you with the most digital information available in order for you to work with your images. If you don’t have a DSLR, usually the art or design department at your school will let you “rent” one. By “rent” I mean not having to pay for it. If you’re struggling in Photoshop or Lightroom, hop on Youtube. There are some great channels dedicated to helping you learn more about these editing beasts.
2) Indesign: This is available through the Adobe suite and is very practical for building portfolios, because of the ease of combining both text and photos. I find inDesign to be quite user friendly, and if you can’t figure it out, again, there are some great tutorials either on the Adobe site, or on Youtube.
3) Website: There are a lot of build your own websites with companies like Weebly, Wix and Squarespace to name a few. Why do I think its important for you to have a website? A website is a great place to put up all your work where it doesn’t expire (I’m looking at you instagram) With a website the location belongs to you and you can use the website for whatever you please, selling work, writing a blog, etc. When you build and show your practice only through social media its essentially like building on borrowed land. (Thanks for that example Jenna Kutcher) With social media you’re subject to algorithms, and the need to feed the beast everyday (again, instagram!).
Oh hello, welcome to my blog, hacking a BFA. Is it an academic blog or is it just an art blog? I don't really know. Some of this might be relevant to art students only, some of it relevant to art amateurs......does it really matter? I invite you to treat this blog as an art buffet. If you want something more in depth...its here, something more geared to art newbies....it's here. Enjoy!
Melissa Cayford is an artist, designer and educator bent on making art and art education more accessible.