In any good reflection of practice, studying others who you admire or are successful (by your definition) can help you improve your own creative circumstance. Today I review two artists that have been brought to my attention to identify qualities in an artist website we should all strive to have.
Of course, if you are an artist by another name, AKA writer, dancer, singer, etc. This activity is still worthwhile and may inform your means of advertising your creative skills. You may want to review the categories and my analysis and see what else you think would apply to your discipline. And for my fellow visual artists, the more eyes the merrier, please comment below if you feel there is something else important to consider in the building of an artist website or blog.
The two artists I selected for consideration were Alexandra Douglass and Natasha Wescoat. Alexandra Douglass is a digital illustrator and is in the midst of developing her own webcomic. Natasha Wescoat is a painter whose work includes illustration and fantasy genres. Both appear successful in their own right. Ms. Douglass just fully funded a Kickstarter to help her with her webcomic Cloud Factory and Ms. Wecoat has a fully developed and functioning Etsy site.
I created a Google Doc for each artist where I outlined the layout and content of their entire website. You can see my full review for Ms. Wescoat here and my review of Ms. Douglass here.
Headers with signatures and brand symbol
The one thing I noted both have were signatures and their own brand symbol as part of a website header. Most research I’ve done suggests that artists should have a clear and easy website name but Douglass’ is a tumbler site without that. Her separate site for Cloud Factory does have its own name, however. And considering the Kickstarter funding, she appears to be doing just fine. Both used their names in the header and branding.
They both have more pages than I do on my current website, which is under development. Some of the pages were shared while others were not.
Of note that was shared:
They both have a page that was a shop embedded within their website and they made sure to make this particularly accessible via a few different pages. Both offered prints as well as licensed goods such as iPad covers, phone covers, etc.
Both artists have an extensive biography page, which also included discussions of commission work and lists clients. Ms. Wescoat lists awards and honors here, while Ms. Douglass suggests other artists and friends to follow.
Both artists also include a blog as a means of communicating with those interested in their work. At the time of writing this, Ms. Wescoat’s was empty and Ms. Douglass had her Home page open to her blog.
Both artists also have a portfolio page that showcases their work. Both use thumbnail images to click onto larger galleries and they divide their work by assorted genres. Ms. Wescoat uses dates to also arrange her gallery.
Of note that was in contrast:
Ms. Wescoat works extensively to have her art licensed for assorted goods, so she dedicates an entire page to her licensing efforts. This is good to note in that if I decide to focus my energies on something a separate page should emphasize this focus. Perhaps for a musician there could be a page dedicated to music written and produced.
Just as Ms. Wescoat has a focus on licensing, Ms. Douglass has a large project in her webcomic. There is a page here, which directly links to an entire sub-site on her comic.
Ms. Wescoat also dedicated a separate page to contact information, while Ms. Douglass kept hers as part of her biography.
The layout of the pages were also interesting to consider. One site had a header on the left side of the screen where all the pages were very visible. Another had a header of just her name and emblem, but her pages were also lined up very visibly, also on the left. I’m beginning to see the benefits of all pages to be listed on either the right or left side, because it leaves plenty of room for the many pages you might want on your page! Both sites kept it simple with either a black or white background.
Wescoat also includes links to social media to share her site and work. I think this may be a wise decision for anyone who wants to generate interest in their projects.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: What else do you think is important to note in a creative website? Share with Artist Strong readers.