Artists – it’s time to start preparing for the Holidays! This episode is for everyone, not just those who sell their art. You can use art as a wonderful gift for loved ones. Let’s talk about gifting, artsy gift ideas, what holiday items to make if you are selling your art, how to add some pizazz to your presents with artistic gift wrapping, and other art ideas for the holidays. Fellow self taught artists I want to get you excited now so you can get prepared for the holidays!
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Hello, and welcome back to the Self Taught Artist Podcast. I’m Lauren Kristine, your host, I am so happy to have you. Here with me today listening to this episode. It’s a fun one. But before I get into all the good stuff, let’s do our Review of the Week. This one comes to us on Apple Podcasts. From Manny A Maldonado. The title is “Painting Small.” “Hi, I appreciated this episode of your podcast on painting small, I started painting small in January 2021. I find that painting small takes off the pressure of being perfect, or trying to be perfect for the audience. And for other artists. Painting small has led me to paint daily. I actually just completed my one year mark. And as of yesterday, I was on day 439. It takes persistence and lots of practice.” Check out his instagram @artbyM.A.M. And you can see his 440 Plus daily paintings. I am so inspired by this, Manny, I can’t believe you’ve been doing it so consistently for so many days, it’s really cool to take a look on his speed at all the progress he’s had in painting daily, and painting small, and just the power of getting those repetitions in.
So I love this Review today from Manny, because it is so inspirational. And it brings to life everything that I talked about in the episode that I did on painting small. So go check out the Joy of Painting small, if you haven’t already. And you can check out his Instagram to take a look and inspire you to really put what I talked about in that episode into practice. Thanks so much, Manny. All right, if you out there, leave me a Review on Apple Podcasts, I will read your Review on a future episode of the podcast. I know it’s kind of annoying to go into Apple Podcasts and take the time to write a Review. But I can’t stress how much it means to me to read these messages. And to have them there to inspire other artists to click that play button. There’s a lot of art podcasts out there. And reviews really help people to find this show. So I really thank all of you who have left me reviews. And if you haven’t already, please go do that on Apple Podcasts. And you can also Rate me five stars on Spotify, which would be really great if you listen there.
One more thing before we get into our episode. Today, I wanted to share an idea I have for the Self Taught Artist in August. As you may have heard me talk about over the last few months, I have really been focused on revisiting the foundations of art, and studying things like composition and color. Now all of the studying that I’ve been doing has really led to a number of breakthroughs that I’ve had with my art, especially when it comes to color, and how to use my paints, to really get them to do what I want and bring my vision to real life with the vibrant colors that I love. So what I was thinking about for August, was doing a deep dive into color. And passing along all of this knowledge that I have on to you. We are all self taught artists after all, and we’re just learning stuff as we go. So why not do this deep dive on the podcast together is what I’m thinking. And this wouldn’t be just one episode on color, but it would be a whole mini series Breaking it down over multiple weeks. So I want to know what you think about that. Is that something that would excite you? If so, I would love to hear your feedback on this idea @LaurenKristineArt on IG. I know it’s a little different than what I usually do, because I love talking about all different topics that are relevant to self taught artists. But I think there’s also a time to go deep as well. I love going broad, but let’s let’s just dive a little bit deeper and maybe do this as an experiment in August. So though, let me know what you think. Let me know if you would be excited for a little mini series on color.
Jumping into our topic today. I know some of you may think I’m crazy because you read the title of this episode and you thought we want you want to talk about the holidays today, on July 30. Why are we talking about Christmas already? Well, we’re talking about it because time is ticking and we better get moving. It takes planning, preparation, and a lot of making in order to be ready to really seize the holiday opportunity. Christmas is only five months away, which is hard to believe. That means it’s time to plan out your holiday art plan or your Christmas art plan. And don’t think that this only applies to people who sell their art. This episode will also help give you ideas for how to spread holiday cheer.
Even if you’re not selling your art, you can use art as a wonderful gift for loved ones, you can decorate your house with it. And I’m just a huge proponent of gifting art and other ideas for the holidays. It’s a wonderful time of year and it can be wonderful for your art business, or even just growing your social media and your presence online as an artist. I want to get you excited now about this opportunity so you’re ready to fully seize it.
So we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years, so many holidays packed into a very short amount of time. And it’s not just that, but consumers actually spend more during those months as well. And a lot of it is driven by gift giving. As a result, it’s a great time to sell your art and handmade items in general. Some small businesses make up to 75% of their annual profits in the fourth quarter of the year. 75%! Yeah, that is just how important October November and December are. If you are selling your art or handmade goods, that’s the opportunity. Whether you’re selling or just gifting, I think you’ll find something in this episode that you can put into practice to make this the best holiday season ever.
Okay, idea number one holiday cards. Wouldn’t it be cool to make a card to send to friends or family for the holidays or New Year?! The other option is you can make cards to sell. Design your own dream holiday card. I know there’s a big tradition here in the states of sending a Christmas card, or a New Year’s card, or some sort of holiday well wishes card, from your family to friends and family around the country. So this is a great time to get your art in front of the people that you love. And even put your own personality into your card.
I would tell you to make sure whether you’re just sending it to friends and family or you want to make a holiday card to sell, put a note on the back of the card that says this is your original art and share your art specific Instagram handle or website information. I have made note cards before and sold packs of note cards. So selling holiday cards would be very similar, they’d just be holiday themed.
What I do on all those note cards is I put a little brief artist statement on the back where it says you know this is made by Lauren Kristine Art. Here’s my website, I say, I’m a painter that loves vibrant color and I add a little bit about my process there on the back just in a couple of sentences. It’s a great way to get a little extra publicity and a little bit of extra mileage out of that card because it is being sent from your buyer to someone else in the world who doesn’t know you exist or from you to all of your friends and family who may or may not have ever taken the time to go online and look at your artwork before. I know Personally, a lot of my friends know that I paint but I’m not sure that they’ve ever taken that next step to go to my website or go to my Instagram and actually see my art, I really wish they would. So this is a chance to subtly remind them that I love to paint I love art, and they should go check out my work.
I have sold note card packs before and it was a popular item. It’s just an easy gift item for people to give and use in their daily life. So why not try it? On a practical note, I will add that I have gotten all of my note cards firstname.lastname@example.org and had a great experience with that company. If you get on their email list, they do sales every so often. And you have enough time now where you can watch and wait for notecards to go on sale and then be ready to jump at it when you see a good price. So that’s just one option, I will add a link in the shownotes to vistaprint.com.
Idea number two is thinking about art and how you can create art that could be a perfect Christmas gift, Hanukkah gift, Kwanzaa gift, New Year’s gift, or even a hostess gift for Christmas parties that you or others attend. If you give gifts to loved ones at the end of the year for whatever holiday you celebrate, consider making them something instead this year.
So what are some possible gift ideas to make or sell? Well, hand painted ornaments can be a great option. They are a big seller. In October, November, December, ornaments come in all shapes and sizes from a mini canvas that you put a ribbon around that could hang on a tree to glass bowls, ceramic ornaments, plastic ornaments, you name it, you can paint it. And there’s all different kinds of ornaments that are available at craft stores and art stores and online that you can paint. But it really can be as simple as just painting mini canvases with a ribbon on them so that they can be home.
Now, that’s another great obvious item is small paintings. In general, I think I’ve talked about it before small paintings are a great giftable option. My favorite are shelf sitters, you know those thick canvases that are gallery profiles, so they’re one and a half inches deep. And that means that they stand up by themselves. So you can put it on a bookshelf or a mantel or a bedside table. They are so cute. And you could do four by four, six by six, by seven. All of those are just adorable little sizes, and don’t take a ton of time. So it can be a great holiday item or gift item. And guess what, because we’re starting this whole process in August, you have time to plan, get your canvases on sale, and work on them leisurely, not leaving it until the last minute when you probably won’t follow through. Or at least I know I won’t follow through. Somehow the end of the year always gets crazy busy without fail.
Other great gift ideas that you could put an artistic spin on or paint include things like picture frames, there are wooden picture frames you can pick up at a craft store or art store. You know I get them at Michaels for 99 cents or $2. And those are so fun to paint. That’d be a great gift idea. One thing that I’m interested in doing this season actually is painting flower pots, because a lot of my friends and family got into gardening over the pandemic years and so, you know, maybe painting a little cute pot and putting a succulent in it. I think that would be an adorable gift idea. notecards which I already talked about, like a package of them with my art on them. Painted earrings could be really cool. You know just Think about fun stuff like that: small, easy to gift, easy to receive or stick in your house, or mail across the country. There’s different items depending on what you’re interested in, what your audience is interested in, or what your friends might enjoy as a gift.
Whatever you make, make sure you put a tag on your art, or include a card or, you know if appropriate, write your website or social media username on the back of it, so people know that this was a handmade Item a, like true, you know, truly artist created painting and how to find you on the internet or social media. Usually, if people buy a handmade gift, and they give it to someone, they want it to be obvious, they spent money on a handmade, unique item. So use that to your advantage and get some extra publicity mileage out of it at the same time. The gift recipient may like there’s so much that they want to buy another to give to someone else. I’ve also seen artists make little cards with their story and photo on it explaining who they are as an artist where to find them online, and perhaps a little tiny bit about their process. And that can be another easy addition to a handmade gift item or small painting at this time of year, so that if someone is buying it to gift it, they can really know who made that item and where to find you on the internet.
All right, idea number three. This one is so easy. It’s making artsy holiday gift wrapping. So I know not everyone wants to make gifts for everyone on their shopping list. But don’t forget that you can add an artsy touch to store bought presents to what about creating hand painted gift tags. You know, you picture Christmas morning: all of the present sitting under the tree and they could all have really cute hand painted gift tags on them How cool would that be? Or you could take it a step further and paint gift bags. Just buy some plain gift bags at the store and you know paint on them with some acrylic paint, give them some pizzazz. Or you can also take plain you know butcher paper and make your own painted gift wrap for your presence. All three of these things are so easy to make and can really help your gifts to stand out and just have that extra pizzazz. Now you don’t have to paint a masterpiece on this. Imagine just a gift bag with cool polka dots on it or some splatter. Or you know you paint some trees or some snowflakes or some winter motifs. I am already running away with all of these fun ideas. So I think this idea applies to both gift givers and people who are selling items for Christmas or the holidays.
Sellers can do the same thing. Make some cute gift bags for folks who buy art from you to use his gifts, it will be extra memorable and really stand out. And it might even encourage buyers to buy even more from you. Because they know that they’re not just buying an item, but they are buying an artist’s crafted gifting experience for their loved ones. I love that one I highly recommend that. It just brings a little piece of you the artist to these everyday objects like a gift tag or gift bag or gift wrap. It can be so fun. And I would love to see what you do if you do this.
Okay, but that brings me to idea number four. And for this one, I just want to encourage you to think about artsy and painted holiday decor and what kind of themed paintings you can make around the fall season. Christmas, winter time, New Years. Just take a minute and think about the ways that you and friends or family members like to decorate your homes for the holidays, and create the art that you wish that you had for the holiday season. Think of holiday motifs that are popular and how you can add your own unique spin to them.
All right. So for all of you out there who do want to sell your art at Christmas time or are considering it! Where can you sell your art that time of year? Well, of course, you can go on Etsy or on social media. Those are two great places where you can sell your giftable items, or holiday themed items. I really think Etsy can be excellent around the holidays, because there are so many people who go to that marketplace. Looking for handmade gift items. Just make sure to have all of your listings optimized around holiday keywords, so they can be found. Take some time and really put effort into your listings. Again, that’s why we’re starting this whole process now to make sure you are ready to jump on this opportunity. Also, remember, I have a podcast episode on Etsy SEO, where I talk about SEO (That stands for search engine optimization) and, essentially, using keywords on Etsy so that the search engine algorithm puts your objects your paintings in front of buyers when they search for specific keywords. So if you go back on my podcast, that is episode number 18, on Etsy SEO.
Around Christmas time, you can also try selling at Holiday markets, sometimes they’re Christmas markets or art fairs. Check out local churches, shopping centers, even local parks, there are a lot of holiday markets out there and they’re very, very popular, you usually have to sign up months in advance as they fill up their vendor slots earlier than you might think. So again, that’s why we’re talking about this today. Do your research and jump on it if you are interested in selling at a Holiday Market.
Of course, as always, I tell you to be smart, run the numbers and make sure that it’s a smart business move. Because as you know, selling at an art fair takes just more investment in time and materials. And there’s there’s just some legwork you have to put into it.
So if you’re just getting started with selling your art, then I would suggest starting with an online store like Etsy, and if you check out my show notes, I will post a link there for 25 free listings to get you started. My biggest piece of advice is, as I already said, spend some time really optimizing your listings so people can find them when they search for Christmas items or holiday presents or whatever it is that you have created.
I got my start actually selling art around the holidays. That was the best time for me to get started on Etsy. I had put some paintings on Etsy earlier and I wasn’t able to actually sell anything until Christmas time. And that is when my sales really kind of took off for the first time. And that’s just because people are buying more during the holiday season. Buying is on people’s minds gifting is on people’s minds. So it’s a great time to take advantage of that.
So if you’ve maybe been sitting on the fence, and you really do you want to sell your art, but you don’t know when to get started. Christmas time, the holidays, that can be a great time to just put a couple of feelers out there and test it out. You know, you don’t have to do anything crazy. You don’t have to do anything big, but you can try it out if you’re interested in.
The advantage of starting in August is so you can work on all of this slowly and not get overwhelmed. Whether you want to sell your art or whether you just want to make gifts for friends and family. It’s a lot of time and effort. And if you’re anything like me, usually by the time the holidays is even on my radar at all, it’s too late. And that’s why I really wanted to make this our podcast episode today.
And, you know, I just think giving your art out at the holidays is just a wonderful time to spread cheer, put more joy and art and beauty into the world. And that’s why I love to make art in the first place. So I hope that this has been helpful in giving you a little kick in the pants to get started on holiday art making holiday gift making and all of that good stuff.
I will be back again next week with another episode of the Self Taught Artist Podcast if you would please take a minute make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast, hit five stars and leave me a rating and Review and tell your artists friends about the podcast. I love spreading this knowledge out in the world. And I appreciate each and every one of you listeners so much. So have a wonderful week. Happy Creating, my friends!
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