Social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s a door to millions of people who can immediately see your art from anywhere around the world! On the other hand…you share that door with millions of other artists trying to do the same. The tiny-minnow-infinite-pond struggle is real. Luckily, there are some tools on social media that, believe it or not, can be used for way more than just sharing selfies and your #HotTakes; they can also be used to share your work in innovative ways that will make it stand out among the digital masses! Here are a few creative ways to share your art on social media.
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When a 280 character limit still isn’t enough to get all your thoughts out, there are Twitter Moments! From documenting tweet reactions to the latest Kardashian news to delivering tips on how to survive the snowpocalypse this winter, Twitter Moments are generally thought of as Twitter’s news-in-a-nutshell tool. But for artists, using Moments is an amazing way to tell a story with your art. Take artist Gigi D.G’s short story, Idle Divination:
Gigi took full advantage of Twitter’s character increase by using Twitter moments to tell a fully illustrated short story. Not only was it a clever way of using this feature, it’s also a shareable and convenient way for people checking Twitter on-the-go to see her work. Try using Moments to tell a story with your art, to show off your behind the scenes WIP sketches, etc.! (And check out Idle Divination – it’s a beautiful story!)
Excessive selfie-takers (*raises hand*) rejoiced when IG carousels – which let you add up to 10 photos in one swipeable post – were released. But they aren’t just for those times you want to post ALL the photos from your #lit Saturday night. Artists have gotten super creative with carousels, using them for carousel comics, WIP work, and to highlight details in an art piece. Check out how Artist Shop owner Sleepy Dolphin uses carousels to display comics (hit the right arrow to see the rest!):
Stan finds his purpose in life 🤘 @buyusyour.tv • • • • • • #illustration #comic #comicart #darkart #worship #lowbrow #lowbrowart #illustrationartist #ukillustrator #leedsartist #illustrationdaily #artistsoninstagram #buyusyourtv #sheepreligion #brutsubmission #stantheblindgoat #sleepydolphin #stan4evvva
She also uses carousels to show off smaller details in her larger creations:
Another Artist Shop owner, Behemot, uses Instagram carousels not only to show close-ups of his art; he also uses them to share art tips that you have to swipe to see. It’s a solid way of posting something that creates interest by delivering helpful tips to people who will want to swipe and learn (it’s like a present – you gotta find out what’s inside).
One of the things I get ask a lot is: how can I start selling drawings, prints, commissions and merch using social media? Here's a humble list of the tips you may find helpful. But since I'm probably not the most qualified person to do this, I encourage fellow artists to add their own advice, so that others can go to this post and it's comment section, and learn more about the topic. 1. Improve, improve, improve We are all work in progress, and then we die. Never stop improving your skills, and as you do you'll create artwork that will draw people in. Ask yourself – would I buy this? Would I spend money on this? Work toward the stage were you yourself would buy your own artwork. 2. "Sell" yourself on social media And by "sell" I mean become the part of the community. Engage with the followers, answer comments and messages, be respectful to people who take their time to compliment you or ask you questions. Do challenges, make friends and have fun with it! 3. Online stores Use stores like Etsy or Storenvy to sell your art. These are cool because you have a great insight on orders and purchases, you can upload many pictures of the stuff you sell, you can add descriptions so that people can have more information on what they're buying. In the beginning you can sell directly here on Instagram, via DM with the customer. All you need is a PayPal (or something similar) and you're set. But once the sales kick off, DM is not the best way to communicate and it can get chaotic really quickly. Moving the sales to Etsy, or Sotrenvy makes things much easier. *Continues in the comment section*
There are a million ways to use carousels – you can show off the WIP sketches of a completed work, create a cool carousel of your Artist Shop products, etc. Get creative!
Make your own GIFs
People want to see your process! Posting process GIFs of how your pieces come together is a little bit like a magician sharing how they did a trick without any of the magic being lost. Threadless artist @metalsan is perhaps best known for the amazing GIFs he creates for his work, both showing his process…
As well as stunning animated versions of his designs…
Not sure how to even start creating your own GIFs? We gotchyou! We created a handy tutorial on how to become a basic animator. Check it out here!
You know that feel when you have a video you’d love to share, but you don’t want it to mess up the whole vibe your IG account has going for it? Make it an Instagram Story! This IG version of Snapchat is a great place for giving people a sneak peek at your next art piece, a glance at your WIP sketches, or even just to show off what you’re up to. Take artist @allyouneediswall. She uses her story to do everything from tell stories about how she fought people stealing her work to WIP sketches to videos of her befriending a bunch of crows (for real).
She uses her posts and art creatively, as well. This IG carousel she posted, for example, has its own title card introducing process photos:
I know that a lot of people love to see process of drawing. In general I almost never have saved "stages" to show. But due the nature of this particular collaboration I was sending my sketches. From very raw, made by 15 minutes, just to explain idea, to more detailed. In this project I was free to do whatever I want, but there was only one rule – listen the music and draw visions which would appear (perfect environment for me!). In my mind came "Khorovod" – circle ritual dance which symbolically shows the cycle of life and death and movement of the Sun. Actually, I was sure that this type of dance must be so ancient that all culture have it in some form, but Google told me that it's not true. I can't believe Google after that! By the way now I realise that maybe it was caused not only by music, but also by the name of the band🤔… Anyway in my mind it was nice idea to fit the cover art requirement – long 1:3 illustration 1. So second picture shows my very raw sketch of frontal part after catching the idea. Surprisingly I came up with color palette pretty fast (I may often struggle with balancing my colors for hours despite the fact that I always prefer earth tones!). And as you can see – no composition was globally changed after that stage. I'm still not sure whether I am a lazy artist or not, because I know that usually artists create a lot of sketches of one idea, then choose the best to work, but it's typical for me to skip it. But obviously before 15-minutes sketch I can spend a lot of time thinking and imaging all possible versions. **I wrote too much text😅😩😩 the rest will be in the first comment!**
GIFs showing your artistic process are one thing. But you can also make longer videos showing how you create your work! You can even make quick tutorial videos if you so choose (they can be a great way of delivering helpful content to creative followers who will come back to you for tips). Lead character designer for DC Superhero Girls Pernille Ørum posts process videos all the time that are as interesting as they are oddly satisfying to watch.
Do you have any creative ways of sharing your work on social media? Leave your tips in the comments!
Featured image is “Duel” by Petr Stepanov.
Content & Strategy Manager at Threadless by day, dad joke aficionado, cartoonist, & contributor for sites like HelloGiggles and The Mary Sue by night. When I’m not writing or drawing, you can find me in my cave of a room hanging out with my boyfriend, Netflix.