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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > January 2020 > GET TO GRIPS WITH THE BUSINESS OF ART


Paul Brown shares what he’s learnt about the business side of art during the last 26 years of working as a professional artist

I began by trying advertising. An article in the local press and appearances on local television and radio are great for raising your local profile but don’t necessarily result in sales. A colour advert in a magazine, whether a quarter or a whole page, tends to work best with repetition. Usually after five or six adverts you should start to get a positive response. However, it can be a bit hit and miss!

Sales and marketing

I then analysed how London’s West End galleries sell work. They mail their client list with a colour brochure of paintings in the exhibition that would include a biography, a photograph of the artist, a CV and a price list. At current prices an A4 brochure can cost anything from £5,000 to £15,000 to print, on top of which is the cost of mailing, printer ink, labels and envelopes. Postage could be £3 per item, which would be £12,000 for 4,000 brochures! Although mailing houses offer reduced postal rates and handle all the logistics of a mailing, the minimum order is 4,000 items. I did look at buying a franking machine, but there is a lengthy contract, it is very labour intensive and still incurs the problem of arranging an ad-hoc collection with Royal Mail.

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About The Artist

Welcome to the first 2020 issue of The Artist. With a new year of drawing and painting to look forward to Paul Talbot-Greaves suggests 12 ways to help improve your watercolour skills throughout the year. Our four-page diary with the details and entry deadlines for all the main open competitions to enter will help you plan your year, while Bob Brandt's advice will help you maximise your chances of success. Watercolourists will enjoy Ian Sidaway's feature on painting the Rockies, Jake Winkle's focus on why good design is essential for an attention-grabbing composition, Julie Collins' colour-mixing ideas for winter trees and Jenny Wheatley's guide to choosing the best watercolour paper for your style of painting. Follow Robert Dutton and Soraya French and used mixed-media techniques to paint landscapes and flowers, plus Robert Brindley demonstrates how to capture light on water in pastel. With demonstrations in gouache, oils - including how to paint noses - charcoal and pastels, there's something for everyone, whatever your preferred medium. Why not make 2020 the year to try a new one with inspiration and guidance from The Artist?! Enjoy!