What Online Tools Are Useful to Artists?

Before the age of the internet, artist tools and resources were limited by what you could find either in a magazine or by word of mouth. You had to really get out and search for tools that were useful. By tools, I don’t mean just the right paints, brushes, and pencils. I am talking about anything that could help you create better art. This would include things like sources for inspiration, models, research, tutorials, as well as different materials. All of that changed when the internet came along.

No matter what kind of artist you are, whether you are a painter, sketcher, photographer, or whatever, you can find a lot of useful tools and resources online. There are numerous sites that offer help, critiques, and where you can view the works of others. So exactly what online tools are useful to artists? Here is a list of some things that artists can find online to help them be creative.

Online Galleries

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One of the biggest online tools for artists is online galleries. Online galleries allow people from anywhere in the world to view both famous and not-so famous works of art. If you have never been to some of the great museums like the Louvre in Paris or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, you can go online and browse some of the paintings in their collection. It is not the same as actually being there but it is still pretty cool. You can also check out other smaller galleries and track down your favorite artist (so long as they have a website).

Individual artists can also have an online gallery. By posting their images up on the web, they are making their art available to a wider audience. As an artist, you can keep your gallery updated along with news of what you are currently working on and what events you will be making an appearance at. Online galleries can be free or you can pay for a domain name and a host. Any artist who is serious about other people besides their family seeing their work needs to have an online gallery.

Online Communities

Besides online galleries, the next best tool for artists is online art communities. These are sites where artists gather to exchange ideas, display their work, and talk to each other about the art industry. Many online communities allow you to post some of your work in a free gallery. Not only does this do the job of opening up your work to the world, but it is also useful for critiques from the rest of the community. It gives you that chance to give and receive some useful feedback to better help you develop your art. There are numerous online art communities out there on the web. No matter what style of art you are into, you can find a group with similar interests.

Stock Images

Before the internet, if you needed a photo reference, you had to find it in a magazine or take the picture yourself. The arrival of the internet has provided a great resource for finding images for inspiration for an artist’s work. If an artist needs a picture reference, all they have to do is a Google or Yahoo search for the specific image. The internet is full of images that are public domain. There are also some sites that provide stock images for public use. Some of these are free while others require a membership fee. When using the internet for stock images for reference or inspiration, just make sure that you do not infringe on anyone’s copyright.

Online Art Tools

There is computer software that allows you to digitally draw and paint on your computer. Some of these applications, like Adobe software, can be quite expensive. However, not every artist needs such pricey programs. There are dozens of sites that provide online tools for drawing, painting, and various editing. Several sites, such as Odopod, Queeky, and Google SketchUp, actually allow you to create drawings and sketches right on the web using your mouse or a pen tool. If you are into painting, you can check out WebSketch or FlashPaint. Photographers also have tools available to them. There are sites that allow for photo editing, adding effects, and saving your images in a variety of formats. Aviary and Phixr are two of the better sites.

Online Tutorials

Besides ways to display and create art, the internet is a good source for tutorials and how-to articles for the aspiring artist. It can be extremely difficult to try something new if you have never done it before. Without an instructor to show you how, many forms of art are impossible to figure out on your own. This is where the internet comes in handy. Many online art communities and websites post tutorials on techniques and tools to help other artists. You can find articles from everything from the process of digital art, to oil painting techniques, to welding for metal sculpture.

Online Marketing

The internet is a useful tool for online marketing of one’s artwork. There are a lot of ways to market your art using the web. You can do it yourself using your own website by sending out newsletters, portfolio emails to potential clients, and creating links back to your gallery. There are job sites for artist where you can post a message about your art or you can apply for any of the jobs listed. If you don’t want to do all the work yourself, you can apply to join other galleries that have collections by different artists. These sites promote the works of others for a small fee, similar to an agent.

Online Art Supplies

Finally, another useful online tool for artist is buying art supplies online. A good art store is something of a specialty and can be difficult to find, depending on where you live. Stores like Wal-Mart or general craft stores do not carry a wide assortment of specific supplies. One of the best sources for most people is going to be the internet. There are online retailers where you can find just about anything you need at competitive prices. Some sites even offer free shipping. Dick Blick Art Materials is the premier supplier but you can also find some good deals on Artsupply.com and Jerry’s Artarama.

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