Friday, 30 September 2016

Kissin Bears Christmas digital stamp and free sentiment

Another oldie but goodie digital stamp for all your Christmas crafty makes. I think it will make a cute card to send to the love in your life or perhaps as a gentle nudge to someone you have your eye on, maybe at work eh?! (Let me know if it actually works)

 Pop over to my Etsy store or facebook group to purchase this image and make a start on your Christmas cards today!

I've also included a free sentiment to accompany this image.

Thank you for popping by and if you have a suggestion for a Christmas image please pop your idea in a comment.
Happy crafting,

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Holy Night Christmas digital stamp and free sentiment

The nights are drawing in and Christmas will soon be upon us.. I love this time of year and I really enjoy thinking up ideas for Christmas digital stamps. This image is an oldie. One that I drew many years ago, I think he will stand the test of time on your Christmas crafty makes this year. You can find him at my store and also at my facebook group

I have also included a free sentiment to accompany this image

Thanks for stopping by.
Happy crafting,

Friday, 23 September 2016

Tips to help create a popular Facebook Group

You can have a group total of thousands and yet it's as quiet as a mouse and the opposite is also true, have a low member count, but have a really good interactive vibe going on in a group

I think most group owners have experienced the dreaded tumble weed moment after what was in their opinion a great post! It happens...but as the owner it is up to you to get the conversation started and to keep it rolling. Here are a few tips to help you to do just that...

Facebook games:
  • Don't discredit the forum game (I did!) now I see the hidden value in them. 
  • They're a great conversation starter.
  • A fun way for members to interact with not only you but also with each other. A chance to get to know one another, which is how a community is formed and grows.
  • Games increase your group's visibility. Every time a member participates in a post, FB uses that information to make that content (your group) more prominent in their news feed, therefore creating more group engagement.
Keep your post short and to the point. Don't post a thousand page essay. People automatically dismiss it and scroll on past your post.

I understand the need for rules, but again use bullet points and not a mass of text. People do not have the time to sit and read paragraph after paragraph of dos and donts, before even looking at the group content. After all isn't that why they joined and not to be met with a rule book. 

I connect real life to the virtual, walk in a shop and immediately be handed a dos and dont list, thou shalt not steal, thou will conduct yourself appropriately whilst on these premises and so on. You'd go to the next shop, muttering under your breathe  "I only wanted to look at the dress in the window." You'd feel unwanted and not welcomed.

People join for a specific reason, allow them to browse the group, settle in and make themselves at home. As in real life, we know how to conduct ourselves in public and people know how to conduct themselves online, If they're unsure, they will ask. This will be the time to direct them to your rule post.

Keep it Real...

One of my members has a very dry wit, at first her comments seemed odd. Initially, I didn't respond to her first comment. I left it a while, went back later and got the humour contained in the comment. I responded in kind. Recently, she shared a post that she was experiencing grief of a loved one and knew that when she first joined my group she'd found a friend, because I'd responded to her with humour. I felt touched by her post and I look forward to receiving her comments very much.

Members are real people, therefore be real and converse with your members as if you were having a face to face conversation. Respond to every comment and try to refrain from posting a sticker. Put some thought into your response as people like to receive one. Make it worth reading. People log on to facebook with the mindset to participate in a community website, therefore use the opportunity to create one.

Initially, I created my group to promote and sell my artwork. I never anticipated that I would actually form friendships with my members and that I'd come to care about them. If I've not seen one of them post online, then I find myself wondering if they're OK. Now, my focus is on building a community, because a group is not just about me and my wares, it about each and everyone of us, a place to share and inspire each other.

I really hope you find some of this information helpful. If I've missed out something please feel free to share your experience in a comment, as a group owner or member.

Barbara, proud group owner of Art by Barb 

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Bearing Gifts Digital Stamp

As you can see, I can't stop colouring these two little cute Christmas bears! I coloured the top image with promarkers and Spectrum noir colour pencils.

The second image was digitally painted in Paint Tool SAI

If you'd like to colour these cute bears, you can take advantage of our 10% discount and use the coupon code "artbybarb" at our Etsy store 

And it doesn't stop there, we're having fun over at our facebook group telling a story about these two adorable bears. It's a very funny post and you're welcome to come add your two penn'orth. Who knows we may get our story published!
Not sure it will be a children's book though ...hahaha!

Thank you for popping by,
Barbara x

Also I have entered the colouring challenge over at The Pencil Case

Monday, 12 September 2016

How to build a top brand pen collection on the cheap

Colouring materials can prove to be costly. Perhaps you begin to collect pens at the pound shop, post your finish creation online, scroll through the wall for inspiration and blow me you see someone else's work, it's amazing, so rich and vibrant, hurriedly you type, "What did you use?"... await anxiously for their reply ....promarkers, copics, a top brand pen! Don't panic, no need to remortgage the house just yet....

Colouring can be a cheap or an expensive hobby... there is nothing wrong with the cheaper materials but once I had used a higher end marker there was no going back.

I started to colour about 10 years ago and at that time craft colouring was still fairly simple compared to today's standard of colourist. I guess you could say it was still in it's infancy stage, therefore my very first googled tutorial was a tilda stamp and the lady used a three colour combination for each of the skin, hair and the dress. So, they were my first promarker purchase, making it 9 pens in total, which didn't break the bank and meant I could complete the character.

If you want to colour a character then I recommend you buy three pens at a time, a light, medium and dark of the same tone. To begin with maybe opt for 9 pens if you can afford it and to avoid the frustration of not being able to complete the image.

If you're colouring adult patterns, two pens of the same tone is sufficient.

Google promarker/copic colour combinations.

Google single stock markers for your country.

I'm in the UK, so use this site Cult Pens. They stock a wide range of art material, Copics and colour pencils can be purchased as a single. They have quite a few offers on at the point of writing this blog post.

I bought 3 pens per week and I soon built up my promarker collection. I still use them today,

Also, use the higher end pens with your inexpensive ones.

I have never used an expensive paper. I opt for a super smooth. At the moment I use this one from Ryman and the below image is the result.

However, I do think colouring paper is personal preference. I have never used the expensive ones, therefore I can't really state for sure if it's worth purchasing it or not. Anyway *note to self* this blog post is about colouring on the cheap, so folks I recommend you go for the cheaper option!

Check out my digital stamps and come join in the fun at my group.

Barbara :)

Sunday, 11 September 2016

How to avoid colouring copyright conflict online

With the online colouring craze comes a lot of confusion over artist copyright. I see both points of view as an artist and at one point an inexperienced colourist who just thought they were colouring and not breaking the law.

I believe people are inherently good law abiding citizens and 69 year old Elsie, doesn't sit of an evening with a spot of colouring with the sole intent to break the law. In her mind she is simply colouring.

I believe a better way to highlight copyright is through education and not by pointing a finger of blame at an individual.

I have complied a few tips along with an explanation to help the inexperienced colourist to avoid online conflict
  • Sharing an image is considered to be stealing. 
At work, one of my customers is a retired inland revenue employee, so I asked him for some tax advice. He politely declined as it would be taking money from someone else. I was pleased to learn this consideration occurred in other occupations.
File sharing is the same, you're taking away a potential sale from the artist.
  • Be courteous and download an image from the source and not from google or pinterest. 
Remember this is someone's labour of love, just like your colouring is your labour of love.  By all means use google and pinterest but keep on clicking until you trace back to the original post. Even if you hit a cached image. Right click on the image, select "search google for image "and continue with the search.
  •  Add who the original artist is of the line art and if allowed add a link back to the source. 
It's unacceptable to post something along the line of, *Found on pinterest. Artist unknown.* People are offended by this because you may as well write, I can't be bothered to do the homework. Very rare for an artist to be unknown,
Artist have many admirers of their work who will be offended on their behalf if you do not credit correctly and will report back to the artist. You may find yourself served with a cease and desist notification, I don't wish to instil fear here, but I've seen this happen online. Always cover yourself.
  • Add a watermark to a coloured image before posting.
If you're unsure how to add a watermark, then add a pen, pencil or a similar obstacle in the corner of the image. 
Even if your cat flicks it's tail in the image, great you have created a problem for someone who may have in mind devious intent to use your image.

And to finish off I have found some nice colouring pages

You may think you're just colouring but in this computer age you're entering a colouring copyright minefield! Stay safe colouring cadet!

Check out my digital stamps and come join in the fun at my group.

Barbara :)

Friday, 2 September 2016

Free Fairy Digital Stamp

Coloured with promarkers
Hair: Lipstick red, Berry red, Ruby & Burgundy
skin: blush, oatmeal, apricot, coral
Dress & eyes: Duckegg blue, Marine, Turquoise
Wings: baby pink, Antique pink
Shoes & top: ice grey 1,3 & 5

Fairy image is free and available to colour @ ArtbyBarb

Thank you for stopping by :)