Why Bother Blogging?
Updated: Oct 3
In this new blog post, you will know the reasons why writing and maintaining a blog can be beneficial to you as an artist as well as your art process.
To blog or not to blog?
Apologies for I missed the September post in purpose. Truth is I have been putting off posting my monthly blog post until the month was over. I simply did not have anything juicy to write about for real client work kicked in, which meant lesser time for personal art as well as art classes. My work dynamic has changed, too, similar to waking up in daylight savings time or switching from left hand drive to right hand drive. You just rewire your brain slightly but then you get the hang of it eventually. I realized I am also so ready to be a pro after all that practice and MATS classes. Good news is I am now working on my first picture book, which is exciting and tormenting at the same time! There are days when you are just staring at a blank page and boy! you start to realize that this is the real thing and no longer a 4-week online course. I was also supposed to speak at a virtual career seminar hosted by my Alma Mater back in the Philippines and thought I would just share my speech here. It was postponed till November.
But why have a blog in the first place? Do people still read artist blogs, which are merely ramblings of a creative person trying to navigate the art world and beyond? While it is one of my creative outlets, I find sharing what I have learned so far in life and career helps some of you who are also in the same path particularly those who are just on the starting line. So yes, people like you are still reading blogs especially when the information is useful to your tasks and maybe even goals. Based from my Google analytics reports, visitors have been coming organically by the thousands to read my tutorial posts. Now that is saying something, right? So I thank you for coming here.
Reason No. 1: Practice Writing
Like I said, writing a blog or writing in general is one of my creative outlets. I used to write essays, my original school plays, poems, screenplays and unfinished novels. I kept a journal until I started working as a professional and just like my art, I stopped. I have always felt that I am a writer but I have not developed a style nor voice.
So when I decided to go back to being a creative, one of my objectives is to practice writing again so I could finish my stories that I might one day be able to get published. I did that by taking small steps. I searched for my old musings, poems and short stories just to rekindle that old passion. I invested a bit more on this undertaking by signing up on a Master Class on writing a novel by James Patterson, which I still have not completed for I put more focus on my art making activities. And then I pushed myself further by attending a week-long writing a novel workshop by Writers Write in Johannesburg. Still I finished no novel. My former creative coach, Sandra Apperloo of Artistic Moods, later suggested blogging since I already have a website. Yes, that was an even smaller step.
Reason No. 2: Relate my artistic journey
So what to blog about? Or where to begin? That was my cue: begin. I wrote about how I began this artistic journey—why I decided to create again because later when I have gone so far or veered away from my goal, I have something to look back on. Documenting the steps I took also made the experience more real—tangible and not something ephemeral.
Newcomer artists who came across my blog also commented that what I wrote was relatable as well as inspiring for they have been one way or another in similar circumstances. That made me also realize that I am not alone in this. We are all traversing this river of life and art even though we boarded different boats in different times.
Reason No. 3: Inform
Of course everything written is information. But whether it is useful or not, you readers alone may decide. I would like to think that what I am imparting here with you is something you could utilize in your own creative endeavors. It is what you do with the information afterwards that really matters.
The more informative the blog entries are the longer your audience will stay and return for more. Engage your readers through tutorials, real life situations pertaining to your art, product tests or your art process. I am actually looking forward to finishing my book so I could share with you my experience. Rebecca Green is one artist I follow whose blog posts about her picture book art process have been very helpful especially when I am stuck. Her friendly and relatable tone makes you feel like you are just sitting across her while she takes you through her day at work in her studio. Her artist-on-the-move stories mirror my own sentiments as an expat artist.
Reason No. 4: Educate
Moreover, the information you impart through your blog may be educational to some. The tutorials and the know-how tidbits for example are a great way to engage an audience. At the same time, you prove your authority in your field. You know what you are talking about.
That is why whenever I decide to post a tutorial planning is crucial. It takes a lot of effort and preparation to pull off one. Good thing I love researching and teaching and if anything I am thorough.
You can teach your process, how to’s, digitizing paintings, and so on. In my case, I posted the differences between gouache types and tested watercolor papers because I wanted to know myself and perhaps some of you likewise. The art process videos on my site, apart from the blog, also show how I compose my hand painted artwork in Photoshop. Anyone who watches them understands how a complex composition is done using a hybrid workflow.
Sure you could purchase an online course in techniques and you acquire the necessary skills but most of the time you are left with the question, what to do next? How do you move forward and become a professional artist/illustrator? My blog not only relates my personal experience but also give you an insight on how I took the steps in becoming a professional illustrator.
It also gives you a certain voice in your writing—what is it that you are advocating for? To teach newbie artists? To assure them that though the way of the artist is a great undertaking it is not impossible? To whom are you communicating this information? According to my analytics report, majority of the age group of my site visitors are between 20-35. This gives me a clue on who might be my target audience is and what might be their intention in visiting my blog. Are they student artists or young creative professionals? One thing is for sure, they need information from which they could learn a thing or two about making art.
Reason No. 5: Drives traffic to your website
Which brings me to this next point. Blog entries drive traffic to your site and widens your target audience. Primarily my website is my online artist portfolio that aims to reach potential clients however by including a blog about being an artist and making art extends that reach to aspiring artists.
If you are new in this journey, you surely have 10,000 questions and the first thing you do is search for the answers via Google, right? How to become an artist? How to watercolor? How to create a picture book? I bet most of the hits come from artists’ blogs and lucky that site you chose to answer your questions for it has just acquired a new user.
Informative and engaging blogs drive traffic to your website, especially when you have news and updates about your activities and products. Those who are really following your progress stay updated to your activities by subscribing to your newsletters. People who needs information will organically find you. In return you acquire a tribe with similar aspirations, challenges and even quirks.
Reason No. 6: It makes you human
Of course you are a person and people love to relate their experiences to someone in the same position. But most of the times especially in this Instagram age, most people just see the art as if that was created with a swish of a wand—or a brush.
When I was working in the film industry, I was blown away by the number of people—of teams working on a single movie, which is what—one and half hours of your life in the cinemas or Netflix? That 30-second TV commercial that you just skipped was created by an entire creative and technical crew that amounted to hundreds of hours and millions of dollars to produce. I was once one of those creatives behind the scenes as a colorist and each time I sat behind my color grading panel and do my part in the tedious process, my clients seated beside me still wondered how I was able to change the dull grey sky into Caribbean blue or how I salvaged the underexposed strawberry for an ice cream ad and turn it glossy red again. Often I would be called a magician in the dark room because I just saved them more money for a trip to the sunny beach location to get that perfect blue sky or an expensive reshoot of a single strawberry.
What you do as an artist is not magic, isn’t it? There is a method to the madness from conception to execution and presentation. Not only do people want to be illuminated by your art process but also they want to know that you are a living and breathing person who also struggles with your own techniques, gets creative blockage, enjoys the minutiae of what you do, fails and then succeeds. They want to celebrate all of that with you.
What is that line from “La La Land” again? "People love what other people are passionate about. You remind people of what they forgot.”
Just a reminder
It is however important to point out that blogging or writing is not for everyone. Surely not everyone has the knack for verbalizing their thoughts through prose. If you believe that blogging is for you, then go for it. It takes time and commitment to get this going. Case in point, my missing September blog post. But I will not berate myself with that. I will be kind to myself.
A few things to remember is to not bore your readers obviously through dragging narrative. Engage them by using the second person pronoun and lesser first person point of view though that can be quite difficult for you are relating your own experience, right? Writing is also an art form so practice is necessary. Keep it casual as though you are talking to a friend or a colleague over drinks. A bit on the techie side, pay attention to your SEO (Search engine optimization) to let your post rank higher in Google search. Proof read and spell check. Break your stagnant black and white texts with images or quotes. Try to limit your reading time to less than 10 minutes. My longest was about 15 minutes and that was an extensive tutorial. People are time poor and will probably just scan through your ramblings. Most importantly be you. Authenticity is what makes you stand out and makes readers come back for more.
If you have reached this part, I thank you again with all my heart. Now back to work.
"People love what other people are passionate about. You remind people of what they forgot.” - La La Land