Internet for Creative Folks – Part 2

We recently wrote about some of the many online tools to help authors publish and promote their works.

 

There are also plenty of websites available to help artists , musicians, craftspeople or a whole new kind of sculptor both create their work and find an audience. You don’t have to be in Toronto, New York, Milan or Paris anymore.

 

Artists can produce their art in digital format using free online tools like Aviary and Sumopaint or download the free GIMP software. Aviary and FotoFlexer can also help photographers fine tune their work. There’s a bit of a learning curve to work in digital media, but pretty much any vision or style can be created and accommodated.

 

There are also many websites to sell art. Zazzle and Cafe Press will let you reproduce your art on greeting cards, calendars, t-shirts and 45 other products. Sites like Artbreak, RedBubble and Threadless will let you sell your artwork as posters, stickers and t-shirts.

 

Photographers can also use sites like iStockphoto and Shutterstock to make money having their photos used in advertising.

 

You should also take a look at Etsy. This site is really aimed at craftspeople but works equally well for all artists. Here, like Lulu, you’re given a page to display your creations and Etsy takes care of processing payments on your behalf. The site has a very large following so it can be a great place to be discovered.

 

For that very special sculpture I mentioned earlier, 3-D printers are about the size of desktop printers but instead of printing documents, they print things. Yes, things; toys, aircraft parts, jewellery, custom dental work, replacement auto parts, table and glassware and more. Really, just about whatever you can imagine can now be…well, printed.

 

You don’t have to own a 3-D printer to reap the benefits of this technology. Free software like 3DTin or Google’s SketchUp lets you create your design and then upload it to sites like Shapeways to have it made from a selection of materials including plastics, ceramics, glass, stainless steel or even silver.

 

If you sell in person, there’s a very exciting tool that’s just been launched in Canada. Imagine a small device that plugs into a smartphone’s headphone jack and allows you to process credit card payments on the spot. PayPal’s Here, Intuit’s GoPayment and Payfirma’s mobile solution are all available in Canada and more are coming. Your sales are no longer limited to the cash people have in their wallet.

 

Once your work is online, it’s available to people anywhere in the world. It can be hard to find the time for marketing but online tools such as Facebook can make it easy to build an audience. And free website builders like Wix or Weebly help you easily create a website to display your work.

 

At the library, we’ve got all kinds of resources to help you learn about the web, technology or just get inspired. Our E-Services Specialist, Peter Atkinson, is also available for one-on-one sessions and can help you with anything mentioned in this article.

-PA

 

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