Fine Line Bottles for Acrylic Paint Detailing

Fine Line Bottles for Acrylic Paint Detailing

If you have followed my work at all in the last few months, you already know I am obsessed with these products. If you are used to working with tiny brushes or paint markers on canvas to get crisp fine lines, but get tired of uneven applications and paint running out too quickly then this is the solution for you!

Update 4/8/18: I have now included product links from Amazon and Dick Blick. I am an affiliate with both companies and I will earn commission on items purchased within 24 hours of clicking the links.

I could create line work for hours! I actually do. My fingers sometimes go numb when I lose track of time. I use three different bottles, and they are by far the most commonly asked about product I use (next to my air compressor, and fluid paint recipe).

I have included links as well as my paint recipe for filling the bottles below.

Fine Line Bottle Options:

(NEW!) Precision Fineline Applicator (Slim 1 oz. bottle)

This option is my ultimate favorite fine lining bottle. The new slim design is easier to handle, and the plastic is softer and easier to squeeze. I prefer the 20 gauge bottles.

Dick Blick (Cheaper Option)

Amazon

 

Precision Fineline Applicators (1.25 oz bottle)

I use the 20 gauge bottles. The tip is a little bit smaller, so I am able to get thinner lines with the right control. I absolutely love these bottles and use them almost daily.

Dick Blick (Cheaper Option)

Amazon 

30ml Needle Tip Quilling Glue Bottles

These bottles have a wider opening, but can still perform really well for fine lining. I also use them when making my fluid flower paintings.

 

Paint Recipe:

When filling these bottles with acrylic paint, you are going to need to dilute your paints a little bit for optimal flow. I use a soft bodied paint like Liquitex Basics mixed with a small amount of water.

For my metallic silvers and golds, I currently use cheap craft paint. They are already quite thin so they don’t need any water mixed in.

I do not fill the bottles all the way, as a full bottle is often harder to squeeze. If paint doesn’t come out easily, add a little more water. If paint pours out of the bottle, you need more paint.

Care and Tips:

These bottles can clog! It is important to always cap your bottles right when you are finished using them. Especially with the Precision Applicators. Letting paint dry in the tip can ruin the bottle.

I keep a spool of 26 gauge wire in my studio to run through the tips if they do clog. For stubborn clogs, disassemble the tip and soak in hot soapy water. Try running the wire through the tip every couple of hours until the clog breaks loose.

Give your hands a break and be patient!

If you are like me and get distracted for hours with detail work, your hand is going to get crazy sore. Stretch them out a couple of times an hour.

Also, since the bottles are a little awkward, your lines won’t be precise and controlled right away. Give yourself time to practice!

***

Thanks for reading! Check out my Product Details and Reviews for more info on what I use in my studio!

-Kelly

P.S. If you enjoy my blogs and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep doing what I do. Plus, you get extra little perks like phone wallpapers and the ability to pick my brain whenever you want through the artist Q&A perk.

My Fluid Paint Recipe

Air Compressor for Manipulating Fluid Paint

Reasons Not to be an Artist

Reasons not to be an artist.

Okay,  so there is no viable reason not to create art. It doesn’t matter if you are bad at it, good at it, do it for fun, do it for a career, do it as therapy. You should create art. We all have an artist inside of us.

But…

There ARE reasons not to be a professional artist.

I get asked quite often about how to make money as an artist, and if it’s possible to make a living off of it. I am generally very encouraging to those who want to pursue this path, but there have been a few times over the last year where I have cautioned someone to really think about their goals.

I want people to follow their dreams, but there are times when someone’s ultimate goal doesn’t match up with the path of becoming a full time creator. I never tell anyone not to do art. Honestly, I think everyone should have a creative outlet of some kind. The question here is whether or not you should make a career out of it.

Here are some of the reasons why you shouldn’t become a professional artist:

1.You think it will be easy.

In the beginning you imagine the process like this: Paint something–>Put it out there–>Make money. Easy, right?

When it’s more like: Paint something–>research hashtags–> stage the piece–>photograph in proper lighting–> post at an optimal time on Instagram–>link to a product listing from your online store–>price the piece appropriately–>post to Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, Twitter, Pinterst, etc.–>wait for sales–>feel like a failure when it doesn’t sell immediately–>work on your skills–>create a new piece–>repeat the process over and over–>maybe make a sale! Wooooo!

There are other variations to this sequence depending on where you display your work, but you get the point.

Being a full time working artist is not easy. Even though I love what I do, there are many days where it does feel like work. You have to learn all of the aspects of a business, not just making art. It’s not easy and it doesn’t often happen quickly, but my goodness does it feel good when you see positive results.

2. You want to have fun all the time.

A lot of people get the impression that artists just f*$% around in their studio all day and don’t have a care in the world, but there is a boring and tedious side to being a full time creator. Keeping up with social media, marketing, website building, tracking inventory, pushing your skills, sticking to a studio schedule, trying new materials, bookkeeping, taxes, applying for events, giving good customer service, and more.

When art is your full time job, you spend a good chunk of time not creating. You won’t feel entertained and inspired all the time, but you have to create even when inspiration is lacking to maintain productivity.

3. You’re not willing to step out of your comfort zones and push your style. 

This includes technical skills and personal comfort zones. When it comes to skill, you need to be able to objectively assess your work and find your weaknesses while also developing your personal style. What’s going to make you stand out? Just because something looks good, doesn’t mean someone will buy it or see the meaning in it.

An example of a personal comfort zone: I am an introvert, so I really don’t like doing events. Every time a show ends, I am left with a pounding tension headache from being ‘ON’ and interacting with strangers. My comfort zone is the studio—alone—but I continue to push myself out of that in order to build a following and make sales. What is your comfort zone? Are you willing to push yourself out of it?

4. You want to make a lot of money.

Of course the goal of being a professional artist is to make money so you can keep creating–but don’t be an artist JUST to make money. If you don’t have a passion for creating, you are likely to be let down and stressed out for quite some time.

It’s completely possible to make a living as an artist—but it’s a much more demanding career path than most anticipate. There isn’t a correct and straightforward path to success so it involves a lot of creative thinking, dedication, and willingness to fail over and over again.

When I quit my job October of 2016, I set incredibly low financial expectations for myself for the first year of being an artist. Obviously, I wanted to make money, but the more important things to focus on were developing my style and building a following. I knew that I needed to finally embrace that I am an artist, but I also knew that I would struggle financially for a while.

5. You think it will be a good money making side hustle.

I was selling at a craft fair back in November, and a woman walked by my table and said “Oh, my daughter should totally do this. She could easily pay off her student loans.” It took everything in my power not to laugh hysterically and then cry a little.

Most of the time, dedicated artists have side hustles to supplement their art income so they can still focus on creating, but it’s not often that someone will jump into an art career just to help bring in a little extra cash and have the return be worth the effort put in.

Depending on the medium you work with and your cost of supplies, selling your creations as a side hustle isn’t likely to generate a lot of income in the beginning. If you are the rare person who found immediate success with creating a side income, I am genuinely happy for you, but for most people the amount of time and money that goes into creating inventory, building a display, applying for shows, building an online store, buying shipping supplies, and more negates the benefits of the income earned by the occasional sale and fair. I always considered it a win if I made enough to cover my art expenses when I was doing art on the side.

But again, it depends on your medium. If you are creating digital art, releasing YouTube videos with monetization, teaching art classes, or anything that keeps your expenses and invested time at a minimum–then art could work as a side hustle.

6. You can’t handle inconsistency and instability.

As an artist, you have to adapt to your situation. You never know where your income may come from or how to pay for your groceries from month to month. There is no guarantee that the commission you’re working on will end with a payment. Or that the outdoor event you booked this weekend won’t get rained out.

Over the years, I have learned to adapt to my instability by trimming my lifestyle down and cutting as many extraneous expenses as I can. For example, I am still driving the same ’97 Neon I bought when I turned 16 to avoid a monthly car payment and I don’t remember the last time I spent more than $15 on a haircut.

7. You give up easily.

If you are on Instagram or any social media site, you will come across a plethora of talented artists. Artists that have a larger following, incredible skills, and unique styles. This is an over-saturated market. It’s easy to think, “Why bother trying when I’ll never be like that?” My confidence is tested every day, because I worry that my work isn’t at that level–but the only difference between us and the incredible artists like @kelogsloops and @poli.bright.art is time.

If you want to be a paid professional artist, it won’t happen overnight. It may not happen for months or even years, but if you put in the work, give yourself time, and keep going even when you feel like a failure–you’ll be unstoppable.

Which brings me to the reasons you should be a Professional artist:

1.You can’t see yourself doing anything else.

If you are passionate about creating, then you should do it! But, without passion, you run the risk of burning out or giving up before you gain momentum. Have you tried working a variety of jobs, but couldn’t find fulfillment? I have a long list of jobs under my belt. I gave them my all, but they never felt right. I’d always become antsy and restless after about 3 months.

Now that I finally gave into the artist in me, it’s been 1 year and 4 months and I am full of drive to continue growing even though I’m still a “starving artist”. Passion keeps you going.

2. You’d be happy doing it even if you didn’t make money.

Like I said before, it’s a slow process to make a living for most artists.  A lot of us don’t have the luxury of not making money. Obviously we need to be able to cover our living expenses while building an art career, but can you find satisfaction in working 40 to 60 hours a week on art while barely covering rent?

Can you arrange your life in a way where you can handle financial uncertainty for a while? Or, can you work a part time job to pay for your necessities as you focus on your art in your off time? Do you have a partner or roommate that is willing to take on a financial burden in exchange for you taking on other burdens?

If art is your passion and you want to focus all of your energy on it–then find a way to do it, but know that it may be the most difficult and frustrating path you will take.

And it can potentially be the most rewarding thing you have ever done with your life.

***

I hope you found value you this article. My intention was not to dissuade anyone from chasing their dreams, but to help you feel invigorated to take on the challenges that come with it.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments below, and as always, I am happy to provide my coaching services to any artist out there who wants encouragement and guidance on how to get started with their career.

-Kelly

P.S. If you enjoy my blogs and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep doing what I do. Plus, you get extra little perks like phone wallpapers and the ability to pick my brain whenever you want through the artist Q&A perk.

How to Find Your Style: A Guide for Artists

How to Make Art a Habit and Stop Waiting for Inspiration to Create

 

 

How to Make Art a Habit and Stop Waiting for Inspiration to Create

How to Make Art A Habit

If You Want to Make Art into a Career- You Can’t Wait to be Inspired to Create. 

Art is work. When I quit my job to become a full time artist, I had to get used to the idea that it won’t always be fun. I’ve heard so many times over the years that “If you do what you are passionate about, you’ll never work a day in your life,” but that line is kind of bulls*** and gives false expectations.

Having passion doesn’t mean what you do won’t feel like work. Passion means you are able to work harder, longer, for less pay and still wake up with energy and desire to do it all over again.

So if you have passion for art–are you the type of artist that wants to make it a career?

Professional versus Hobby Artist

The difference between a professional artist and a hobby artist has little to do with skill and everything to do with perspective. As a hobby artist, you are likely to create for fun. You enjoy the activity, play around, and maybe even sell something here and there, but you don’t need to sell your work to pay your bills. As opposed to professional artists who often torture themselves to create constantly and stick to a schedule no matter what they are feeling, because a girl’s got to eat!

I used to be a hobby artist. I would create only when inspiration struck or when I had a deadline looming over my head. Maybe this was once a week. Maybe it was a couple of times a year.

Since finally taking the leap into full blown “I am artist, hear me roar!”, I’ve learned you must make it a habit to create, no matter what state of mind you are in.  You cannot stop when it’s no longer fun or therapeutic. You have to show up, do the work, and realize fear of failure or lack of inspiration is no excuse for inaction.

How to Make Art a Habit

(You can use this free worksheet as you read to organize your thoughts.)

  • Create a Schedule-
    • If you want to make a career out of art, you need to make a schedule. Create a schedule that is realistic for you.
    • Do you work best in small bursts? Do you prefer working for long periods of time?
    • Stick to it, and create as often as you can.
  • Give yourself goals to accomplish-
    • I often create a large goal and then break that down into small tasks that I can accomplish each week. For example,  I want to generate more passive income through Patreon and affiliate links, so I create blog posts and YouTube videos each week to attract new patrons and inspire creativity with new products.
    • Example goals: Sketch every day for 10 minutes. Paint every Sunday for 4 hours. Draw hands every Tuesday. Do a group gallery show 6 months from now. Grow your Instagram following to 1000 by posting new work twice a day, etc..
    • Make sure they are SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely).
  • Learn how to shut off your internal critic-
    • My internal critic is a dick. “It’s likely that you will fail.” “Do you really think you can do this?” “There are a lot of artists that are better than you, so what’s the point in trying?”
    • When you aren’t inspired, your critic is probably going to be loudly telling you that everything you touch sucks and it’d be better to just stare at your phone for a while and wait for inspiration. Ignore the critic. The less you pay attention to that voice, the quieter it will become. Power through the frustration and keep creating.
    • It’s also helpful to ask yourself what the harm of dreaming big is. I call it stubborn optimism. Believing I can’t do something just prevents me from trying. Believing I can do something, even if I ultimately can’t or don’t means I spent a lot of time having fun, enjoying the process, and maybe at the end I feel sad for a bit, but then I adjust my goals and go back to enjoying life. Be a stubborn optimist with me! Believe in yourself.
  • Stockpile Inspiration Catalysts-
    • Write everything down. Sketch your ideas. When you ARE inspired, take advantage of those moments and capture every little idea you have.
    • When I am inspired, I often start multiple pieces of art so that when I come into the studio another day, I have a starting point. It’s easier to build off of previous ideas than to come up with entirely new ones when inspiration is lacking.
    • I also keep a journal or sketch book near me at all times to be ready to write and doodle when I have ideas.
  • Make time to practice-
    • You don’t need inspiration to practice. Practice is like lifting weights. Go through the motions. It hurts at times. You’ll feel your weaknesses, but the more you do it, the easier it will be to start creating.
    • Improving your skills and constantly growing as an artist will help you reach different levels of success.
    • The best part is that ideas can develop from practice. Just showing up and doing the work opens the door to new areas to explore.
  • Find an art buddy for accountability-
    • Is it hard for you to stay motivated when you are the only one paying attention to your habits? You may benefit from having someone there that checks in on your progress and keeps you motivated to stick to your schedule. A fellow artist or creative person would be best.
    • I do this with my coaching clients. I help keep them on schedule and monitor their progress in reaching their goals. It’s no different than having a personal trainer or workout buddy.

Conclusion

Making art a habit is the first step to making a career out of it. A year ago, I was not nearly as productive as I am now. I lacked discipline and had the wrong perspective. Now, I feel guilty and antsy if I am not in the studio or working on something art related.

I have made art a habit, but I am still working on new goals to push myself even further. Passion keeps us from plateauing and seeing how much you’ve grown keeps you motivated to push harder.

How about you? Do you want to make a career out of art? Are you ready to make art a habit? What are your goals? Feel free to use my  downloadable worksheet to help you get started on your journey. If you are having troubles making or reaching your goals, I am always happy to offer my coaching services.

Let  me know if you have any questions or comments below! Thanks for reading!

-Kelly

P.S. If you enjoy my blogs and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep doing what I do. Plus, you get extra little perks like phone wallpapers and the ability to pick my brain whenever you want through the artist Q&A perk.

Resources:

Free Download: How to Make Art a Habit | Worksheet for Artists

Additional Reading:

How to Find Your Style: A Guide for Artists

How to Brand Your Instagram Account: A Guide for Artists

How to Brand Your Instagram Account

A Guide for Artists

Branding is everything, and as an artist you have a lot of freedom to craft exactly how you are portrayed in public. So much freedom that it’s actually a little overwhelming.

Your brand is a compilation of images, styles, words, and compositions that make you unique and set you apart from other artists.

Who are you? What’s your style? What are you trying to gain from your online presence? What kind of work do you do?

Discovering and creating your brand involves a lot of introspection. You are an artist and you have a brand that is true to you and I want to help you speak that truth. By genuinely and accurately portraying your work and your personality on Instagram, you can attract a meaningful group of followers.

At the moment, if a potential follower were to look at your profile, would they know what you are about? Would they know your primary medium? Would they be able to learn about your personality? Would they clearly see that you are a professional artist that’s open for business?

How you can discover your brand as an artist

Like I said, knowing your brand requires introspection. What works for one artist may not work for another. Ask yourself these questions (you can use this free worksheet to organize your thoughts)

  • Why do you create?
  • Why do you want to share your art with the world? (Aside from making money.)
  • What kind of art do you create?
  • What do you want people to feel when they look at your work?
  • How do you want people to see your personality?
  • What kind of work are you looking for? (Commissions, gallery shows, online sales, etc.)
  • Who are you? (That’s a loaded question, but one you should really try to figure out!)

How You Can Define Your Brand as an Artiston Instagram

Once you know more about yourself and art, you can use the following tips to accurately communicate your brand to your audience.

Choose a catchy, clean, and creative username.

If you are planning on creating a long term creative business, you want a name that will last for years–and work on other platforms. When I chose Messy Ever After as my creative name, I made sure to check multiple platforms to see if the name was available. Twitter, Facebook, Blogger, Tumblr, .com domains, and more. Plan ahead and follow these suggestions:

  • Try not to use symbols, underscores, or gibberish in your name. If you are talking to a person face to face and they ask you your Insta name–is it easy to say? Is it catchy? Or did you just spend 2 minutes telling them where the underscore is and how many numbers go between your first name and favorite fruit?
  • If you are making a name for yourself as an artist, consider just using your actual name. Simple. To the point. (ex. @deeannrieves, @greggossel)
  • If you are like me and want to build a brand separate from your name, consider exploring something more creative that embodies your style (ex. @indigoimpressions, @biophilicart, @septemberwildflowers. @desertfox.art)
  • Or do a hybrid: @saracaudleart, @artbydeniz
Pick a great profile photo.

If you work with bold colors, showcase this. If your brand focuses more on you as a person, include yourself in the photo. Do you have a business logo? Use great lighting and choose a photo that can describe your whole brand.

Utilize your bio

Tell people a little about yourself. Space is limited, so use a couple of key things about you like the medium you use, where you are from, what you love, etc.. Check out a couple of your favorite artists you follow to see how they do it.

Make sure to link to a website. Whether it’s your online shop, a blog, or FB page. If people want to know more about you, make it easy for them to do so.

Be consistent.

Your profile should look cohesive. All posts should be connected in some way.

Even though I know artists are often multifaceted and have a diverse skill set, it’s hard to effectively showcase everything you do AND grow your following. When you are branding yourself, you need to narrow your focus on the content you post (I’m still struggling with this!).

Do you have a color palette that you use regularly? Do you have signature style? What do you create most often? What can people expect from you when they follow you? It may feel limiting, but think of your profile as a digital gallery of your work that should flow together in some way. Whether it’s the art you create, or the space you create in.

Examples

@rey.fritsch creates consistency with including herself in each photo. Her work lately has been focused on canine subjects and all of her photo compositions have a similar feel.

@saracaudleart uses the same color scheme and ocean inspiration for her posts and art.

Avoid extraneous post content.

Unless you are branding yourself as living the artist’s life or something else beyond creating and selling your art work, you want to avoid posting photos of your dog or your dinner (Exceptions: Your dog is covered in paint in your studio. Your dinner is sitting next to a piece of art. Etc.)

Always ask yourself before posting something: “Does this elevate my brand or distract from it.” and  “If this was the first post a new follower saw of mine, would they know what I’m about?”

Also, consider putting content that is a little less polished in your story. This way, you can still share more about yourself without sacrificing the posts on your profile.

Use your voice. Write interesting captions.

Captions are a great way for you to tell a story about yourself and your art. Don’t limit yourself to just stating the size and medium of your work. Encourage engagement and start a conversation around your posts.

What kind of tone do you want to communicate? I always try to inspire, spread positive energy, and not take myself too seriously with each post of mine. My topics include memories from art classes, experiences in the art world, expressing gratitude, sharing my woes of art block and lack of confidence, and random light-hearted things like just how much I like cheese. Give your audience a sense of who you are and create meaning behind your art.

Of course I have boring posts that get right to the point for sales, new items in my shop, blog posts, etc..

Interact with your followers.

Part of your brand will involve how you treat your followers and potential customers. You are a business now so make sure you have good customer service.

  • Always respond to messages. I’ve gotten multiple messages from people, and at the end of the conversation they expressed gratitude that I responded, because they’ve reached out to many artists and rarely got a response.
  • Reply to comments from followers. If they made an effort to compliment you, thank them. Not only is this kind, but it also increases engagement on your posts.
Focus on Content: Photo Quality and Variety

Your art and the photos you post are going to be the most defining aspect of your Instagram account. Unpolished art can look great in a photo, and incredibly skilled work can look terrible. It’s important to learn the basics of taking a great photo, put quality content out there, and always work on improving your skills.

  • Use good lighting (daylight bulbs, natural sunlight)
  • Photograph your art at different angles, and against neutral colors to make the work stand out. (Including a variety of photos with clean, negative space will make your profile more attractive overall.)
  • Use a variety of photo compositions (close ups for details, in progress with tools and supplies nearby, straight on photos, multiple art pieces at once, photos of the artist with your art, etc.)
  • Limit your work in progress photos to images that are 75% finished or more. The ‘ugly’ phase of art may find a better home in your story.
  • No matter where you are in your art career, always work towards growing your skill set and evolving as an artist.

Conclusion

It’s okay to not have a completely polished profile when you first start. You don’t have to be perfect immediately or know exactly what your brand is when you are just starting out. A lot of this can be discovered and tweaked over time. The important thing is that you have an awareness of branding and periodically review your post content and see what’s working for you. To be honest, Messy Ever After was born in 2014 and it took me 3 years to figure out who I am and find my direction.

Also, make sure you are using the best hashtags for your posts!

If you are hoping to get your artwork out there and grow your following, I encourage you to take a look at your profile and review the points above. I’ve created another free worksheet to help!

If you have any questions about branding in general or want help with your personal brand comment below or reach out to me directly. I’m always happy to offer my consulting services to other artists.

-Kelly

P.S. If you enjoy my blogs and gain any inspiration from the content I put out there, please consider becoming a Patron of Messy Ever After on Patreon. Pledging just $1 a month enables me to keep doing what I do. Plus, you get extra little perks like phone wallpapers and the ability to pick my brain whenever you want through the artist Q&A perk.

Free Worksheet Downloads:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Related Posts: 

How to Choose the Best Instagram Hashtags

How to Photograph Your Art on a Budget