The Artist’s Guide to Using Bluethumb

New to Bluethumb? Welcome! We’re so glad you found us, and we’d love to help you sell some art.

Our aim is to empower Australian artists to build a sustainable career in the arts, as well as get Australian art into the homes of collectors around the world. Like most things in life, your Bluethumb profile will be most successful if you put in some time and effort. Read on for tips to hit the ground running, or to gain some momentum if you’ve been with us a while. 

1. Write an Awesome Bio 

Your profile gives collectors their first impression of you and your work, so you want it to appear as professional and clear as possible. First, you’ll need to write an awesome bio. Don’t be shy! Don’t be modest! Tell us everything. The more buyers get to know you, the more likely they are to buy your work.

What inspires you? What have you achieved? What are you good at? Where did you grow up? Where do you work? What influenced your style? What gets your creative juices flowing? What kind of materials do you like to use? All these things will give the public an idea of what makes your work so special.

Keep things concise and make sure there’s no errors in spelling or grammar. You can use spell check on Word or Pages and get someone to double-check your spelling and punctuation one last time. Poor spelling is poor marketing!

Read this post for all our best tips and tricks.

artist guide bio tip

Read this post for tips on writing an awesome artist bio!

Featured Australian artists on Bluethumb

2. Take a Great Profile Photo

When it comes to your profile picture, we strongly recommending uploading a photo of yourself rather than one of your artwork. Better yet, make sure it’s a quality photograph (recent, clear and looks professional). Leaving your profile without a photo looks unprofessional and unfinished.

In fact, we recommend taking a photo of yourself in the studio with your artwork in the background. If you have a friend who’s a photographer, you could even offer an artwork in exchange for a photoshoot. If you’re serious about your art career, high-quality studio shots are likely to come in handy later down the line too.

Read this post for more in depth instructions, and you’ll be ready for your close-up in no time.

Here’s a great example:

Kim Leutwyler‘s profile picture. Click here to learn how to take your own!

2. Prepare to Photograph Your Artwork

Next up, photographing your work. This is perhaps one of the most vital ingredients for success on Bluethumb, so listen closely! You can also click here for a more recent lesson.

To start with, try to use diffuse natural sunlight. A room with large bright windows on a sunny day is excellent, although you should avoid allowing sunlight to shine directly onto your artwork. If you must use artificial light, use multiple indirect light sources rather than the one light source from the flash on your camera.

Use a tripod for your camera if you have access to one. If you don’t, use something firm and stable instead and use the timer on your camera. The most important thing here is that you’re not holding the camera, as the image could become distorted due to shake from your hands and even from your breathing.

Next, hang your artwork on a neutral and un-textured/un-patterned, light-coloured background. White backgrounds will avoid discolouration of your work. Hang/lean it as flat against the wall as you can.

Collectors like to see as much detail as possible, so use all your image allowance and include shots of the back (how it can be hung) as well as the sides (are they painted?) and perhaps one that shows the texture of the paint. If you’re selling your artwork framed, be sure to include the frame in the photo.

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 2.46.53 pm

Click to enlarge the diagram

3. Take the Photo

Now it’s time to take the picture. Before you do, make sure your camera settings are at their best.

Firstly, photograph at the camera’s highest resolution. Refer to the manual if you’re unsure of how to perform this function.

Next, turn off your flash. The flash is your worst enemy when photographing your artwork. Using a tripod or stable surface will override the need for a flash and save your image from being destroyed by unsightly glare spots, shine and inaccurate colours.

Use the self timer and stand still while the photo is taken. This ensures that you avoid any accidental shake from touching the camera – believe it or not that really can affect the result! Refer to your camera manual if you’re unsure of how to perform this function.

Make sure the art fills most of the viewfinder without cropping off any of the sides or corners. You can crop out any background in post-production.

Point the lens squarely at the artwork; not a degree clockwise or anticlockwise. Make sure the lens and artwork are on parallel planes when you shoot. If you must tilt the artwork slightly, ensure you also tilt the camera so that it’s still at a 90 degree angle to the artwork.

As we mentioned, hanging the artwork on a wall will make it easier to avoid any distortion. If you have a large artwork that you cannot hang on a wall, lay it on the floor/ground and take the photo from above (you may need to hold the camera in this case – stay still!). Be careful with your angle and the direction of the sunlight as per previous tips.

Do your best to make sure your shadow doesn’t appear in the photograph.

If your images are looking warped or swollen, try stepping further away from the artwork and “zooming in”. This will create a more natural amount of depth to the photo and keep the edges from bulging outwards.

Here’s a bad example, obviously:

Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 3.33.50 pm

Here’s a great example! See how you get a real feel for the size and texture of the work:

Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 12.35.14 PM Grizzly by Carla Grace

4. Edit the Photo for Uploading

Now that you’ve taken a great photo, you need to upload it to your computer and edit it for the web. There’s plenty of free picture editing software available online. Many computers will have Microsoft Office Picture Manager or iPhoto already installed. Some others you can use are ACDSee, Irfan View, or GIMP and Adobe Photoshop for more advanced users.

Save your photo as a JPEG (.jpg) file. Select “Save as..” from your file menu to do this.

Then, using the crop tool in your picture editing software, trim the photo right to the edges of the artwork.

Open your photo editing software and go to the photo’s properties (example below). This will tell you how long the sides of the photo are and the file size. We recommend high-resolution images (at least 300 DPI) approximately 2500 px wide. Resize the photo if necessary and remember to make sure that it’s the right way up!

It can be tempting to use a nice filter or brighten the photo, however, this can make the artwork look very different from the real thing. If the photo is too dark, take it again in better light. Misrepresentation of artworks leads to buyers’ complaints and returns.

Finally, save your photo again and upload it to Bluethumb!

5. Describe Your Work

Now for the upload process. This is an important step – a lack of information can cause a loss of interest, whereas accurate information and an interesting story can convince someone to take the leap!

Make sure to note any important details in the description. Is the artwork framed? Does framing cost extra? Are the sides painted? How can it be hung? The description is also where you can tell collectors the story behind the art. What are you trying to convey? What was the inspiration for the piece? You could also capture the imagination and talk about how the artwork might lift a room.

Here’s a bad example:

This painting is of the Northern Territory landscape.

Here’s a great example, from Katherine Gorge by Helen Komene:

“When you make your way through Katherine Gorge in the Northern Territory – known as the Nitmiluk National Park – you can explore the sandstone gorges by boat or foot. From the water you get the stunning view of the ancient rock towing over you in all its majestic beauty and sheer size. This is what inspired me to paint this view, I wanted to capture the sense of perspective and the beautiful array of oranges contrasting with the sky blue.”

artist guide artwork description

Helen Komene has written an awesome description for this piece, Katherine Gorge!

6. Add the Details

Measure the height, width and depth of the piece in centimetres (not millimetres!) to one decimal place (eg. 150.6cm x 140.0cm x 2.1cm).

You’ll also need to weigh your artwork. This is necessary for us to calculate postage and is also helpful for the buyer when considering how to hang the work. The easiest way to do this is with your bathroom scales. Weigh yourself, then weigh yourself holding your artwork. Take away the first weight from the second. This leaves you with the weight of your artwork alone. We need to know the weight to one decimal place (eg. 2.4kg).

We also need to know the medium. Canvas? Board? Paper? Did you use acrylic paint? Watercolour? Charcoal? Mixed media (and if so, what kind?)?

If the piece is ready to hang, make sure you tick the box! This is another factor that can make a real difference for people when deciding whether to purchase.

Finally, choose some keywords to help people search for your artwork on the website. This is where you describe it word by word, quite literally. Use words that describe what a person will find in your artwork. For the example given above, keywords might include “outback”, “Australia”, “landscape”, “red”, “dusty”, “tin shed”, “gum trees”, “Uluru”.

Artist guide computer

Daniella Germain’s computer is an important tool in her studio!

7. Value Your Work

There are many things to consider when valuing your work. This is perhaps the most difficult thing to do! Here are some things to consider when placing a price on your efforts.

  • The cost of the materials you used when making it.
  • The time it took to create your masterpiece.
  • The quality of the work.
  • The condition of the work – has it been damaged in any way?
  • The value of similar artworks on the market.
  • Your historical success in selling your work at the prices you’ve set.
  • How much it will cost you to package the work in preparation for freight.

Don’t include the cost of freight, as Bluethumb will calculate and add this on. You’ll be able to see how much this is when you enter your price.

Valuing your artwork can be a difficult and subjective thing and may take a few goes to get right. If your artwork isn’t selling at the price you’ve set, give it some time. You may want to consider the quality of the photograph and information you are providing on the website, then consider reducing the price if you’re still not having any luck.

8. Market Yourself

Next up, you need to get some traffic to your profile. While we do our best, we have over 8,000 artists, so a bit of self-promotion really helps you stand out from the crowd. Click here for 5 tips on appealing to as many collectors as possible. 

In addition to sharing your profile with existing friends and family, posting your art on social media is a really important step.

Read this post about using Facebook as a marketing tool to get started.

Don’t forget to include a Bluethumb link, and if posting on Instagram or Twitter make sure to use the hashtags #nonudewalls and #bluethumbartist so we can find your posts and give them some love!

Artist guide marketing

Ying Huang’s office setup makes marketing look enjoyable!

9. Package Your Work

Once your artwork is sold, Bluethumb will contact you to let you know it’s time to get your artwork ready for shipping. You’ll have five business days to get all this completed.

There are a few things you need to do:

1. Make sure the artwork you’re sending is the right one! If you’re not sure which artwork has sold, check your profile to find the title in our email.

2. Package your artwork well. You can watch this video for a quick overview of how to go about the process. If the artwork is of significant value, a timber crate is best. Otherwise, use lots of bubble wrap and thick cardboard or a sturdy container (eg. a tube for paper works). We’ve just opened our very own art supplies store, so you can easily restock on boxes, tape, certificates of authenticity, stickers and thank you notes. Alternatively, Pack and Send will pack the artwork for you. Make sure you fill any void or gaps inside the packaging so that there’s no movement inside at all.

3. Finally, get out your permanent marker and in big bold text on the outside of the package write: FRAGILE – Handle Like Eggs!

4. Attach the labels that we sent you and let us know when you can be home to supervise the courier pickup.

10. Get in the Know

Any questions that haven’t been answered above? A good place to start is our help centre. If you can’t find the answer there, reach out to the team via [email protected] or the blue chat bubble in the bottom right corner of the site. You can also give us a call on 1800 122 486.

Artist guide bluethumb team

Have a question? We’re always happy to help!

art facts

Kelly Jade King Interview – The daydream believer

64 Comments

  1. Kristi says:

    Is it ok to use an iphone6 to take photos of artwork?

    • Sheeraz says:

      Hi Kristi,

      Yes, using an iPhone 6 is okay for the pictures. Just be sure that the pictures are taken in natural lighting and are not altered later digitally (colour correction, brightness contrast etc.).
      If you’re not sure if the picture is good for upload, you can always send it through to us to take a look ([email protected]).

      Sheeraz

    • Tessara says:

      IPhone 6’s are fine, as long as you can get an okay photo, that clearly shows the painting.

  2. Chris C says:

    Hi All
    I am considering joining your site, have read the info for artists. As pricing is a major consideration could you please clarify where you calculate the 30% Bluethumb commission? Is the 30% calculated on the listed price which includes gst and shipping costs, or is it taken from the value of the painting before shipping /gst are added?

    Also, any advice from others about shipping methods? I would like to reduce costs by removing acrylic paintings from the stretchers and sending in a tube, how is this accepted by buyers?
    Thanks in advance

    • Sandra Biggin says:

      Is it acceptable to take stretched canvas off the frame and ship by tube to cut costs? Is it acceptable to buyers?

      • Sheeraz says:

        Hi Sandra,

        Yes, this is acceptable. This is subjective and some buyers do prefer unframed (rolled) canvas so they can have it framed to fit in their settings.
        However, you’ll need to mention that this piece will not be ready to hang on arrival.

        Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns.

        Sheeraz

  3. Aileen McLeod says:

    Thank you for the informative advice, Aileen

    • Sheeraz says:

      No worries, Aileen. Happy that it helped. Let us know if you have any suggestion regarding the information here, or anything else on the site.

      Sheeraz

  4. Murray McLeod says:

    Thanks for your info., greatly appreciated, Murray

    • Sheeraz says:

      Good to hear that it helped, Murray. Feel free to let us know if you have any suggestions or if you feel anything else can be added to the artist’s guide to using bluethumb.

      Sheeraz

  5. Susan Biggins says:

    Could you please let me know about packaging. If I supply you with the dimensions of my painting, including the weight, this will change when it’s packaged. Do I need to remeasure and weigh after packaging in which case I can’t supply these details when I am posting my art for sale.
    I look forward to your reply.
    Cheers. Susan.

    • Sheeraz says:

      Hi Susan,

      You’re only required to enter the dimensions of the artwork (unframed and unpacked). For shipping purposes, we approximate the dimension of the package. However, if you’re shipping the artwork in a tube, do let us know as that significantly changes the dimensions. Feel free to have a chat with us, online or on call, and we can resolve this when arranging for shipping of the sold artwork.

      Let us know if you have any other questions regarding packaging, or anything else at all.

      Sheeraz

  6. Margie says:

    How do you delete a photo please?

    • Sheeraz says:

      Hi Margie,

      On the site, ff you click on edit art (next the artwork you want to delete) and scroll down to the option “Is this artwork for sale?”, you will be able to either mark the work as sold, make it temporarily unavailable, or request deletion.

      Let me know if you face any issues.

      Sheeraz

  7. Esther says:

    Hi Lance,

    Shipping to your door is included in the listing price, which makes things nice and easy!

    Esther

  8. Michele holland says:

    Do I require an ABN before attempting to sell artwork on bluethumb?

    • Sheeraz says:

      Hi Michele,

      You don’t need an ABN to start selling your artwork through bluethumb. It’s simple, easy and free. Visit bluethumb.com.au/sell to read more and get started. Feel free to get in touch with us if you have more questions.

      Sheeraz

  9. Bob Watson says:

    Hi, I have tried several times to remove my artwork from your site without success. The work has been sold, how do I remove the pictures from view.

    • Sheeraz says:

      Hi Bob,

      As a policy, we restrict the editing options of sold artworks. If you can just email the name of the artwork to us, we can have it removed on your behalf.
      You can reach us at [email protected]

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

      Sheeraz

  10. I am having difficulty placing my artwork on the Blue Thumb gallery. My work is watercolour on watercolour paper. The dimension of thickness and the weight of the paper arer unacceptable to the template and I can’t get past it. Please help.

    • Sheeraz says:

      Hi Veronica,

      When uploading water colour artworks (on paper), you can put the weight and thickness as 0.1 (cm). Please let us know if you’re still facing any difficulty with this and I can give you a call and walk you through the process.

      Sheeraz

  11. Susan Bond says:

    I have just joined your site and have uploaded a few pics. How long does it take for my name and artwork to show on your site?

    Cheers,

    Susan

  12. Jenal says:

    Hi I am preparing to post some of my art for sale but I am going overseas from Sunday 7.May till 17 May. Should I wait till I get back before I post them?

    • Sheeraz says:

      Hi Jenal,

      Really glad to hear that you’re joining up. You can post all your artworks for sale right now and mark them as ‘Temporarily Unavailable’. This way, if a buyer is interested in purchasing them, we can advise them about the temporary delay and execute the sale.
      If you have any questions regarding this or anything else, please contact us at [email protected].

      Sheeraz

  13. beryl stott says:

    Icant delete bad photos of my paintings. Ihave tried Edit and there is no delete option. Also Icouldnt upload my price, your template reads $50 and cant be altered

    • Freddy Grant says:

      Hi Beryl,

      To delete you artworks you need to go to the “Is this Artwork for sale?” dropdown and choose “Request Artwork Deletion”.

      Regarding price, artworks have to be at least $99 in total so perhaps that’s you’r issue? If not, you can email us at [email protected]

  14. Leonie says:

    I would like to know how other artists are shipping unframed soft pastel paintings.
    How would you pack it to ensure the artwork is not smudged??

    Leonie

  15. Paul says:

    What is meant by ‘Ready to hang’ ?

  16. Emilija says:

    hi

    Is it acceptable to roll the works on paper and put into a tube when sending it/shipping it. I am worried it may damage.
    Thank you

  17. Jenifer Livera says:

    I would appreciate if someone at bluethumb could post the artwork on my behalf for a fee please advice.

  18. kat says:

    Hello,

    Although I am an artist, I am new to actually selling art. I am very interested on selling my art through this site. I have a question about copyright because this is the reason why I have never sold art before. If you find an image/photo of perhaps a celebrity online for example, if you were to paint of draw that image and sell it, is that breaching copyright laws? What are the laws/guidelines when it comes to using images and photos to paint? I have had trouble getting a clear response to this.

    Thanks.

  19. Marion says:

    Hi, I don’t understand how the shipping costs work…the cost is added to the art and retained by Bluethumb , but the artist pays for packaging and postage – is this correct?

  20. felicity says:

    I’m a little confused can works be in a frame , and it is textile under glass – I sketch on my sewing machine-nudes etc. so is this acceptable or is it only drawing and painting persay!

    • Hi Felicity,

      We do have some beautiful textile works on Bluethumb already, and external frames with glass should be fine. Just make sure you package it extra carefully so as to avoid any breakages on the road 🙂

      Cheers!

  21. Emma Leggett says:

    Hi just wondering is the $30 fee that is added for shipping applies to whatever size your art work is? For example I paint small art works on A4 paper and up to and greater than 1 m x 1 m on canvas.
    Thanks for your help.
    Regards Emma

    • Hi Emma, the shipping amount changes according to the size, weight and cost of the artworks. It is automatically calculated when you upload a work, and you should be able to see this amount change when you enter the values of your piece.

      Cheers!

  22. Ruth Brunner says:

    Hi, I’m interested in selling my artworks on Bluethumb. I’ve recently become interested in creating ink paintings on board. They can be shipped easily. Would you accept such paintings? Thanks for your response ?

    • Hi Ruth, your ink paintings sound lovely. So long as they can be easily shipped and hung, are not digital and are 100% original and created by you (an Australian artist) then that’s no problem. Cheers!

  23. KarenC says:

    For the artists, when a sale is made and we package a product, how do you collect the painting from the artist when it is not in a city location? For example, a location in the Blue Mountains NSW. Thank you.

  24. Frances says:

    Hi There
    I’m new to the site. I still don’t understand the postage issue. Bluethumb automatically charges and calculates the cost of postage, right? But the artwork will be packaged and posted from the artist’s residence! So that means the artist has to pay for the packaging/postage themselves! This means a double postage fee…the customer pays through the total cost of the artwork, then the artist pays to deliver it to the customer! This means the artist is “losing out” on the postage fee that is listed on the website. You can’t charge two lots of postage to a customer!
    Please clarify, thanks! 🙂

  25. Jenni says:

    What do you mean by ‘digital’ art?
    I suspect digital collages would not qualify to be sold on your site- nor digital photos that have been digitally manipulated to produce to produce special effects art; is that correct?

  26. aiman says:

    hi. im an artist who has beautiful oil garden landscapes to her credit and i see this site as a wonderful oppurtunity to showcase and sell my work as i have not started selling yet. before i upload any of my work i need to be clear on the idea of painting from images and photographs ? saving photographs of places, using them as inspiration and painting them with modifications and own ideas? please help 🙂

    • Hi Aiman, thanks for your question. Unfortunately copyright in art can be quite a murky area, however generally the best thing to do is to get the photographer’s permission, and if this is granted, to mention that in the description of your artwork when you upload it to Bluethumb. Cheers!

  27. Bob Murray says:

    Hi Team
    When I originally uploaded my artwork the images were taken on a camera which I now realise did not do the job as well as I would have liked. There was a blemish on the lens which could not be removed and the images were slightly blurred no matter what I tried. They appeared bowed out, especially the framed versions which when cropped, trimmed off parts of the frame and left small amounts of background visible so they were not as square as desired. A lot of them also were darker than they should have been and as you did not want any enhancements done I left them as is.

    I have now invested in a newer and more expensive camera which I hope will do a better job. If the same newer images turn out better than the originals can the published images be deleted and the better (I hope) images replace them?

    Also will it affect “likes” and “followers” etc?

    I also want to upload to another on line site with the newer and I hope, more improved images, and therefore I don’t want them to be superior to and thus put Bluethumb at a disadvantage.

    Hoping you can point me in the right direction.

    Cheers
    Bob

    • Grace Wye says:

      Hi Bob,

      Thanks for reaching out! You can indeed edit and replace the images you currently have on your profile. You can do this through your dashboard by selecting “edit” next to the artwork you want to replace the images of. It won’t affect any of your statistics, likes or followers. Hope it works out well for you!

      • Bob Murray says:

        Hi Grace
        Sorry to be a nuisance again but when I click on the edit beside the image it gives no indication as to where to go next. I have right clicked , left clicked etc.

        I then googled on how to replace the images and there was a post by yourselves with a speed version (far too fast) on what to do. However when I followed through as best I could to the section where it asked if you wanted to leave the images up for certain numbers of days or delete the image, I clicked delete and lost it and likes etc and had to go through the process of uploading it again as a new work.
        My problem as indicated in my previous posts was that I only wanted to replace the inferior images with better images of the same pieces without losing everything including likes, description, price etc.
        Your reply indicated that I should click on edit and all would be well. I did but nothing else came up that would tell me what to do next.
        I hope you can please ease my poor befuddled brain.
        Cheers
        Bob

        • Grace Wye says:

          Hi Bob,

          I’m sorry to hear you’ve had some bad luck with your listings. Unfortunately we cannot recover deleted artwork. However, from what you’re describing, I think the problem is that you have only one image for the listing. In this case, be sure to upload another image before you delete the inferior image. This is how you can ensure to keep the listing and make sure you have the new image for the artwork. I hope this is clear and that it helps you!

          Let me know how it goes.
          Cheers,
          Grace

  28. Bob Murray says:

    Hi Team

    When I uploaded my images I was using an older camera which, while it took good scenery and candid shots it did not come up to the level required for the more precise quality required for your site. Consequently my images were slightly fuzzy, darker and bowed outwards. There was also a blemish on the lens which showed up as a barely visible but annoying whitish film in parts of the images. This could not be removed from the lens unfortunately. As you did not want any enhancements to be done on the images I posted them as is.

    I have since bought a more expensive and hopefully better camera (Nikon A900).

    I now want to rephotograph the images with this new camera and hopefully get better results.

    Can I delete the original photos and replace them with the newer ones?

    Will doing this affect “likes” and “followers” ?

    Will it mean having to do a complete resubmission of my whole page?

    I am also wanting to upload these newer images to another on line Art Site
    and I don’t want the Bluethumb site to be disadvantaged in any way by having hopefully superior images on this other site.

    Hopefully (yes I am full of hope) you can point me in the right direction.

    Cheers
    Bob

    • Bob Murray says:

      Thank you Grace for your reply.

      Iwill try and get them uploaded as soon as possible.

      I must also apologise for the second message on the same subjecy. I thought the first one hadn’t gone through, but obviously it had. Unfortunately at my “mature” age I don’t always get technology correct and I flounder a bit.

      Thanks again

      Bob

  29. Janette Symonds says:

    Hi there
    Can you please let me know the size I need to set my images up? ie width and height (px) and also resolution.
    Many thanks
    Janette

    • Grace Wye says:

      Hi Janette,

      Thanks for getting in touch! The recommended image size is 3000px wide. The minimum size is 1000px, and the maximum file size is 10mb. Hope this helps!

      Your team at Bluethumb

  30. Janni jones says:

    Iam confused about conditions of sale, I am selling on other platforms, there conditions are different, can’t seem to be able to get to the original terms for sale for Bluethumb, need to upload.

  31. Ian Mckenzie says:

    Could I clarify the issue of shipping.
    As I understand it, you make all the arrangements for a courier to collect the sold artwork. I live in Glen Innes NSW. Is a courier service available at my location and would they collect from a private home?
    Many thanks,
    Ian

    • Grace Wye says:

      Hi Ian,

      The courier can be arranged to pick the artwork up from your home – no need to take it anywhere 🙂 this can be arranged once you choose a pick-up date.

      Thanks!

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