Please give me some input! - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 12:12 AM Thread Starter
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Location: New Jersey, US
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Smile Please give me some input!

I paint pet portraits as a business. I wish I could do more horses but so far have mainly dogs.
Home - Spirit of the Horse Please critique my site and email me if you happen to be interested in a portrait!
Also, find me on facebook "Spirit-of-the-Horse pet portraits"
Thank you, all!!
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post #2 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 08:42 AM
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Hi there,

I'm in the same game as you, doing pet portraits for a 'living' aka paying my way through uni, and have been doing commission work for the last 4-5 years.

I'll run through what I've noticed with your site page by page, makes things easier!!

Title/business name and logan. Do you want to draw only horses, or branch out into the wider community of cats and dogs? You'll pick up more work doing cats and dogs rather than restricting to horses, so try to come up with at least a 'slogan' that shows you draw all types of pets, not just horses.

Home page: I'm not sure if it's just my laptop or something wrong with the link, but I think you've tried to post of photograph on you home page and it is just coming up as a jumble of letters/symbols. Might want to check that out.

Meet the artist: This page sounds quite amateur-ish, to make a more professional 'sounding' page, try to write in the third person when describing yourself, so instead of 'I' use 'her' etc. You have got quite a few grammar and spelling issues in there, have a close look through and get a friend to proof read it for you and point out mistakes. Avoid writing I instead of I.
Avoid stating your exact age, and don't say that most of your portraits have been dogs, clients don't need to know that. I also wouldn't say that your commissions begun via a computer game, try to word it a little 'classier', maybe by saying your begun drawing friends/family's pets and went from there.

Orders and Pricing: Again, your use of language comes across in quite an unprofessional and disorganised manner. You're not giving prospective clients any 'out-room' by demanding straight up a $50 deposit, you need to talk it over with clients and allow them to 'warm-up' to you. I have a 'disclaimer' section at the bottom of my rates page that states I require a 20% deposit prior to commencing work, and that I will happily refund 100% of this is the client changes their mind before I commence. The fact that you've said you need their deposit to buy supplies makes me turn off a little, be careful with how you word things!
To get the best possible portraits, you need to work with your client, talk to them and see what they want, find out a bit about the pet etc. so it seems like you're genuinely interested in their animal. Your client will warm to you and usually be better to deal with if they think you're in it for the enjoyment rather than the money.
When I deal with clients, I keep everything organised and professional, everything I need is spelled out in simple dot points/short sentences to make it clear exactly what I require of my client to begin my work.

You need to make obvious what currency you are working in, US$, AU$ etc.

The first size option you list is '9X12 portraits'... then the rest just give the size, either stick with 'portraits' at the end, or take 'portraits' off the first option. Also state you you are working in inches or cm's.
Rather than saying 'oil painting' just say 'oils' or 'oil paint'.
If you work in graphite pencils, or coloured pencils, you have to say so. Black and white pencil is graphite, so advertise as 'graphite' to make it clearer and sound classier.

I'm finding it a bit confusing and difficult to work out your price list, it has to be straight down the line and bold, you've got a bit of fiddling to do on this page.

Oder form: Ok, people want to do things online these days. Obviously if you have a website you've got an email. Connect your order form to your email, or recommend that people contact you via email with their photos and details.
Check is in fact spelt 'cheque' when referring to a money cheque. Cheques cost people a decent amount of money to make out, and many will be hesitant to do so as it is a hassle. Give other options of payment, money order, paypal (paypal accounts are very easy to set up and very useful for payments!), direct deposit (set up internet banking with your bank so that clients can deposit money directly into your account).
Try to keep all correspondence by email, or supply a mobile/cell phone number for people without email to contact you by. That way you don't have to give out your residential address to any old person who comes across your website.



Have a look at my site for a bit of an idea on how to go about the suggestions I've given you. Unfortunately my site is also a freewebs site, due to my registered server not working for me, however freewebs is working quite well at this point in time and I have been very busy with commissions coming in.

Home - Horse & Hound Artistry
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post #3 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 10:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! I know that the symbols are there, I tried to erase them but the host site is being wacky and won't post it that way. I am working on it now.
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 10:47 AM Thread Starter
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How do you typically go about pricing? I never really knew how to go about that. I will work on organizing the list a bit more. I apologize if things start to look like they take about your page! Haha, they aren't copied but the format is looking close, because I had been reading yours.
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post #5 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 10:17 PM
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That's ok, as long as you don't go word for word ;)

As for pricing, well I started out cheaper, and gradually upped my prices. You can't start out expensive because you haven't ben proven as an artist yet and people won't commission you.
This is the rule of thumb I go by - If you have a waiting list of more than 3/4 then you're charging too little (I currently have 6 drawings on a waiting list so upping my prices today!), if you have one or 2 on a waiting list and a steady stream of work, you're charging just right, and if you have very few commissions, you're charging too much.
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 10:18 PM
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I just had a look at your changes, it's looking much better already
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much! I'm terrible at grammar so if you notice anything specific let me know. I did notice on your page you repeated a word on the home page and wrote loved instead of lost on another dedicated to pets people have lost. Just thought I would let you know I spotted those!
I will work on my prices a bit.
I believe I also don't get many commissions because I don't get very much publicity. I have one at the moment to do, I just finished one the other day. I get like one or two then none for a while. I will work the prices out too, they were a lot lower but people told me (such as my art teacher) that they were verrrryyy cheap. I upped them a bit because I really needed to find some money. Got the same number of portraits though. Any ideas on getting known?
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 10:51 PM
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Oops thanks for letting me know!

As for getting known, find as many free advertising places so pet forums etc. and puts ads up on them. Also get some business cards made up and put them up at pet shops and other pet places. Or saddleries. I'm about to have my ad put up in 2 magazines so will let you know if that works or not.
Most of my works comes through word of mouth, so if I can have an advertising push that gets me 5 portraits, usually I'll get another 5 or 10 via word of mouth!
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post #9 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 10:55 PM
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I agree with Kayty, that if you want to expand to other animals, you shouldn't have a horse themed logo. I almost wanted to call my new web site equusketch (like my user name), by my family talked me out of it because although I primarily draw horses, I also should advertise that I do other animals.

I am torn about the About the Artist section. Yes, writing in the third person makes you sound much more professional, but I also like how personal the first person looks too.

I currently use the same web site program you use and I HATE it! I have not been able to upload recent art for a very long time and therefore my web site is not up to date. I never advertise my web site as a result. I wonder if it has to do with the fact that it was a friend of mine who actually started the site for me and I am more of a secondary manager of the site. Though my site is currently written in the third person (thanks to my friend), I am tempted to go the first person route to make it more personal when I "eventually" get a new site up and running.

Good luck!
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post #10 of 16 Old 07-01-2010, 10:58 PM
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The first person method can work, but you have to be very careful with how you word it. The OP's initial try at her 'about me' page was grammatically incorrect and worded as though she was a real amateur - and even if you are, you don't want prospective clients to know that right out when they're looking at your site!

Liz, I haven't had a problem with freewebs, so I'd say it may be because you're not classed as the site admin.
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