When I was doing my art and design course at the local college, back in 2000, the graphic design and illustration tutor told us we needed to collect visual resources for our ideas and reference material for our work, and a friend at the time said in response – like an ‘image bank!’ And so I began forming an image bank, collecting visual reference material of painting styles and techniques, of nature subjects, and so much more, and then I sub-divided these into three green box files – labelled plants, animals and landscape. And I used them all the time. The tutor was absolutely right.
But slowly they became full, bulging I fact, and I kind of eased up, because I only had so much room on my shelves, and books on art were by now accumulating at an alarming rate. I also used collected visual resources for when I was teaching art classes…and one day a lady student came in with a picture of a painting she’d printed out from searching online. She’d sourced her own inspiration instead of relying upon me to come up with something, and she wanted to use it as starting point for her painting. Fine, I said, (heartened by her self-motivation), just as long as she came up with her own composition and not directly copy someone else’s work. She’d come fully prepared to do her own thing, so then I asked her where she’d got the lovely image from. ‘Pinterest,’ she replied. So on returning home, I checked out Pinterest and was astonished and overwhelmed by the sheer number and range of beautiful images – paintings, photographs, interiors, crafts, materials, how-to-do instructions and so much more. My first impression was that it was a a real gift for all kinds of artists and crafters, so I signed up and began ‘pinning’ images to my created ‘boards’ just as if I was adding cut-out or printed-out pictures to my box files. I had a whole new filing system now with so much scope!
The reason why I’m actually writing a post on what is effectively a social media site, is because of Pinterest’s wide range of uses for all creatives in all fields, and because you don’t have to actually engage with anyone for there to be a beneficial effect with regard to expanding your networking ‘web’, because all images are clearly labelled as to their origins –and that may be you! Your website or your blog. Your Images, your ‘products’, your creative work. Visuals are so immediate and quick to engage with compared to written text, they really draw the viewer straight in, so Pinterest might well be worth considering if you’ve not tried it before.
The procedure is quick and simple:
You sign up. (You can link your facebook, twitter, instagram and website later if you like)
You create your profile
Check your settings – make sure you do allow search engines to share your profile
Install the PIN button – so when you are browsing the web, you can pin images to your boards
Add Pinterest as a sharing option for your blog or website articles – just like facebook and twitter
Start adding Pins and creating new boards
Search within Pinterest for pins to add to your boards, to ‘alert’ other users to your presence. This won’t be difficult, it will be compulsive!
You can add your own images from your computer files – be they art related or writing related, and you can pin your images or articles from your website or blog. USE HASHTAGS with your captions, and when people search for this or that, your related content will show up for pinning by others in turn. So your ‘content’ gets spread around as well as your links. And you can share any pin to other sites too.
So for example, in this vein, I pinned all my artwork which is available from my Redbubble ‘shop’, using hashtags, to my art boards on Pinterest. My images get pinned onto others’ boards, but always the Redbubble source is connected. I did the same for my blog posts too. And in relation to my writing, I created boards for ‘My Books’ , with a subsection for ‘On Turtle Beach’ and I pinned all of my related content, covers, quote picture boxes, screenshots etc so they are handy to share and see in one place.
Here is a rough list of all my boards so you can see what I mean:
My own Art, My Books (with sub-category boards), My Blog Articles, My Crafts
And more generally:
Nature, Life Quotes, Natural History Illustration, Interesting Techniques, Craft Project Ideas, Fantasy Art, Fine Art, Steampunk Ideas (for my hubby’s craft) , Art Inspiration, Vintage Chic, Period and Fantasy Costumes, Favourite Blogs, Crafters and Artists Work I Love, Jung, Jungian types, Psychology, Writers Inspiration, Wellbeing Matters, Interior Design, Hairstyles (for when I’m feeling more adventurous!)
Here’s a link to my page if you are interested and already signed up for Pinterest – and I’ve only just begun in earnest!
So all these interests, passions and pursuits are in one location, and somehow that brings a sense of organisation to these multiple interests, which all creatives tend to have, but which can leave us feeling scattered all over the place at times.
Once you have a standard Pinterest account you can upgrade it to a free business one, with some nice options for a header, an auto-scrolling through feature of your favourite boards as a taster on your page, selling and promotion pin options, and access to analytics information if you are so inclined, by ‘claiming’ your website, which you should do regardless.
The advantages of Pinterest for artists and crafters are pretty obvious, but let’s look more specifically at possible benefits for WRITERS, which I’ve been exploring recently. This is what I’ve picked up on:
Writers can create boards with images that reflect their various books’ plots, settings, characters, with blurbs, full covers, review screenshots etc, making sure to use interesting captions with the use of #hashtags. You don’t need to create new content, as you’ll already have a mass of visuals ready to pin from your computer files or your websites.
Writers can collect book cover ideas and inspiration for settings, characters, conflicts, and so much more…the visual can be such a powerful route to the writer’s imagination. You can create your own virtual writer’s library.
You can show what else you are personally interested in by creating boards for your hobbies or passions so the viewer can gain some insight into the person behind the author name. For example you could create a board of books you’ve read that you love, or your favourite films.
It’s a good idea to add your name to every pin, with and without a hashtag, and a link to your website or blog. Similarly, use a hashtag for your book titles.
Here is a very thorough guide to Pinterest for writers for more in depth use
Now, admittedly, Pinterest can’t be seen to be essential for writers, but it can prove to be a very visual form of publicity and marketing that just sits there doing its thing without you, while you get on with more writing or more active marketing. You don’t need to talk to people or to actively pursue social engagement, and you don’t really need to work on follower numbers. Your introvert side can be happy about that! And more generally, it has a multi-functionary aspect which can stimulate or feed your creative life as well as organise your eclectic fascinations and pursuits.
But here’s a WARNING: Give yourself a cut off point in time if you are simply browsing the Pinterest site, as you will be sure to see more and more and MORE of what engages you. It’s like a bottomless treasure chest!
And finally, if any of you already have a pinterest page, please pop me a link, I’d love to take a look and follow you!