Sunday, 21 November 2010

Online publishing platforms - the numbers compared

This post focuses on the relative traffic, size and impact and reach of the different online publishing sites.   This is because many artists now like to be able to publish their artwork or sketches in books and some also publish art instruction online. 

Online publishing platforms

I'm focusing on three publishing platforms.  Their own descriptions of themselves are quoted below.
Make your own book with Blurb online. Create photo books, wedding books and more. Design and publish professional quality books to keep, give or sell brings the world of online book publishing to you. Looking to self-publish? Lulu's print on demand (POD) solutions make it quick and easy. Create a book in minutes, publish with the click of a mouse, distribute, sell and print books to order. It's that simple.
Explore a world of publications by people and publishers alike. Collect, share and publish in a format designed to make your documents look their very best.
Below you can see what the unique monthly visitors are for the different sites when their website URLs are plugged into - a site which provides comparative site profiles.

Comparison of the USA traffic for three online publishing sites: issuu, lulu and blurb
Compete's data comes from a statistically representative cross-section of 2 million consumers across the United States who have given permission to have their internet clickstream behaviors and opt-in survey responses analyzed anonymously as a new source of marketing research.
These stats came as a bit of a surprise to me.
  1. I'm surprised that Lulu is about twice as big as blurb.  I knew it was bigger but not that much bigger
  2. I'm amazed at how just how big Issuu is and will be seriously looking into this as a vehicle for publishing my work in future.  Capturing the corporate audience with repeat readers is obviously an excellent way to grow your business.  It remains to be seen whether it does the same for independent publishers.
Bear in mind that
  • the above are predominantly statistics for an American Audience. 
  • You only really begin to get an appreciation of the global audience for Issuu in the Quantcast pages (see below) - and that's because it's so big.  
  • The US audience for Issuu is only around 25% of its global audience.
This is what each of the sites look like on Quantcast which is one of my favourite analysis sites in terms of a demographic analysis of visitors by sex, age group, earnings and college education status.  It appears to indicate that each of the publishing sites appears to attract the same sort of audience for their services.

Click the link in the title to see the full Quantcast page.

Blurb on Quantcast - ranks 7,096 in USA

Lulu on Quantcast - ranks 2,740 in USA

Issuu on Quantcast - ranks 158 in USA

In conclusion:
  • Issuu is HUGE compared to the other two platforms - but only delivers online publications
  • If you want to have your book or publication about your artwork found online by readers independently of your website or blog then you need to look very seriously at issuu
  • If you want to produce a physical copy of your book for distribution to clients or galleries then you're better off looking at Blurb or Lulu.
This is a very much a first look at these three sites in comparison to one another.  I'll be revisiting them. 

What do you think?

In the meantime if you've got experience of any of the three sites and would like to share your experinces please leave a comment below.

Friday, 12 November 2010

New colours from new pigments

Winsow and Newton have published an article about the new pigments which they have introduced in recent years in Why are new pigments so important?.  This succinctly describes the origins, pigments used for and performance of the new colours.
By the 1990s there were so many new organic pigments available that Winsor and Newton embarked on some far reaching reviews to ensure artists would be able to enjoy everything from entirely new colours to greater brilliance and permanence. Almost 200 new colours were introduced over the following 15 years and this process is still continuing today.

1996 Winsor and Newton embarked on the most significant change to the Artists' Water Colour range in 164 years. The availability of so many new pigments meant that 35 new colours were introduced into the range, offering artists the widest and most balanced spectrum with the greatest permanence.
They key issue has always been about how to balance transparency with lightfastness.  Older pigments frequently had one but not the other and the challenge has been to develop new pigments which provide quality performance across the spectrum and over time.

Winsor & Newton Watercolour Chart 2010 - see Catalogue 2010

The new colours covered in the article (click the link at the top to read it) are listed below.  The new pigments which are most prominent in the ones listed below are the quinacridones and the perylenes.  I was pleased to note that there is now a permanent carmine based on Quinacridone pyrrolidone.  Apparently it's still so new that it does not have a colour index number as yet!

The acronyms after their names are for Artists watercolours (AWC) Artists Oil Colours (AOC) and artists Acrylic Colours (AAC)

  • PY184 -  Bismuth Yellow (AWC*, AOC*, AAC*)
  • PY150 -  Transparent Yellow (AWC), Indian Yellow Deep (AOC), Nickel Azo Yellow (AAC)  
  • P073 -  Winsor Orange (Red Shade) (AWC), Winsor Orange (AOC), Pyrrole Orange (AAC)
  • PR255 -  Scarlet Lake (AOC), Pyrrole Red Light (AAC)
  • PR254 -  Winsor Red (AWC), Bright Red (AOC), Pyrrole Red (AAC)
  • PR264 -  Winsor Red Deep (AWC)
  • PR209 -  Quinacridone Red (AWC, AOC, AAC)
  • Quinacridone pyrrolidone - Permanent Carmine (AWC, AOC)
  • PR206 -  Brown Madder (AWC), Quinacridone Burnt Orange (AAC)
  • PR233 -  Potter’s Pink (AWC, AAC)
  • PR149 -  Winsor Red Deep (AOC), Perylene Red (AAC)
  • PR179 -  Perylene Maroon (AWC, AAC)
  • PV29 -  Perylene Violet (AWC, AAC)
  • PV15 -  Ultramarine Violet (AWC, AOC, AAC)
  • PB74 -  Cobalt Blue Deep (AWC, AOC, AAC)
  • PB60 -  Indanthrene Blue (AWC, AOC, AAC)
  • PG50 -  Cobalt Turquoise Light (AWC, AOC, AAC)
  • PY129 -  Green Gold (AWC, AOC, AAC)
  • Mixture due to replacement -  Quinacridone Gold (AWC, AAC)
  • PBr7 -  Brown Ochre (AWC, AOC)
  • PR101 -  Caput Mortuum Violet (AWC), Mars Violet (AOC), Violet Iron Oxide(AAC)
  • PBk31 -  Perylene Green (AWC, AAC), Perylene Black (AOC) - the first new permanent black for thousands of years!
Below are links to the various colour charts for artists colours which can be seen online

    Thursday, 11 November 2010

    More about Lightfastness

    As manufacturers begin to appreciate that lightfastness does matter to artists, we're beginning to see more and more information published by those that make the art materials we buy

    I just want to highlight today a couple of examples:
    • the new Love Pencils - the Derwent blog created by the Cumberland Pencil Company has a post Lightfastness Testing Revealed!  about how they test for lightfastness
    • Schminke - who make pastels I use - have a two page leaflet about the processes they use when creating art materials (see lightfastness.pdf available to download as a pdf file).  In it you can see an example of the blue wool cards used as a quality control by many companies manufacturing art materials.  This gives you a very good display of just how much fading happens in those actually graded 'lighfast' at levels 5 and 6 - and just how much disappears at the lower end of the scale.  
    Seeing real blue wool cards like this - and how dramatic the fading can be - is what woke me up to the cause of lightfastness.  I now aim to use only pencils which meet levels 7 and 8 (ie 4 star and 5 star pastels and pencils).

    Extract from Schminke Leaflet - Lightfastness – A Measure of the Durability of Artists’ Colours (pdf file)
    I also learned something new from the Schminke leaflet and that is lightfastness levels MUST always tested on the finished product as the mediums which combine with some pigments can result in colours which darken.

    You can read and learn more about lightfastness on two of my resources for artists sites:

      Friday, 5 November 2010

      Which is the most helpful art business book?

      Over on my "resources for artists information site - The Best Art Business Books - I'm running an opinion poll to try and get different artists' perspectives on which art business-related book you find the most helpful. 

      Not that there can be any one book which suits all artists - because everybody has their own individual needs and preferences.  However, it is interesting to know which are the ones which people have found more helpful.

      One of the reasons for doing the poll was to also highlight these books which I've found are so very often get buried in art bookshops and on Amazon. 

      However it's not had a lot of responses to date - so I thought I'd highlight it here too.  So here's the LINK to the opinion poll - Which is the most helpful art business book?

      Which art business book have you found most helpful?

      The books listed (alphabetically) in the poll are:
      Do please comment below if there is a book you'd like to particularly recommend.

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