A Guide to Get your Drawings into a Sketch Art Gallery
Securing the representation for your drawings in a sketch art gallery may seem like an unattainable goal, particularly for young artists. Obviously, you cannot expect to be discovered while striding into a gallery wielding your sketch portfolio, you need to land tactfully on the radar of sketch art galleries you already admire. Unquestionably, the road to finding representation for your drawings in your most coveted sketch art gallery would be quite perplexing. But the good news is, it does not have to be a pipe dream.
Check out this easy guide to help you hone your submission skills and score a spot in the most prestigious sketch art galleries accepting new artists.
- Reflect On Your Drawings
Be it a sketch art gallery or any other kind, remember that they always want work that is extraordinary and unique—and effortlessly keeps buyers excited for the next show.
If you are not sure if your drawing is gallery-ready, take a moment to reflect upon and ask yourself these questions:
- If your sketch artworks reflect a distinctive artistic perspective?
- If you have employed any unconventional or interesting material, process, or technique?
- If your sketches are worthy enough to be displayed in anyone’s home?
- If your work is powerful to compel people to pay to see your pieces in person?
- What is the driving inspiration behind your work?
Also, be aware that being represented by an art gallery would mean paying out a commission on sales of your works. Make sure you are okay with this trade-off, sharing 50% of the sale price of your sketch drawings.
- Do Your Research
The rapidly growing art market has led to a mushrooming of art galleries, so it is very important that you first narrow in on your target places— galleries that you think would be a great fit for your work and art style. Next, get to know more about the sketch galleries of your interest such as the director, curator, and owner, and obviously, their rules for submission and deadlines. Also, keep a note of their cardinal rules for artist submissions.
If your most admired sketch art gallery has not posted a call for submissions, go ahead with writing a letter of inquiry addressing the director. Add brief descriptions of your background, body of work, artist’s statement, website if any, and well-articulated content on why you think your work will be a good fit for their gallery. You can even invite them to your studio or any exhibition that you have managed to secure.
Once approached, wait to hear back from them for at least two weeks before taking a follow-up. Make sure to be always respectful and courteous no matter what they decide. If rejected, go for asking their suggestions to improve upon.
- Be Active in the Art Community
While trying to get your art into a reputed sketch art gallery, it is important that you are active in the art community (offline as well as online) so that galleries looking for new artists spot you on their radar.
Try to attend art gallery openings and shows as often as you can. Take note of the work the galleries are inclined towards—certain galleries and curators have a specific taste or favor a certain style of art. So, focus on finding a good fit for your existing drawings. Spend time introducing yourself to the owners and curators of the gallery, know about their local success stories as well as the up-and-comers and build relationships.
Also, connect (in fact, be proactive in networking) with your fellow sketch artists, and be supportive of their creations. Remember that some sketch art galleries do not post calls for sketch artist submissions, and the only way to get representation is through a strong referral. This certainly can come unexpectedly from any of your fellow sketch artists who truly admire your drawings.
Even hopping on board an online sketch art community (that has a strong presence and active) such as Doodle Addicts is a good idea. It will also prove to be a good source of inspiration for you, at the same time let you receive meaningful feedback, discover new sketching techniques, and connect with like-minded sketch artists.
- Learn Positioning Yourself
Firstly, have an elevator pitch always ready. You should be able to confidently (and of course, with pride) talk about your sketch art, your inspiration, and your themes at length. But ensure to work on a pitch that conveys the key selling points within 30 seconds.
Secondly, keep your business cards handy. Get them customized according to your style. However, don’t go overboard with the content, just put in the essentials—full name, studio address, website, and contact information with a striking image.
- Create A Solid Online Presence
While targeting sketch art galleries seeking new artists, make sure to have an online art portfolio. Think of it as a gallery of your own, it’s certainly a great platform to showcase your creations. You can even consider having your own personalized website domain and include your contact details, bio, artist statement, and your CV.
If you are not tech-savvy, know that you can easily create your own art site using an online portfolio platform such as Format, which has all the necessary features required to display your work. However, make sure to upload only high-quality images of your drawings that are well-lit and clearly reflect the true appearance and textures of the piece.
What is even more interesting about having a website is that you can monetize it and sell prints directly. This will not only help you build your brand in the art community but also let you make a little cash on the side.
Lastly, try to collaborate with other sketch artists. If you do not have enough body of work to showcase, plan a fun collaboration between you and your friends, maybe a fusion of video installation with your drawings. This will help you draw in fresh traffic giving you ample time to expand and perfect your body of work.
- Use Local Resources
Don’t forget to utilize local resources! You have no idea about how your municipal arts council can be a great place to find open calls for submissions. Even provincial, state and federal arts councils can help you find an online network for finding opportunities and resources.
Participating in the online competitions held regularly by these art organizations would aid in getting exposure in the community. Who knows you may end up impressing the curator of your favorite sketch art gallery. The best part is that these competitions usually offer a hefty cash prize with a zero or minimal entry fee.
Lastly, these art councils can also help you fund your local creative art projects through their grant programs. So, it’s gonna be a win-win situation for you!
- Use Social Media For Promotion
So when you are done with submissions in your targeted sketch art galleries, don’t just keep waiting to hear back, instead work upon improving your social media content. Who knows someone from the galleries accepting artist submissions can spot you while glancing through their social media pages.
For example, you can use Instagram to work as your agent. Post frequently (but don’t end up spamming), even works in progress and behind-the-scenes pictures of your studio, and even interesting time-lapse videos. Also, add your website and contact links so that any interested gallery planning an exclusive sketch art event can contact you if they are interested in representing your work.
Also, follow and engage with accounts that feature sketch artists like you such as @mirthiferous that features sketch work and paintings.
- Peruse Submission Instructions
While compiling your drawings for submission in the sketch art gallery, make sure to prepare your art according to their submission instructions. This may require some additional time and effort on your part but it always is better to make it easy for the gallery to assess your work.
Remember to write the details of your drawings including measurements and hanging direction out on the back of the canvas. If required, also add a secure picture wire.
In case you are mailing in any physical pieces or your drawing portfolio book to art gallery owners, ensure them to be packaged in the best possible manner with prepaid postage.
- Beware of Vanity Sketch Art Galleries
Though you may find it quite exciting to have a sketch art gallery reach out to you, accepting their offer may not always be in your best interest. Before signing, research any gallery that reaches out to you and connect with represented artists about their experience with the gallery. Also, ensure to read all the terms and conditions laid down by the gallery thoroughly along with their submission and exhibition fees.
In case vanity sketch art galleries extend you a contract for displaying your drawings, which is usually in exchange for money — simply avoid them! More often than not, it is a terrible investment with zero prestige.
Unquestionably, the road to finding representation in your coveted sketch art gallery will be unpredictable, and most likely a hodgepodge of the above strategies. Here’s a quick sum up to help you:
- Always stay visible! Be open and ready to show your drawings (be it a group show or even an online sketch exhibition), sharing information with your own community of sketch artists, attending shows and gallery openings, and getting familiar with the landscape of galleries that surrounds you.
- Remember that building partnership with a gallery in real terms means collaborating. So, be confident to dialogue about your sketching ideas. In fact, most gallerists look for artists who are open to advise and willing to work towards creating concepts together.
- Lastly, no matter what, try to be patient. Keep in mind that there are many sketch art galleries out there, each having its own distinctive aesthetic and approach. So, it may be that you take time to get representation in the sketch art gallery that you most admire or find one that’s right for you—but as with any great relationship, this one is truly worth the effort.
Don’t forget to share your experiences about this journey of getting representation for your works in your favorite art gallery in the comments section below!