Marketing for Artists, Part 4

A Guest Post by Victoria Rose Martin


Last month, in this Marketing for Artists series, I emphasized the importance of printed materials in your promotional efforts. In this post, I’d like to share with you how to go about creating your own artist’s postcard which is a great way to up your marking efforts.


Screenshot of template download page at


To complete this tutorial you’re also going to need a copy of Adobe Photoshop. You can download a free 30-day trial version of Photoshop from Adobe’s web site. Or if you’re interested in buying a copy of Photoshop and you are in school, have a child in school, or are a teacher at an accredited institution you might be eligible for an Educational Version of the Adobe software for a substantially reduced amount. The educational version is identical to the full version, the only difference is the price. However, before you buy, be sure to read the guidelines for eligibility. You might also want to visit AcademicSuperstore or JourneyEd to browse other educational versions of software.


1. Launch/open Photoshop. 2. Next go to menu option File/Open/ and browse for the template you downloaded from your online printing company.

Template opened in Adobe Photoshop

Template opened in Adobe Photoshop

This document is where you will design your card. Please note the guidelines for safety, trim and bleed located on the template. Be sure to pay attention to each.

  • The safety line means no important information should be outside of that line or it could get cut off when the page is trimmed.
  • The trim line is where the printer trims the paper. Notice the icon representing trim on the template is identified by a pair of scissors.
  • The bleed is where the printing company allows the ink to run over the edge of the trim line so there are no white margins showing.

3. With the template open go to menu option File/Place and then browse for the high resolution image of your artwork.

4. When the photo of your artwork appears in the document, notice that it has a bounding box around it and a large X over the image.

Image of artwork placed into the template document with bounding box visible

Image of artwork placed into the template document with bounding box visible

This bounding box mean that we can transform the size and rotation of the object. Be sure to hold the shift key before transforming the scale of your image or it will distort. Make sure your image fits to the edge of the document so there are no white edges or signs of the template showing underneath.

5. Once your image is sized you can move it around by selecting the move tool.

Move tool icon

Move tool

Try to make sure the image is centered.

6. Select the Eyedropper tool.

Eyedropper tool

Eyedropper tool

Select a color you like from your artwork by clicking the dropper over that area. For this demo I sampled the yellow from the shirt of my figure.

Eyedropper tool selecting yellow from the shirt.

Eyedropper tool selecting yellow from the shirt.

7. Next, select the Type tool from the toolbar and then click your mouse on the image. You will see a blinking cursor. Type your name or whatever you want on the card and when you’re done center your name on the document by selecting the Move Tool in the toolbar. Because I picked a light bright color it makes sense to set the text on the darker area of the image at the top.

Yellow text ties back to the image and is placed in a position where it can easily be read

Yellow text ties back to the image and is placed in a position where it can easily be read

On the other hand, if I had chosen a dark color it probably would have looked better at the bottom where the background is a lighter shade of gray. Feel free to experiment with different colors and arrangements. You may even wish to explore different typefaces. My only suggestion is the be sure the text is clear and readable.

8. Now it’s time to design the back of the card. Hopefully you’ve decided the purpose of the card. If it’s to be a mailed piece be sure to leave the right half of the card blank for postage and address. If it’s purpose is to be a handout and not mailed then you can go wild and have anything you like on the back of the card. Or even leave it blank so you could add information stickers later. For this demo I inserted my artist’s statement/bio and an image on the back of the card.

Back of the postcard with my artist's statement and image

Back of the postcard with my artist’s statement and image

To do this, I simply opened the template, added a new layer.

Layers panel - Note "opacity," "new layer" and "delete layer" options

Layers panel – Note “opacity,” “new layer” and “delete layer” options

I then filled that layer with a cream color.

Picking a cream layer for the background

Picking a cream layer for the background

I placed a new image and using the Lasso tool I removed the previous background and added text.

9. Repeat Step 2 as described above to start the design for the back of the card. Once again pay attention to the Safety, Trim and Bleed lines.

10. When you are finished Save your work. Save your work as both a .psd (Photshop Document) and as a .jpg image. Check your printing company for the file type they want you to upload. Save the Photoshop document just in case you need to make corrections such as adjusting text or image. JPG images are flat, meaning that the image, text or anything else included in the design can’t be re-edited. Most printing companies prefer jpg images when you upload. As always, check the requirements specified by the printing company you chose.

Another word of advice is have a trusted friend review your artwork before printing. A fresh set of eyes can often spot otherwise obvious errors. And if you’re less than stellar with spelling, compose your verbiage in Microsoft Word or other programs with spell check first.

Victoria Rose Martin is an artist and designer currently living in South Florida. She is the Department Chair for Fine Art and Graphic Design at Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth, Florida. You can visit her website at:

For more about marketing your artwork, check out the 2013 Artist’s & Graphic Designer’s Market.




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