The Importance of Watermarking Your Art on the Internet

Artist Tip: August 2015 (Bonus)

Hey There Everyone!

Since August has 5 Mondays this year, you get a bonus tip this month and it’s an important one!

Many artists chose to watermark their work they post on the internet. This is a great habit to get into for many reasons, the most important of which is that it is a deterrent for people to steal your art and call it their own. I say deterrent because, if you are in any way good at using Photoshop it’s possible to remove a watermark if someone really wants to be a jerk about it.(and they are jerks)

But assuming no one is trying to be a jerk (I have high hopes for humanity), there’s another very important reason to watermark your work that doesn’t get talked about as often. It’s how people can find you and your work online. In a perfect world, when people reblogged, regrammed or retweeted something they would do it from the source of your page or social media and due credit would be given….well the truth of the matter is that doesn’t always happen for many various reasons.

The Name Game
I recently had an experience on Twitter that reminded me why watermarking is important. Not just watermarking in general, but what your watermark says. I decided to streamline all of my online and social media stuff to be the same name (barbsotiart) since I was trying to put my work out there more. When I started most of my accounts they were personal accounts and I hadn’t thought about making them all the same. Because I have a fantastically long last name that most people can’t pronounce let alone remember how to spell, I avoided using it in most of my handles. Problem with that was when I started posting more art and wanted my accounts to be more about that, I wanted to somehow convey that in my user name. So to give everyone a bit of a break I thought ok first name, beginning part of last name (I know, you’re welcome) and what I’m about (art….obvs).

I was all proud of myself for getting my act together and streamlining all my stuff except for one problem. The user name @bsoti was the name I used to watermark all of my previous art posts on Instagram and it was the only identifier on there that the work was mine other than my signature which also wouldn’t tell you much. Not a big deal for people following me on Instagram because changing my user name still retained all my followers. The real issue is that I had shared those images in other places on the internet, and only having that identifier on my work was the equivalent of a broken link back to anything current of mine.

Discovery Day
I woke up this past Tuesday morning to a surprising amount of Twitter action on a drawing I had done of Melissa McBride as her character Carol on The Walking Dead. I was so thrilled and flattered by all of the wonderful compliments I was getting. One person had even tweeted that they had tweeted my drawing a couple of weeks ago and that it had gotten a great response. I thought that was weird because I didn’t remember getting a notification on Twitter about that. So after some tweet-style detective work with this person I found out that they had found the image online and had just reposted it straight from I’m assuming an image search. I also discovered people were asking who the artist was and of course if they tried to use the watermarked @bsoti name it was going to come up with nothing. I kinda knew this would happen to some extent but I really hadn’t anticipated how much of a disservice I had done myself.

***HERE COMES THE IMPORTANT PART***

Changing my user name at the end of the day wasn’t a problem. It was the fact that I didn’t attach my full name on there as well.

Moral of the Story
The lovely people of Twitter had taught me something very important about how art on the internet is essentially like putting a business card out there. My whole point of sharing my art on the internet is to connect with more people who may like my work as well as other artists. But really what good is that if they cant find me? At this point my user names are not going to change any time soon, but I can’t guarantee myself they won’t either. Luckily I was able to interact with a lot of the people that had liked the retweet from weeks ago but there’s people I definitely missed as well. I didn’t know how popular the drawing would be so I didn’t really think about it. Assuming no one is stealing from you (because that’s a giant A-hole thing to do) the way people share information with each other these days allows for a lot of room for connections to be lost to the original source. If you’re a small artist in the big sea of artists out there and your work isn’t just somehow recognizable as yours just on sight, this is a very important thing to keep in mind. 

I can’t change the images that are already out there but I’m hoping that those of you who follow me on multiple platforms will direct people on the right path if you see something 🙂 I have to credit one of the other users on Twitter (@TheMeeDes) for telling people it was my work. Thanks a million! You’re the best! We artists need to look out for each other out there.

To everyone else, learn from my miss-step and make sure your actual name is on your work.

Watermark Apps for Iphone I Use:

Overgram

Watermark Lite

Other programs I Use:

Adobe Photoshop

NOTE: There are many other programs out there that are awesome… these are just the ones I use.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s