Using Social Media Artist Groups to Find Inspiration & Connect

The internet has made us more connected than ever before. Artists from across the globe can come together on various social media platforms to share their artwork, ask for advice and interact with each other. Getting involved in an online artist group can be a great way to network, continue to learn from others and be inspired to try new things. If you live in area where your artist community is small, non-existent, or you are perhaps a little intimidated to join a local artist group in person, this can be a great starting point for you.

Facebook Artist Groups

I’ve been involved in a handful of artist groups on Facebook for a little over a year now and it’s been a very rewarding experience so far. I didn’t realize that something like this even existed until I found out about it through another artist who I follow on Youtube. In general, the artists in the groups are of all skill levels so there opportunities to learn as well as help others in the group. Artists will often ask each other questions about techniques, supplies they are using, and various experiences along their art journeys.

Seeing the different styles, techniques, and enthusiasm of these artists can be very motivational and inspiring. Last year I witnessed the relatively rapid rise of a Colored Pencil artist through these groups. She started out posting her  work in progress shots and not only grew her following but over the course of the next 6-8 months was able to showcase her work in many notable exhibitions and was even able to quit her day job to become a full time artist. While this is not a common experience for everyone in these groups, it was inspiring to see someone start in the same relative place as everyone else and through the support of the community and her own perseverance be able to grow her career.

Things to Consider When Joining a Facebook Group:

  1. You have to have a personal Facebook account.
  2. Many groups are closed, so you will have to be accepted by the administrator to be added. This may seem strange but it’s put in place so that the groups doesn’t have fake accounts or people who aren’t there for the right reasons in art in the group. I haven’t come across anyone who required you to submit work before you can join, so that is generally not a concern if you just want to audit the group for awhile.
  3. Many groups have posting rules, so make sure you know what they are.
  4. Generally speaking these groups are meant to be a positive experience for everyone involved, so don’t offer criticism unless someone is asking for it. If you are looking for feedback on your own work be prepared to hear things you may not like. Try not to get discouraged, and instead try to consider everyone’s advice open minded. If you keep hearing the same few things about your work from different people, this could be an area you really need to work on.

Instagram Feature Accounts

Instagram is my favourite platform for sharing art on social media. There are literally millions of artists out there sharing their work, and I’ve discovered some of my favourite artists through it that I’m not sure I ever would have otherwise. Again, this platform allows artists from all over the globe to share their work, in a very straight forward way. With the addition of video capability, many artist have used this show short time-lapse versions of their works in progress. I love going through my feed and seeing what everyone is up to, and being inspired to go create something myself to share.

A great way to find new artists, inspiration, or even possibly get your work exposed to more people is to follow an artist feature account. There are so many out there and some even hold contests where you can submit your work and the followers vote for their favourites. Dialog back and forth can be a little limited in this format, but it will still connect you with the instagram artist community. Many of people will also be on other platforms like Facebook so you can always try to connect with them there for more in-depth conversations. 🙂

Things to Consider with Instagram Feature Accounts:

  1. Most will require that you use a specific hashtag, or method so that they can see your work. Make sure you are using the method they request you use.
  2. Tagging your work doesn’t guarantee a feature. It’s up to the administrator of the feature account as to who they want to feature, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get featured. Remember there are thousands of people also trying to be featured.
  3. Because these accounts are public, you are more likely to encounter trolls in this format. If your work gets featured, usually people are pretty supportive and positive, but don’t take it too personal if you encounter someone who is negative. Instagram does allow you to report someone’s comment if they are abusive, so you’re not completely unprotected.
  4. Your artist Instagram account will need to be set to public for feature accounts to see your tagged work unless they are following you.

There are many ways to find and share art through social media. Facebook and Instagram are my two favourites, but there are many other platforms out there that you can use. Take some time to experiment and find the ones that work best for you. In the meantime, enjoy being inspired by all the awesome artwork out there!

Barb Sotiropoulos

Barb Sotiropoulos

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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Hey, I'm Barb!

I’m a Canadian artist and designer specializing in coloured pencil and mixed media. When I’m not creating art, I love helping other artists by sharing tips and tricks that have helped me. You can find me on all of my social channels @barbsotiart or check out my past Q&A articles for COLORED PENCIL Magazine or my co-hosting appearances on the Sharpened Artist Colored Pencil Podcast.

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