Shop Talk

How to Protect Your Work on Social Media

One of the most common conversations we have with artists is about marketing, and more specifically social media. The benefits of being on social media is something we bring up frequently and most recently in our Tips for Promoting your Art on Instagram. Having a strong and engaging social media presence can contribute greatly to your work being seen by more people, gaining new fans, and even more sales. With all of the new changes and optimizations to popular social media platforms, like Instagram stories, it’s becoming easier to use social media as your main marketing effort.

Even so, there are still many artists that are wary about putting their work on social media. The main concern is the possibility of theft. Uploading your latest and greatest work of art, only to find that someone has shared the work and claimed it as their own, or worse yet offered it for sale somewhere. Since there are so many benefits for putting your art in the social world, we have some tips here that will help discourage those with sketchy plans of snagging your art, and even keeping your name attached to the images in a snazzy way.

"Key to Knowledge" by shizayats


This is the most common solution and one many artists turn to. Watermarks can be very effective at protecting your work, but they can often be distracting and even negatively affect the chances of the art being shared. However, there is still a way to share your work and add a watermark that integrates with the image in an almost seamless way. Instead of just slapping on a large watermark directly in the center of your image and then lowering the opacity, try to create a watermark that not only represents you as an artist but also fits the image in a pleasing way.

The example below shows a drawing by RB Intern/Artist Julia Gingras. Notice how she added a graphical watermark that fits with the work, and also shows her web address. In other images she has posted to Instagram, she used a white version as well. Also, as the drawing is tilted it not only gives it a pleasing view but it’s harder to crop out the watermark. A business card could also be used and added to the scene when taking the photo.

Julia Gingras

Works in Progress

One of the more overlooked forms of social media content for artists, is work in progress shots. It may seem like fans wouldn’t want to see a drawing or painting that isn’t quite finished yet, but they actually perform very well. This goes for work in progress videos as well. The great thing about work in progress images is that you are still keeping your fans up to date with what you are creating, and since you are no doubt always working on new things, work in progress images are a consistent source of content.

In the image below by Resident Alumnus Ruta Dumalakaite, she not only showed the work in progress but also the supplies she used to create the painting, This not only allows fans to see how the works are created, but also shows fellow a look into her process and materials. This type of content is not attractive to thieves wanting to sell the art as their own.

Ruta Dumalakaite

Creative Scenes

Instead of posting your latest work of art in full, another thing you can do is to create scenes. Make the art the center of attention, but also add some extras that give your images a special feel and reflect your aesthetic. When creating scenes you can also give your fans ideas on how to display your work. Maybe the scene shows a framed print and how it would look next to a shelf with collectibles and floral arrangements.

In the example below by Medusa Dollmaker, she is showing an original drawing along with her pencil and some dried flowers that fit the overall scene. One of the main things to notice is that the image is not filling the frame and also has some flowers overlaying the drawing in some areas. As with the work in progress images, this will make it harder for thieves to crop the work out. Take a look at the rest of her Instagram as she has some great idea for displaying works in creative spaces.

Medusa Dollmaker

Each one of the tips above can be mixed and matched, and even combined. Your work in progress shots and creative scenes can have watermarks added to them and each image can feature your tools as well. The goal is to create images that are enticing and show off your work, but also make it hard for those dastardly art thieves to even try and pass off as their own. The examples shown are for Instagram, but these tips can work for images on any social media platform.

Think about a clever way to add a watermark, and start sharing those work in progress shots and creative scenes.

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Art historian, burrito enthusiast, and Email Marketing Specialist here at Redbubble.