Organizing my artwork

One of the issues I’ve encountered as a creative person is an issue with organizing my artwork so that other people can easily find and enjoy it.

I admit it: I’m a “messy.”

I tend to file things in vertical piles. Stacks. Heaps. Whatever!

When I was younger, this wasn’t a problem. I knew exactly which stack and where in that stack the thing I needed was stored. Usually. My memory carried the load for me. I also was better about cleaning up those piles more frequently and putting them away.

Fast-forward to now: I’m realizing more and more that my creative, anything goes form of organizing is not only inconveniencing me (I’ve got too many stacks and I’ve forgotten what’s in them), but it’s also inconveniencing other people.

New York City and London artwork: I found my artwork - and posted it for sale in my "Famous Cities" collection on Spoonflower. Click through to purchase.

I found my artwork and posted it for sale in my “Famous Cities” collection on Spoonflower. Click through to purchase.

I’ve been trying harder to organize my artwork especially–because how are my customers going to find what they love if I can’t even find it to share it with them?

Lately, I’ve tackled several organizing issues online and on my computer related to this problem. I think I’m getting a handle on them, at least for now.

Organizing my artwork on my computer

Organizing my artwork on my computer has been a real challenge. For one thing, I’ve gone through four or five different computers since the Compaq that first spurred many of my creative efforts.

There are files I’m never going to be able to open again, files that have become corrupted or I’ve lost because computers have changed so much since then and the old formats are no longer readable. And frankly, when you’re saving files on flash drives and other media, it’s easy to lose track of where they are.

Recently I became aware that some of my favorite artwork was missing, and I didn’t know where it was. I had files filed under separate folders for more than one reason. Files transferred from other computers, folders that were labeled and forgotten, and of course, a number of flash drives.

I also found some patriotic artwork that I'd created. Click through to shop my patriotic designs on Zazzle.

I also found some patriotic artwork that I’d created. Click through to shop my patriotic designs on Zazzle.

Sorting through it all to find the missing artwork, and moving things around to simplify my filing system took time and effort, but it was worth it. I found my missing artwork, and I know exactly where it is now! (and hopefully, I won’t lose it again any time soon!).

One of the biggest issues I’ve had is organizing my thousands of flower photos. I won’t say I’ve got it completely under control (I still have flower photos left to identify and sort), but I now have 109 individually labeled folders from Ageratum to Zinnias in my computer files.

flower folders screenshot

My flower photos are organized, from ageratum to zinnias

Another place I’ve been seeking to organize more effectively
is the artwork that I sell on Zazzle.

This is a little harder to illustrate with images because it takes a while for the changes on the back end to show up on the front end where shoppers will see them. Changes I’m making today won’t show up until sometime tomorrow.

One of my recent projects has been organizing and updating my necktie collection:

Reorganized and updated Neckties collection: Click through to shop.

Click through to shop my reorganized and updated Neckties collection

I deleted all of the old style neckties from Zazzle that were only printed on the front and replaced them with neckties that are printed on both sides. I’ve also updated some of the artwork, as well as the titles, descriptions, and tags. I plan to add more neckties in the future, but this is a nice collection and a good place to start.

I’d love some feedback on it, too. Do you like these designs? Are there other designs I’ve created that you would buy if I added them to a necktie?

I will most likely never be entirely finished organizing my artwork or anything else, but I’ve made a good start.

Tips for organizing artwork:

  1. Consolidate your filing system.
    1. i.e., store all flower photos in one folder, all animal photos in another.
    2. Subdivide by categories
    3. What are you most likely to remember about a photo or a design? Label in a way you can remember and search for later. Ex: pink rose, boys running 7-2-2017 (adding dates can be helpful sometimes)
  2. Delete duplicates, delete poor quality images
  3. Don’t forget to back up your files.
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