Recently I posted about Blurb, the self-publishing website where anyone can create a book, and buy or sell it online. I decided to explore Blurb a little more, and try out the Booksmart software for myself.
The Blurb books are print on demand. Many may be familiar with print on demand services, such as Fine Art America and Redbubble. The advantage with print on demand is that anyone can create a professional looking book online and sell it through Blurb’s online store. The book can be updated, added onto, and reprinted anytime.
Self-publishing an art portfolio is a great way of displaying artwork in book form. They are great for handing to people who are interested in seeing more of your art. People who actually purchase an art book are more likely to follow you – they will have the book as a constant reminder of your artwork. They may browse through it occasionally, and even show it off to their friends and family. The portfolio book serves as a promotional tool not only for artworks printed within, but for all art that an artist creates in the future. I would even say that they are better for marketing art than an art website. People are much more likely to buy if they see reproductions in a book as opposed to on a computer screen.
I have been discussing the Blurb books as a way of making art portfolios, but they do have many others uses. Blurb self-made books are great for many occasions, including weddings, travel photographs, graduation photos, family photos, and more. They are also useful for self-publishing poetry and writings. For the sake of this article, I will show you how to use Blurb for creating art books, art portfolios, and art catalogues.
Please refer to our previous introduction to Blurb in this article: How to Self-Publish an Art Book With Blurb
There are many artists and galleries who are already using Blurb to self publish their art books and art catalogs. The Blurb Bookstore has nearly 50,000 books in the Arts and Photography section, with over 5000 in the Fine Art subcategory.
How to Set up a Blurb Profile
- Go to Blurb.com (*affiliate)
- Click the orange Join Today button in the top right corner.
- Enter an email, username, and password, then click “Register”. Be sure to check your email to read the welcome email.
- Download Blurb Booksmart through the link on the next page. This free software makes it easy to create a book right from your computer, then purchase, or just upload it to the Blurb store. Blurb Booksmart allows customization of text and fonts, import of blogs, text, and photographs. Your newly self-published book can even be converted to an ebook for IPad.
- Setup your Blurb profile by going to My Account-Profile. Upload a profile photo, add your website, and fill in a short bio.
- The fastest way to get started with Blurb is to watch the full video tutorial. Find this at Help - Tips and Tutorials (or at the first part of this series). Watch the first two tutorials on how to use Blurb to self-publish books: Getting Started With Blurb Booksmart and Step by Step Guide to Creating Your Book.
How to Make an Art Portfolio Book with Blurb Booksmart
- Click the big orange Make a Book button.
- Select a bookmarking tool that will help in the creation of the book. Bookify Online allows the creation of your book online, without having to download software. An Adobe Indesign plugin is available for those who want full control over the design. The most popular choice is Booksmart, a downloadable software, that includes custom text and photo layouts.
Download this by clicking the button in the center, if you have not done so already. Go through the installation process. When completed, choose to run Booksmart right away.
- Read the getting started guide and watch the video tour to get familiar with how Booksmart works. Click Start a New Book when ready.
- Choose name and author, pick your book size, and click Continue.
- Choose a starting point for your Blurb self-published art book. There are many options to choose from, including photo book, guest book, wedding, yearbook, cookbook, poetry, blog to book, and more. Since I will be creating an art book, I will choose Portfolio at the top. If this is your first time creating a book, click Continue under Guide Me to proceed to the next step.
- Select where you want Blurb Booksmart to retrieve your photos. Choose either Your Computer, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa, or Smugmug. Find the artworks on your computer and select more than one by holding down Ctrl (Windows) while selecting. Click Continue when completed.
- Next choose whether to autoflow your book, or to organize the photographs yourself. If you have not already had them organized in a specific order by file name, I recommend to choose to organize them yourself.
- Select a theme, either Viewfinder, darkroom, or vivid. Click Continue, and the photo uploading process will begin.
- From here, get started with designing your Blurb self-published art book. If this is your first book, try to keep it simple. Add all your photos and text first before even changing the page layouts.