Artist Entrepreneur: M for Materials and Methods— The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art by Aletta de Wal

Welcome to Artist Entrepreneur Fridays, where we talk about the fun, wild and scary ride of succeeding as an artist entrepreneur of all stripes and types and mediums.

Welcome back guest columnist, Aletta de Wal. She specializes in helping visual artists succeed in their fine art careers. She posts regularly on “The Artist’s Alphabet Guide to Writing About Your Art” and other success tips for fine artists on the topic of writing. This week it’s M for Material and Methods, on about writing about your art — essential keys to business and artistic success. Enjoy!


My very own copy of The Artist’s Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition, Revised and Updated (Reference) Ralph Mayer arrived today. I agree with this Amazon review: “Probably the best, most available and comprehensive book on the technical aspects of painting. Very useful for artists who pursue absolute soundness of technique with a mind for permanence of their work. Explains in detail the wide range of supports, grounds, primers, pigments, media and application methods, as well as their respective benefits and defects. Certainly not for the casual reader.”

I don’t want to make my own pigments or quill pen, but I do like to know the history of materials I use. I am also intrigued by the materials and methods other artists use and I know many art collectors who share my curiosity. 

You don’t have to write an encyclopedia like Mayer did, but writing down the basics about your materials and methods prepares you to answer questions like the following from potential buyers or workshop participants.

  • What is the history of your art form?
  • Who are your role models and mentors?
  • Did you go to art school, take workshops or are you self-taught?
  • If you have taken training, how did you make what you learned your own instead of a copy of the instructor’s art?
  • What materials and media do you use? Which are your favorites? Where do you buy them?
  • How do you actually make the art?
  • What happens if you make a mistake or the art doesn’t turn out the way you wanted it to?
  • How do you decide on frames or pedestals? Do you make or buy them?
  • Who are your role models and mentors? What lessons have you learned from them? 

Next N for News


Aletta de Wal, Artist Career Training

Aletta de Wal inspires fine artists to make a better living making art in any economy.

Aletta works with part-time, emerging and full-time visual artists who are serious about a career in fine arts. Aletta makes make art marketing easier and the business of art simpler.

More information at:

You may also like...