How to protect your artwork

As an artist, your artwork is your pride and joy. Whether it’s your current job or you aspire to become a full-time artist, it’s a very rewarding career and it allows you to express yourself creatively. But do you know how to protect your works of art?

If you are a painter, illustrator or designer, protecting your artwork should be one of your top priorities. In fact, it should be your top priority. Physical works of art are vulnerable to damage from a range of things, including water, sunlight, dirt, and dust. As an artist, you need to know how to protect your drawings and paintings from the elements to maintain their quality and integrity for years to come.

You also need to protect your work from thieves. Unfortunately, in the modern world, many people assume that everything they see in person or online can be copied or used. Part of protecting your images is taking steps to prevent theft or unfair use of your work.

Proper fine art storage may seem complicated and overwhelming, but it’s easier than you think. As long as you take the necessary precautions, you can keep your amazing masterpieces for decades.

Below, we’ve listed some simple steps you can take to protect your work from damage and theft.

Photo by Hayffield L.

Properly store and handle your art

Protecting your artwork from sunlight, dust and solvents is essential if you want it to retain its quality and integrity for years to come. Here are some simple things you can do to protect your physical artwork.

Keep it away from sunlight

Sunlight can damage artwork and cause colors to fade. Whether new or old, you should store every piece of art away from direct sunlight.

Store your art in a dark windowless closet or room. You can also use protective covers on your art to protect the quality and color intensity.

If you decorate your home by hanging your artwork on the walls, be sure to keep it away from areas that receive intermittent sunlight.

Wash your hands before handling your work

Dirty hands can wreak havoc on your art. As clean as your hands may seem at any given time, dirt and dust can build up over the course of the day.

If you touch or move your artwork, dirt can transfer to the canvas and damage it. Your hands also contain natural oils that can transfer to the artwork and disrupt the paint. To avoid damaging your art, you should always wash your hands before handling it.

Avoid using solvents to clean your art

Chemicals, substances and solvents found in cleaning products can damage acrylic and oil paints. To keep your works of art in perfect condition, you should never use cleaning products on them.

If you need to clean them, use a soft microfiber cloth. Avoid getting the feather duster wet with cleaning sprays or water. Instead, gently wipe the dry cloth over the canvas to protect the paint.

How to protect your artwork

Photo, Erik Lucatero.

Protect your art against theft

If you post your images online, you must be extremely careful to avoid copyright issues. Online images are available for others to screenshot or copy and use for their own benefit.

Whether you post your work on your own website, third-party websites, or social media, follow these steps to protect it from potential copyright issues.

Post just part of the image

If you want to give your viewers a taste of the images available in your online store or show off your masterpieces on social media, avoid posting the entire image. Instead, post only a small portion of the work.

This will prevent others from being able to save or capture the image and use it for themselves. You can either use photo editing software or crop the image yourself to create a snippet. Depending on where you post the image, you can resize the cropped image accordingly.

Add a watermark to your images or use a copyright notice

If you want to publish your complete images online but want to protect them from being copied, you have two options. You can either add a watermark somewhere on your digital image or display a copyright notice somewhere on the web page.

A watermark covers part of the image so that it cannot be saved or captured and used elsewhere. Make sure that if you add a copyright notice, it’s easy to spot. It must inform your viewers of the legal penalties they face if they try to copy your image.

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