How To Inventory Your Artwork (And Why You Should!) – Art Design Consultants


How To Inventory Your Artwork (And Why You Should!)

Posted on 01 September 2017

Guest blog from Artwork Archive

From gaining respect and saving valuable time to informing your business strategy and increasing the value of your art, documenting your inventory of works has huge benefits.

We’ve broken it down into ten simple steps to make it even easier. So, set aside a dedicated time, turn on your favorite tunes, and begin inventorying your artwork. We promise the little bit of effort it takes now will cut down on stress later on.

tips on photographing your artwork


 1. Work Backwards

It can seem overwhelming to inventory a career’s worth of art, so we recommend working backward. That way you’ll start with the art that is freshest in your mind–and the work you need to have details on hand for potential galleries and buyers. Then you can take a trip down memory lane and archive your past work.


 2. Take Photographs

While this may seem obvious, it is tempting to type in the title and dimensions of a piece and be done with it. Don’t fall for that trap! We all know artists are visual creatives and it is so important to have a visual reminder of your work.

As the years go by and the works amass, it can be easy to forget which painting goes with what title. It’s also nice to have beautiful, high-quality images of your work to send to interested art collectors, buyers, and galleries using the Artwork Archive inventory report or portfolio page feature.

Inventorying all your art with beautiful photos and the right information lets you send buyers and galleries what they need in a snap.


3. Number Your Work

It’s useful to have a numbering system in place so you can track your work chronologically and know the basic information just from the label. There is no one way to inventory your art, but there are plenty of great ideas out there if you don’t know where to start.

Artist Cedar Lee organizes her art by two digits for the number of the painting she painted that year, then a letter for the month (January is A, February is B, etc.), and two digits for the year. On her fantastic blog Art by Cedar, she writes “for example, there is a painting in my inventory with the control number 41J08. This tells me that it was the 41st painting of the year, created in October of 2008.” She begins again with number 1 and the letter A every January.

You can also add more detail such as a letter to signify the type or medium of the work like OP for oil painting, S for sculpture, EP for edition print, and so one. This would work well for an artist who creates in a variety of medium. 


4. Add In the Right Details

You’ll need to record the title, dimensions, inventory number, creation date, price, medium, and subject matter to have a detailed catalog of the piece. You can also add in the framed dimensions if need be. Next, comes the extra fun part–no, we’re not joking.


5. Take Notes on Each Piece

Record the description of each piece as well as any notes for the piece. These can be thoughts you had while creating the artwork, inspirations, materials used, and if it was a gift or a commission.

You’ll get to relive the creation of each piece, reflect on past successes, and see how far you’ve come.


6. Assign Your Work to a Location

You should assign each of your pieces to a location. That way you’ll always know which gallery or venue is showing your work.

You’ll have the information at the ready if a buyer wants to purchase a piece that is outside of your studio and you’ll never accidentally send work to the same gallery twice. You’ll also know where all your art resides once it has been purchased whether it’s your hometown or an international location.


7. Add In Important Contacts

Next, add in important business contacts so you have the details of your art collectors, gallery owners, interior designers, museum curators, and art fair directors all in one place. That way you can access them anytime, anywhere as well as connect them to specific pieces of your inventory. You can keep them updated on your art career and mail personal thank you notes to your best buyers.


8. Register Sales

Now it is time to register and record sales that are associated with specific contacts. You’ll know exactly who bought what, when, and for how much. That way you can notify them when you’ve created similar work and hopefully make another sale.


 9. Record Competitions

Having a log of all the competitions allows you to see which ones accepted your artwork and which ones awarded you a prize. Tracking your most successful pieces will help you to understand what jurors are looking for, so you can enter with better pieces every year.

Also, it certainly piques a buyers interest if a work has won a competition, so you’ll want to have this titillating piece of information on hand to help a sale along.


10. Enjoy and Share Your Work

By using a program such as Artwork Archive you can view your final product in a clean, organized template. Or, try turning on your Public Page and perusing a beautiful online gallery of your work. Then you can share it with buyers and collectors and sell more artwork. Artwork Archive’s paid subscribers who have marked four or more pieces “public” are featured on Discovery, where buyers can contact them directly to purchase work. Better yet, artists handle the transactions and keep all the money!



Whether your priority is cutting down on stress and saving time, or cementing important relationships and promoting your artwork–or a combination, you a go-getter, you–archiving your art will help you reach your goal. So, set up your art inventory management software and get to work. You’ll be so glad you did.

Check out Artwork Archive to help get you started. When everything’s in order you can concentrate on creating the art career you’ve always wanted.





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Meet Litsa

Litsa Spanos – loving wife and mother of three – is an established art consultant, award-winning gallery owner, custom framer and educator. In this blog, Litsa shares with you her love for beautiful things. She will give you an exclusive look into the world of fine art and the artists who create it. She will also let you in on inspirational design ideas that are sure to give your home or office energy, warmth and reflect your own personal style.




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