Art Show - Forms

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"We use computers, so we don't need paper forms." Wrong! Even if everything is computerized, you need paper records. Paper doesn't crash or suffer from power outages [1], paper provides an audit trail in case it's needed; and unlike computers, everyone has pens or pencils. So consider paper forms the heart of your records. Design your paper forms first even if you use a computer. The forms I'm about to discuss are all paper forms. Well designed computer screens will correspond fairly well to paper forms (see Computer Records). For either paper or computer forms, keep them as simple as possible. Don't ask for information you don't need, and don't record or display it where you don't need it. As it gets more complicated it takes longer to fill out and people will make more mistakes.

Your two key forms are art control and bid sheets. They both contain price and sales information. Most of the information on each is the same (a computerized system might allow you to enter the data once and print both the control sheet and bid sheets - see control sheet and bid sheets). This is deliberate. This information needs to be in two places at once - one central location (control sheet in notebook and/or computer), and one attached to each piece of art (bidsheets). Control sheets are easily computerized. I've never seen bid sheets computerized. You can print them on a computer, but people still write bids on them by hand. Someday, maybe, eventually, they will also be computerized. It would certainly make it easier to record sales.

You must also record artist information, which may be combined with art control or have its own form. Artist information is usually only centralized, so it computerizes nicely. There can also be other forms.

Any of these forms can be made with self-duplicating (NCR) paper. This is a good way to make copies, but costs more, is hard to print yourself, and has a shorter shelf life. Whether it's worthwhile depends on your procedures and schedule.

  1. *  What happens if your computer system crashes? Don't say "it won't" - I've seen it happen. If it happens to you, would you rather just assume each artist got all their pieces accounted for, or be able to tell by using paper forms? The choice is yours. If you prefer to just assume, you can also save a lot of time by skipping those tedious check-in and check-out procedures.

Piece Numbers

Each piece of art needs a unique identifier. These piece numbers will be found on bidsheets and Art Control sheets. This is more complicated than it sounds.

  • You could number each piece of art as it comes into the show. This is impractical because you can't number them in advance; artists can't fill out their paperwork in advance, and you can't handle two artists arriving at once (or even a second artist arriving before the first has finished paperwork).
  • If you're using only paper forms and no computer, you can just identify each piece by artist, plus piece number for that artist. This allows artists to fill out their own paperwork regardless of what any other artist does. The fourteenth piece Ellisa Mitchell enters is uniquely identified by "Ellisa Mitchell 14". This only requires artists to write their names on each bid sheet - which they'd do anyway.
  • If you're entering data into the computer, "Ellisa Mitchell 14" is more than you want to type to identify a piece. "14" is terse enough, but you want a shorter way to specify "Ellisa Mitchell". There are several ways to do this.
    • Assign each artist a number as they register. Ellisa Mitchell might turn out to be "A23" or "M5". It's common to include a letter as the first character of the artist ID (the "A" might mean attending, or just artist, while the M would be the first letter of her last name) just so you can tell whether "22-23" is artist 22's 23rd piece, or artist 23's 22nd piece (oddly, I've never seen anyone use "22-#23", or "22#23").
      • Advantages: it produces short identifiers in advance.
      • Disadvantages: The artist numbers are arbitrary - you can't recognize them easily (and artists can easily forget them). Therefore, if artists fill out bid sheets by hand, they'll have to write the artist ID on each bid sheet, in addition to their name (it doesn't sound like much - until you're filling out 60 bid sheets).
    • Who cares how long the identifier is? In your program you're just going to select the artist from a pull-down list.
      • Advantages: No codes are necessary - very simple. Artists don't need to write aritst IDs on bid sheets.
      • Disadvantages: Choosing from a pick list is slow compared to entering "23" (typing "NY" is faster than scrolling down the list of states to find New York. Also less error prone).
    • A kind of compromise scheme is to assign each artist a four or five letter mnemonic code. "Ellisa Mitchell" could be "ElMi" or "EMit" or "ElMit" or "EMitc").
      • Advantages: The artist doesn't have to write their artist ID on the bid sheets, and you seldom have to look up an artist's ID.
      • Disadvantages: You will get duplicates (for the four letter codes shown, about six duplicates per hundred artists; for the five letter codes, about two duplicates per hundred artists). You have to alter one of each pair of duplicates (e.g., if both Patricia Pierce-Phillips and Patty Pietu would be called "PaPie", you could alter the code for Patricia Pierce-Phillips to "PaP-P"). That means there will be some artists you have to either remember or look up. It's also vulnerable to artists who vary their name (e.g., Bill and William probably give different codes).
    • Any code can be combined with a pick list in your program. This works particularly well with the alpha code - if the alpha code you expect doesn't work, pull the artist off the pick list.
  • Avoid the problem altogether by using barcodes to identify pieces.
    • Advantages: It's cool and high-tech. It eliminates incorrect piece numbers when recording sales.
    • Disadvantages: It's slower than keying in a code. It's faster to type "M6" and "14" (a well designed program will make them separate fields) than it is to pick up a scanner, scan the barcode, put down the scanner, and return your hands to the keyboard (because you still need to enter the price and buyer). Sending out barcode stickers to artists is as much a pain as sending duplicating bidsheets - just without the payoff - or the show can put them all on itself, which is a lot of work. You have to buy scanners. Sticking the barcodes on each piece is extra work for the artist. You now have two forms of ID for each piece - the printed version, and the barcode. Synching them up is extra work. You don't get incorrect piece numbers, but you do get barcodes that won't read.
  • Avoid the problem altogether by numbering Control sheets, rather than numbering artists. This means you'll keep a list of page numbers for each artist, rather than codes for each artist.
    • Advantages: If done right, it can work well. But...
    • Disadvantages: Much like numbering pieces as they come in, it makes the number of each control sheet depend on what other artists have done - so it's hard to do in advance. You can avoid that by assigning each artist a range of, say, three page numbers when they register - but then you're depending on the artist to number the pieces properly on both bid sheets and control sheets. This is an uncommon and somewhat more abstract scheme, so expect mistakes. It requires artists to write page numbers on each bidsheet. It can work well if artists are used to it - but most currently aren't.

When you see references to "piece number", it could be any of the schemes above.

Bid sheet

The bid sheet has two basic functions. It identifies a piece of artwork and records sales information for it. For identifying the art, it must contain at least the artist and the title of the piece. Other ID fields may be included, such as artist or piece number, medium, print type and number [2], seller [3], or awards categories.

There are two types of sales information. Pricing consists of the minimum bid, and quick sale price and after auction price if you use them. The section for buyer information contains multiple lines in which to write bids, and possibly one for the winning bid. Each line contains the bidder's name and their bid, and usually a bidder (or badge) number.

  • Artists like bid sheets to be small, so they don't eat up too much panel space. People reading or writing on the bid sheet want it big enough to read or write on easily. Compromise is in order.
  • Do not put large fancy graphics on the bid sheet. It wastes space and the bid sheet is supposed to be unobtrusive, not compete with the artwork (if you want to show off your graphic skills, enter it in the art show - don't sneak it in on the bid sheet).
  • It does not need a label saying "Bid Sheet".
  • If you put the convention's name on the sheet, make it small. People already know where they are.
  • Put the items you want to draw attention to in larger type. Use one simple clean font (not italic, not all upper case).
  • Don't enclose everything in nifty graphic boxes - it just adds clutter.

Each bid sheet will be seen by the artist, a few art show staff, and hundreds or thousands of potential bidders. So design it for the benefit of the bidders as much as possible.

Duplicating bid sheets make it faster and easier to record written bids. They also allow you to keep a copy of the bid sheet attached to the piece at all times. At auction, it means the auctioneer can see one copy without the other being removed from the piece. When the buyer picks up the piece, it can serve as a receipt. On the other hand, they are harder to make, cost more (from 2 - 6 cents each), and you'll have to mail them to artists - you can't expect the artists to print or copy them. If you have lots of time to record sold pieces (if you don't record bids until after the show, or have a Saturday night auction and people willing to stay up), you may not want to mess with them. If you need to speed up recording, they're great.

  1. *  If you accept prints in the show, put this on the bid sheet. Buyers should know the reproduction method used - some types of prints have a limited life, some handle exposure to light better than others, and some are more prestigious (thus commanding a higher price).
  1. *  If you are accepting resale art

Bid Sheet Sample

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This may even display larger than actual size - we fit six of them on a standard letter size page. If you needed more lines for bids, you'd only fit four per page.

Piece Number is down a bit from the top, because the top of the bid sheet often disappears behind the artwork.

Artist and Title are pretty obvious. If you are allowing resale art, you might want a Seller line. It could either go above Artist (but in smaller type) or below Title. Unless most of your show is resale, I'd make it a separate style of bid sheet, only used on resale art - you don't want a line that's useless on 95% of the bid sheets.

Many artists don't like to fill in Medium. Others do. Your auctioneer and some of your buyers want it, too. Pick who you want to make happy. Don't ask for Print type & number at a show that only accepts originals; do if you accept prints. If you don't accept prints, you might also lose the "of original" in the medium line. With prints, it's there to specify that you aren't referring to the reproduction method, which is what Print type asks for. This is confusing enough to warrant its own sidebar, below.

Minimum Bid, Quick Sale, and After Auction prices should be prominent and easily spotted, if applicable (there's no After Auction on this one). If you don't use it, don't put it on the bid sheet.

The section for bids contains three columns: Badge No., Name, and Bid. Badge No. is often Bidder No. (see registering bidders), and some small shows don't have this column at all. The columns are usually in this order, because it separates the two numbers and makes them less likely to get switched around.

This bidsheet has space for five bids - it's from a convention where three bids sent a piece to auction. You want a few more lines for bids than it takes to send a piece to auction. If it takes 7 bids to auction, you want 9 or 10 lines. If it takes 3 bids, five or six lines is nice. Putting 10 lines on the bidsheet when it only takes 3 to send it to auction just wastes panel space.

This bid sheet has a section on the bottom to indicate the winning bidder. I often just leave that space blank to write it in - we know where to put the information, and it reduces clutter (design for the bidders).

What's a medium? The term can refer to techniques or materials; it isn't very consistent. If "airbrush" is a technique using acrylic paint, why isn't acrylic paint applied with a brush called "camel hair brush"? Why is "digital" a medium if pointillism isn't?

Buyers are often interested in knowing how a piece was created. They might like to know that the original piece was done in gouache and an artist might enjoy explaining what gouache is. That's the medium of the orginal. What buyers actually need to know is the kind of materials in what they buy. Is the piece they're buying on archival paper? Can it can be exposed to sunlight? Does it need any kind of special framing? If they're buying a print, they need to know how the print was created - the print type. Unfortunately, this information often is not presented.

For medium of original art, "mixed media" is often shorthand for "it's too hard (or long) to explain". "Digital" isn't very specific, either.

For now we will ignore the difference between prints, reproductions, multiple originals, original prints, etc.; except to say that these terms are used differently in different specialties (e.g., Fine Art prints, photography, and digital art) and often cause confusion in a multi-media show like most SF convention art shows.

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There are two parts to bid sheets - information about the piece, and bids. In the example above, these two parts are stacked vertically; you can also put them side by side, creating a short but wide bid sheet (horizontal). This type of bidsheet works well with medium size 2D artwork; when attached below the piece it allows the next row of pieces to be closer than a vertical bidsheet would. Small 3D pieces look better with the vertical style. Some artists prefer vertical, some horizontal, some like to use both, and some don't care. I make both and let the artists choose how many of each kind they want. It uses space better and makes some artists happy but you have to keep both kinds in stock, and when you work with a stack of filled out bid sheets, having two shapes is awkward. As noted above, you need a little extra space on the top to keep information from disappearing under the bottom of the artwork. Since you'll need that space once per bidsheet on horizontal style bidsheets (as opposed to once per pair for vertical), they're a little less effiecient. We get six vertical bidsheets on one page, but only five horizontal bidsheets.

Some shows have multiple kinds of bid sheets, as opposed to multiple styles. I've seen separate kinds for NFS pieces, for "Junior Art Show" pieces, for professional vs. amateur pieces, prints vs. originals, resale pieces, etc. The merits of the various categories aside, having the bid sheets be obviously different does make the categories easier to recognize. But I think there's too much confusion in getting artists to use the right bid sheet for each piece, so I don't like them unless the art show staff helps fill them out. Small checkboxes are usually better than separate forms, and not having the categories at all is best when possible (keep it simple and design for the bidders). (also see awards).

The art show should keep a copy of the bid sheet. You may also want to give copies to the buyer and the artist (alternatively, you can give the buyer a separate receipt, and most artists prefer a copy of the art control sheet, though some like seeing the bidding patterns on individual pieces). NCR (carbonless duplicating) paper allows you to give a copy to the buyer and still retain one, without having to write up anything new. (see recording bids)

Art Control sheets and Artist Information

Art Control sheet is a fairly standard name. Artist Information sheet isn't. I've seen them called "Panel Request Form", "Artist Registration", etc. In any case, it's information about the artist, rather than about the art.

You can make these separate forms or combine them. If most of your artists bring few pieces, it makes sense to combine them. If you have many artists with many pieces, it's better to separate them. It's a question of real estate - artist information leaves fewer lines for artwork. If most of your artists only bring 4 pieces, fitting only 10 pieces on a page isn't a problem. If you have artists with 70 pieces, I'd rather put the artist information on a separate page so I can fit 25 pieces per page. Neither style is right or wrong, but for any given show, one is probably easier [4]. You can also have more forms, such as for agents, accounting, or mail-in art. Having more forms simplifies each one, but… you've got more forms.

  1. *  At MileHiCon in 2001, we had 27 artists with ten pieces or less, and 28 with more than ten pieces. Ten artists had over 25 pieces. We used separate forms. A month earlier, at NanDesuKon (a local anime con), at least 60 of the 74 artists had fewer than ten pieces; only two had over 25 (and no mail in art, so less artist information). We used a combined artist information and art control sheet.

Art Control Sheet

Unless combined with artist information, this contains mostly lines of information for pieces in the show. Most of the information duplicates the information on the bid sheet, so it's good to list that information in the same order. The first part of each line is entered by the artist, the last part by art show staff. If your bid sheets contain information such as medium and print type, it should not be on the control sheet (unless your bid sheets are computer generated from the control sheet. Even then, I'd have the computer entry screen show medium, but wouldn't print it out on the paper art control sheets output. Why? Because it doesn't need to be there).

If you plan to send the artist a copy of this sheet as a sales summary, you probably don't want to send them your only copy. NCR paper is easier than photocopying. If your show is computerized, it's more convenient to send a computer generated version of the art control sheet, which can also contain Print Shop, postage, and payment information, so I don't use NCR paper for art control sheets, though I often do for bid sheets.

Art Control Sheet Sample

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This is a separate form, rather than combined. This is reduced a bit - but not much or you couldn't read the print. The middle has been excised vertically; the Title column is really considerably wider but has been shrunk to keep the size down.

This form has a title at the top, because it could easily be confused with a Print Shop Control Sheet (if you use them). I usually print our Print Shop sheets on green paper, but I've had artists copy them on white paper, so the label still helps.

The first thing on the upper left is the artist's name. Many shows would put "Artist Number" or Artist ID first. Which order is better depends on how you keep records - either will work. Regardless of the exact location and type of artist name and ID, they should be prominent.

Panels, to the right of Artist ID, is to record the panel or table numbers the artist's work is on. It's optional - it's not necessary but might be convenient.

page __ of __ allows us to know whether all the pages are present.

Next are the listings of individual pieces. Since this is a separate control sheet, rather than a combined control & artist info sheet, it fits 25 pieces per page. The information for each piece is fairly simple.

Some shows put a checked in column on the left, just wide enough for a check mark, where the art show person checking in the artist should mark off each piece as it's checked in. That style is shown on the top of the sample. There are two common variations on this; the checked in column can be on the left of the number, or you can leave that column off entirely and just put check marks to the left of the numbers with no explicit column for them. That's shown on the lower part of the sample (the numbers have shifted right a little to leave room for check marks). Not having a column is a bit more confusing but also less cluttered.

Rather than printing the piece numbers, some shows leave a blank space on the left for the artist to fill it in. Piece number generally consists of an artist ID followed by a line number. There's no reason you can't have the artist just write the Artist ID once at the top of the page, and just concatenate the pre-printed numbers to it. Having the artist write their Artist ID on each line is pointless and sadistic. Having the artist fill in the number on each line makes them do extra work and allows them to skip numbers or put them out of order.

If the artist has more than 25 pieces, the numbers printed on the succeeding pages are wrong. As most artists don't have over 25 pieces, I'm willing to force those who do to re-label lines on pages after the first. You could have separate forms for page 2, page 3, etc., but didn't feel it wasn't worth the trouble of extra forms. You can also insert a page number into the piece number, so the piece number is a composite of page and line (e.g., piece 25 would be 1-25 and piece 26 would be 2-1). It sounds simple, but it causes mistakes - both for the artist filling out forms and for staff recording sales. A better alternative is to number each art control sheet and use that plus the line number to identify each piece, rather than artist plus line number. (see piece number)

Title - This is standard and required. Some shows try to get by without it, but the odds of making a mistake using only piece numbers is much higher, people remember titles rather than numbers, and it won't make any sense as a report to the artist ("I see #4 sold much better than #6. I wonder which was which?").

Insure For - Some shows automatically insure for Minimum bid or Quick sale price. This doesn't work well when an artist puts a minimum bid of $1 on a piece, with a Quick sale price of $10,000 (the artist wants to force the piece to auction), as neither of those prices may reflect the value of the piece.

  • Counterargument: our rules state what we'll do, so the artist should know the consequences of using those prices. This is simple but costs the artist flexibility in pricing.
  • Argument: The insurance amount is potentially used on two occasions.
    • One is if the piece is lost or damaged in the art show. This shouldn't happen, but you must be prepared for it. If you go by minimum or Quick Sale, expect problems with the artists or your insurance company, respectively.
    • The most common use is for return shipment of unsold artwork. The artist has to pay for insurance, and should be the one to determine how much insurance to buy. Using minimum or quick sale can result in under or over insurance.
    • Some shows and artists prefer to just list a flat amount for the entire shipment. I don't like this; if the artist sent $4,000 worth of art (and insured it for $4,000), and you are only returning $2,000 worth of art, the artist will pay for twice as much insurance as she needed. Forcing the artist to print a separate insurance amount is at most a minor hardship (our rules say we insure for minimum bid if they leave Insure for blank, so any hardship is optional).

Having an insure for column does rather imply you will be insuring the art show. Only sort of, because your rules could say that it doesn't, that the column is only used for return shipment - but that's poor practice.

Insure for could come after Quick Sale, rather than before Minimum bid, if you will default the insurance amount to Quick Sale price when the artist doesn't fill in an insurance amount. Putting it between two prices makes mistakes more likely - even more if you also have an after auction price.

Minimum bid is standard and required. Note the note above these columns, about not writing ".00". It's amazing how much that doesn't help - many artists do so anyway. Doing so requires wider columns to fit the price. More important, it likely means that the artist will also do so on the bidsheets, and you really don't want that. I've seen people fail to notice a small dot and assume the price is 100 times what it really is. I've also seen a minor flaw in the paper make them think the price is 1/100th of what it really is.

Quick sale is standard and required if you use it. Otherwise don't show it. If you use an After auction price, it also needs a column - there isn't one on this form.

That's all the information the artist enters. The rest is filled out by the art show staff.

# bids is where you record how many bids a sold piece received. I use a number or an "a" or a "q" for auction or Quick Sale. It's not mandatory, but can be helpful in tracking a particular piece and creating auction lists, helps with statistics after the show, and most artists like to have the information.

Sold for is the price the piece sold for. This is standard and required.

Sold to is the bidder or badge number of the person who bought the piece. Some shows record the buyer's name instead or in addition (I generally don't - it's easier to spell "416". I can find the buyer's name by looking up the number) (see privacy issue, data links to registration). It might make more sense to reverse Sold for and Sold to, so they're in the same order as they are on the bidsheet.

Some art shows also have a checked out column. I use the sold for column for this - each piece should either have a sales price or a check mark. It's not just less visual clutter; it also keeps everything to be checked in one column, reducing effort and errors.

At the bottom of the sheet are spaces for Pieces sold, this page and $ Sales, this page. Neither is necessary, but they're helpful for manual calculation.

Artist Information Sheet

This contains information about the artist. It may contain information about agents, art shipment (for mail-in), sales, and payments, but those could be unnecessary or on other forms. If you combine artist information and art control on one form, you'll need to put the agent, sales, shipping, and payment info elsewhere. You might use this form to report sales and payment summaries to the artist. If you do, NCR paper may be convenient. Otherwise it's just silly.

Artist Information Sheet Sample

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This is a multi-purpose artist information sheet. It contains artist, agent, and shipping info plus summaries for sales and payment. You may not need or want all this information, or may put them on other forms. I was trying to minimize the number of forms artists have to fill out.

Artist Name and Address are standard and required. Phone # and e-mail are to contact artists if there is a problem (usually with shipping, so these are more important for artists mailing in). Some artists have two addresses, a P.O. Box for public contact, and a street address for shipping. You could leave space for both. You also might want to ask artists for their website address (if you put a list of artists on the art show's website, you can then link to them).

May we give out your address/ phone number is not necessary. It's nice, but don't use it unless you're going to follow through.

You don't need the next (light gray) section unless you have agents representing artists. It could also be on a separate form. Wherever you put this information, send check to and make check payable to should be included.

If all my work sells, do/don't return my box is only for artists mailing their work in, and only applies if they sell it all. Some artists really want that box back, and others would rather save the cost of postage. It's not mandatory - you could just specified a policy in your art show rules. But asking seems friendlier to the artists; it gives them a choice and it keeps the rules shorter. It also keeps you from having to scan accompanying letters to see what they requested.

My work will be shipped/brought to the show is good if you accept mail-in art. You want to know what artists are mailing in, so you can contact them if their work hasn't arrived by the mail-in deadline. Some shows have a separate mail-in form, in which case this, the previous item (box return), and the next one (return via) can all go there.

Return via is not needed if your show has a policy stating that all work will be return shipped via one method. This is less work for the art show. Other shows state that they will return the artwork the same way it was shipped to the show. Many follow that with "unless instructed otherwise". As soon as you add that "unless instructed otherwise", you need a better way to keep track of it than checking every form or letter the artist ever sent you. I provide the checkboxes, and our rules say that if you don't check one, we'll return ship the same way you shipped to us.

How many bid sheets do you need? - some shows just give a few bidsheets to artists (possibly on-line), and tell them to print or copy as many as they need. This doesn't work if you use duplicating bid sheets, as I usually do. So when an artist reserves space, I ask how many bid sheets to send them (I always send a few extra, but some artists only need 2 and others want 65). This form is a bit confusing here because MileHiCon uses two different styles of bid sheet (identical contents, but different shape). The artist can request whichever style they prefer, or some of each. This isn't necessary, but makes some artists happy.

The next section of the artist information sheet is darker gray, and is to be filled out by the art show staff (as it says at its top). This information could be on a form other than the artist information sheet, but needs to be somewhere.

The very first line in this section is for art check out. The art show person who checked out the art after the show should intitial here. If the artist was present (i.e., didn't mail his work in) you should also get their signature, acknowleging that they've received their art back.

The next section is a simple validity check. The number of pieces in the show (or Print Shop) must be equal to the number sold plus the number returned.

Next is an accounting section where you can calculate how much to pay the artist. Add the panel fees they paid and subtract the fees they were charged. They're normally equal, so the sum is usually zero, but occasionally an artist will cancel part of their space in advance or pick up an extra panel vacated at the last minute, and this is where the refund or extra charge goes. If you charge membership fees, mail-in fees, per piece fees, etc., they would also have a column in this section.

Postage paid is how much the artist sent you to use for postage (including insurance). Postage is how much you actually spent to return the package. Many artists send enough postage that this will be a refund, but some don't and this becomes a deduction. Some conventions charge a flat mail-in fee, and use it to pay for postage. This is wonderfully simple, but return postage at my last show ran from $25.07 down to $3.95 (or zero for artists who sold everything), so some artists will end up subsidizing others. It also encourages artists to use really heavy packaging (which has both good and bad points) and inflate the prices their pieces are insured for. But it is simpler - it eliminates three blanks on the form.

The Sales, Art Show and Sales, Print Shop are sales before deducting any commission. The commission amounts are on the next line down, followed by the amount after commission below that.

At the bottom of this section is the grand total, the amount you pay to the artist. The check number of the artist's check is also here, which rather implies checks will be written by the time you send the form to the artist.

This gray section is sufficient for hand calculating what you owe the artist. Back in the mists of antiquity, we used to send the artists copies of this sheet plus copies of their art control sheets. Now we print out a report on the computer - which coincidentally contains exactly the same information as the gray section plus the art control sheets. We still do the hand calculations on this page and the art control sheets, though, to cross-check the computer records.

At the very bottom, belows the gray section, is a reminder for the artist to read and sign the back of the form. The back contains the art show rules (they all fit on one page - see rules), and a signature and date line saying the artist read and agreed to it. I've never actually needed it, but it's a Reasonable Precaution. And its very existence makes you less likely to need it.

Print Shop Control Sheet

If you have a Print Shop, you probably want a print shop control sheet for it. It is possible to use a standard art control sheet for this, but that will lead to confusion. The Print Shop control sheet keeps track of what pieces sold and for how much. This is exactly what the art control sheet does for the art show. One major differences is that in the Print Shop, all pieces sell the same way, and for a fixed price. You don't have to record how it sold or for how much - just that it did.

Most shows allow multiple copies of a print in the Print Shop. You can record information about them at different levels of detail:

Full detail Image only Price only
Print A - 14/200 $25 Print A - 3 copies $25 $25 prints - 5 copies
Print A - 15/200 $25 Print B - 2 copies $25 $40 prints - 4 copies
Print A - 23/200 $25 Print C - 2 copies $40
Print B - 18/200 $25 Print D - 2 copies $40
Print B - 6/200 $25
Print C - 19/50 $40
Print C - 43/50 $40
Print D - 23/50 $40
Print D - 24/50

Full detail works like an Art Control sheet. Each copy gets its own line.

  • Advantages: You know exactly which copies sold, and to whom (most art shows don't care much, but some artists do). It

can record buyers for each copy (but see privacy).

  • Disadvantages: It's more work for artist and art show. If they want to know which copies sold, many artists would rather compare the numbers before and after than fill out the extra paperwork. Each print must be uniquely identified, which makes it harder to sell unnumbered prints (some shows consider that an advantage).

Image only keeps track of how many copies of each print type sold. It may optionally approach Full Detail and track which copies sold, but it doesn't record buyers.

  • Advantages: It's easier. You still know which kinds of prints sold.
  • Disadvantages: You may not know exactly which copies sold (the art show doesn't need to know, but some artists want to). No record of buyers.

Price only keeps track of copies of each price of print, but doesn't worry about which images.

  • Advantages: It's easiest. You still have sufficient accounting information.
  • Disadvantages: You don't know which images sold, let alone which copies (the art show doesn't need to know, but most artists want to. Still, they may prefer ). No record of buyers.

Artists selling framed prints for $200 might want to know who bought their work (but see privacy). Artists selling $2 bookmarks probably don't care.

How much detail you need or want depends on how you run your Print Shop (see Print Shop) and what kind of items are in it.

Print Shop Control Sheet Sample

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This is reduced a bit, and again, the middle has been excised vertically and the Title column is really considerably wider but has been shrunk to keep the size down. The "copies sold" column has been shrunk a bit, too.

This form was designed for image only or price only. It looks enough like an Art Control Sheet that I print it on green paper instead of white. The title at the top helps should an artist copy one onto white paper. I won't repeat the items already discussed in the Art Control Sheet Sample.

Prints only have one Price for each piece - no quick sale or after auction prices.

Since it's an Image only form, it has columns for copies at start' and copies sold. If you're not recording which numbers sold, copies sold just contains a tally of how many copies were sold. If you do want to record which copies sold, you can list each print number in this column. Either way, when you check out the artist, the number sold plus the number remaining should equal the number at start.

The #sold x price each column is a subtotal for manual calculation.

This form works for either image only or price only. We let the artist can choose which method they prefer to use. To make it work for Full detail, rename copies sold to "buyer", remove the copies at start column (it's always one), and retitle the #sold x price each to "sold for" (it's always the sale price, but you still want this separate column for manual calculation).