History of The Artist

The Artist’s Magazine originated as a monthly journal addressed to working artists and illustrators. In the first issue, January 1984, William Fletcher described the magazine as “a lifeline in the lonely business of confronting the white space on a sketchpad, canvas, or any surface that accepts an image.” The artist’s life was “the most rewarding, exciting, frustrating, ornery, unpredictable experience you can imagine—and, of course, we would have it no other way, thank you.”

Over the years, The Artist’s Magazine evolved into a vehicle for art instruction. Its signature feature was a step-by-step demonstration of a painting; the articles were written in the first person, as if the artist were speaking to a student.

By 1988, there was an entire section devoted to graphic arts and a guide to greeting card design. In his letter from the editor in June of that year, Mike Ward discussed the Tax Reform Act and “how it treats artists so unfairly.” In that issue, there was a description of a direct-mail package, a list of art publishers and architectural firms seeking draftsmen, as well as galleries.

The Artist’s Magazine went online in 1999, joining Watercolor Magic (now Watercolor Artist) and Decorative Artist’s Workbook in what was called the Artists Network, a hub that included North Light Books.

By 2000, The Artist’s Magazine had become stodgy in its emphasis on basic instruction, predictable in its insistence on only one style of art (classical realism), and obdurate in its reluctance to cover acrylic, which was fast becoming the best selling medium.

In 2006, frequency was cut from 12 issues to 10 a year. As art director Daniel Pessell re-designed The Artist’s Magazine with the January 2007 issue, the editorial content changed. We broadened the scope with a commitment to feature the best artists working in all media and in all styles. Accordingly, we started including acrylic, collage and mixed media, as well as abstract art. We returned to The Artist’s Magazine’s original mission by adding more business features, especially topics on Internet business and illustration (children’s book and editorial).

ArtistsNetwork.com relaunched with a complete redesign in 2008 with blogs, art videos and an extensive archive of articles from The Artist’s Magazine, Watercolor Artist and The Pastel Journal. ArtistsNetwork.TV debuted a few months later with subscription art instruction workshops, featuring well-known artists such as M. Katherine Hurley, Stephen Quiller and Jean Grastorf.

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