Traditional artist's crash course for NFT creation

In this article, the talented Andalee Hyatt takes us through the basics of creating NFTs, from the perspective of a traditional artist. A must read for all creators that are new to the space! logo
@enter.artPUBLISHED 6TH APRIL 2022

Heads spun at Christie’s auction house last year as NFT creators took the world stage. A space typically reserved for traditional art including paintings, sculpture, and experiential art now featured digital works of art for sale. Marketplaces emerged where creatives could sell their art and people who were new to the idea of investing got rich off collecting NFTs. Collectors buzzed with anticipation for emerging artists and opportunities to invest in new talent. It even captured the attention of the news as words like “Beeple” and “Bored Apes” were being thrown around by news anchors. NFT creators from around the world were dazzling viewers with animated GIFs, static digital fantasy art, and gaming characters. Digital land for sale? Really? Graphic designers had captured the world stage for once – not Banksy, but unnamed, anonymous artists. You might be wondering as you read this, if you’re an artist yourself, how do I get started with making my art into an NFT? Well, in this article we will be giving you a crash course for traditional artists on how to get started.

We will discuss common questions like the following; 

“How do I translate my watercolor painting into an NFT?” 

“How do I find the right place to sell my NFT?”

“How do I set up a digital wallet and how do I decide which marketplaces are the best spaces to sell my work?”

What is an NFT? 

Before diving into the mechanics of how to create an NFT, we first need to address the question “What are NFTs?” You can find an entire article dedicated to “What are NFTs?” on We recommend beginning with this article first and then returning to this crash course guide to NFT creation. In a nutshell, NFTs are digital assets sold on the blockchain; exchanged might be a better description for this event. Investors buy NFTs with cryptocurrency which is exchanged for art. This art comes in the form of a digital format such as a JPEG or GIF. The art exists in the collector’s digital wallet and can be displayed digitally. In some instances, artists have chosen to also provide the physical artwork in addition to the digital NFT. 

Creating Digital Art NFTs from Paintings

Creating an NFT is an easy process. If you have ever taken a photograph of your art, then you have already created the base for an NFT. With a simple photo of your art, even though we can use this to list as an NFT, the quality might not be good enough. You will want to create a digital copy of your work to list as the actual NFT online.

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If you are a watercolorist, you will need to create a digital copy of your work by scanning it with a color scanner that can capture high resolution images. You can see in the image above that the picture captured a yellow tint on the paper.

The best way to create an NFT from physical artwork is by scanning the artwork with a personal scanner at home, or by taking it to a professional art reproduction company that can capture a high resolution image of your work. For art that exceeds the size of a standard scanner, you may want to hire a photographer who can professionally capture an image of your work that has consistent lighting and accurate colors. You can see in the photograph below that the light is uneven on the painting. A photo like this won’t work for an NFT.

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It is important to professionally capture your work in the JPEG image to increase the quality of what you are selling. Images that have white backgrounds, even lighting, or are produced using a scanner will work best for this process. Ultimately, you will be cropping out the background and focusing just on the artwork. If your art has an uneven shadow, this will look weird in the NFT when it’s listed online.

When scanning your own artwork using a desktop computer, ensure your file is set to scan at 300dpi. 300dpi is a standard resolution for printing. Even though we are selling digital art online and the web only requires 72dpi, your work will look better at 300dpi. I recommend having a higher resolution so there is no grain in the artwork. Collectors want high quality artwork. Photography should also be white balanced with accurate colors. Tools such as Adobe Lightroom will give you an advantage in correcting images if you are taking the photos yourself. You can hang the painting on a white wall with even light and take a photo. After taking the photo you can crop out the background and correct the colors.

  • White balance images
  • Color correct
  • Remove backgrounds
  • Set scanner to 300dpi
  • Make sure the perspective of the picture is even

Viewers notice when images are not consistent throughout an artist’s portfolio or next to other artworks that might be better quality. Quality affects pricing and how much desire collectors will have in purchasing your NFTs. The higher quality your work has, the more likely your art will be collected. 

Types of NFTs: Form and Format

The types of NFTs are numerous. Anything can be sold as an NFT and minted. You have the choice of creating your watercolor painting or oil painting as more than just a static image. Common file types for NFTs include JPEGs, GIFs, video files, and 3D graphics. You can get creative with how you capture your art or display it online. 

For example, you could take a video of the creation process with the watercolors splashing across the page in a time lapse video. This video could be your NFT. If you are a sculpture artist, you may decide to create a 3D model of your sculpture and sell that as an NFT. Collectors would purchase the NFT so it can be displayed in a metaverse environment. Curated digital art shows are great places to include your work. Artists can get creative with how they turn their traditional art into an NFT based on where they envision their work. 

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Carol Literary Collection #1 by @Thelastpigment

Since collectors might display your art in a metaverse or digital showcased venue alongside other art, think about how you want the viewer to experience your art. Maybe you want the artwork to be animated, 3D, or be adapted for metaverse glasses in simulating a visceral response. There are many tricks to animating an artwork using an iPad or free software for creating animated GIFs. Animated GIFs are quite popular, but you are not limited to this form of digital asset.

Traditional artists should decide how they want the end user to experience their art before signing up for a marketplace. showcases traditional and digital art that reflects more of a high art style. Some marketplaces do not require an application-based process and you can sign up immediately. This can be a bad thing. Your artwork can end up being displayed next to artists with conflicting themes, subject matters, and styles. It’s important to conduct research and pick a marketplace that fits your art, style, and message. 

In the next article we will discuss collection building and why this is important. 

This article is a guest article written by creative director and NFT artist Andalee Hyatt aka @thelastpigment. Make sure to check out her works on:

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