Evernote, if you haven’t used it before, is a cloud-based suite of programs designed for note-taking and storage. Many people use it for scanning receipts and storing personal data in the pursuit of a paperless desk. Others use it to take notes in business meetings, keep track of clients, or collect recipes.
If you’re an artist, especially one who might be organizationally challenged or not particularly computer-savvy, there are many ways that Evernote can be particularly useful for you:
1: Collect ideas and photos without having to know where you put them, and have them available wherever you are without pesky file transfers. All you have to do is create a few “notebooks” in Evernote, and collect away. You don’t have to worry about file structures, or whether hierarchically your “color ideas” are stored in your “inspiration” folder inside your “art folder.” Put ‘em all in your Art notebook, and you can just search for what you’re looking for whether you’re at home at your computer or on your smartphone.
2. Keep track of important process details. If you’ve painted something with a specific mix of oil colors, for instance, take a picture of the painting with a note describing how you mixed the colors. If you fired a glaze at a particular temperature and time, take a picture of the pot with the firing details. Was that image transfer using Purell or gel medium? Don’t rely on your memory.
3. Keep an inventory of your art supplies. Take a picture of everything, and put the product name in the title. That way, when you go to the store and can’t remember if you’ve bought that green Ranger ink pad, you can check on your smartphone.
4. Collect inspiration. Take pictures of patterns, colors, juxtapositions. If I see a great fabric pattern I might wan to use for Zentangling, I’d snap a picture, probably with the title “Fabric pattern” and the tags “pattern,” “inspiration,” and “zentangle.” Then later if I want to look at patterns, be inspired, or I’m stymied for a tangle, I can search for that tag and see what comes up. Don’t let your pictures languish in your camera roll. Take important art-related pictures in Evernote and let them be catalogued.
5. Your Evernote account comes with an email address. You can forward all your receipts from your business to your Evernote account via email, either manually or using a mail filter.
6. Not organized enough to use a planner but need to remind yourself of things? Use the Evernote Post-it pads, then snap them into Evernote using your camera phone. Even if you have the Post-its scattered all over your house, they’ll all be in one place in Evernote, and you can even direct them to specific notebooks or tags.
7. Use Evernote’s tags to your advantage to search for a specific need. Yes, you could use Pinterest to create separate “inspiration” boards for “Blue,” “Ocean,” and “Backgrounds” — but what if you were specifically looking for that background image that you knew was of blue waves. You might find it if you didn’t have too many items stored on your boards, but you’d be able to call it up quickly in Evernote even if you had a gerbillion items stored.
8. Take advantage of Evernote Premium’s image text search feature. You could take a picture of all your paint labels, and then later do a text search to find out whether you have a certain one.
9. We all want to graze on other people’s web pages to find inspiration or tips, but never have the time to read everything. Certainly we don’t have the space to print everything out. Instead, save a web page to Evernote, and later when you’re puttering around and wonder “didn’t I come across an article on new digital cameras recently?” you can just search your Evernote notebook.
10. Don’t keep your client information on your computer and worry about when was the last time you backed it up. Keep it safely in the cloud, on multiple devices. In fact, free up space on your hard drive by keeping a lot of your files in Evernote.