Contributors’ Writing Guide

American English

Note that The TINCAN Magazine uses American English spelling.

“color” not “colour”
“standardize” not “standardise”
“center” not “centre”
“spelled” not “spelt”
“traveler” not “traveller”
“learned” not “learnt”
“while” not “whilst”.

Oxford comma

Use the Oxford comma.

Numerical description of time periods 

When writing about a century, use Arabic, not Roman numerals.
“20th century”, not “XXth century”, “twentieth century” or “2000s” (this refers strictly to decades).
When writing about a decade, follow the example:
“1990s”, not “90’s”
When writing an artist’s life dates, follow the example:
“(1864–1943)”, not “(1864 – 1943)” or “(8 December 1864 – 19 October 1943)”

Era description

When writing about an era, use Common Era (“CE”) and “BCE” (Before the Common Era) instead of Anno Domini (“AD”) and Before Christ (“BC”).


For numbers under 10, use the complete spellings 
“one”, “two”, “three”, etc.

The apostrophe “s”

The apostrophe “s” on the end of names ending in “s”: use just an apostrophe without additional “s”
“James’”, not “James’s”


Cross-reference spellings and capitalization of words by diligent Google Search and Wikipedia entries.
If you’re unsure about the spelling of a word, or if it is even a word at all, google it.
Note that “Brazil”, for instance, is spelled with a “z”.
Check whether a term is generally capitalized by looking at its Wikipedia entry, most of art movements are always capitalized, like “Renaissance” or “Impressionism”, while, for instance, ‘century’ is usually not.
Note that artists representing specific movements are also capitalized, for example, “Impressionists” or “Surrealists”.


When making a determination of whether to provide a translation of the names of paintings or museums, the general rule is to provide an English translation unless;
-the meaning is clear to English speakers without the aid of a translation
-this word/name is usually left untranslated.
Wikipedia can be your friend if you’re unsure of how to translate something, or whether you should translate it at all.
For instance, Berlin’s “Gemäldegalerie” (“Painting Gallery”) is referred to in German on the museum’s English-language Wikipedia page, whilst Berlin’s “Museum für Fotografie” is translated as “Museum of Photography”.
When referring famous artists, use English versions of their names if they exist, for instance, “Raphael”, not “Raffaello Sanzio”.


Commas act as pauses in sentences. If you’re unsure whether a comma should be there, try reading it aloud; if the pause feels unnatural and ruins the flow, remove the comma.


Unless the approach of your article is deliberately subjective, rather than objective, avoid using first person in your articles. Instead of saying “I really enjoyed the exhibition”, write “The exhibition is really enjoyable”.
The occasional contraction (for example “it’s” instead of “it is”) is acceptable to an extent.
Minimize the use of exclamation marks and rhetorical questions.
Italicize the name of works of art, names of exhibitions, titles of books and newspapers, etc.
The Starry Night, instead of “The Starry Night”
The Guardian, not “The Guardian”
If you are not sure about how to write titles, follow these rules (except for artworks).


Capitalize the titles according to the general rules. Capitalization of headings is optional.
Capitalization of artworks’ titles is mandatory unless the original title is not capitalized.


While introducing an artist, work under the assumption that the reader knows nothing about this artist, even if they’re famous. Add information on their place and date of birth if such information is available.
Refer to deceased in the past tense. Explain technical terms of art as most readers are laypersons without a background in art history or an art history education. Include pictures of works referenced in the articles. If possible, include one image of the artist in the article.

Picture caption

Include citations in the image caption. This may include available information such as the name of the artist, the name of the artwork, period, and place of origin as well as the source of the image.

artist, artwork, date, (technique/medium), (origin), museum/gallery/church etc., city, country, source


Sack-back gown (Robe à la française) and petticoat, 1775-1780, Victoria and Albert Museum, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Exhibit in the Wadsworth Atheneum – Hartford, Connecticut, USA, Daderot, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Harlequin and Columbine, Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

J.M.W. Turner, Sunrise, with a Boat between Headlands, 1840, Tate, London, UK.

Virgin and Child, c. 1350, ivory, North France, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.


If you want to underline where certain information in your article comes from or it is a paraphrased quotation taken from another author, use an upper index to create a footnote: Include important information about the source in a footnote. If it is a digital source, link it.