How to Make Prints of Your Art: A Beginner’s Guide

At the start of the new year, artists are looking for new ways to make a profit. One way to do this is by establishing new revenue streams that can capitalize on the existing value of artworks!

Creating prints is one tool that can promote your brand and increase your art sales. In this article, you will understand how to make prints of your work, the different types of prints, and where to sell these prints. Read on!

What is a print?

A print is a copy of a pre-existing work of art. This allows artists to reproduce and sell multiple copies of the same image in various forms.

The print market today allows artists to sell large quantities of the same piece online. Although prints may have a lower value than an original piece, it allows artists to sell to a wider audience and makes their pieces more accessible. 

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That being said, artists must consider that an unlimited number of prints will bring the value of their original piece down substantially.

Consequently, the fewer prints an artist produces, the higher the value they can sell for. If you only make 10 prints vs. 100 prints, you will be able to sell your prints for 1/10 of the original price instead of 1/100. 

To sell their prints, artists must ensure that both the scan of their print is high-quality before marketing their pieces. Your prints will always reflect you as a brand, so it is essential to make good quality prints that will remain intact for a long time.

How to Create a High-Quality Scan of Your Art?

Before creating a high-quality digitized art print, it is necessary to upload a scan or image of your original artwork. It is preferable to use a scanner but, in order to do this, you must ensure your art is relatively flat and fits on the scanning screen.

Before scanning your artwork, make sure that your resolution is set to 300ppi. If possible, you can play around with the brightness and contrast on your scanner. These adjustments will result in a higher-quality image.

If your piece is too large or does not easily fit in your scanner, you can photograph it. In order to stabilize the image, you should start by attaching your artwork to the wall with hanging strips or Blue Tack. Then, ensure your camera or phone is level, which you can do with a tripod.

Try to utilize natural light or soft box lighting to achieve equally distributed soft light on the whole painting. 

This video teaches all the specifics on how to take good pictures of your art. Once you create a high-quality scan of your art, the next step is printing these pieces to sell.

Ensuring you produce high-quality prints is an essential part of the printmaking process, and there are ways to do this both at home and with professional companies. We’ll outline both of these options so you can make a decision on what’s best for you.

How to Print: At Home vs. Through a Company

To increase your art sales, it is important to meet the industry standard of print quality. Giclée prints, an approach to printing that ensures the highest quality to the print, are “true” to the original work of art. These types of prints appeal more to the buyer.

Digital prints are an excellent way to maximize the commercial reach of your work.

Although your printer may allow you to produce lower-quality prints yourselves, factors such as the printer, the ink, the surface, and the resolution must all be taken into account to produce prints of the highest quality.

The necessary investment in the right materials may make it pricey to execute prints yourself.

But are at-home prints or professional service prints more economical? It’s necessary to do research and set up an appropriate budget. Let’s go through both options: at home printing and professional printing and then you can decide.

At Home Printing

Creating art prints at home is a possibility for artists and can be cheaper than professional printing at a facility.

One thing to carefully consider is the quality of the print. You do not want to produce prints that are not a good investment for your buyer. – The Virtual Instructor

To produce high-quality prints at home, experimentation on paper, ink, and resolution are all necessary to understand which combination is the best option for the buyer. Remember: the higher the quality print, the higher the price you can sell the print at.

Let’s go through the at-home printing process step-by-step:

  1. It is critical to understand the quality of your photo. The photograph or scan of your work should be as close to the original as possible. To ensure this, you may need to edit this copy. Photoshop is an excellent tool to use to enhance the authenticity of your colors, the resolution of your scan, or to change the size of your print. Do not be intimidated by Photoshop! There are many online resources that can help you master these basic skills.
  2. Your printer is essential. Buying a good printer is an important investment if you are keen on making and selling high-quality prints. Consider buying a printer that uses pigment-based inks, as these will last longer and degrade less. Two pigment-based ink printers you could purchase are the Epson Stylus Photo R3000 and the Epson Stylus Photo R2880.
  3. Your choice of paper will also affect the colors and end-product of your print. You may have to try a few different types of paper to find which works best for you. The type of paper you use can affect the intensity of your color, so it is always a good idea to print as you edit to make sure the coloring is as you imagine.

Extra Tip: make sure to leave a border of 1-2cm around your print for your signature and the number of the print. “This will show the print’s authenticity to a prospective buyer and will reflect a higher value.”

At-home printing can be time-consuming and expensive in order to produce a high-quality product, but this can still be cheaper than professional printing. Yet, if budget is not a problem, then another great option is to send your prints to a professional.

Professional Printing

When printing professionally, it is best to research in your area to see if there are any good options.

Printing through a company near you will save you money in delivery fees, for example, and it will also be easier to test colour and types of papers before creating final prints.

If you are planning to create many prints of one piece, you should create a proof with the printing company to ensure that the ink and paper quality is what you want.

By testing the end-product of your print with one print instead of 50, you can ensure the print is what you envisioned. 

The downside for this type of printing? The quantity: buying smaller amounts will cost you more than in bulk which requires a larger amount of print production.

This means that you should consider how many prints you are planning on selling when making the decision to print through a company. If there are no printing companies near you, here are some great companies to look at:

So Which is Better?

As you can see, there are a variety of at-home and professional options that can satisfy your desire to sell high-quality prints. Depending on your desired result, one option may be better than the other.

For instance, if you just want a single print batch of one artwork, then a professional company may be able to better execute this with lower overhead investments for you.

If you know there are many different sizes or artworks of fine art prints you would like to create, then investing in the necessary printing equipment could be a good long-term decision for your business.

You just need to establish a budget and do the research in the area to see what works best for you.

Other Types of Prints

“Printmaking is an artistic process based on the principle of transferring images from a matrix onto another surface, most often paper or fabric.” – Met Museum

We have reviewed digital print-making, but there are other ways to create prints that may enhance the value of your reproductions.

By diversifying the material you use for your print, you have the ability to create a whole new piece of art. You’re not limited to just paper: you can play with fabric, wood, parchment, plastic, etc.

The diverse use of these mediums may be more challenging than a traditional print, but they allow you to charge your copies at a higher price point for buyers. Consider fabric as a potential surface for your prints. 

Tote bags, tapestries, and t-shirts can all be sold using the print that you have created once your piece of art is successfully scanned.

Additionally, engravings and impressions are two other tactics you can use to recreate your prints on different surfaces, enhancing the appearance of the print.

“Engraving is a printmaking technique that involves making incisions into a metal plate which retain the ink and form the printed image” –TATE

Engraving requires a metal plate/surface and a sharp tool. While applying pressure against the metal, the burin cuts away a thin layer creating a recessed line which then is applied to with ink. This final addition of the ink ultimately creates the print.

Looking for more accessible printmaking? Linocut is the easiest and cheapest homemade technique to master. Using a linoleum block, you can directly draw the design desired and carve the block finely and slowly to achieve smoother and more precise lines.

If you are a fan of handmade printing, but you lack the resources, you can check in your area if there are any printmaking studios that can print those for you.

Although these different types of print creation are a bit more complicated and time consuming, they can result in unique pieces of art that are entirely different from the original. These prints can therefore be charged at a higher value.

Conclusion

In this article, you have learned what factors to consider when making prints of your art.

Whether it be digital or homemade prints, the process often requires sampling over and over again to decide what suits your style best.

This necessitates that you are willing to “waste” some money to understand what sells.

Once you have created your beautiful prints, you must find the right platform to sell your prints on. Some online art marketplaces, however, unlimited prints cannot be approved for sale, given that prints dilute the value of a piece of art.

There are many different online options, all of which offer different rates/commission fees and services.

Here are some easy options to sell your prints on:

Another option that allows you to have full control over your print selling is ARTMO.

Although ARTMO does not approve unlimited prints, if a print series is limited-edition then it can be published.

On ARTMO, if you are uploading a limited-edition print, you must include the number of copies you have in the “edition” field.

We always allow you to create one additional copy of a limited-edition piece on top of the number of prints indicated in the “Edition” field.

This additional print is the “AP” or artist proof. You are required to destroy / delete the file of it, and if it is a sculpture you must destroy the mould once you have created all the editions you have indicated. This ensures that your buyer feels as though they have purchased a piece of art that has true value, which cannot be diluted with more prints in the future!

ARTMO provides you with the platform you need to promote and sell your high-quality prints commission-free.

Start your print-making process today!

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