Hey there fellow artists - you might be like me and had to learn the hard way, how to produce quality prints of your work. I wanted to share the wealth (of knowledge) and give you some tips for reproducing your art for those who might not be able to afford the original. Or maybe you want the happiness of the original to spread out among more of your audience!
Of course, I'll be letting you know about my process, and the materials I choose as a watercolorist. This might look different for someone doing mainly digital art, or reproducing oil paintings for print. Please know that these are simply my preferences and I am not endorsed by any of these companies. (Although, if you'd like to spot me for some free sponsored services, I wouldn't say no!)
Printing at home:
I purchased a printer early on in my art business. It's become an integral part of my process. I use it for scanning originals (at 600dpi, a high quality image) and now I've learned that printing black and white images are best. This printer is my go-to for creating the following:
- coloring pages (featuring a gray outline)
- bold, black and white prints
At first, I was using this printer for color copies as well, but I soon found that to replenish the ink is expensive, and it runs out quickly. When I purchase a 252XL Black ink cartridge, it lasts for a several months of heavy printing. The color cartridges run out after about 20 pages. More than that, the quality for color printing is less than ideal. I found it a bit grainy and the printer will often be temperamental, showing striations if I haven't "cleaned the print head nozzle" in a while.
For coloring pages and black and white prints, I prefer using a paper with a bit of tooth. I'm hesitant to use my Arches Aquarelle paper from the watercolor blocks, which I use for originals, since the texture is extensive and this expensive paper. Instead, I use Canson watercolor paper, as it feeds through the printer well, is sturdy, and also has a slight texture, recreating the look of an original watercolor.
Here's an example of a print I offer, using my home printer and the Canson paper:
I used to use a different company for prints, one that was less expensive, but this also resulted in a cheaper quality of print. With the previous print company, I would receive my order, but they would mis-count, or there might be a misprint, resulting in a blemish. I soon found my favorite company: Giclée Today.
Giclée is a type of print using archival inks (the highest quality) and beautiful paper. I always opt for the "Somerset Velvet," as this most closely resembles the watercolor paper I use when painting originals. I can opt for hand-deckled edges (ripped) or straight. Each service reflects a price difference, so depending on the product and what I want it to look like, I'll use one or the other.
I've had the most success with this company, as the quality is exactly what I hope for in a piece of art, especially if I were to spend money on a reproduction. I've never had a problem with them, they always print and ship in a timely manner, and I'm thrilled each time my prints arrive!
How about you? Are you an artist with a favorite way to recreate your prints? Feel free to leave a comment, I'd love to hear about your experience!