Why is it a good idea to make prints of the art you do? Well, maybe you have your own way of making them, but here are my two cents.
Some galleries will argue that if you are “one of those artists” who make prints of your work, then you will not be offering your clients unique pieces, and therefore you should not get your work reproduced, so that when someone buys the original, it will be the only image of that painting that there is. To these galleries, I stick out my tongue, and say: TBBBBTH!
And after that I will follow with this: I say that an original painting cannot ever be reproduced, an original is exactly that, an ORIGINAL. To reproduce it you would have to paint it again. With paint! And whatever else you used to produce it, and even if you try, it will never be the same, it will be unique, therefore, NOT a reproduction. So there.
But what of all the people who cannot get the original? I think a print is a good solution. It helps also to have affordable art to appeal to a wider audience.
And remember, we as artists keep the rights to the image we created, regardless of who bought it.
I am a self taught artist and a lot of the things that I do have been learned on the go. I am doing the best I can with whatever instruments I have at hand. And since sometimes I don’t have 75 dlls an hour to have one painting professionally scanned (which can take several hours) I had to figure out a way to do it myself, so after a lot of trial and error, the following is the best I think you can do at home.
So here we go.
How to make prints of your artwork
1. Finish the art work (This is a very important step! and it means NO borrowing someone else’s art to reproduce, keep in mind that snatching images from the internet is very frowned upon by the artist community)
2. Do not try to make prints from a digital picture. Get a scanner. I use a CanoScan D660U which is an ancient scanner, but I liked it because you can scan negatives too, it's so cool.
There are a ton of scanners out there, some of them come with a fax and a printer, plus they are not as expensive as you may think.
3. Scan the painting at 300 dpi or more. If it does not all fit on the scanner bed, don’t worry, scan it in parts and save each one in different files, you can piece them back together in an image editor software later.
4. Save all your files in jpeg, this is a tricky one, there are several ways you can save your files, for example .pdf, .wmf, .psd, etc. But I have learned that jpegs are compatible with many image editing software and are the easiest to convert, I’ve heard that these are “heavier”, meaning that they take up more space in your hard drive and can take some time to load, depending on the size of the image, but jpegs are the files that I’ve had less trouble with, please don’t send me hate mail about this one, I am only sharing what has worked best for me.
5. Once all your painting parts are scanned, open an image editor software, like Photoshop. (very expensive) I use a one called Pixelmator. (It was $59 dlls!!) It works almost exactly as Photoshop but was designed specifically for Macintosh and it’s really easy to use.
6. Open all the files you scanned and start piecing them together in one single file. Start by making the canvas size the same of your original painting, then copy and paste all the files of the painting on the first file you created, and be really careful with all the unions, zoom in as much as you can and try to get them to match perfectly, because if they don’t you will notice right away when you print.
7. Once all the pieces are in the same file, crop all the edges and save your file as a .jpeg, remember to save it at 300 dpi.
8. Now on to printing! You can print it at home with a color printer, but I recommend that you find a place to professionally print your file to the original size of the painting (I go to a place where they have big pro printers to make signs and posters).
You can take the files to them on a CD or send them the file by email, call them ahead of time and ask them if it's ok. These printing businesses should have a choice of gloss or matte as well as a choice of the thickness of the paper, I always try to get the thickest matte paper available. Some places can even print on canvas and staple the print on a stretcher frame so it looks like the real thing! Some places even give you a free massage with your order, but these are really difficult to come by.
9. Number, date and sign all your prints with a pencil. Also, do a small run of prints and if you decide, for example, to only make 30 prints of one painting, number each one like this 1/30, 2/30, etc, so you can keep track of them and of how many you have sold. It is a good idea to make a small run of prints, 50 the absolute maximum.
10. Keep each print in a separate plastic sleeve to protect them from sticking together. (very important because the humidity and the weather can affect the inks).
And that's it! There are also other methods of doing this, like glicee prints which is basically the same thing but way more expensive. (Because of the professional scanning, color correction and more expensive printing with those fancy inks and all)
I hope these steps help you make your own prints and if you see something I've missed or have more comments, please let me know, thanks!