Looking to make prints of your original artwork?
This blog post is for anyone interested in how to make prints of your art. Whether the originals are paintings, drawings, or collages, this post is for all artists (or creative folk).
There are many variables to take into account when making prints, so this post will give you the knowledge that you need to get better results every time.
Once I decided to start selling my art online, I also had to figure out how best to create prints of the originals.
So I started looking online for tips and advice, but there wasn’t much at all in terms of clear-cut instructions that would really help me make my prints look good and professional.
My research brought up posts with mixed information (usually incomplete), comments that had no explanation for why something was done a certain way (and so it wasn’t always clear why they were suggesting it).
One thing also became apparent: there are quite a lot of variables when making prints. It’s not just a matter of checking the quality and size of the image.
You’ll also need to be aware of your printer’s limitations, as well as factors such as paper type, ink absorption, and archival properties.
So I wanted to collect all my research together into this one post. Here are the 21 tips and tricks that you’ll find below.
Read through them, and you’ll be able to make prints of your art that look great every time.
*This page may contain affiliate links to products I have used or recommend. If you purchase something from this page, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you.**
Why should you make prints of your art?
Making prints of your art allows for more than one person to own an original piece of your art.
It also enables you to give these prints as gifts to friends, family, and loved ones.
One of the most important reasons for making prints of your art is to make money from these prints and distribute them efficiently.
To help you with this process of making the best prints possible (and lots of them), I have gathered lots of information from various sources, asked for advice from those who know how to make prints regularly, and gleaned the best tips that I could find.
First, you need to obtain a high-quality image of your original artwork.
There are a few ways you can do this.
Use your smartphone.
Nowadays, almost all smartphones have cameras that are high-enough quality to shoot print-ready images.
Use a scanner at home or a professional scanner.
Scanners are usually set to 300dpi and often provide the crispest duplication of an artwork.
Is it better to scan or photograph art?
Both photography and scanning can work.
To get the absolute best quality photo of your artwork for printing, use a DSLR camera on a stable tripod.
As I mentioned before, using your smartphone (if you don’t have a DSLR) can also work well. It’s a good idea to have a tripod or something to stabilize your smartphone when photographing your artwork!
Scanning an artwork has less room for error, and the final PDF scan will usually be of a high quality which means your prints will be too (especially if you are going to be printing them the same size as the original or smaller).
Scanning provides a blur-free precise reproduction of an artwork.
The only issue with scanning your artwork is that if you are doing it at home, the painting may often be too large to fit on the scanner bed.
There are two things you can do to solve this issue:
Scan your artwork in sections and then stitch it together in photoshop, or take it to a professional printer to scan it on a larger scanner bed.
How to Photograph Art for Prints.
Using a Smartphone to Take Photos of Your Art.
- Use the highest resolution setting when taking photos of artwork on your smartphone. This will give you the best quality image.
- Use a tripod (or something to stabilize it), or keep the phone as still as possible when taking a photo.
- Use natural sunlight, but make sure there are no shadows in the image. The clearer and sharper your photo, the better quality the print will be.
Using a DSLR camera to take photos of your art
- A 50 mm prime lens is perfect for photographing art with a DSLR camera. A wide aperture creates a low depth of field, and lens reflection reduces the sharpness in the image.
- It’s a good idea to photograph your artwork in daylight to avoid unwanted reflections or artificial colors cast on your artwork.
- Avoid having either bright highlights or dark shadows on the image when photographing artwork, as this will remove detail.
- If you are a beginner photographer, you can go ahead and use the automatic mode on your DSLR to photograph your art.
If you would like to explore more of the technical side of photographing your art to achieve the absolute best results, then follow these guidelines below.
Technical Tips for Using a DSLR to Photograph Your Art
- An off-camera flash is also an excellent option to improve the color tones in your print.
- To have the best photo quality set your lens’ ISO to 100. For the balance of the white tones, the color matches as closely as possible to the original.
- A high ISO allows enough light to enter, but there will be increased noise and grain on the photo. It can yield the sharpest images when the aperture is set to f5.6 to f11.6.
- A DSLR camera with manual exposure mode allows you to make all these adjustments quickly and easily. If you don’t have one of these, it may take some trial and error to get the best results until you get the hang of it!
- Bear in mind that you can adjust the color and lighting of your images using editing software later on.
- Finally, use a tripod to stabilize your DSLR camera when taking photos of your artwork.
You can also check out Robyn’s Photography Academy for some fantastic photography courses!
What photo editing software should you use?
There are a few good photo editing programs that you can use to edit your photos.
One of the most popular is Adobe Photoshop, but there are also some others out there!
You may want to try GIMP (the free alternative to Photoshop) or Serif PhotoPlus, an excellent program for beginners.
How to make art prints at home: Top Tips
Print Your Art With Your Own Equipment.
If you are an artist or creative professional, then it’s best to print your art with your own equipment. You can find affordable desktop printers on the market that can print high-quality images.
You may even decide to purchase a commercial printer if you have a big order for multiple prints to sell in stores, online, or at art shows.
How to Frame Your Art Prints.
You can do it yourself or seek help from a framing shop to get the perfect framed look.
If you are heading over to a professional framer, then make sure that they have experience in framing artwork and photographs.
Bring along your printout for them to take a look at so that they can see the size it needs to be and what kind of frame you are after.
You can also choose to do your own framing at home using a kit, instructions, and tips online or from a book on the subject (if you have no experience in this area).
If you want more custom options, there is always the option to use a professional frame shop instead.
What type of frame to choose for your art prints?
Many people will get rid of the frame that came along with their art print or photograph because they think it does not match well with their artwork, décor, or home in general.
Instead, you may want to find a different kind of frame than the original one that came with the print—one you feel is more appropriate.
There are many kinds of frames to choose from, including basic wood, gold, or metal frames.
If you want something fancier, then there are also wood carved and customized antique frame styles available at art stores.
When choosing a frame for your artwork, it’s essential to make sure it doesn’t cover or change any of your artwork. You may want to find a frame with a mat in it as they provide an extra layer between the picture and the glass on your picture’s surface.
I recommend using an acid-free mounting board (a type of thick paper) for framing photographs, art prints, and other artwork.
This type of mounting board is safe to use with art items because it has a neutral PH level and resists yellowing over time.
How should you display your art prints?
You may want to hang up your art or photograph on the wall; make room for it on a table, or find some way to show it off on a shelf or in another area.
You may want to take time to think about how you will be displaying your artwork before going out to find a frame and other art supplies.
Some people choose to make their own display space, while others prefer ordering or purchasing one online.
If you want to make the display yourself, you’ll need to consider the size of the art, where you want it displayed, and how long you want to show it off.
How to Make Prints of Your Art from Photographs.
Upload the photograph to your PC.
The most common way to print your art at home is from photographs.
This is where you take a photograph of your artwork, print it out in the size that you want, and then frame it.
Prepare Your Artwork.
Avoid using borderless prints as these do not match the sizes of frames available on the market (usually with a white border around them).
If you are printing your artwork at home, you may need to use a photo editing software package to crop the image to the correct size.
You always want to make sure that the photographs of your art are as high quality and as large in file size as possible when you print them out for framing or other purposes.
Print a test proof.
Print color may sometimes appear to be different from the original.
You can adjust the color and contrast with Photoshop and do test prints to achieve the most accurate color.
Avoid printing a large number of prints on paper without proofing first – this will save you from wasting paper and ink!
How to make prints of your art using a Scanner.
Connect the scanner to your laptop and scan the artwork
Connect the scanner to the laptop or tablet and import photos to Photoshop.
Make sure to set the scanner for at least 300DPI. This is the best DPI for high-quality prints.
Prepare your artwork and scanner
Make sure the images are thoroughly clean and dry before scanning.
If your artwork leaves any residue afterward, wipe your scanner’s screen with a soft cloth and make sure the bed is clean.
Print a test proof
Once again, printing a test proof is a must!
How do I print my paintings and drawings professionally?
You may want to get your art professionally printed for display in galleries and exhibitions, or even just as a gift for someone.
Choosing an online printing company.
If you’re going to use an online printer, make sure the site is legitimate before uploading your images.
Save the image on your computer with an acceptable file format. Usually, the accepted formats are JPG, TIFF, PNG, RAW.
Look for an online seller with a great reputation, good prices, and can print on different types of papers.
The best way to find out which paper is right for you is to look up some reviews of the site’s products online.
Using a Local Printing Service.
Instead of using an online printing service, you may find it easier to look for a local printing service.
Local printers will usually want the original artwork, and they may need time to prepare your pictures for printing, so be prepared for minor delays.
Professional printers who print fine art prints will often send you samples of the paper you can choose to print your artwork on.
This is really helpful because you get an idea of your finished product’s feel and look like.
Printing on canvas can be a good idea if you want to display art without framing it.
A digital printing company may also offer other materials for canvases, such as wood and metal.
Aluminum prints are one of the most exciting options, and they look fantastic in any room.
However, you should know that printing on aluminum is a very advanced process, and not all printers offer it.
What is giclée printing?
Giclée printing, literally “zheyklay” — a relatively new technology in digital printing.
The archival inks are sprayed with several different nozzles on the paper or canvas.
The method also allows for very accurate color reproduction smoothly transitioning color patterns from a variety of colors and infinite variations.
Giclee printing is ideal for printing Fine Art because it is high-resolution, and it can be done on specialty paper or canvas.
Best Home Printer for Giclee Printing.
If you want to print giclee prints at home, make sure you get a printer that supports this new technology.
Which is the best paper for art prints?
The best type of paper for art prints varies from artist to artist.
Some artists love the look and feel of watercolor paper, whereas others prefer smoother, high-quality stock with a gloss finish.
The composition, texture, color, and weight will vary according to each paper, and it’s a good idea to get samples of the paper before you print to know what to expect!
That being said, the following are some of the most popular mediums and paper for fine art prints:
The Canvas is a traditional choice for art prints as it has a textured and natural feel to it. It’s also much more affordable than other types of paper, such as cotton or linen.
Watercolor paper is a great choice for those who love working with watercolors.
It’s made of cotton, so it’s very strong, and it has a beautiful translucent texture to it.
Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper
Cold-pressed watercolor paper is made of 100% cotton. It’s a creamy white that offers a subtle, non-reflective surface for your artwork.
Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper
Hot-pressed watercolor paper is made from 100% cotton, but it has less surface texture than cold-pressed.
It’s also a brighter white, and it feels firmer in hand.
How do I prepare digital paintings and drawings for Social Media or a Webpage?
There are several ways to prepare artwork for loading onto sites such as Facebook or Twitter or a blog post.
You can use Canva.com for free and easily place your digital image onto a template, or use photoshop to place your image on the correct canvas size.
It’s a good idea to test your design on social media before you post it, as sometimes elements on the design can get cut off.
A decent canvas size for digital art is 2000 pixels on the long side and 1200 pixels on the short side if you want to publish your digital drawings online or on social media.
Make prints of your art for amazing portfolios and exhibitions!
Portfolios are a great way to show off your work and get new clients.
It’s also a key part of any artist’s resume, so spending time on the design, paper selection, and presentation makes sense.
None of this is particularly difficult or expensive if you follow these simple tips:
- Consider a variety of substrates for your portfolio – Strathmore makes a thick, textured paper that’s perfect.
- But if you want to stick with something more traditional like cotton rag, plenty of options are available.
- Include the title of each work in your portfolio so viewers can understand the context and meaning behind the artwork.
- Consider a variety of sizes – You might not want to put the exact same pieces into your portfolio that you’ve included in your show or other exhibitions, so keeping a few different options will help keep things fresh.
- I recommend a minimum of 12 pieces, but if you’re planning to do more than that, go right ahead.
- If the size is too small, it will be hard for viewers to see details and appreciate your work properly; if it’s too big, it becomes cumbersome and less practical to carry around with you.
- Think about the layout – It’s tempting just to throw your portfolio pages in a box and ship them out, but the final result will speak volumes.
- You can arrange your artwork on different-sized sheets of paper to add variety – especially if you’re working with many pieces.
- Or you can have each page overlap the next so that the viewer has to turn the page to see it all.
- Keep it simple – Whichever route you choose, keep the layout clean and uncluttered. When people are looking for artists, they want to see a dynamic range of work that’s easy to navigate – not busy, jumbled artwork with no distinct theme or focus.
- The nice thing about digital drawings is that they look great in any size.
What should I always include in my art portfolio, and what should I leave out?
Show off only work that is quality; no matter how good the rest of your portfolio is, if you’re showing off poor quality drawings or prints, they are likely to discredit the whole set.
Do not spend too much money on printing out high-quality prints that you will only use once and never show anyone; it’s more practical & cost-efficient to have lesser-quality prints made professionally and in bulk.
Marketing Your Art Prints.
When you’re ready to start selling your prints and other art, there are a few things you can do to make the process easier.
There’s no doubt that Etsy is one of the best places to sell digital drawings: it’s easy-to-use, user-friendly, and does not take more than 5% commission from each sale.
However, there are a few things to consider before starting your presence there as an artist.
1. What products/services will you sell? This is the most critical step in determining your brand and how to advertise it.
2. How much can you afford to make & spend on advertising? You’ll have to budget for a few different aspects of selling art prints online: setting up your Etsy shop, making the prints, shipping them to customers, and paying for any marketing activities.
3. How much should you charge? This is entirely subjective and up to you; however, it’s a good idea to have a look at your competition and see what sort of prices they are selling their art prints for!
4. What kind of social media presence do you have? The more followers or likes you have on your art pages, the better; it shows customers that you’re an established, reputable brand.
5. What experience do you have selling your art online? If you’ve always wanted to try selling on Etsy but haven’t done so yet, this is the time to begin! Try learning from experienced artists who sell their art prints there and then set up shop yourself; it’s a great way to learn how to do it successfully.
The Best Ways to Promote Your Art Prints/Other Services.
Viewers are not going to find your art on their own: you have to tell them about it for them to buy prints of your work.
You could advertise in magazines and newspapers, but that’s very expensive and not very effective.
A better option is to start with more affordable options: for example, you can post on social media or do live demonstrations at local fairs.
Another good way to promote your art prints is by offering free shipping – this makes it much more likely that new customers will buy something from you!
You can also invite an established artist to feature your work, exposing you to their audience and vice-versa.
When choosing a social media platform for promoting art, consider what type of artists’ audiences are likely to be there: Instagram is best for photographers or mixed-media artists, while Twitter is the place to be for graphic novelists and architects.
Don’t forget about your local community, too: putting up flyers at local coffee shops or restaurants will get the word out to many potential customers.
When promoting art online, you have to be more creative than usual: often, this means creating a video advertisement that showcases your work in the best possible light!
Use YouTube to create a video that explains the basics of your art and features lots of your work – this is especially effective if you plan on selling 3D models or books!
You can also make a blog dedicated to your art, with each post showcasing something different about it. You could even consider creating a tutorial that teaches people about how to make art similar to yours.
Just be sure not to come across as a perfectionist: let viewers know that your art is not perfect and can still look great even with flaws or mistakes!
A lot of customers want digital drawings or prints because they see them as more practical & cost-effective.
Other Frequently Asked Questions about How to Make Prints of Your art:
How do you print a canvas painting?
You can print a canvas painting the same way you’d print any other piece of art – simply upload it to CanvasPop (or your specific chosen online printer), select your size and material (go with linen!), and wait for your masterpiece to arrive!
Can you paint over canvas prints?
You can paint over canvas prints: the material is designed to be able to take many layers of acrylics and other mediums.
How do I get my art prints delivered?
Art prints are shipped in similar ways to other products: the best way is through FedEx or UPS, but you can sometimes get away with using a less expensive option such as USPS.
You can also look into local delivery services if your area doesn’t have major national carriers – UPS and FedEx usually offer this!
Can I copy a painting and sell it?
Copying someone else’s art is called plagiarism, and it’s illegal.
Whenever you ask yourself, “can I sell this painting?” or any other artwork that was not originally yours, the answer is always: “No”.
This applies to paintings copied from other artists and photographs taken of copyrighted buildings/statues/etc.
Printing your artwork is a great way to bring your creations into the physical world, but there are many factors you need to consider before starting.
If you want to know how to make prints of your art, ensure that you understand how to create a digital copy of your artwork adequately and what types of paper will work best for printing.
It’s a good idea to have a general idea of how much time it will take to complete each step in the process so that you can plan accordingly!
Before you go, tell me about the artwork that you are creating prints of at the moment… 🙂