When I first started working as an artist (almost) 10 years ago now, art prints were the first product I started selling in addition to original works. I've learned so much about the process of creating art prints and wanted to share how much that process has changed and grown over the years.
From the beginning, I've always been skilled at scanning and editing the art in Photoshop to look similar to the original works, so the biggest learning curve has been printing and choosing the right paper. Initially, my process involved me printing the art at home in an Epson scanner on card stock. The quality of this was decent and it allowed the price point to be under $30 for the smallest size. I eventually upgraded to a nicer Epson and switched from card stock to rag paper for even better quality. Though more expensive, the quality of rag paper feels and looks much more luxurious and special than standard card stock. The pieces started to feel more like originals, and less like "posters."
Over time, both the production and shipping of the art slowly took a toll on my creative spirit. Instead of painting, I found myself spending more and more time printing, packing, and shipping prints with less and less time to create new designs. Not to mention, while I knew some about printing art, I was not an expert who was staying on top of the latest developments and doing it myself meant I was limited in what sizes I could offer. So, I started to brainstorm other options; thinking about what would make my art prints better. Ultimately, I decided the best route, for me, was to outsource and work with a small art printing company that specialized in just this! Though this was more expensive, they offered more paper options, more size options, better archival inks, framing, and more. Most of all, I could not be more obsessed with the quality.
Here are a few of the reasons I'm obsessed with this paper---
- The heavy, bright white, smooth matte surface
- The highest industry standards regarding density, color gamut, color graduation, and image sharpness
- 308 gsm weight & 19 mil thickness
- 100% rag, 98% Opacity
- Acid-free, lightfast, and extremely resistant to aging (100+ years)
Obviously, all of the above led to a price jump in my work, but I believe the lasting, higher quality elements make it worth it once you're able to invest in a piece. I hope the prints become special heirlooms that you're able to save and pass down to future generations.