As artists, we are all thrilled when we sell our paintings. Whether we are new or experienced, a sale is what most of us are working towards. It’s why we’ve practiced our skills and techniques and it’s the ultimate compliment and reward for our artistic endeavours.
So when a painting leaves our studio, gallery or kitchen table to hang in its new home, is that the end of our journey with that artwork? Do we just say a fond farewell? No!! I believe that selling the original painting is just the beginning. That painting could keep providing you with income for years to come.
Depending on your artistic style, the options can be endless – Monet does a fine line in mouse-mats, Andy Warhol features on an eye-catching range of watches and Picasso works well on printed t-shirts.
But how can YOU make more income from that new work of art you’ve invested so much time and energy perfecting?
Answer: Simples! Make beautiful, Fine Art, Giclée prints from your painting. This is something that I’ve been doing for many years and I’m going to share with you the key steps and a few top tips I’ve learned along the way.
STEP 1: Getting Started
The first and most important step in achieving beautiful prints has to happen way before your lucky buyer tucks your masterpiece under their arm and walks away – you need to reproduce the image!
There are two possible methods: photography or scanning. The size, texture and materials used in your original piece will contribute to your decision on which method to choose.
- Unless you’re a great photographer with professional lighting etc., get a professional to photograph your work. If you cut corners at this stage, the results may be disappointing and you may end up wasting money further on in the process.
- Be sure to photograph or scan your artwork before varnishing. This will cut down on unsightly reflections which will appear in the reproduction and may then require digital removal which takes time and may incur costs.
- Your desktop scanner may not be up to the job – make sure you are able to provide your professional printer with as high quality a file as they need, to give you the best results.
STEP 2: Making a Quality Product
Fine Art Prints are exactly that. Take the time to research different paper types and discuss the options with your professional Printer to establish which is the most suitable for your work. Also ensure that inks being used are high quality, archival inks and are of the same brand as the printer being used.
- Do not use everyday printer paper or card. Prints on cheap papers with low quality inks will just not sell and gallery owners will not display them. I’m sure we’ve all seen faded and jaded looking prints and this is not a good look!
- I would always recommend that you enlist a specialist Fine Art Printer, as it’s imperative that your prints last for many years without fading.
STEP 3: How Many Prints?
Another important consideration – how many prints should you print at one time?
Some companies only print large numbers of prints at a time. Avoid this if you can and get a maximum of 10 printed at any one time (unless, of course, you’ve received a guaranteed order for a large quantity). Smaller companies, where you can speak to an expert face to face or on the phone, are much better to deal with especially, if you’re new to the world of printing.
- Visit your Printer if you can so you can choose the right paper for your work. The texture and colour of the various fine art papers will make a huge difference to the look of the finished print.
STEP 4: What Size?
You will need to decide on what size to make your print. Will it be the same size as your original painting? Smaller? Larger? You can even print a variety of sizes to see which sells the best. You may want to consider keeping to standard sizes in order to buy ready-made frames.
STEP 5: To Sign or Not to Sign…
Should you sign your lovely new prints?
The advantage of signing is that a Signed Print generally commands a higher price than an unsigned one. The disadvantage however, is that signing is yet another stage in the process for you, the artist. You need to be available to sign the print(s) prior to mounting, wrapping or framing.
I always sign my prints because they are printed right here in the Hangar Framing Gallery, but if you are in a remote location, far from your Printer, it may be more practical to incorporate a printed digital signature or to sell them unsigned.
That’s it! You are now ready to sell your prints and to keep generating income from that masterpiece of yours.