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Gail Daley Art Blog

Earning Residual Income With Our Art

by GailDaley , October 27, 2012—12:00 AM

Topics: Art Gallery, art, art prints, blogs, central valley painter, cheap art, internet presence, making money with art, printing art, reproductions, residual income, visual arts

We may as well admit it: all of us secretly want to not only create fabulous art but want the public to appreciate it so much they pay us fabulous prices for it. The wonderful thing about making prints of our work is prints are a way to earn residual income on our art. If an artist sells a painting for $500 that is a one-time fee; if that same artist also sells 20 prints for $15 each then they have earned a total of $800 on that same painting. I______________m not going to go into the virtues and differences between Limited Edition Reproductions and Unlimited Reproductions; that will be for another blog. Naturally as an artist you want any reproductions of your art to reflect the quality of the art itself; this means you want to make the best quality reproductions you can find. I have had several artists ask me where they can get good quality prints made at a reasonable price. It______________s a good question. Pretty much there are two ways to go with this: make the prints yourself or get them made professionally. The other things you will need besides the printer if you are planning to get prints made of your work is a good camera that will take high-resolution photos (Canon Rebel is excellent). I don______________t recommend a point-and-shoot camera or your cell phone if you intend to make professional looking reproductions. I would also recommend a good photo-editing program such as Photoshop Elements.

If you make prints yourself, you will need a good quality printer that prints on a variety of paper products. What brand of printer makes the best prints? Well, there are a lot of differing opinions on this having to do with what kind of ink will give you the truest colors, how easy they are to use, whether to use ink jet or laser printers, etc. Making the prints yourself does mean that you are probably going to be limited as to the size you can make; most home printers will only take legal or letter size paper. The printer that gave me the very best prints I ever made at home was an inexpensive Kodak printer. Unfortunately it proved too fragile to last long. Epson, Brother and HP all make good machines that will give you good quality paper prints. You can even obtain letter size ____________"canvas paper______________ for printing, although I wasn______________t really happy with the quality of the prints I made with it. Then there is the cost of the ink. If you make a lot of reproductions, Ink jet refills can be so expensive that you might find it less costly to get your prints made by a print shop. Laser printers also make good quality prints, but a color laser printer and the toner to go with it can be cost prohibitive.

The next option is to have your prints made by a professional printer. To do this You will need a high resolution jpeg or other type of photo of your work to give the printer. If you are not also a photographer, I suggest you arrange to have a professional take the photo in order to ensure that the photo has no distortions and that the color is true to the original art. You can have the photo transferred to either a jump drive or disc. There is an issue with having your prints made by someone else that doesn______________t come up with home printing: calibrating their printer to your photos. This has nothing to do with the printer type; even if the print on their computer looks okay, the print may still come out darker or lighter than your art. Always ask for a proof before accepting the print; it may be necessary for you to take your disc or jump drive home so that you can adjust the lighting or color of the photo in order to make the print ____________"true_____________ to the original when using a commercial printer. If you do this, always save the ____________"adjusted_____________ photo as a separate photo and leave the original alone. Making these changes is much easier if you are dealing with a local printer. I am speaking here of commercial printers such as Kinkos or CopyMax______________s Impress. The photo departments of Costco, Walgreens, Wal-Mart etc. aren______________t going to give you a professional quality print because their print programs are designed to ____________"flatten or homogenize_____________ color to an ____________"average_____________ standard. If you have vibrant, saturated or delicate shades you may find your print simply doesn______________t reflect these qualities.

The other option is to find a local professional who specializes in making art prints. Here in Fresno we have several but Mullins photography is the one most favored by local artists. If you bring in your art they will make their own scan and reproduce a print that is virtually identical to the original. Ask other local artists in your area where they get their prints made. Be prepared to open your wallet; because of the quality the initial set up fee will be more expensive than say Kinkos or Impress.

There are also several on-line printers who do an excellent job. Fine Art America for instance will not only make your prints on a variety of paper and canvas, but sell matting and framing and ship to your customer. With on-line printers however, you will have the same difficulties with the calibration as with your local printer. I would suggest you get a small print made for yourself and make adjustments to the photo. Keep notes on what you did so that you can use them when sending in later prints.




  Brian Leverton ( homepage )

10/30/2012 * 02:33:46

Hi Gail, I have made prints my self with a canon printer, the cost of the printer was $3,000 and then the cost of ink's and soft ware, I found it cheaper to get them done by a professional,no maintenance on the printer no ink and no canvas to buy,but I have not found any one that can print for less than A4 $54 and $65 for A3, to get them any cheaper you have to order a 1,000 , I would be very interested to hear if it can be done cheaper. Kind regards Brian

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