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How I Make Fine Art Prints

Do you sell prints of your original paintings?

It can be a daunting process to figure out. But, it can be a really lucrative income stream to add to your business! 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with how to do it, here is a quick look at my process and the equipment I  use to make high quality fine art prints. 

Step One: make some art! 

This is the fun part! Paint something that you love and that your audience loves. 

Step Two: scan or photograph your art

When I started out as an artist I was mostly painting small watercolor paintings, so I purchased a scanner for this process. It has been quite easy to work with, edit and get ready for prints. Since the scanner bed is only 9x12 the size of painting that can be scanned is limited. 

There is a way to combine multiple scans in photoshop which allows you to scan in artwork that is larger than 9x12, but the photo merge feature does not work for all types of artwork (more on that in another email).  I recommend the Epson Perfection V600 Scanner

If you mostly paint large paintings I would look into a good camera to take high quality, well lit photos of your art. I am not an expert on this method, but there are many resources out there. Assist Art Services in Denver will do this step for you if needed as you are getting started. 

Step Three: choose a printer

I use the Epson Sure Color P900 printer and I love it. It is large enough to print up to 17 inches wide and creates beautiful prints. You can also use a roll of paper for very large panoramic prints. Epson also makes a slightly smaller version (the P700 which prints up to 13 inches wide). One of the main reasons I purchased the larger printer is that the larger ink cartridges are a better price per ounce than the smaller ink cartridges, saving some money over time. 

Step Four: choose your paper for your prints

My favorite paper to use for fine art prints is this Epson fine art velvet paper. It comes in several sizes and has a lovely matte finish. It is also slightly textured which makes it especially great for watercolor prints. 

Step Five: make test prints

The paper I use isn’t incredibly expensive, but it is not cheap either. So, I like to print some smaller test prints before I go for the large sizes. This way I can print several tests to get the colors dialed in just right. Between each test print you’ll want to adjust the settings in photoshop to account for whatever seems off on the test. I have found that I often need the image to look a bit oversaturated on the computer for it to print like the original painting. 

Step Six: sell your new product

Prints are one of my biggest sellers at art markets and bring in a significant amount of wholesale income each year. As a landscape painter I have found that people really like to take home a piece of art that reminds them of their vacation, so I have been working on expanding my collection of specific mountains and iconic locations. This also makes specific prints sell really well in certain retail stores. For example, my wholesalers in Breckenridge sell many of my prints of Breckenridge ski resort. 

What other questions do you have about making prints? Leave a comment and let me know!

P.S. Want to get these posts straight to your inbox? Subscribe to my artist newsletter below to get a weekly newsletter with all my best business tips for succeeding as an artist.

The links in this post are affiliate links, I earn a small commission if you purchase through these links. You can checkout my full Amazon storefront with all my favorite art supplies here.

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