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Old 11-13-2006, 11:57 PM
DBSullivan's Avatar
DBSullivan DBSullivan is offline
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Eastern Pennsylvania
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Last year, a request was made by fellow WC members asking me to share my knowledge of producing prints. Well, just as plants tend to grow towards the sun, articles seem to instinctively navigate towards the back burner. I've been working on this for about a year, and despite the natural phenomenon of procrastination, I've finally finished. So, in the realm of "better late than never", I give you my article:




____________________


By David B Sullivan





INTRODUCTION


"Be fruitful and multiply"! No stronger words can be spoken of a lonely work of original art hanging isolated on the wall of a single residence, hidden from society, being enjoyed only by the limited few that happen to wander past it. After you plunge a small part of your soul into a visual creation, it seems sinful to prevent it from wandering across the globe with an agenda to enlighten others about your creative contribution. Prints can accomplish this for you. An original drawing is like a large oak tree planted firmly in the ground, and prints are like seeds from that tree, floating in the wind, traveling to distant places, looking for a new place to take root.

For many years, artistic multiplication was afforded only to printmakers and craftsmen who devoted much of their time developing skills of etching, woodcarving and stone lithography. And now, more than 500 years after the first printing press was invented, and with the many methods of reproduction available, there are still a good number of artists who don't capitalize on these methods.

And yet, everywhere you look these days you'll find art prints for sale. You can find them in galleries, art shows, local shops, and on the Internet. You see them hanging in banks and corporate buildings, offices, businesses, restaurants & hotels; they're everywhere! Oh... except in your studio.

If you're like many artists, you would indeed like to pursue this endeavor, but aren't quite sure how to get started or where to begin. I began through the encouragement and guidance of one of my mentors and I would like to pass this knowledge on to you. Please keep in mind that I will try my best to remain objective throughout this article, however because it is based on my personal experiences, I cannot help but to occasionally be subjective.

note: I am posting this article as a thread to allow for discussion afterwards. I have experience with producing prints, but I'm not an expert. I'm sure there are things I've overlooked, and some of you may have questions or additional input to add. Think of this thread as a "catch-all" for any issues relating to prints. And please, don't hesitate to join in on the discussion.


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LEGITIMACY


The integrity of reproductions created from original works of art seems to be questioned quite frequently in today's art world. This issue needs to be addressed; as it will inevitably dictate what approach you'll take in this endeavor. I believe that this question of integrity may have begun with a rivalry years ago between the fine artists and the graphic artists (printmakers) of that era. My knowledge on this particular subject is limited to the viewpoint taken from the writings of MC Escher as he defended his position as a graphic artist. Apparently, the fine artists of that time claimed that the prints "rolled off" by the graphic artists were not true originals and therefore void of true artistic value. Of course, the graphic artists disagreed, and the rivalry was born. What I've read about this early debate makes me believe that it was a subtle rivalry comparable to the ones we have today between Chevy and Ford enthusiasts, or between PC and Mac users. Yet this soft-spoken rivalry still lingers on in the art community, perhaps more so now with the onset of computers and laser technology. Interesting though, the earlier methods of woodcuts and etchings, once disrespected, are now regarded as a true artistic means. And, consequently, the idea of less artistic methods has since shifted to current day commercial printing processes.

I believe the legitimacy of prints is a philosophical issue based on opinion that will be debated long after digital technology becomes a true artistic form of reproduction. Therefore, the process you use for duplication should suit your needs, your wallet's needs, and the opinions of your clients and customers. I will further address issues of legitimacy throughout the remainder of this article to provide more insight.


___________________________



GETTING STARTED


It might seem logical to start by immediately looking at printing methods, but not yet. Before you go stomping down the road to replication, the very first thing you need to do is ask yourself the question," Why do I want prints of my artwork?" The most common answer to this question is, of course, "to sell them". But that's not the only answer. There are other reasons which need to be considered, such as gaining exposure by "giving them away to the right people", or maybe you simply want to provide gifts for your family and friends. Whatever your reasons are, they need to be established before you proceed. For the sake of this article, I will assume that you want to sell your prints for profit, however I will occasionally comment on these less commercial motives. Here are a few examples of why you may want prints.


BENEFITS OF PRINTS

Become a professional - With a minimal investment, you can be on your way to making some extra cash, as well as making your work more available to the public eye. Producing prints of your artwork is probably the easiest way to make the transition from amateur artist to professional artist. You don't need to make any drastic changes in your life; you don't need to quit your day job, you don't need a public studio, and you don't need a ton of cash to get started. Sure, commissions are a good way to earn a few dollars (as well as being a good source of encouragement), but doing work for hire is very similar to selling an original. You put hours of yourself into a drawing and a few dollars later it's gone forever, without ever getting back the actual "worth" of your efforts. If you put the same amount of time into a drawing that has mass appeal, and produce prints of it, you can ultimately receive more adequate compensation over a period of time.

Keep your originals - Do you remember that drawing you did years ago?... the one you gave away to your best friend (at the time)? Wouldn't you love to see it again? Having prints of your work, either for sale or gift giving, will allow you to hang on to your originals. Then you'll never again have to dream about seeing your own work. And, even if you decide to sell an original, you'll still have the image represented on the prints. NOTE: Whether you sell a print or the original piece, you're only selling the actual, physical piece... not the rights to the image. You, as the artist, continue to own the copyright. Think of it like a novel; purchasing a book at a bookstore gives you no rights to the content. Even if you bought the original, handwritten manuscript... the copyright remains with the author.

Create multiple "one-of-a-kinds" - Certain printing processes are compatible with "medium friendly" paper, which will allow you to create many "one of a kind" prints by hand-coloring them. This not only allows you to raise the value of a print, but provides you with the flexibility to create diverse versions of the same image. By using several prints of the same ink drawing, you can experiment with a variety of mediums, such as colored pencils, watercolors, pastels, airbrush, etc.

Promotion - Expose your work to the world - When you sell an original, the only people who will ever enjoy it will be the buyer's family and friends. And if the buyer later decides to re-decorate his space, your work could very well wind up in a closet or a dusty corner of the attic. And most of us artists already know how to do that on our own. By offering prints of your work, there could potentially be hundreds of people displaying that same drawing for all of their family and friends, which is quite a substantial audience. This inevitably provides a great way of getting referrals for more print sales. I've sold (or given) the same image to folks from New Jersey to California, and from Texas to Washington State. I even have prints floating around in Britain, Germany, Russia, New Zealand, and Australia. And the originals are still safely tucked away in my studio.

Provide for the middle-class consumer - By offering prints of your work, you'll bring the cost factor down to a level that's more affordable for the mainstream customer. Let's face it; most people simply don't have hundreds of dollars to dish out for original artwork. Even if they love your work, they can't buy it if they can't afford it. Prints bring the cost of your work down to as low as $10 - $50, depending on the market.

Giving gifts - This is one of the coolest benefits of prints. Since the actual cost of most prints is so low, the opportunity to give your work away becomes a reasonable reality. I often hear about an artist who "promised this one to a friend", and evidently gives up an original. This is very admirable, but quite inefficient as far as giving your work away as gifts. It seems reasonably more effective to be able to offer the same image to a lot of people.

The coolest "coloring book" your grandkids will ever know - No, I'm not kidding! Every once in a while, I'll come across a print that has a defect, or I'll crease one by mistake, mess up the signature, etc. I toss these misfits onto a pile with my scrap mat board, and break them out when my grandkids come to visit. There are few greater pleasures in life than watching an adorable little girl scribble all over your artwork with a purple crayon. It just doesn't get any better than that!


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THIS IS HOW I GOT STARTED

When I was in my early twenties, an artist by the name of Dick Boak encouraged me to produce and sell prints of my pen & ink drawings, as he had previously done himself. He also persuaded me to create some new drawings that included subject matter with more public appeal. Fortunately, I lived in a historically rich area, so I had plenty of subjects to choose from. But then again, so did every other artist in town. I decided to visit the local shops to find out what was selling to the masses. I found the usual historic landmarks, done mostly in watercolor, and some oil paintings... but, to my surprise, I found no pen & ink drawings. Another thing I discovered was the similar fashion in which all the paintings were done. They each carried the individual artists' style, yet they all had the same look... a distant, popular view of the local structures, all from the same vantage point. So, armed with my love for pen & ink and perspective, I began sketching several of these historic buildings from as close as twenty feet away. I created four 16 x 20 drawings of the most popular landmarks in town using a very close vantage point to create a strong, dramatic, and unfamiliar look. I didn't know it at the time, but this was to be my "edge" over the other artists.

Fortunately, the artist who gave me encouragement also gave me the name of his printer. The owner of the print shop, Russ Borman, was a passionate, ornery, no-nonsense guy who graciously provided me with compliments on my work and all the information I needed. I made no pretense that I knew anything at all about printing, and in return, he guided me through the entire process. Of everything he told me that day, the one thing I remember the most was how much it was going to cost. It would be $125 for 100 prints. With four prints, that brought the total damage to $500.00, which I didn't have. And that didn't even include the framing supplies I would need. At the time, I was young and recently married with a baby on the way. That was more money than I could handle. But my printer gave an idea.

Russ suggested that I get confirmed orders from the shops before I get the prints made to make sure I could cover my costs. It wasn't a bad idea. So, as he suggested, I researched my framing/matting costs and broke them down to a "cost per framed print". I added in the total cost of the printing, and figured out how many prints I would have to sell (and at what price) in order to cover these costs. I came to the conclusion that I would have to sell 24 framed prints (at wholesale prices). I then made another visit to the local shops, this time with an appointment. The shop owners and managers were very receptive to meeting with me. Again, I made no pretenses; I told them I was an up-and-coming artist with some drawings they might be interested in seeing. I arrived for my appointments with the 4 original drawings under my arm. I proudly showed my work, presented my prices, and openly explained that I needed to sell a certain number of prints in order to cover my costs. I was prepared with a simple contract to bind the sale and to initiate a clause that allowed me to "gracefully bow out" if I didn't meet my quota. I went to eight shops that week and every one of them placed an order and signed my contract. I made my quota.

The funding for my venture came, unknowingly, from my landlord whom I kept waiting for a week, while I used his rent money to purchase frames, glass, and mat board. My printer agreed to extend me credit when I showed him the signed contracts from the shop owners. I couldn't afford to purchase a professional mat cutter, so I built one. Actually it was more of a large "jig" to hold the mat board in place while I used a hand-held cutter, but it suited my needs. My knowledge of framing came from the library and from a gallery/frame shop owner I met during my earlier research. I worked for 3 days cutting mats, cleaning glass, and numbering/signing what seemed like a million prints. I soon completed my orders, delivered them to the stores, collected my checks, paid the printer, (and my landlord), and still had $50.00 left. So then I waited.

Everything was quiet for about a month as I stared at the lifeless stacks of prints collecting dust on the shelf. But before I knew it, the re-orders started arriving. As I filled the new orders, I was able to purchase a mat cutter, more supplies, and more prints. That year, between the local shops and the art shows I attended, I made over $8000.00 from 4 drawings that took me less than 100 total hours to produce.


___________________________



SELLING PRINTS


By now you should have a good idea of why you want to produce prints. As I mentioned earlier, I will assume you want to sell them. To what degree you take this endeavor, is entirely up to you, however I will explain things from the extreme point of view, an "over-explanation" to give you the opportunity to take what you need and leave the rest alone. This extreme point of view is actually a look at the "big picture" and extends over a period of time. If you create a print, and sell 20 of them in a year for $25 each, that only makes you $250. But if you had 20 different prints out there, selling on that same average, that would be $10,000 of revenue in a year. Now, imagine having 60 prints out in the marketplace. I can't think of a better way to sell artwork and provide a decent income from it. If you think these numbers are high... I made $2000 from 3 prints in the past year from one shop in my area. So, are you excited yet? Ready to get started? Well, put on your walking shoes because there's plenty of legwork to do.


SELLING TO LOCAL SHOPS

To begin selling prints locally, you first need to research the market. I'm not talking about data analysis or studying demographics. Simply take a walk through your town and visit potential places where you may be able to hang your work. Visit the local galleries and gift shops, paying attention to what is being sold and for how much. What mediums and what types of subject matter are used, and how (or whether) your work would fit in. At this time, you also need to determine whether your work is salable or not. Will they want what you have to offer? Keep in mind this issue is not always limited to your skill level as an artist. Obviously, your work needs to be technically competitive, but it also needs to "adapt to the environment". For example, a drawing of a boat docked in a harbor probably wouldn't sell too well at the local ski resort. Equally as ill matched would be an action print of a skier for sale at a gift shop located at the shore. Chances are good, though, that if you live in the mountains, you probably draw mountain lions. And if you live at the shore, you probably draw seascapes. If not, you may need to compromise your subject matter in order to be successful.

If you're fortunate enough to live in an area that attracts tourism, you should consider capitalizing on this, even if it means sacrificing you're true love of a particular subject matter in order to satisfy the hunger of the crowds. Again, you are faced with another moral issue of an artist: "...whom are you drawing for?... yourself or an audience?" I often hear encouragement from one artist to another, "As long as you're happy with your work, that's all that matters". And this is certainly the case if you're pursuing a hobby simply to provide yourself with a creative outlet for personal satisfaction. However, this is not the way to go if you want to sell prints. If you decide to be true to your preferred subject matter, your local success may be limited.

Scoping the local artwork is not a secret spy mission, and you shouldn't feel the need to keep it a secret. Print a few business cards on your pc, or create a postcard with an example of your work on one side and your contact info on the other. Take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself to introduce yourself to the shops and explain what you are pursuing. Sometimes it's good to strike up a casual, friendly conversation with a salesperson who thinks you're a customer. After a few minutes of chatter, you say, "By the way, I happen to be an artist.. yada, yada, yada." It may get you the name of the manager, or better yet, an introduction. You may get lucky enough, on occasion, to "bump into" the owner or manager while you're browsing their shop. In this instance, don't hesitate to hand him a card and introduce yourself. If the owner is busy or seems pre-occupied, ask if you can make an appointment to show him/her your work. Scheduling an appointment will show them professional courtesy, and will certainly get you their undivided attention at a more convenient time.

It helps to introduce yourself as a "local" artist. As redundant as that term is, for some reason people seem to like it. Perhaps "local" adds a certain element of commitment and dedication to your community. Almost as if you're a contributing family member, as opposed to an outsider simply wanting to make a dollar. Don't be afraid to let them know that you haven't had prints made yet, and that you are still researching. Show them your work and ask them what they think? Ask them straight out if they feel they could sell prints of your work. If they say no, ask them why not. Ask them what you might be able to do differently, whether it's size, medium, subject matter, or even technique. Be friendly and courteous, but above all, be honest. You don't want to come across as naive and uneducated, but you also don't want to try to be someone you're not, or pretend to know something you don't. Great artwork will overcome a lack of knowledge, but it won't overcome a lack of integrity.

Occasionally, you'll find a shop that will purchase your prints outright at a wholesale cost, (which is always 50% of the retail price). Unfortunately, most shops aren't large enough to afford an inventory in this manner. I'm fortunate enough to have such a shop in my town, and although the percentage is half of what I would get selling them retail myself, but it's much easier. They place an order, I deliver it, and they pay me.

Many shops and galleries will only accept work on consignment, which is when they will hang your work in their gallery/shop and take a commission if and when it sells. Which means you will need to supply the framed piece and only get paid "if and when it sells". A standard consignment split of the retail price is 30% to the shop owner, and 70% to the artist. This is a great way for a new artist to get started. The shop owners assume very little risk, which allows them to be more willing to take a chance on an unknown. The problem with this arrangement is that you're the one to put the money out for framing/matting supplies, as well as the cost of your prints. This isn't much of a problem if you have two or three prints on consignment. But if you have 25 prints floating around at several shops, that can be a sizable amount of money you'll have wrapped up for a period of time. It could be months before you get any return at all. Another problem you might face is keeping track of your work. When you sell your work outright at a wholesale price, it's a done deal. But with consignment, you need to maintain control of where your prints are. I've already had shops close down or move, and ultimately, I lost the work. Something else to consider is the length of time your work is allowed to hang somewhere. If a certain shop has some of your prints for over a year and hasn't sold any, it might be a good idea to find a better home for them. So not only do you need to keep track of where your prints are, but for how long. And, believe me, as easy as that task may seem, it's just as easy to lose track. Like anything else, test these waters slowly and you should be fine.

Other possibilities to explore are restaurants, local pubs, banks, hospitals, doctor's offices, etc. In fact, wherever you see a blank wall that gets decent exposure is a potential venue for your work. Many businesses are very supportive of local artists and are often receptive to displaying their work. Businesses may purchase your work outright, but most likely they will simply allow you to hang it, either in exchange for a percentage of the sale or simply to provide "free artwork" on their walls for their clients and customers to enjoy. After all, it never hurts to ask.


SELLING AT ART SHOWS

Waking up at 6 am on a Saturday morning and packing all the art stuff into the mini-van might seem like a good time to some folks, but not to me. Following a circuit of art shows and craft fairs around the state takes a certain breed of artist. I've done shows in the past and have had mixed results. At some I sold a lot, and others I sold nothing. Some shows were boring, and yet others were a great time. Sometimes it was sunny, and sometimes it was raining. Sometimes it was crowded, and sometimes it was like a ghost town. The point is that there are so many variables out of your control. Also, some shows & fairs can be quite costly to get in. Not to mention the initial start-up costs of a $1500.00 tent/booth, and maintaining a full inventory. The whole ordeal is rather risky.

However, now that I scared you away from doing shows, I'm going to try to change your mind. Every time I did an art show, I truly felt like a real artist for the day. It's great to have people coming up to you all day long, telling you how wonderful your work is. It's like a grown-up version of "show & tell". Besides, you'll never know if you're that "certain breed" unless you give it a try. Start with something small and personal, such as a local art show in your area. Sometimes local schools and churches have small craft fairs with minimal entry fees. And these local affairs are usually very informal requiring only a simple table and maybe an easel or two, which means your cost will be fairly low. The worst thing that'll happen is you'll have people coming up to you all day long adorning you with praise for such wonderful work.


SELLING ON THE INTERNET

Selling online is probably the easiest way you can sell your prints. Whether you use an online service or a store on your own website, once you set it up - it's done. The only thing you have to do is fill the orders as they come in. Selling online also sees a few more benefits of "prints vs. originals". It's very low risk; a lost or damaged print can be replaced, an original can't. Prints also allow you the flexibility to offer quantity discounts and specials (i.e. - buy 2 get one free), or to have give-aways/contests on your website that reward the winner with a print.

But don't get your hopes up too much. I said , "...selling online is the easiest method", not the best method. Selling artwork on the Internet is one of the most difficult things to do, and should not be counted on for any substantial income. In two years of listing prints on my site, I haven't sold a single one. The main reason for this is that it's hard to get customers to your website. I don't mean people, I mean customers. Hits on a website are mostly from lurkers and admirers who either stumbled onto your site by following a link or found it through a search engine. And I can guarantee that they didn't Google "buying art prints" when they found your site. Every once in a while, someone with a few bucks will come along and provide you with a spark of hope, but they will be few and far between. Keep your expectations minimal.

A better option for online selling is to find a specialty site, and work a deal with them. Two years ago, I approached SaveOurSteel.org, a non-profit organization whose goal is to raise community awareness to "save" the Bethlehem Steel remains as a historical site. They agreed to add my steel prints to their store in exchange for a $10 donation every time I sold one. So far, I've sold about ten. That's ten more than I sold on my own site. Why? The folks who visit that site are doing so because they love the subject matter. It would be similar to you stumbling onto a site that sells a variety of novelty t-shirts; you might enjoy browsing, but you normally won't dig out your credit card. However, if you found a site that deals with something you have a strong interest in, for example "fishing", you would be more likely to buy a t-shirt that says "Anglers have bigger rods". This idea works much better with non-profit sites, as you can approach them with a way to help cover their costs. So, if you draw cats & dogs, go for the animal shelters; if you draw cars, find a car club site. It never costs anything to ask.

Your best chance of selling prints online is through EBay. It's cost effective, very low risk, and doesn't take too much of your time. Unfortunately, there are thousands and thousands of prints for sale on EBay at any given time. Fortunately, the way folks find what they want is by searching. Therefore, one of the secrets of success on EBay is to use certain keywords in the title of your ad.


USING KEYWORDS ON EBAY

Pretend you're someone who wants to buy a print on EBay. Most likely, you'll have something in mind. You may be looking for something aquatic like a seascape, or an underwater scene. Perhaps you specifically want dolphins. Whatever it is you're looking for, that's what you'll search for. So, you do a search for "dolphin", or "underwater". It brings up a variety of choices, and you soon find one to your liking.

Now pretend you're an artist who specializes in underwater scenes. You have an awesome print of two dolphins playing below the ocean surface with rays of light shining down on them. Let's say that, for whatever reason, you titled this drawing "Enlightenment". That's a very poetic name, but it won't do you much good as the title for your EBay ad. You (the customer) would've never thought to search for "enlightenment" to find a dolphin print. As an artist, you need to keep this in mind when you list your ad. If you had listed it as "underwater dolphin print", you would've just sold one to yourself.



Suppose that this drawing was titled, "Pride of Africa".



If I listed it as "Pride of Africa Print", the only useful keyword is "Africa", simply because nobody would ever search for the other words. But, if I listed it as "Lions of Africa Print", I would get looks from folks who searched for "lions", as well as those who searched for "Africa". Or better yet, I could list it as "Lions in African Desert Print". Every time I add another keyword, I increase my chances.discussion.[/i]


___________________________



The title of your ad doesn't necessarily have to sound pretty; it just has to have good keywords to attract buyers.

An appropriate ad title for this print could be "Frog Print"...



But the only people to ever find it would be those who searched for "frog".


If I listed it as "Frog Tessellation Print", I would capitalize on the popularity of "tessellation" (most of the hits on my website that came from search engines were for "tessellation"). Of course, I don't even have to stop there. I could list it as "Frog Tessellation Print like MC Escher". That title doesn't sound very poetic, but it'll certainly increase my chances of getting folks to look at my ad. Since MC Escher is well known for his tessellations, I know that anyone searching for "Escher" will be a potential customer for me. And since I listed the ad"...like MC Escher", I won't get into any trouble.

Sometimes keywords get worn out. At one point, the Bethlehem Steel prints I had on EBay were selling on a consistent basis for several months. Then, suddenly, sales dropped drastically. After a week of getting very few hits on my ad(s), I decided to change the title. Originally, it was listed as "Bethlehem Steel Blast Furnace Print", so I changed it to "Historical America Bethlehem Steel Furnace Print". When I did this, I saw an immediate increase in the hits on my ads and my sales. I've since changed it several more times, whenever sales dropped. It became "Historical Steelworkers Furnace Print", and then it became "American Steelworkers Bethlehem Steel Art", and so on. So, if you have trouble selling prints on EBay, it's not necessarily your work that's the problem, but it could be the title of your ad.


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WHAT'S YOUR EDGE?


Regardless of your marketplace, you need an edge. You need something different that sets you apart from the crowd, whether it's your personal style, a fresh look at a familiar scene, or using a specific medium. As you probably know, there are fewer ink artists than there are watercolor artists these days. In one particular shop in my area, the only black and white work they have are mine, one or two prints by a few other artists, and a couple of b&w photos. Several years ago, when I initially researched this shop, there were no b&w drawings being sold at all. Potentially, I could've talked myself into believing that my work wouldn't fit in with their sea of watercolor prints. Instead, I used this to my advantage and approached them with "something new"; pen & ink prints of the vacant Bethlehem Steel Mill. (The former Bethlehem Steel plant, after 100 years, was shut down in 1998. Currently, it's a very popular subject within our community and City Hall as to the preservation of it's remaining structures.) My edge over the competition was a collaboration of subject matter, medium, and my personal style. These prints started selling and the orders began coming in for more. In addition, the shop now orders any new "local" pen & ink print that I produce. I could probably do just as well with pencil drawings, but I don't see the need. Mostly because I enjoy drawing with ink much more than I do with graphite, but also because I feel it's important for me to maintain a consistency (in the public's keen eye) as a pen & ink artist.

On EBay, I've done very well with Bethlehem Steel prints, but have had little success with some of my other work. Why? - Because they didn't have an edge. There was nothing to make them stand out in the crowd. The edge I have with my Steel Series is simply the name "Bethlehem Steel".

Whatever your "edge" is, you need to discover it. It's unique within the work of each and every one of us. And it's presence is the only way you'll ever be able to provide a good solid answer to the potential buyer's question, "Why should I buy this one?"

continued below

Last edited by DBSullivan : 11-13-2006 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:57 PM
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DBSullivan DBSullivan is offline
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

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THE PRINTING PROCESS


Now it's time to think about which printing method you're going to use. There are many different methods to choose from; too many to cover in this article. So I'll provide you with a brief overview of a few of the most popular that are available, and give you a more in-depth look at my preferred method.

PRINTMAKING VS. REPRODUCTION

Again I would like to briefly discuss the differences and distinctions between these two very different means. Reproductions are simply images that are reproduced from one master original, whether the method is screen-printing, laser copies, or a copy machine at the corner store. Printmaking is much more than just "another method of printing". It is a true art form in which the process of creation is done at the "printing plate" stage, when the artist draws (or etches) directly onto the surface that will act as the plate. The plate is treated by hand, inked by hand, and the prints are individually pulled by hand. Prints made in this fashion are considered by many to be an original, as there will be no two alike. I will discuss this further in a while, but keep in mind that I am not a printmaker, and I do not have the expertise to truly guide you down this road. But as a lover of the process, I encourage you to learn more about the fascinating art of printmaking.



THE PRINTER


Today, when we hear the term "printer", most of us think of this...


...a little gray machine that sits on our desk
and spits out pages of text and images.







But not too long ago, the only thing "printer" brought to mind was this...





...a man with ink-stained hands diligently operating
a monstrous metal machine that hisses and clanks,
and spits out pages of text and images.




I'm speaking of the smaller, family-owned businesses reminiscent of the "old school" method. These traditional printing companies may seem to have gotten lost in today's world of high tech methods, but they are still out there waiting to turn your art into prints.

I prefer using a small, local printing company with a modest staff, mostly, because they seem to love artists. They'll know your name when you walk in the door, and they'll eagerly wait to see your "latest" as you unveil it. They'll give you personal attention and answer all of your questions; they'll even guide you through the process if need be. The larger, franchised printing companies are adequate, and usually provide friendly, courteous service, but don't even hold a candle to the "local printers". I've already received a call from my printer at 9: o clock at night, giving me the opportunity to come right over and proof the first few copies before going ahead with the full run. He didn't have to do that. He could've made a judgment call on his own, or simply went home and waited until the next day. And let me add... what a thrill it is to stand and watch that huge Heidelberg press comes to life, whirring and clanking for a few seconds, just to toss out a few prints so I could approve or disapprove the result. That's another one of those instances when I truly felt like an artist.


PRINTING PROCESSES


As I mentioned, there are many printing processes available. These include offset lithography, screen-printing, flexography, (among others) and a variety of digital processes. The one I'm most familiar with is offset lithography, or "offset printing". This is the best choice for larger runs of prints, as the cost per print is very reasonable and the quality is high. It also maintains the standard of traditional prints using archival inks and papers, thereby creating a long lasting print.


Offset Lithography - Offset printing got its name because the ink is not applied from the plate directly to the paper. Instead, ink is applied to the printing plate to form the "image" and then transferred or "offset" to a rubber "blanket". The image on the blanket is then transferred to the paper to produce the printed product.

So where does the printing plate come from? The plate is usually made of metal and is photosensitive, being created similar to that of a lab photo. A large negative of your image is placed directly onto the undeveloped plate and light is applied (like a big photographic enlarger). The plate is then "developed" by treating it with chemicals, creating a relief impression on it's surface. Similar to a pen & ink drawings, there are no graduations or shades; there's either a black line or dot, or nothing. Therefore, in order to make prints of a pencil drawing that uses shading, the plate needs to be done in "half tone", which is when the image is converted into thousands of tiny dots when the negative is made. The best examples of half-tone images are the photos found in your local newspaper; grab a magnifying glass, take a close look and you'll see the breakdown of dots.

So where does the negative come from? Nowadays, negatives are created digitally using special, secret, star trek, laser technology (but that's not too important). The printer usually makes the negative, although in the past, I've had negatives made by a company that specializes in that area. Some printers always use a third party to make the negatives, which is something you'll need to discuss. It's a good idea to know whose hands are going to be responsible for your precious work. Every time your work changes hands, there's potential risk of damage. Fortunately, I've never had any such problems.

The Cost of Offset Printing - In the long run, this is the most economical means of printing for the best quality. The cost can be as little as 50 cents for each black & white print.* The common problem is that the quantity required brings a larger initial cost that few artists can afford. In the following example, I used prices from the printing company in my area, but keep in mind that the company I use, as do many others, is available online (which takes the "regional price" issue out of the mix). It works like this: There's an initial fee for creating the negative and the set-up, which is normally around $150. Once this is done, the only added expense is the paper that's used. Therefore, 100 prints may cost me $175 ($1.75/ea), but 200 prints would only cost $200 ($1.00/ea), and 500 prints would cost $275 ($.55/ea). The more you have printed, the cheaper it is per print. What it comes down to is that 100 sheets of paper cost me approximately $25.00. Of course, this cost would vary depending on what type of stock was used. Keep in mind that once a negative is made (and paid for), my printer files it in his vault to be used the next time I need more of that particular print, thus reducing the cost the second time around.

* If you decide to have prints made of your color work using this process, you should keep in mind that color prints are more expensive than black & white prints because they require a four-color process. This is when an image is separated into four different colors. If you've ever played around with a graphics program on your pc, you've more than likely come across the term "CMYK". CMYK refers to the four colors used in this separation process - Cyan (blue), Magenta (red), Yellow, and the K stands for black (known as the keyline color). Each of these colors requires it's own negative and printing plate, and each print must then be printed four times (once for each color). So, basically, this process will be four times the cost of black & white prints.


Giclee Printing Giclee (pronounced zhee-klay) gets its name from the French word "giclée" which is a feminine noun that means "a spray of liquid". This term makes sense because these prints are created using high tech 8-Color or 12-Color ink-jet printers that "spray" archival inks onto the substrate. This process starts with a high-resolution digital scan of your artwork. The scan is then "digitally corrected", and stored in the company's archives, where it can be accessed at any time for either a single print or a run of multiple prints. Unlike negatives used in offset printing, these digital files won't deteriorate over time. Another benefit of this method is the ability to reproduce to almost any size and onto various surfaces, such as canvas, and textured art papers, museum rag, etc. But the best advantage that Giclee has over other methods is its ability to create extremely high quality images. This process could easily be considered the "high definition TV" of the print world.

Let's talk about integrity again. Earlier, I made the comment "...long after digital technology becomes a true artistic form". Well, Giclee is the first process to truly fill that role. The art community has strongly embraced this method, mostly due to its superior color accuracy over traditional means of reproduction. Giclee prints can now be commonly found in major museums & art galleries around the world. And if they're good enough for the New York Metropolitan Museum and the New York Museum of Modern Art, they should be good enough for your customers. So, if you're looking for a printing method that carries integrity and respect within the art world, you need not look any further than this process.

The Cost of Giclee Printing When I first started writing this article, I wasn't very familiar with the Giclee process. I had a basic idea, but that was limited to what I learned from the occasional comment made by someone else on the subject. Like most folks, I was under the assumption that the cost of this process was far too expensive to even consider, so I never pursued it any further. I decided to research this for myself, and was rather surprised to learn that Giclee prints are actually quite cost effective for artists who can't afford to mass produce their work, but still require prints with "integrity". This process enables you to have your art reproduced as needed, or on-demand, much like you can with laser copies but with far better quality.

The cost of Giclee is a bit tough to nail down to specifics, because some companies seem to have a smorgasbord of "prices a la carte", while others have "packages" that include "all you need to get started". There are many variables that dictate Giclee costs, such as quantity, size, image resolution, and substrate, even "rush service". With all of these variables, it was difficult to pinpoint the cost for you. What I can tell you is that pricing is broken down into a few various fees: a scanning fee, a proofing/correction fee, a printing fee, and a shipping fee, (not to mention a wide variety of additional misc. fees). The companies I found claim they don't charge a "set-up" fee. Of course, the total cost of the initial scan, the proofing, and the digital correction is a clever replacement. I recommend that you research different companies if you have any interest in this method. If you do a Google search for "Giclee print pricing", you'll find exactly what I found. For now, as a general guideline (keeping it on the low end), I'd say the best you're going to do is between $100 - $200 as a start-up cost (per print), with each copy running about $25 - $75 each, depending on quantity. Remember, the cost per print for Giclee may be higher than other methods, but the quality is unsurpassed.

Laser copies and Inkjet copies should both be used in a fairly limited manner. They each have benefits, but they also have their shortcomings. The main issue here is that they are still considered unacceptable as true "art prints". For this reason alone, I would recommend using these methods only in certain circumstances.

Laser copies - There isn't much I can offer as to the inner workings of a laser copy machine. What I can tell you is that that laser copies can be obtained from most printing companies, copy centers, and office supply stores like Staples, OfficeMax, etc. The two standard (US) sizes are 8.5"x 11" and 11"x 17". 11"x 17" is normally the maximum size of the image that can be scanned/reduced/copied. There are essentially two types of laser copies: black & white, and color. The black & white copies are cheaper, but the quality is comparable to a half-toned photocopy, quite similar to what you can do on your copier at work, just a little better. This is probably why they're the cheaper of the two. Even when I have laser copies done of my black & white drawings, I always go with the "color copy". The image is much clearer and it holds the line accuracy better.

I use laser copies for different purposes. I use them to create reduced images of my larger work so I can scan them myself (at home) for my website without having to splice sectional scans together. Then I use them in my 8.5 x 11 portfolio (which is much less cumbersome than a large portfolio). I also use them as an inexpensive means to give gifts to friends, or swap prints with other artists. Laser copies are also great for producing note cards. Important: When creating note cards with this method, keep in mind that the paper needs to be "ink compatible". Nobody wants to buy a note card that they can't write a note on. Many artists are unaware that there is a choice of the type of paper used for laser copies. I normally go with standard white "cover stock". If you're not sure, simply explain your needs and ask what's available.

Up until this year, I was dead-set against selling laser copies as prints. But recently, the buyer from one of shops that carries my work asked me if I could provide a smaller version of one of my "Blacksmith Shop" prints for one of her customers (who made the request to her). The print in question was originally offset printed at 14" x 18". And since it wasn't cost effective to create an entire edition of the smaller size, I decided to use a laser copy. I matted the reduced copy and delivered it, hoping it would "pass" as a print. To my surprise, I later received orders for more of the smaller version. One thing I'd like to mention is that when I did this, I had my image printed on 11 x 17 stock, even though it would've fit onto an 8.5 x 11. I later trimmed the 11 x 17 print down to 10 x 13. I did this to provide an extra wide border on the print to accommodate the opening in my mat board, which was 9 x 12. Clearly, an 8.5 x 11 would've fallen right through the opening.

I would have to say that using laser copies is probably the best method to use if you're just starting out. It allows you to get individual copies and not be committed to high numbers, and it allows you to experiment with several different drawings to see which ones will sell, and which ones won't (without going broke in the process). You could list a drawing on your website, and only get a copy made if and when you get an order. In fact, I recently put together a brochure/price list for the shops in my area that include several drawings of which I have no prints. And I have no intention of getting any copies made unless I get an order for one. How's that for "risk-free"? Kinda seems like cheating, doesn't it? The only thing I caution you on is, if you do decide to sell laser copies as matted/framed works, be sure it suits the venue. They may be well suited for a small local shop, but would carry very little integrity at a gallery in a large city. They should be considered more as "decorative pieces" as opposed to "artistic works".

The Cost of Laser Copies - this is the only viable reproduction method that has no start-up fee at all. You simply pay as you go for what you need, when you need it. The average cost is approximately $1 for an 8.5 x 11 copy, and $1.75 for an 11 x 17. In most cases, these prices will drop when you order any type of quantity. Obviously, different companies have different prices, but for the most part, you should be able to get a large (11 x 17) color copy for less than $2 each. If you're paying more than that, you should look for a different company.

Inkjet copies - I'm no expert on printers, and I can't recommend any one specific type or brand, but I can tell you a few things. Avoid multifunction printers that have scanners and faxes mixed in; spend your money completely on "printer technology". If you need a fax or a scanner, buy it separately. Also, it's wise to get a printer that will produce wide prints with photo-resolution output. Normal desk printers only go as wide as 8.5 inches. (Remember, you can feed almost any length of paper into a printer. Your only real limitation is width.)

The obvious downside to inkjet printing is that, unless you use certain ink, it won't be colorfast and the image will deteriorate at a much faster rate. Most ink used in inkjet printers smear rather easily, and in most cases the image will be completely ruined if it gets wet. Therefore, you'll need to consider the ink required to create archival prints. To my understanding, waterproof/archival inks aren't much more expensive than normal ink (which might not be saying very much). The best advice I can give you is to do your homework,; research your options to find out what's available, what you need, and what you can afford.

The Cost of Inkjet Copies - I might be showing my age here, but I can remember when hand held calculators cost upwards of $100 or more. Now they can be found in the checkout lane at the grocery store for $3.99. Twenty years ago, I paid $550 for a VCR. Now they run about $30. Two or three years ago, computers cost more than $1000. Now they're $300. As with all technology, prices drop drastically after a while, except inkjet printers. Sure, you can purchase a nice slice of printer technology for $200 - $300, but you need to consider "the big picture". And this time I literally mean the big picture; you'll need a wide format printer to produce large prints, and the cheapest one I found was about $500. Other than laser copies, every printing method has some type of "set-up" fee. In this case, the printer you purchase could be considered as that fee. The more you initially invest, the better results you will have in the long run.

I'm sure you already know, this is a difficult one to pinpoint the actual cost per print. I've already discussed the cost of a printer, and we all know that ink cartridges can cost anywhere between $15 and $50 each (or higher). But how many prints can you get from a single ink cartridge? That's like asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop; nobody will ever really know. I've heard many different claims by various ink manufacturers that you can print, for example, 200 pages per cartridge, but the reality is that there are so many variables that it's very difficult to tell. If you think about it, by the time you figure in the cost of the paper, wear and tear on your printer, and even the electricity to run the printer, you're not going to do much better than you would with laser copies. If you're thinking about using this method, you should put some serious thought into the cost. On the surface, it might seem to be the cheapest way, but it's really not.

Laser vs. Inkjet - (my personal opinion... you might want to cover your ears again) When choosing between these two digital options, remember that the same thing applies to inkjet copies that apply to laser copies, in that they both hold the stigma of being a "non-artistic" reproduction method. With this in mind, I would recommend that you go with laser copies. The cost per print isn't much different, and it's a lot less hassle to go to a printing company and spend a few dollars than it is to go through all the research, the preparation, and the cost of "doing it yourself". Don't forget, you'll also have to scan the image yourself (add "purchase scanner" to your to-do list), you'll have to edit the image yourself, and you'll have to print it yourself. This all takes a substantial amount of time. To me, this would be like driving a car from New York to LA instead of flying. When I go for laser copies, I give my drawings to the girl behind the counter, explain what I need, then I walk down the street to 7-11 for a cup of coffee. When I get back, my order is usually waiting for me. And if it takes a bit longer, that just gives me some time to feast from the candy jar on their counter. I'm almost certain now, that the next time I go to get laser copies made, and I'm on my way for my cup of coffee, I'll be thinking about the artist who runs out of ink at 11:30 at night, after the stores are closed, halfway through printing a piece needed for a show the next morning. (And you know that'll happen)


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PRICING YOUR PRINTS



Another element that many artists have a difficult time with is setting their prices. Inevitably, the desire to sell your work tends to battle the question of whether your work is worth selling. Even the two basic rules of setting prices seem to conflict with each other. The first rule is, "ask not and ye shall receive not", and the second rule is, "don't over-price your work". If you're doubtful about putting an appropriate price tag on your work, you'll never get the dollar return that you deserve. But if you set your price too low, it may diminish the integrity of the work. For example, if you saw an ad in a magazine for a collectible doll selling for $4.99, it might have you thinking that the doll is a piece of junk that's only worth five dollars. On the other hand, if the doll was advertised for $500.00, it might not be affordable for someone who might otherwise be interested. But if the price was $59.99, that would be affordable while maintaining the integrity that the doll has value. Your prints should be no different.

As a very general rule, print prices should range from $20 - 50. Of course, as with all rules, there will be times when this rule should be ignored. There are many variables used to set print prices: popularity of the artist, location/venue, size of the print, the time it took to create the original drawing, customer demand, medium, subject matter, whether it's a limited edition or not, and the printing process used to create them. Actually, I don't truly use the printing process to set my prices, but I do keep in mind the actual cost of each print. After all, this is a business venture, and it's not much different than purchasing dweebles at wholesale cost and selling them at a marked-up, retail price.

Pricing artwork based on popularity of an artist is something that very few artists can do. For instance, as much as I like his art (and as much as I dislike his marketing ploys), Thomas Kinkade is one such artist who uses this approach and gets away with it. So, unless you're well known, or your work is strongly in public demand, don't even consider this as an approach.

For those of us who don't have the luxury of selling our "name", we must realize that "the end must justify the means". When someone buys one of your prints, they're most likely doing so because they like it, and because it would look great "in the den", or "in the foyer", or it would "make a great gift", etc, etc. In a nutshell, they simply want something nice to decorate a wall. If your work is priced higher than the competition, they may move on. This is when you need to price your work based on the location/venue. If the average print in a specific shop sells for $50.00, you should consider setting your price at $45. If you travel a few hours to a store in "the big city", the same print may need to be priced at $95 to compete with an average price of $100 per print. (The latter is when the "ask not and ye shall receive not" method comes into play.) If you would keep your price set at $45 in the big city, it may in fact, hinder a sale, just as the $5 doll did.

Another aspect of "venue" you need to consider is the financial agreement you have with the shop or gallery you're dealing with. If you find a place to purchase your prints wholesale, you'll need to charge them a wholesale price, which is 50% of the retail price. If you have a matted print priced at $35, make sure your prepared to sell it at a wholesale price of $17.50. If you can't, then you'll need to raise your retail price up until you can. This is an extremely important thing to keep this in mind.

Now let's discuss a venue on the other side of the spectrum. Let's talk about EBay. I can guarantee that if you set your starting price at $45 on EBay, you will never sell a single print. Folks go to EBay looking for extreme deals. This is one of the times when you need to take into consideration the cost per print. Obviously, you can't sell a Giclee for $20. In my case, the cost of my Bethlehem Steel Blast Furnace print came to 80 cents each (using offset printing). And unless I sell those prints, all they do is take up space in my studio. And if I could sell each one for $10, that would be more than a 1200% mark-up. Go ahead; ask any businessman if that's a good profit margin. As long as you consider the minor cost of the EBay listing and add the appropriate shipping, you have very little risk. If I were to sell all 250 prints at $10 each, I would gross $2500. That's not bad for a single drawing that took me 50 hours to complete. Therefore, I generally start my EBay prices at $5.99, 7.99, or 9.99. And sometimes that's the price they sell for, while other times a bidding war may drive the price up to $25 or more.

So, why do I have the different starting prices on EBay? Size is an important factor. Consumers are like little kids at Christmas time in the sense that "bigger is better", or in this case "bigger is worth more". Now you and I both know that it could easily take twice as long to draw an 11 x 14 piece than it did another 14 x 18 piece, but the reality is, because it's bigger, it should cost more. (Or should I say, "Because one is smaller it should cost less".) This is one more thing to consider when setting your prices. When you research your local shops, pay special attention to the prices of the work they sell in relation to their sizes. This should give you a good idea of how to use size to set your own prices for that venue.

I previously mentioned using the printing process to determine your price. If you have laser copies made for $1 each, you have more flexibility to make a profit, even when selling prints for $5 each. However, if you decide to use the Giclee process, you'll need to price your work much differently due to the higher cost-per-print. After all, you can't very well make a profit by selling a print for $50 when it cost you $48 to produce. In the case of Giclee, your price will need to be altered accordingly. But don't fret. This type of print is very well respected and always fetches a higher price than normal prints. You could easily set your prices between $100 - 300+ for each print. The problem I see with this, is that it removes the "customer affordability" out of the picture. (Btw - if your local shop owner faints when you tell them your price, you may want to consider laser copies.)

When I first got back into selling prints a few years ago, I started with the three drawings. And like everyone else, I had a hard time setting my prices, even after researching the shops. I needed a starting point, so I did it based on the time it took me to complete each drawing. One drawing took me 45 hours, another took 50 hours, and the last took 60 hours. So I priced them respectively, $45.00, 50.00, and 60 dollars. Even though all the drawings were the same size, I felt that the ones I spent more time on were technically superior and should be priced accordingly. This might seem arbitrary, but it was simply a starting point that I eventually adjusted based on other variables.

The variables I'm talking about are customer demand, medium, & subject matter. You may find it to be odd that I'm nesting these three together into the same paragraph, but if you think about it, they do go hand in hand. As most of us are not famous artists with people clamoring for our prints, the term "customer demand" takes on a slightly different meaning. Since it's not specifically "you" they're after, you need to find out what subject matter (and what medium) is the hot selling item. In my case, pen & ink wasn't necessarily a hot medium, but the Bethlehem Steel was a hot subject matter. There was a demand for images of the Bethlehem Steel. And after my "steel prints" were exposed to the public, pen & ink started becoming more popular, so I did ink drawings of other local landmarks. And then there is yet another idea of "demand" that applies to the competition between an artist's own work. Of my three steel prints, the one of the blast furnaces outsells the other two by at least 6 to 1. That print has proven to be in more demand than the other two. The same thing can apply if you work in several mediums; one medium might sell better for you than another.

But how does that affect pricing? Well, here's where I go against what most would consider being logical, common, business sense. Have you ever tried to buy a toy at Christmas time for your child only to find there are none because every other kid in the world wants one too? Do you remember Cabbage Patch dolls? At the time, they were in such demand that you couldn't find one anywhere. Minutes after the stores were stocked, they were gone. Prices skyrocketed, and "black markets" formed, pushing the price of these stupid dolls up to thousands of dollars each. Now, if any of my prints ever becomes that popular, promise to take back everything I'm about to say. When one of my prints becomes more popular and begins to sell more quickly than the others, I drop the price slightly. The reason I do this is because I know that I'll make more money selling more prints at a lower price, than if I sold fewer prints at a higher price. It's a gentle nudge to force the customer into choosing one of my prints over a different one of my prints, leaving the other guy completely out of the picture. Keep in mind that the "edge", in my particular case, is my "Bethlehem Steel" subject matter. And I want them to choose which one of my "steel" prints they want, before they decide to move on to the next artist's work. The lower price in conjunction with the popularity of the print is sometimes all that's needed to make the sale.

Pricing hand-colored prints - this is something you need to be realistic with. Again, we are faced with the "unknown artist/well-known artist" factor. A hand-colored Dali print will obviously sell for much more than one of your hand-colored prints. With that in mind, the best way for you to price a hand-colored print is to base it on time. If you normally charge $25/hr, for example, and it takes you two hours to add a watercolor wash to a print, the cost of hand coloring would be $50. Of course, you need to make sure you get this amount when you sell wholesale, so double it again for a retail price of $100. Therefore, if you have a print that sells for $40, the hand colored version might sell for $140. This is the formula I normally use, but there will be times when it makes sense to adjust the price up or down according to your specific needs. And don't forget, "ask not and ye shall receive not".

The last variable that affects pricing is editions. I'll discuss editions shortly, but for now I'll stay with the understanding that a limited edition print has more value than an open edition print based on scarcity. The simple fact that there are only a hundred made of something dictates that only a hundred people can own one, and that a higher price should be paid to join that exclusive group. I don't have much advice on pricing limited editions because of my personal opinions about them, and the fact that I don't use them. My thoughts are that prints should be a means of making artwork affordable for normal folks who can't afford originals. It's certainly not my intention to drive the price up. Of course, these are my views, and you'll need to set your own standards for yourself.

continued below

Last edited by DBSullivan : 11-14-2006 at 12:02 AM.
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DBSullivan DBSullivan is offline
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

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DECISIONS, DECISIONS, DECISIONS


You're the producer and you're in charge. And just as a movie producer would do, you will plan, organize, delegate tasks, hire people, and ultimately make all the final decisions. Sometimes a movie producer will write the script and direct the movie himself, just as you might frame your own prints, and market them yourself. The movie producer hires cinematographers and special effects personnel; you may be hiring someone to make prints of your drawing, and someone else to frame them. The difference in what you do and what you delegate depends on your resources and the amount of control you need. In all reality, you could hire someone to be your "producer", then hand them your drawing and say "make it happen". Of course, most of us can't afford that person, so we do it ourselves. But cost is not the only factor here. You have a certain vision and you need to maintain a certain amount of control. Foremost, as an unknown local artist, it's vital that you show up in person when you market your prints to a local shop, whether you can afford a rep or not. Sending someone to represent you might actually hinder your prospects.

There are other instances when the control you need will be directed at a more personal aspect of your work. For instance, an artist who incorporates part of their drawing onto the matting used during framing, couldn't easily delegate the task of matting to someone else. If you wanted a series of prints backlit inside shadowbox frames, you could have someone else make the prints, but you would have to be at least involved in the framing process, if not do it entirely yourself. On the other hand, a printmaker who does stone lithography would have no need to hire a printer, but he may need someone to take care of the framing. Of course, need I remind you that there are exceptions to every rule. I give you, again, Thomas Kinkade who hires other artists to hand-color his prints. I find this to be an absurd practice, yet it's still a good example of delegating tasks based on the aforementioned criteria. So, unless you're Thomas Kinkade, whatever your vision is or whatever your personal needs are, makes sure you maintain control of them.


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LIMITED EDITIONS


Limited editions have followed a path from necessity to tradition to commercialization. Years ago, before the commercial printing press was invented, anyone who needed to replicate an image was forced to use the only printing processes available at the time. Practitioners of these processes were considered, at the time, to be graphic artists. A few of the processes they used are stone lithography, etching, and woodcuts, to name a few. The main thing these processes have in common is that they are all types of relief printing, in which a raised portion of the printing plate applies ink directly to the paper, just like the potato stamp you made in grade school. Another element these methods share, is that the artwork is created at the "printing plate" stage, in which the image is drawn, etched, or carved directly on the plate. This meant that artists had to create a reverse image of a drawing, and then deal with the restrictions of their chosen method.

Stone lithography is when an artist uses an oil-based "grease pencil" (or oil-based ink applied with a brush) to draw his image, in reverse, directly onto a large, very smooth stone. The stone is then treated with an acid that mildly eats away at its surface. The oil-based ink repels the acid, thereby protecting the stone directly beneath it. This leaves a relief impression in the stone, with the ink lines being raised up slightly. The stone is cleaned, and used as the printing plate while sheet after sheet is hand-pressed, pulled, and hung to dry. Etching is a more complicated process that involves etching directly onto brass plates using sharp tools. Similarly, woodcuts are created with tools to carve the relief needed to produce a printable image.

At the time, each process had its own limitations and drawbacks, much like we have with processes today. The main drawback of these early processes was that the plates didn't last forever. The material used for the plates would deteriorate after printing a certain amount of prints, rendering them useless. The artist would make the call as to when the prints were no longer deemed worthy to produce a decent image, and the plate was destroyed. This is what dictated the size of the edition. Different methods provided better results. Etchings could produce upwards of 1000 or more prints, woodcuts produced roughly between 500 - 1000 prints, and stone lithographers were lucky to get a few hundred.

Before the artist began printing, he did a few test prints (or proofs). In an effort to keep these proofs from being mistaken as one of the prints, he would mark each one with an "A/P", which stood for artist's proof. Now, since the plates wore down slowly with each pull of a print, the first print pulled was of the best quality, with the second print following closely behind, and then the third, etc. Basically, each successive print got worse and worse. For this reason, the first print (#1) had the quality closest to "an original", and was worth more.

Since my objectivity went out the window with the Kinkade comment I made a moment ago, I decided to remain subjective for a little while longer. So, if you don't want to hear my personal opinions about limited editions, please place your hands over your ears while you read this next part.

It's apparent that the necessity of the past has become an exploited commercialization of today. Just like Christmas, the true meaning of limited editions has seemed to be forgotten. The tradition has transformed into a sales gimmick. Years ago, when I first ventured into selling prints, I was being advised by a woman who owned a specialty frame shop/gallery. She gave me some great pointers on framing, and I listened to everything she told me. Except for one. I asked her about limited editions, and she explained some things such as how large to make the edition, how I should go about numbering the prints, etc. At one point, she told me to take a few of the prints and mark them "A/P". I asked her why. She told me that it stood for "artist's proof", and it would make them more valuable. I asked her what would make them more valuable, and she explained that artist's proofs are worth more because they're rare, that they're even more valuable than the number one print. She almost had me at that point. I remember questioning myself as to whether I was supposed to tell the printer to keep track of the order in which they were printed. I was close to panic, when I asked her one more question. What makes these few prints artist's proofs? She smiled and said, "Because you marked them with an A/P".

It all became sadly clear to me what she was proposing I do. And as a devoted follower of MC Escher, who was a practitioner of printmaking, I wanted no part of it. Please don't get me wrong. I believe limited editions serve a great purpose to provide scarcity, but that's where it ends. Numbering the prints is a necessity to prove the size of the edition. And of course, people will put their own value on the "number one" print simply because they want to, but as an artist who uses today's printing methods, you should keep in mind that there is no true difference between 1/250 and 172/250. You may have a different viewpoint than me, and if you decide to produce limited editions, you may very well decide to practice these things I mentioned. Just, please do me one favor? When you create a limited edition, make sure you only create one edition. I've known artists who, when their initial "limited edition" runs out, simply create another edition of the same drawing, but with a slight modification such as a minor reduction in size. In my opinion, this is downright fraud, and at the very least, it's immoral. You may as well just produce open editions (unlimited editions).

Ever since my conversation with the framing woman, I've held to my decision to only produce open editions of prints. Please don't think I'm only making a stand against commercialization. Quite frankly, open editions make more sense to me. To begin with, I'm trying to bring my price down for the consumer. Why would I do something to drive it back up? If I have a really popular drawing, why should I limit it to a few hundred people? And why would I want to sit for hours and hours numbering 500 prints? The answers are "I wouldn't", "I shouldn't", and "I don't". I like to keep my options open, and the only way to do that is to keep my editions open as well. As for hand-signing my prints.. I do that free-of-charge!

(Okay, you can take your hands off your ears now)


___________________________



PRINT SIZES


If you're just starting out with prints, you probably have several completed drawings already in mind. If that's the case, then you're already limited to the size of your existing drawings (and their proportions). That's not necessarily a bad thing; it's just something you'll need to address. Choosing the size of your prints shouldn't be taken lightly, nor should it be done arbitrarily. There are many things to consider such as venue, size reduction, cost, framing, and packaging/shipping. In fact, I now create drawings specifically to a certain size to accommodate easier matting & framing as well as shipping. With proper planning, you can save yourself time, money, and a lot of aspirin.

I'd like to begin by pointing out the obvious difference between image size and print size. Image size is the actual size of the image, which is usually centered on the paper, and the print size is the size of the paper that contains the centered image. Please don't be insulted by my redundant explanation. I wanted to bring this to your attention because as basic as it is, this concept gets forgotten and many times goes ignored until it's too late. Twenty years ago, during my very first endeavor with prints, I decided to go with a standard size of 16 x 20; so I had 16 x 20 prints made to fit into my 16 x 20 frames. My image size was 12 x 16, which gave me a perfect two-inch border to work perfectly with my mat board. I thought I had every angle covered, until I went to mat them. My vision was to have the mat bordering the outside edge of the image, creating a white space between the two. My problem was that I had no adjustment to center the image inside the mat's opening. Since the mat, the print, the glass, and the backing were all 16 x 20, all I could do was to flush up the edges so it would fit in the frame. But that left me with a slightly crooked, uneven white border. To resolve the problem, I made the mat with a larger width to overlap 1/4" of the image. This eliminated the crooked white border, but it also eliminated the very edges of my drawing. Unfortunately, this wasn't what I had intended, but at least I learned my lesson. I now produce 14 x 18 prints with a 10 x 12 image size to fit into my 16 x 20 frames.

Another important thing to consider is the venue; your sizes should be compatible with the specific gallery or shop. Suppose you are pursuing a gallery in your town that carries mostly smaller prints, for example, 11 x 14 and smaller. And your existing work is much larger, perhaps 20 x 24. But the gallery would be perfect for your style and subject matter. You have two solutions to this problem: 1- Do your drawing over, or 2- Have your original reduced into a size suitable for the gallery. Personally, I would opt for number two. (Important: when thinking in terms of resizing your images into prints, it should be reduction only. It's very unwise to enlarge a drawing. Reducing a pen & ink drawing will actually tighten up the quality, but enlarging it will have an adverse effect.) So, instead of re-doing your drawing, you decide to reduce your original down to a standard size of 11 x 14. Problem solved. Or is it?

You would definitely encounter another issue almost immediately. Do you know what the problem would be? C'mon, you should know this one. Uh-oh, don't tell me that you've already forgotten about print size and image size. If your original drawing is 20 x 24, you would have to reduce it to an image size that would fit into the center of a piece of paper with a size of 11 x 14. And if you plan to have a mat on your print (which most customers do), you'll need to leave space for that as well. Okay, so you plan to make the image 9 x 12 which will give you a two-inch border to accommodate the mat. But that's not the only problem to sort out. Do you know what the next dilemma might be? No, of course you don't. I haven't discussed it yet.

ASPECT RATIO

So, let's talk about aspect ratio. Aspect ratio is basically the constant proportion of the size of an object; it's the ratio between the length and the width. The relationship between the two sides must always remain the same when being reduced (or enlarged).

Confused yet? Think of this as reducing fractions. An image that is 4 x 8 could be thought of as the fraction 4/8, which we all know is another way of saying 1/2. We can also represent this fraction as 2/4, 3/6, 5/10, 32/64, etc; it doesn't matter, they're all still 1/2. Therefore, I could reduce this image down to 3 x 6, 2 x 4, or 1 x 2, and maintain it's aspect ratio. Still confused? Well, for those of you who used to sit in math class and think, "I'll never need this stuff as an artist."... shame on you! Perhaps this next visual will help..


DETERMINING REDUCTION PERCENTAGE

When an image is reduced for reproduction, it's done using a percentage. You could approach a printing company and tell them to reduce it to 80%, for example.. or 50%, or 28%, etc. But this percentage goes against what we normally think of in terms of "dividing" something.


Here is a representation of an image that is 10" x 20".
(I used round numbers to provide a simpler example.)




What we have here is 50% of the area and should not be confused with a 50 % reduction.


___________________________



Remember, in order to maintain aspect ratio, both the length and the width must be "divided" (or multiplied) simultaneously, and at the same rate. Whatever you do to one side, you must do it to the other; if you divide the length by four, you must divide the width by four. If you multiply the length by a million, you must multiply the width by a million. Therefore, in order to achieve a 50% reduction with our 10 x 20 image, we would need to divide the 10-inch side by 50% (multiply by .5), and do the same thing to the 20-inch side. Doing the math, we would wind up with an image measuring 5 x 10.



Here's a way to figure this out right on your drawing.
(Actually, a piece of mat board the same size as your drawing works better)

Draw a line from the upper right-hand corner of your image (X) to the bottom left corner (Y).
Using this line, you can easily figure out the reduction percentage, by first determining it's length.
In this case, the line measures 22 1/4" (22.25").




Measure 11 1/8" up from the bottom left corner (Y).


___________________________



The original line (YX) has been reduced by 50% creating line YZ,
with point Z serving as the new upper right corner of the reduced image.




And we have the reduced image size of 5 x 10.



Keep in mind that, while I'm using exact measurements, you could easily round your numbers out.
If I used 22" as the length of line YX, the percentage wouldn't be off that much.
(We're talking about an eighth of an inch, here)


___________________________



Here are results using the same method to find different percentages.

(This time, I rounded the length of YX to 22")




......%.............math.............resulting size
_____________________________

25%........22 x .25 = 5.5 ..........2.5 x 5

50%........22 x .50 = 11............5 x 10.

65%.......22 x .65 = 14.3.........6.5 x 13

80%........22 x .80 = 17.6..........8 x 16.



(The math formula is how I determined the distance needed to locate the upper-right corner of each reduction)


___________________________



REDUCING TO A SPECIFIC SIZE

Let's suppose that you have a drawing with an image size of 11 x 14. Perhaps it's one of those drawings you've had for years that you recently found in your closet, and now you think it would make a nice postcard. So you need it reduced to fit onto a 4 x 6 area. What percentage does it need to be reduced to? As is usually the case, most of us never know the percentage beforehand, but we do have a specific size in mind for the reduction. You can accomplish this by using a reverse variation of this method.

Draw a line from corner to corner on the 11 x 14 image (from Y to X), just as you did previously.
To convert the 11" width down to 4", you would measure 4 inches over from the left side, and drop a vertical line straight down (parallel to the left side), all the way to the bottom. You will find point Z where it intersects with angled line YX, and again this becomes the new upper-right corner of the reduced image.




Draw a horizontal line from Z over to the left side, and we find that the reduced image is 4" x 5.1"




___________________________



Obviously, a 4 x 5 image won't fit perfectly onto a 4 x 6 postcard, and will leave a small "unprinted" border on two edges. This may work for you. But if it doesn't, you could choose to go another route. You could convert the 14" side of your original to 6". However, this would inevitably make the 11" side convert down to a size larger than 4", and would require cropping.



This is done the same way, using the angled line connecting the corners of the image size,
but this time, you measure 6" up from the bottom and draw a horizontal line across.




Draw a vertical line through point Z to the bottom. The reduced size winds up being 4.7 x 6.


___________________________



To find what percentage this is, simply measure the angled line(s).




In this case, the entire line (YX) measures 17.75 inches, and the "reduced" line (YZ) measures approximately 7.5 inches. Divide the larger number by the smaller (7.5/17.75) and you get .4225, which is 42 percent. It's not always necessary to know the reduction percentage when you go to the printer; in most cases, you can just tell them what size you need. They'll figure it all out for you. However, this knowledge is essential to maintain control and minimize costly mistakes.


___________________________



So now that you have an understanding of aspect ratio, and you know how to determine reduction percentages, let's get back to the issue about reducing your 20 x 24 drawing into an 11 x 14 frame. Do you know what the problem is now? For your sake, I hope you recognized that the ratios of the two different sizes don’t mesh. If you reduce the original by 50%, it'll be 10 x 12. You're looking for 9 x 12. This means that you'll have to crop an inch off of the reduced copy (which is the same as cropping two inches off of the original). Hmmm, too bad you didn't do the drawing 18 x 24.

Let's say you plan to create a set of drawings for prints, but also want to use the images for postcards. The prints are to fit into 14 x 18 frames. You allow four inches for matting, so you decide on an image size of 10 x 14 on a print size of 12 x 16. Everything works perfectly. Then you go to have your postcards printed. The postcard is 4 x 6 inches. When you reduce your 10 x 14 image down (using the cool trick I just showed you), it comes to 4 x 5.6 inches. That's not bad! Isn't it a great thing when a plan comes together.

And what about shipping? At one point or another, you're going to have to ship some of your prints. Do you have a box big enough to fit your print in? You better make sure before you get those 36 x 40 prints made.

I'm betting that you never imagined so much thought went into choosing a size for your prints. Well, wait until you hear this one. How about considering cost as a factor? Yes, you can save quite a bit of money by choosing the right size. The obvious way to do this would be under the premise that the larger the print, the higher the cost. And this is true to a certain extent, but not enough to really matter. The real way to cut costs is by keeping the framing and matting in mind. First, it's a good idea to go with standard frame sizes. If you do an odd-sized drawing, such as 7 x 23, you'll be forced to have an expensive custom frame made. Or worse yet, you'll force a potential customer to find an unusual frame and you might lose the sale. Either scenario won't help your finances any.

If you plan to buy pre-cut mats for your prints, it's a good idea to research the size of the openings to make sure your image size is compatible. Or if you cut your own mats, plan out your sizes to maximize the most use of the sheet of mat board and/or backing. I intentionally began using 16 x 20 frame sizes because mat board comes in sheets of 32 x 40, which gives me 4 mats, and leaves no wasted board. If you go with a 20 x 24 frame size, the most you'll get out of a sheet of mat board is two mats and a piece of scrap 8 x 32 inches. This means the 20 x 24 mats are double the cost of the 16 x 20 mats. For years, I've been saving the scraps I get from cutting the opening in my 16 x 20 mats. One day, I realized that the scrap pieces were 12 x 16 inches. Since I had hundreds of these pieces, I decided to do a series of local drawings (drawn to a specific size) to fit into 11 x 14 frames. All I had to do is trim down the scraps I saved, and I had several hundred free mats. How much money do you suppose I saved with that idea?


___________________________



FRAMING & MATTING


Since I've already delved a bit into the subject of framing, I wanted to share a few tips I've learned along the way. The most advice I can give you is to be an artist, not a framer. When I first started out, I made the mistake of over-providing for my customers by making house calls with frame samples, so they could choose their frame against the decor their print would be hung in. I must say that it was fun to visit with folks, and I felt that I was providing the best service I could. The problem was that it took way too much of my time. In addition, I provided a wide variety of frames and mat colors for them to choose from. Bad, bad, bad! I remember spending over an hour at someone's house while they were trying to decide between the ivory mat and the cream mat. Egads! But, yet again, I learned my lesson. I've since changed my framing & matting philosophies. Currently, every one of my customers gets the choice of a black mat. And I must say that's working out just fine.

Although some of my sales are for rolled prints (slid inside a plastic poly-tube sleeve), most of my prints are sold with a single black mat and backing, slipped into a glassy clear envelope (a great alternative to stretch-wrapping). This gives the customer the option of buying a standard frame and dropping in the entire assembly, do-it-yourself style, or having it professionally framed. The only prints I frame any more are the ones that are hanging in the shops that sell them. And I don't allow the shops choose a specific frame molding. I'll give them "something mahogany or cherry" if they ask for it, but that's where it ends. Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot. With a framed print, they also have a choice of black mat board. In the event that one of their customers wants a print framed differently than the one hanging, they can simply purchase a "matted print" and have someone else frame it to spec.

There are several reasons why I use a black matting exclusively. Black mat board is like a pair of jeans; it goes great with just about anything. It works especially well with pen & ink prints in keeping with the black & white theme, and it seems to transform when it's placed in different frames.


Here is one of my prints as it appears with a black mat.




___________________________



Here are a few examples of how it looks in different frames.
You can see how well the mat works with all three,
and how they could each fit into a completely different style of decor.




___________________________



Another reason I use black matting is because it gives the customer the option of creating a really cool double mat to fit their specific decor. By using the existing black mat as the "inner mat", it creates a nice dark border around the image, as you can see here.






___________________________



Here are the same examples without the inner black mat.



You be the judge.





Keep it Simple

Believe it or not, I'm not trying to talk you into using black mat board. What I'm trying to do is persuade you into keeping things simple. If you want to use white mat board, then so be it. It's so much easier to see that you have 3 sheets of mat board left, as opposed to 2 of this color, 8 of this color, none of the next color, etc. Even if you decide to have 2 or 3 colors of mat board, that's not too bad. But don't carry any more than 3 or 4 colors; not only is it more time consuming, it gets expensive maintaining an inventory of that many colors. And stay away from elaborate frames. They are cumbersome and costly. Also, try to use standard sizes whenever you can.


___________________________



SHIPPING


This seems to be another concept that often goes unattended in the planning stages. And there's a bit more to it than finding a box to fit your print(s) in. With very little online research, you can determine which shipping service will suit your needs the best. Personally, I use the US Postal Service. Using their Priority Shipping (2-3 days), I can send as many as 4 prints (rolled and in the same box), including confirmation & insurance, for less than $5. Plus they offer free boxes, which they will deliver right to your home.. for free. Obviously, if you live outside of the US, this isn't an option for you (is it?). Or maybe you live in close proximity to your local UPS building, or you're simply familiar with FedEx's procedures. Whichever service you decide to use, it's best to research your options.

Also, you should figure out ahead of time what you will and what you won't ship. I won't ship framed prints, never. The idea of shipping glass via The Post Office or FedEx isn't a very good one, and it's just asking for trouble. I ship my larger prints (16 x 20) but I'll only ship them rolled. If I sold them matted, I would need a much larger box than is available. I do ship my 11 x 14 prints matted/wrapped, as I can fit that into a box that measures 12 x 15 x 2 (which is available for free from the USPS). Again, these are my methods that suit my needs. You may very well decide that you need to ship framed prints. But if you do, I urge you to plan & prepare.


___________________________



SELLING STRATEGIES


By now, you should have a good idea what your prints will cost you. Keep this in mind when you're selling your prints, and use the flexibility it provides. What I mean is, it's wise to sometimes allow yourself to be "chewed down" in price. If you have a print that cost you $1.25, and it's matted/wrapped at the cost of $6.00, the total cost is $7.25. Let's suppose you're at a show and your retail price for this print is $30. There's a person hem-hawing as to whether they want to purchase it. You could either stand there with your fingers crossed, or you could approach them with, "I'll tell you what I'm gonna do", and offer them a discount. Come up with some arbitrary reason (sincere or not) such as, "you really seem to like this print and I want to see that you have it", or "The more I sell the less I have to take home", etc. If you drop the price from $30 to $25, or even $20, you still make out. Really, you could drop the price to $10 and still make a profit. This does a few things. You make a sale, and you make money. The person who bought the print is going to walk around the rest of the day inadvertently showing everyone else that they bought one of your prints. (Have you ever been at a carnival and walked up to a complete stranger to ask them where they got the crunchy creamy caramel cone they had in their hand?) In addition, your customer is one more person in the world who is going to hang your print in their home for all their visitors to see. And if you're smart, there will be a business card attached to the back of the print.


___________________________



GIVING PRINTS AWAY



Word-of-mouth is ultimately an artist's best source of sales; therefore it's sometimes wise to simply give your prints away. I'm not talking about giving one to your friend, or your sister, etc. I'm talking more like giving them away to celebrities, government officials, CEOs of corporations, etc. Back in 1984, I sent four prints to President Regan, just to see what would happen. Remarkably, I received a reply back from him. It was on Whitehouse letterhead, which included his actual signature. I really had no ulterior motif when I sent him the gift, and I certainly didn't expect a response. But evidently, since he acknowledged me, I could put on my resume, "in the collection of the Ronald Regan estate"... if I wanted to. I just like the really cool memento hanging on my wall.


At a steelworker's fair a few years ago, in front of a large crowd, I presented a set of my Bethlehem Steel prints to the mayor of Bethlehem. That small gesture brought a lot of attention to my work, and provided me with a great weekend of sales. Not to mention that my work is now hanging in City Hall; and I've since had numerous people comment on seeing them. I take advantage of every chance I can to donate my work to various functions, such as auctions and sales for local charities or community events. You'd be surprised how much this helps.

Another very cool bonus to having prints, is to participate in "print-swapping". This is simply a friendly trade with other artists you meet along the way…one of your prints for one of theirs. I have so many cool prints by artists from all around the world, I could probably start my own gallery. Normally, most of my "swapping" takes place with artists I've met at art shows, but I've also done a few swaps with folks right here at WC.

And then, of course, we can't forget about our friends. I've given many prints away to lots of my friends, including some right here at WC. And because of that, all of my friends get to enjoy my work, and I have my art scattering to the far reaches of the globe. Remember, prints are like seeds from a tree floating in the wind on a journey to spread your work throughout the world. Whatever you do, don't hold them back.
__________________
Dave........."My pursuit of perfection is not intended to lead me to perfection, but to simply get me as far away as possible from imperfection."



Last edited by DBSullivan : 11-14-2006 at 12:03 AM.
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Old 11-14-2006, 02:33 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

:c lap:
Thanks Dave, I just read right through the article and found it extremely helpful, you should really convert this into a book. As a beginner artist trying to become a professional you have given me so much guidance and many ideas to get going. I have been stuck on portraits that don't sell but am now going to do a series on Kalk Bay, which has lots of tourists, because thinking about it my drawing of a boat I did at Kalk Bay last month, for a charity auction, got the highest price of the evening. So it’s off to work I go, armed with your sound advice. You have been placed on my saint list. Thank you is all I can say

Paul
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Old 11-14-2006, 04:27 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Dave, this looks like a lot of great info, too much to digest in one sitting for me!

Thanks a lot for all your work and knowledge.

Cheers
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Old 11-14-2006, 05:11 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Bravo Dave. This is a superb article that is going to help a lot of people. You are so generous with your knowledge and experiences ... I can't thank you enough
I made the thread a sticky so that we can all find it easily.
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:09 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

jeez, dave, i wish i didn't have to go to work this morning...i'd like to sit and read through the whole article. you already answered a bunch of questions i had...i can't wait to get to the rest of it. you da man!
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:14 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Question - what about using those large printer/copiers like at Kinko's for those large works, such as 20"x30"?
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:15 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

WOW oh WOW Dave, you really do Rock!!!!!!!!!!
This is a superb article, and I'll be printing it off and adding it to my/your book asap. I've been looking so forward to this one, and you sure haven't disappointed (but then I knew you wouldn't -- you never do). Thanks heaps Dave -- you have given we Pen and Inkers so much, and I just hope we will see your Tutorials and this one in a book in the near future.

Sleep easy tonight my friend -- you've got this off your chest now.

Val.
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:20 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Oh wow, I am so glad I kept dropping hints! Can't wait to print this out and read it in detail. You rock, you know.
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Old 11-14-2006, 07:23 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Wow!! Dave, THANK YOU for putting this together!!

I'm still somewhat of an newbie artist and just beginning to sell my prints (sell an original???? Egads!!!), and your thread is just chock-full of fantastic information!!

I also peeked into your website and again, I need to say, "WOW!!!"

Thanks again!
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Old 11-14-2006, 07:36 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Damn! … That’s a Hell-a-va lot of information!

I appreciate the time & effort that went into putting this together … was well worth the read


What can I say? … U still da Man!
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:11 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

OMGD! Luv u, Luv u, Luv u! Talk about ask and you shall receive! This is unbelievable, I printed the whole thing off for reference (and reverence!) immediately!

Wow! Thanks so much, there's so much info here, so much help for us poor ignorant beginners!

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Dave!

Smoki (HappyAppy)
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:24 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

A truly excellent article.

It's great to have information that applies specifically to Pen & Ink artists, and also to have all of this available in one place instead of having to search for it in bits and pieces scattered all over the internet.
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Old 11-16-2006, 02:02 AM
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Ranger Dan Ranger Dan is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Dean says it best, Dave. U still da man! Thanks for all the effort on this. I just bookmarked it so I can go back into it. I have wanted to get into the selling prints aspect, so now's my chance! As soon as I get the TIME, you might understand that, don't you Dave?
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