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Old 12-19-2006, 12:13 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Work? nah, more like lack of time. I've been building up my 'art favorites' folder for firefox and I'll be adding yours and Mels this week. As far as retro goes I remember playing pong and space wars... Thanks (you too Mel!) for the advice on the printing and the inkjets. Right now it would be small runs thats why I was asking, but I will keep the pricing in mind about using the copy shops.
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Old 12-20-2006, 02:33 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

I thought of another thing. If you are scanning in or are having someone scan in your art work make sure it's the highest optical resolution it's capable of. All scanners have two kinds of resolution. Optical and interpolated. The only one that counts is optical. If your scanner's max optical resolution is 1200dpi then go with that. http://www.microtekusa.com/sms400_specs.html
That link will go to the microtek page with a scanner specs. Notice that the optical resolution is 4800x9600 dpi (dots per inch), and the software interpolation is much higher. All the interpolation does is guess where you need the information and then add pixels. In reality is just makes your file even bigger blah blah blah.

Now DPI or PPI is very important. In short the higher that number the better the quality of the image. Way back when if you had a printer that could do more than 300dpi you were hot stuff. And to scan something in at more than 300dpi took a huge scanner and a good amount of money. But like most things the technology has made the quality of the scanners go up and the price come down. You can get a good scanner for less than $100.00 if you want one that does 8.5x11, although the price goes up from there for bigger ones. (At that point have a professional do it)

Why use the max resolution? Well, first you want your prints to look as close to the original as possible, especially if you work in color. The higher the resolution of the scan the better your image will look. Secondly when the image is scanned in, it is turned into a bitmap. The program (photoshop, GIMP etc.) has to account for those pixels and this affects the quality of the image when you make it bigger or smaller.

Now you can shrink a bitmap and keep the quality of the image. If our fearless author wanted to take one of his Bethleham images and shrink it down, that would be no problem. The image resolution is unaffected. But what if you have a small image that you need to make bigger?

Let's just say that Mr. DB has a small drawing (5x7) that people are clamoring to have as a print. Now our fearless author needs to take that image and double the size so that he can fill the demand that his new masterpiece has created. (I'm first in line btw) This is where the resolution comes into play. When you increase the size of a bitmap (jpeg, tiff, bmp, png, gif, psd etc) you lower the resolution by the same amount. In simple terms, if you double the size of the image you've just cut the resolution in half.

If your image's original resolution was only 300dpi and you doubled the size, it's now in reality a 150dpi image. Your monitor has a resolution of only 72dpi, and the images I post are a bit higher at 100dpi. (I'm just silly that way) This is when you start to see the pixelization of your image (looks jagged and all around icky) when you print it out. If that same image had started out as a 600dpi image it's now 300dpi and the print quality will still be pretty good. Now Mr. DB takes his image in to have it scanned and decides to scan the original in at 4800 dpi (He's no dummy after all) so that his 10x14 print will have a resolution of 2400dpi and if he so chooses he can make it a bit bigger and still get a high quality print from the guy running the press. He's happy because his prints are selling like hotcakes and we're happy because we now own a great looking print at a reasonable cost.

Now to be honest unless you're a graphic designer (like me) and like correcting your scans (guilty) most of this information is just to better arm you when you go out and start making prints. My last peice of advice if you do scan in your artwork is to keep an orignal scan at that max resolution, just in case and then put it on a CD etc to keep it safe.
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Old 12-20-2006, 02:42 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Interesting and good info Greg. I have always struggled with this. Which seem silly cause I work digitally a lot as well. the I get all bummed when I do a nice p/i piece and because of the resolution, it just doesnt look as good. I just assumed everyone had that problem.
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Old 12-29-2006, 01:51 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Sorry if I seemed to have neglected you guys. I'm winding down from an extremely busy Christmas season... but slowly I'm getting caught up.

Mud - Thanks for the comments on my work. The monks were certainly a treat to do. And good eye for spotting the tower in the other drawing. In case you hadn'e noticed, it's exactly the same view, only close-up.

As to your question about what tools are essential and what are luxuries. I'm not sure I understand; perhaps you could be more specific. If you're talking in regards to selling prints, framing/matting, packaging, etc... well, that could be a long list. If you're talking about in general, that's easy: paper, a pen, a pot of coffee, and a spare light bulb. A luxury would be a live-in butler to make the coffeee for me.

Paul - Yes sir, that is correct. (at least that's the logical way I see to do it)

Greg - That's some excellent stuff, Greg! I realize how long it must've taken you to put that together. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. It really is good to have an understanding of the scanning process even if someone else is doing it for you. And you certainly taught me something!
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Old 12-29-2006, 05:27 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Quote:
Originally Posted by artistdbs
As to your question about what tools are essential and what are luxuries. I'm not sure I understand; perhaps you could be more specific. If you're talking in regards to selling prints, framing/matting, packaging, etc... well, that could be a long list. If you're talking about in general, that's easy: paper, a pen, a pot of coffee, and a spare light bulb. A luxury would be a live-in butler to make the coffeee for me.


yeah, i was talking about the matting/framing process basically, but i was also kind of trying to hit on extras for the drawing process, too. what kind of extras do you like to have handy in the studio- rulers, t-squares, french curves, circle templates, etc. do you use some items so much that you consider them indispensible? do you use others so little that you consider them a waste or a one-time use item?
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:16 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

So the one thing I have not seen addressed here at all yet is this. If one is doing a graphite drawing, even if it is sprayed with fixative.... isn't there a danger of compromising the original by sticking it on a scanner or copier somewhere?

I always thought that taking a digital photo image (quality of course) was the way to create prints of these types of drawings?


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Old 01-02-2007, 11:33 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

If you are careful it should not smudge if you have used fixative. If you take a digital photo use the highest setting the camera has. You also should use a tripod and a black background to surround the drawing with. You also want the most even lighting you can get so that it's as close to the original as possible.
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Old 01-02-2007, 07:54 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

This thread is AWESOME. I am deeply grateful for the knowledge you are sharing with us and for your generosity in doing so. Thanks for spending so much time on this.
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Old 01-04-2007, 05:20 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Mudslinger - Len, I haven't been ignoring you. In fact, when it takes me a while to respond, that means you have me thinking. You certainly peaked my own curiosity into the subject of what I need and what I don't. I've picked away at this for the past few days on the upstairs pc (where all the good stuff gets written). Sheesh, I just looked at the size of this response... see what you did!

As for matting/framing supplies... that's just a good idea to add into my next formal update; the list is extensive I'd also like to add some images. This requires more time than I have right now to get into it as thouroughly as it needs.

As for the other part of your question about essentials in the studio... at first I thought that would be a good thread in of itself. And perhaps it's already been done. But then I thought that maybe you just wanted my personal opinion on the subject. So, with no intention of creating an off-topic debate about the essentials of a studio... here it is, in all it's glory. Keep in mind that I'm a non-materialistic, "waste-not-want-not" kinda guy. (and as you should already know by now... very opinionated)

I took a good look around my studio to see if there was anything that I hadn't used in years. The first thing I found was my oil paints and my brushes. Next on the list was my airbrush (although I still use the compressor to blow dirt out of computers). I also found a set of precision compasses that were given to me that I've never used, and the last thing was an oval mat cutter that I've used once or twice in 15 years. (it was also a gift)

Generally speaking, I believe the most unessential thing in a studio is overpriced furniture; I believe in basic and practical. Most artists aren't rich and we all have budgets to maintain. I'll never understand why someone would spend $200 on a tabouret when they could buy a metal 2-drawer filing cabinet from Kmart for 30 bucks that would accomplish the same task. What?... because it looks nice? If you think about it, it's a tool... a utility... something to accomplish a task. It doesn't have to look good. That's the purpose of our artwork. The same applies to drawing tables/easels that are made of the finest oak or mahogany from Southeast Asia, embellished with all kinds of bells and whistles. (hogwash!) I have a professional, yet very basic drawing table that tilts and goes up and down. It's base is made of metal and the top is plain old "wood". And the only reason I have this one is because someone gave it to me; the one I had prior was made by myself out of plywood, 2x4s, some bolts & screws, and piece of 1/4 inch metal stock attached to the left side for my t-square to ride on. Even a simple drawing board at the dining room table is fine. It's a bit different if you buy an expensive chair that's ergonomically suited for back problems. Of course, the wooden stool that I re-upholstered myself a few times has done me just fine for 30 years! The way I see it... if you want to show off a nice piece of furniture, do it in the dining room.

Now, as for the essentials, I use everything and anything that's available to me in order to accomplish the task at hand. I use t-squares, rulers, triangles, french curves, circle templates, cups, bowls, string, paper clips, etc. I even used a wire hanger when I did my City Block drawing. (I taped it down to the board to match a curve that my french curve templates couldn't handle). Of these, however, I would say the "must haves" for me would be a t-square, triangle, a scale (or ruler), a metal yardstick, and paper clips (I bend the clips so a point is sticking up, then tape them down so the point is directly over my vanishing points. This saves me time from not having to locate the VPs each time with a pencil; I simply put my yardstick against the paper clip points).

I don't think any of these are a waste. I mentioned the oval cutter only getting used 2 times in 15 years; on both occasions I was very glad I had it. If it doesn't take up too much space and it isn't bothering anything... I say, "leave it, you may need it". Even my set of precision compasses... never used them... but I might need them someday and they're tucked away for just such an occasion. On the other hand, if you have a light table that takes up half of your usable work space, and you've only used it twice in the past 15 years, I'd recommend listing it on Ebay.

The essentials I just mentioned are what I use to do an architectural drawing. Generally speaking, I think the essentials in a "studio" are as follows: a large table (flat or tilted) giving you plenty of space, a comfortable chair or stool, and plenty of good lighting. Lighting, to me, is probably the most important. I find it difficult to work for extended periods of time in poor lighting. I normally have 2 - 3 lights on my table when I'm working. One in the center and two clamp-able desk lamps on either side, to prevent shadows from my hand when I'm going in for some detail. Even if I have the opportunity to grab my drawing board and work on the sofa watching TV, I still take one or two of those clamping lights along.

Ask and ye shall recieve, buddy! I hope this answers your question.




Jodie - That's another great question. Thanks so much for your post. In fact, your timing is perfect; I normally work in ink, but over the holidays I did two pencil portraits which I had to spray. But here's the odd thing... for one of them, I didn't spray it before I took it for scanning/copying. The reason for this was a time issue. The printer was closing early for the holidays and would be closed for a week. I wanted copies but I still wanted to tweak it. So I took it unsprayed. And nothing bad happened to it. In fact, while I was waiting, the girl came out from the back and asked my permission to take it out of the clear plastic sleeve to copy it.

When you really think about it, an original drawing lives a terrible life; it's always in danger of destruction. Even from the moment of conception when you lay the first pencil line, there's a chance you'll make a mistake and start over. If you do, there it is... dead in the wastecan. Or how about one you've had hours into, and wound up over-working a certain area to a point which ruined the drawing. Or how about mishaps like coffee/juice spills, dropped objects, a young niece wandering unattended into the studio with chocolate on her hands (that wasn't good). I could go on but I think you get my point. And you're right, the folks who scan/print/copy your work are just another chance for destruction in the life of your artwork.

Fortunately, from my experiences, I've come to believe that these third party folks who handle my artwork take more care with it than I do. They're professionals who do it everyday, and they should be given credit for such. I've been handing my originals over counters for 25 years and I've never had anything bad happen to them. I always let them know it's an original that took me a million hours to do, yada, yada, yada... be extremely careful, etc etc... and they always return it unscathed.

This is why I prefer taking my work to an actual printing company, as opposed to Staples or Kinkos; chances are the printing company required some type of degree and/or specific experience to become an employee, while the "big stores", overall, are certainly less stringent. I'm sure there are plenty of fine, knowledgable people working at Staples, and perhaps I'm being prejudice, but I would be concerned giving them my original work.


As for using a camera as an alternative to scanning...I'm still fairly new to the whole digital thing and I'm learning new things everyday. Therefore, the only opinion I have on this particular subject is based on my inability to get a decent image using my camera. I have a Nikon slr digital camera that'll take photos with a resolution capable of producing 20" x 24" images, but for the life of me I can't seem to master it. Like Greg said (and he knows what he's talking about when it comes to digital), it's all about proper lighting. And unless you're really good at photography, I can't see getting an image that won't have to be tweaked in PS. Of course, if you can, then I don't see anything wrong with it. My personal philosophy is that if I'm going to produce something to sell professionally, I'm going to have it produced by professionals. I scan my work at home for my web images and to print copies for experimenting with, but for my prints, I let the pros with the expensive, state-of-the-art equipment do it for me.

Keep in mind that what works for me may not work for you. Referring to the section of the article, "decision, decions, decisions", I state that you are the producer and you can do what you want and delegate the rest. If you decide that photographing your work is the way for you... that's great. I hope you'll keep us posted and let us know how it works out for you, whether the results are positive or negative. The more comments we get from folks who've tried something new or different, the more we'll all learn.

Vegas Art Guy - Greg, thanks for the info/input. That was appreciated. As I said, I have a hard time with taking photos of my work. I know it's all about the lighting; perhaps when I have more time to experiment. Ummmmm.... you know.... time.... that's the stuff you need to visit my website!

Patricia - Thanks for your comments! And your very welcome.
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Old 01-04-2007, 06:01 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

I've been to your website and wasted lots of time playing lunar lander, er checking it out... When I get the chance I will dig up information on taking good photos and post them or maybe PM it to you so you can put it off a year, er add it to this post in a logical manner... I only covered the very basics on that response. I will dig that up.
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Old 01-05-2007, 06:31 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

dang it, dave, you exposed my secret identity...i was trying to go through life anonymously!
thanks for the info. i'm slowly building up my tool collection- you know, when you need it, go get it. i'm with ya on basic and practical- i need to work on being organized! that and storing finished work...i have no storage space!

lighting- i sorely need more lighting. i make do with one inexpensive drafting light and the overhead light from the ceiling.

i got my drafting table out of a construction dumpster...i guess someone was tired of drawing. finding it was kind of the catalyst of getting back to drawing. i kind of took it as a sign and put it to good use (so far).

matting and framing section here? i'm not gonna have to wait till next year, am i? don't forget the architectural tutorial, either! we're waaaaiiting!
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Old 01-05-2007, 01:53 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

It could be 2009 next year is an election year... Speaking of lighting are you going to be doing much color or mainly black and white? Because that will help you decide what you really need if your studio does not have natural north lighting or you work when the sun is not shining...
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Old 01-08-2007, 10:25 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Thank you so much for the info on photographing vs copying directly to make prints. I learned a lot!! Although I do have a good camera and do usually get really good shots of my work, I think I am going to "bite the bullet" and try doing some printing at a printing shop. I had one experience doing it that way with a 25 X 25 graphite drawing and I ended up spending almost a 100 dollars for one print just to get a good (25 X 25) copy. Most printers use color to do the b/w reprints and I found that it would give the print a greenish or redish "hue" that I did not like I also find that a lot of the subtle shading that I do gets lost in the reprint, just like when I scan it so that is why I have always relied on photography. But I'm willing to give it a try again, hopefully with somewhere cheaper!

As for lighting, I must chime in here.... I just got for Christmas a "tru light" from Dick Blick and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE it! Rather than the yellow of incadescent lighting as well as trying to draw around the shadow of my own hand, this light is pure white heaven, no glare, even lighting and no shadows! It's actually on sale right now at Dickblick for 47 dollars! Here is the link if anyone is interested.

http://www.dickblick.com/zz551/71/

Thanks again everyone for such fantastic advise!!

Jodie
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Old 01-09-2007, 06:16 AM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

here's a question for you- say you do a drawing and the image is either not centered right or ends up a little too big on the page, leaving not enough margin around it for matting. can you increase the print size and keep the original image size? sort of like transferring the image onto a bigger sheet of paper?
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:18 PM
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Re: How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of your Artwork

Scanning is a superior way to capture 2D images for manipulation in the computer. The photograph is great if you have a studio to light the work, but without it, you are stuck using sunlight (tansporting the work, weather) or on camera flash (uneven lighting.) You also have to deal with distortion, focus, even lighting, etc. I have a canon digital SLR, and even have studio lighting, but will scan any image that will fit on my scanner. It just makes less work later.

If your work is extra large, take it to Kinkos and have them use their blueprint scanner.
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