One of the best ways to create steady income from the art you create is by making and selling art prints.
Nowadays, there are so many ways artists can create art prints easily from the comfort of their own home.
In this blog post, I wanted to share with you simple steps and advice for any artist who wants to create beautiful art prints of their work. I hope you find this guide helpful!
Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links. This means that at no extra cost to you, I may receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
1. Create Art
The first step is simple and one that you’ve probably already done before – And that is to create your art!
The art you want to make into an art print should have your own art style, just like your original pieces.
When you create a shop later on, your prints should all have a cohesive style to them that help those that stumble upon your online art shop see that you are a professional artist that they can trust and buy art from.
Here are some more tips that is good to know for creating art prints:
- Digitally-created artwork is going to require less equipment to make prints from (as it is already on your computer)
- Art created on paper should fit your available scanner (Larger works on paper may need to be scanned multiple times and stitched together through a software, making the process more difficult)
- Paintings on canvas are best photographed for print-making (If you want to learn how to photograph your artwork, read this blog post here)
If you want to create art prints from the comfort of your own home, I recommend creating the original piece either digitally or on a small/medium sheet of paper that can be easily scanned.
This will be the best starting point for those who are just getting into creating art prints. You can scale up and expand later as your art business grows and you are able to invest in more equipment or strategies.
2. Scan Your Artwork
After creating the artwork you want to make your art prints from, the next step is to scan your artwork.
If you already have an all-in-one printer that has a scanner function, you can use that.
If you want to invest in a scanner so that you can make the best quality prints, I highly recommend the Epson V600 (Check it out on Amazon here). It is highly used and recommend by artists everywhere, with over 3000 ratings and 4.3 star average review.
When you scan your artwork, make sure you set it to photo scanning and set the quality to 300 dpi (dots per inch).
300 dpi is standard for creating a high quality print. Going any lower can result in a lower quality, more fuzzy print.
If you have a small original artwork that you want to create bigger prints from, I recommend scanning at 400 or 500 dpi if possible. When you stretch an image to make it bigger, you lose information in between.
Scanning at a higher dpi ensures that when you scale your image up, you can still be at 300 dpi at the end result.
3. Edit Your Scanned Art
The next step is to edit your scanned artwork in a photo-editing software.
I highly recommend using Photoshop for this. A subscription with Adobe Creative Cloud (For Photoshop & Lightroom) is $10/month. This subscription is what I use personally and it isn’t all to expensive as an essential software for my business.
If you are looking for free software, try GIMP, Paint.net, or Pixlr.
During the editing process we will:
- Make color adjustments
- Edit or Erase Unwanted Details
- Adjust Color Profile
Below is a basic editing process using a stock photo as an example. You can adjust this process according to your needs.
How to Crop Your Scanned Image
First, identify the crop tool. It should look like two corners intersecting (in Photoshop)
Click and drag the corners of your image in order to crop out any extra paper space you don’t need. Pull the corners in so that only your artwork fills the space.
Your finished cropped artwork should look like this:
How to Edit Image and Canvas Size
Check your image size by going to the top toolbar in Photoshop and clicking Image > Image Size
Adjust your artwork size by changing Image Size and Canvas Size to match the dimensions you want your print to be. If you want to create 8×10″ prints, make sure your image size and canvas size is 8×10″.
Canvas size can be found under Image > Canvas Size.
You use image size when you want to resize your image proportionally. If you want to crop your image to a specific size, using Canvas Size.
How To Make Color Adjustments to Your Artwork
Your scanned image will most likely not match the colors of your original artwork. This is why we need to make color adjustments – so that your prints can look as close to the original as possible.
The easiest way is to adjust the whites and blacks in your artwork. The eyedropper tools only work if you use white or black in your art, but I adjust levels no matter what.
Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels
You can also adjust colors by going to Image > Adjustments > Color Balance. You can adjust the sliders according to whether your art needs to be warmer or cooler, or more red than pink, etc.
Other adjustments I use include Brightness/Contrast, Curves, Vibrance, and Hue/Saturation. Adjustments will be different according to what scanner you use.
How to Edit / Erase Unwanted Details
When creating prints, you might notice that there are unwanted little details you want to erase from your art, whether it be specks of dust on your scanned image or little pencil marks here or there.
Here are a few tools I use in order to accomplish this last and important step in editing your artwork to create prints from:
- Spot Healing Brush: Use this tool to get rid of dust, specks, marks, etc
- Eraser: Use this tool when you want to erase background
- Clone Stamp: Use this tool for extending texture or color in another area
Usually the spot healing tool is enough to edit out little unwanted details in your artwork.
Adjusting the Color Profile
Sometimes, you scanner will use a separate color profile of its own. If this is the case, it is important to adjust the color profile, especially if you are going to outsource your art prints to a printer company.
The most accepted color profiles are sRGB and AdobeRGB (1998). Please check with your printing company to see which color profile works best with their printers.
To check or change your color profiles, go to Edit > Convert to Profile.
If your Source Space has the correct profile, you can exit out without any change.
If you need to change the profile, find the correct profile under Destination Space.
4. Create a Test Print
The next step is to create a test print.
Running a test print ensures that the colors of your physical art print matches the original artwork as much as possible.
In order to create a test print, you must first decide how you are going to create your art prints: Are you going to print them yourself from home? Or are you going to outsource to a printing company to print it for you?
If you want to print them yourself, I highly recommend investing in a printer specifically for printing art prints. Office printers aren’t recommended, as they use low quality inks that easily fade over a short period of time. You want your prints to last a long time for your art buyers.
I love my Canon Pixma Pro 100 printer (Check it out on Amazon here) – It is the best printer for creating art prints. This printer is specifically designed for creating art prints and uses high quality dye-based inks, with high color gamut. It can also print sizes up 13×19 inches. One thing to note is that this printer does not have a scanner built-in.
I also have an Epson Expression XP-960 (another popular printer for creating art prints) but I had issues with the ink streaking. Eventually, I ended up upgrading to the Canon Pro 100 due to these issues, but I still use this printer for scanning, as the Pro 100 does not have a scanner built-in.
Outsourcing your art prints is a great way to create high quality art prints without the initial investment and upkeep costs of owning a printer.
Here are some great places to outsource your art printing to:
- iPrintFromHome (Cheap printing costs)
- Finerworks (Wide range of printing options)
- Giclee Today (Specializes in Giclee printing)
- Snapfish (More for photo printing)
If you are outsourcing your prints, request one print from the printing company of your choice as an initial test print. You can also test different paper options to see which one you like best for your art prints.
If you are running into the issue where the colors of your prints are far-off from the colors shown on your monitor, this may be because your monitor is not color-calibrated.
If this is the case, make sure you are not using your laptop for editing. Laptop screens show color in the least accurate way.
Whenever I edit photos, I use a separate monitor I hook up to my laptop with an HDMI cable. My monitor is an ACER IPS monitor (available on Amazon).
IPS montiors show colors evenly, no matter what angle you view your screen from. They also just have the best color overall out of all LCD monitor types. Having an IPS monitor ensures the most accurate color representation.
5. Readjust Colors
Readjust your colors based on your test print.
Prints are most likely never going to be 100% like the original piece.
Instead of trying to readjust every color to match your original, try readjusting colors that you know you dislike in your prints.
After readjusting, create another test print and repeat the process of readjusting and test printing if needed.
6. Save Your Art Print
Always save multiple times during the entire process.
I always make sure to create a separate save file for the original scan (before edits), after edit 1, after edit 2, and finally the final art print.
For saving the final art print, I make sure to save it in multiple formats. I save it as a TIFF file because there is no compression. You can also save it as a PSD (Photoshop file) – as there is no compression either.
Finally, I save it one last time as a high quality JPEG with as little compression as possible.
7. Create Your Final Art Prints
The next step is to create a batch of your final art prints!
If you are printing them from home, you don’t have to do this. You can print your art prints as the orders come in.
However, sometimes technical issues arise unexpectedly, and it’s nice to have a small batch of prints for backup in case this happens.
Here are some extra supplies you may find helpful in creating your final art prints:
- High quality paper (Try this Epson Premium Presentation Paper on Amazon)
- Paper cutter (I recommend this Guillotine Paper Cutter from Amazon)
- Clear Sleeves for Prints
- Cardboard Backing for Art Prints (Matboards on Amazon)
- A safe place to store your art prints
8. Prepare Your Art Shop
In order to sell your art prints, you need an online shop.
If you are just starting out, I recommend selling your art prints on Etsy. Creating your shop is an easy process and they already have a large audience looking for art to buy.
Later, as your shop gains more traffic and sales, you may want to consider getting your own shop, separate from an online marketplace.
If this is the case, Ihighly recommend trying out Shopify: Shopify makes creating an online shop super easy and they utilize the best apps to not only give your customers that best options and shopping experience, but give you the owner tools and automations for the best success.
If you want to create a website, along with an online shop, I also recommend using Squarespace. They also make the process of creating a website super easy. They may not have as many options as Shopify when it comes to online shops however.
Also consider checking out my blog post on how to create an artist website here for a step-by-step guide.
You may also find it helpful to create mockups of your artwork so that your buyers can visualize what your art will look like in a room. If you are interested, try these mockups from CreativeMarket.
How Much to Price Your Art Prints
The pricing of your art prints depends on you, your type of artwork, the process of creating your art prints, quality, and more.
A good general equation to go by for pricing your art prints is: The cost of materials for creating your print + The cost of shipping + Other Fees You Want to Include + Your Profit Margin
Another method is to look at how other artists in your field are pricing their art prints. Find a range of prices, and set your prices to fall within that range accordingly.
9. Sell Your Art Prints!
Now that you have created your online shop, it’s time to sell your art prints!
It may take some time to get sales when you have 0 reviews or sales, so I highly recommend promoting your art prints through your social media to get your initial sales.
Here are some helpful blog posts if you are looking for ways to promote your art on social media:
Etsy also has a way you can opt in to automatically promote your listings for you. You will need to pay extra for these ad listings, but you can easily set your budget to how must advertisement you’d like Etsy to do for you. This may be a good form of promotion that gets results more quickly for you.
I highly recommend adding several art print listings available for your shop visitors.
Eventually, you will figure out which prints are most popular among your art lovers, and you can create more prints in the future to cater to your audience’s taste.
Creating art prints can be a daunting next step in an artist’s career, but I hope these steps helped to make the process a little easier.
It’s a great way to make your art available to an even larger audience, while also giving you an extra source of income as an artist.
There are so many different art forms and ways of creating prints, and by no means is this the only way to create art prints. If something doesn’t work for you, try it a different way as well!
Create a process and product that works best for you and your art lovers!
I wish you the best success in selling art prints and, above all, have fun!
Art prints are a beautiful product to be able to make and sell, and it will bring a lot of people joy when they are able to have a beautiful art print you created in their own homes.