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Have you been thinking about making prints from your original paintings? I thought about selling prints a long time before I took the plunge. I will tell you about my process, but first let’s look at the pros and cons of selling prints.
- You’re providing people in lower income brackets with accessible art.
- During tough economic times (LIKE RIGHT NOW), buyers might be willing to buy a print when they would not purchase an original.
- Your print shop will save a file for each print, so you can buy a small amount now, then pay for more prints later.
- You can purchase cards, gift tags, and many other printed products from the original file.
- Since prints require taking pictures of your work, artists that sell them have a handy catalog at their fingertips.
- Prints provide passive income.
- You can make expensive, mid-grade, or inexpensive prints. The choices range form Giclee prints to basic prints on acid-free paper.
- They cost very little to produce.
- You need to keep track of the number of prints available for each work of art. An artist offering 25 prints of an original would write 1/25, 2/25 and etc. on each print. I hope I sell enough to necessitate numbering my prints. What a great problem to have.
- It takes a fair amount of time to photograph your art.
- Payment is expected before you sell the first print-unless you use a print on demand (POD) service. In my experience with selling print on demand mugs, paying a third party to produce and dropship items printed with your designs leaves very little profit for your art business.
- The time you spend packaging and mailing prints means less time in the studio.
In my opinion, the pros far outweigh the cons!
The Journey from Paintings to Prints
I live in a beautiful place, so naturally I wanted to belong to an art gallery in the most scenic area of my town. I joined the Beaufort Art Association last month and recently put my art on display there. The gallery allows exhibiting artists to display 4 paintings and 6 prints, with a changeover occuring every 6 weeks. My problem was immediate. I didn’t have any prints, and I needed to have them ready fairly quickly.
Because I often blog about painting and have an Etsy shop, I had plenty of pictures of my art. I chose Budget Print because it is located downtown and they are known for working with artists. I picked 6 paintings that represent life here in the South Carolina Lowcountry, then sent Renee photos of my work. She emailed me when it was time to come in and proof them.
I hopped in my car and drove down to see the prints. I was very satisfied with the quality. I liked the price too. I chose a simple, acid-free paper. It was $6 for the first print and 65 cents for each additional print. In the end, it cost less than $40 for 5 prints each of 6 different paintings (30 prints altogether).
Packaging the Prints
I ordered a kit from Amazon that had 10 11″ by 14′ black mats with openings to fit my 8″ by 10″ prints, 10 backings, and 10 clear bags. What a deal! There is a link to that product at the beginning of this post. According to my research, the 8″ by 10″ print is the most popular. That particular size was attractive to me because it is easy to mail.
I also recommend ordering business cards to tape on the back of each print. Luckily, I already had plenty of those.
Watch the video at the beginning of the post to see the step-by-step instructions for putting the print inside the mat opening and placing it on the backing board.
It only took two hours to package the 6 prints for the gallery and make the demo video for this post.
I had a great time at “First Friday,” my debut at the gallery. On the first Friday of every month, our downtown area has sales, refreshments, and entertainment for Beaufort residents and tourists. My gallery participates and many of the artists come in for the event. It was great to have my husband and some of my kids there and have my PRINTS in the BIN; ready to sell.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with selling prints. Let me know in the comments below.
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