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Everything you need to create your own art prints!

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

First things first…you’re definitely going to need a printer


Choosing the right printer can be a daunting task! There are so many choices when it comes to size, brand and ink types. Here are a few things that can help you narrow down your search:


SIZE: How big would you like to print? Most professional quality photo printers can print 13” wide and some can print up to 17” wide.


Printers that can go beyond 17” are an exponentially larger investment in terms of dollars and space.


When starting, I recommend sticking to 16x20" prints or smaller and outsourcing your larger prints.



BRAND: The most trusted names in professional photo printers are Epson and Canon. I highly recommend sticking to a well known brand because there are a lot of resources online to help you troubleshoot any issues that you encounter.


INK: The two main choices of ink are inkjet inks and dye-based inks. The Epson Surecolor ink uses inkjet technology with 10 different color cartridges. Their ink is archival and creates a wide range of vivid colors. The Canon Pixma range uses dye-based inks, which also create rich color but are slightly less archival.


MY PRINTER: The Epson Surecolor P900 prints up to 17” wide but still fits comfortably on a desk. The colors are insanely bright and saturated and customer service has been a lifesaver at least twice.


For something a bit more affordable, the P700 prints up to 13”.


Now it’s time to get that paper!


The subject of paper could fill an entire blog post, so I’m going to keep this simple The absolute best place to purchase paper on the internet is Red River Paper Catalog. Their quality, customer service, prices, choices, and resources are unmatched.


PAPER TYPES: When choosing your paper, you will have the choice of gloss, satin, or matte. Gloss is typically reserved for photos so you’ll really be choosing between satin or matte:

Satin

Matte

Slight sheen

No sheen

Works well for deep or saturated colors

Looks highly professional

Creates highly nuanced pinks, reds, and oranges

Creates bright, high contrast colors

Dries quickly and is easy to handle

Any amount of dust can affect print quality so you need to be extra careful when handling

MY PAPER: I use the 68 lb. Ultra Pro Satin 4.0 for general use. If you are prepared to be vigilant about dust, then I suggest the Arctic Polar Matte 60 lb. paper. The matte paper is stunning; however, I found that if any dust got on the paper, my print would chip immediately.


PAPER SIZES: I have found that if I purchase 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, 12x12, and 16x20, I can cover all my bases. Then I use a large guillotine paper slicer to create any size print.


RESOURCES: Check out all of Red River Paper Catalog’s online resources! I've linked a few that I found helpful below:


*A note on the cost of ink: It is expensive! Resist the temptation to buy off-brand ink cartridges. Printers are fragile, finicky machines and off-brand ink could cost you your printer!


Technology


CAMERA: Unless you are a digital artist, you will need to photograph or scan your work so that you have a digital copy of it. Most people will tell you that you need to buy either a camera or a scanner to get high resolution pictures.


However, I have found an app that will allow you get a 32MP picture using your phone! It is called Hydra and is $2.99 in the App Store - a significantly smaller investment than a camera.


EDITING TOOLS:

  • Lightroom: Allows you to adjust the light and color so that it matches the original work. I highly recommend both photographing and editing in natural light. Tip: make sure the brightness on your phone or computer is all the way up.

  • Snapseed: another photo editing tool. It has a few advanced features not available in Lightroom like adjusting perspective, brush tools, and selective tools.

  • Procreate: I use procreate for editing the aspect ratios and adding borders prior to printing.

  • Canva: I use Canva to create mockups of all my images. I prefer mockups because it allows my pictures to have a uniform look and I can edit both the image of the frame and the painting image separately so that they both look their best!


Final Touches


I hope this helps kick start your print shop! I am always available for questions via email or on Instagram!

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