Many new artists get their prints made from photo labs and service bureaus. At some point though, you may want to start making art prints on your own.
In this blog, we present a step by step guide on how to make art prints at home and teach you how to make prints by yourself. The process is a bit technical but not too difficult to learn. Once you know how to make art prints, you will be able to get as many professional quality art prints as you need without worrying about costs.
What You Will Need
You don’t need to spend a lot of cash on supplies for making art prints. The printer and camera (or scanner) are the biggest one-time expenses you will make. But once you have that covered, you can create hundreds, if not thousands of prints at a very low cost.
Here are the tools and supplies you will need to make art prints by yourself.
- Any brand of printerwould do but Canon, HP and Epson are the most popular for art printing
- A computer with true color display If you already have a computer, you can use that.
- Digital Cameraor Scanner ( You only need one)
- Photo editing Software (Illustrator or Photoshop are both good)
- Printer paperfor Art
- Last but not least the art!
Step 1 – Get All Your Equipment in Place
Make sure that the piece of art you are going to print has completely dried to prevent smudging it by mistake. Check the printer cartridge to ensure that it has enough ink for the print. Place the appropriate paper that you are planning to use for the prints in the feeding tray.
If you do not have a photo editing software on your computer, you can download and install it online. Adobe Illustrator is considered the better tool for smooth graphics but Photoshop is more popular for editing images. Since the image will be captures in a pixel based file, Photoshop would work well.
You can also find free image editing tools online, if you do not want to buy either software.
Step 2 – Using a Camera or a Scanner to Capture the Image
You can use either a scanner or a camera to capture an image of your art work. Both options have their own pros and cons.
Scanners give you the best result and capture the image as close as possible to what it really looks like. It is easy to use. All you need to do is press the scanner against the artwork or feed the art into the scanner and it creates a great image. You do not get any distortions, blurry images, shadows or any other problems that you get when using a camera to take a picture.
However, a scanner is quite expensive. It may not be suitable unless you are seriously looking to get into printing art. It is impossible to scan some types of art due to the medium and size of the artwork. Art pieces that have a lot of texture or embellishments will not scan very well and you will lose the depth and dimension that the original artwork had.
You can also use a camera for capturing images. Cameras are cheaper than a scanner. Chances are that you already have a camera in your mobile that you can use for taking picture of your art. A camera can be used to capture all kinds of images and keep the dimensions and size of the artwork in proper perspective.
Capturing art with a camera comes with its own shortcomings. The end result is just not as good as a scanner. The image can also get blurry while taking pictures and you may get shadows on the art that make it look dull. You can overcome these issues by setting up a smooth desk area with proper lighting and white background. It takes some trial and error but with proper practice, you will get the hang of how to capture the art image for printing.
Step 3 – Editing and Proofing the Artwork
You should aim to capture the artwork at the highest resolution that you can get. This makes it easier to edit, cut and smooth out the image on computer.
The goal of editing is to make your image look as close as you can to the original artwork. However, the image is likely to get oversaturated with ink during the printing process so you will need to make it a little brighter while editing.
You will note that the image looks great on the computer screen and perfectly matches the work of art, but the printout looks different than your original piece.
This is where you will need to do some proofing. This involves getting a print and then comparing it against the original art piece and tweaking it slightly to get closer to what you want. Print and tweak repeatedly until you get the perfect result.
Tips for Making Art Prints
The quality of the prints matters a lot, especially if you are planning to sell them commercially. People do not buy prints of low quality that fade away in a couple of years. In fact, it is a challenge to sell prints of high quality as well, so you need to make sure that any prints that you put up for sale are not lacking in quality.
The quality of your prints is determined by four factors.
- Printer quality
- Paper quality
- Ink quality
- Print resolution
Whether you are making art prints for your home or for selling, always use the best quality equipment to get the best results.
Our Final Thoughts
Creating and printing artwork can be a good hobby that can be turned into an income generating opportunity. Here, we shared a guide on how to make art prints at home that can help you cut down expensive printing costs.
It takes some trial and error but with proper practice, you should be able to make art prints within days in no time.