Thursday, December 17, 2015

What You See Is Not Always What You Get: Art Prints

so i might want to make prints...

I've been back and forth on whether to have art prints made for quite some time.  It's not an easy decision for me to make with my own artwork.  I read an article online, (it's a thread on Wet Canvas) How to Produce (and Sell) Prints of Your Artwork, by David B. Sullivan.  Click on the previous sentence and you can read through it yourself...if you are another artist trying to think through your options as well.  

After reading what David B. Sullivan has to say on the subject, I found myself more at peace with the options of ordering art prints of my work.  This led me to do more research on my options.  Most options are very hard to afford.  FinerWorks is the company I decided to try out in order to get a start in the process.  I spent quite a bit of time learning about photographing my artwork.  There are quite a lot of skills to be learned without a large sum of money backing these ventures!  Learning this process was very good for me by the end of it.

My photos looked great!  I uploaded to the FinerWorks website and made my order of prints.  When the order arrived, I wasn't completely surprised at my disappointment.  The prints were much darker and muted than the originals.  I felt this could happen after reading through the faqs on the website.  The finest details were there but the contrast is very much off.  

I went over them with a trusted advisor, my husband; he was so encouraging and supportive even though we'd just put money into this print order.  On the FinerWorks website, I had read about artists needing to calibrate the monitor for better results.  The company offers a couple of options for adjusting for better prints.  The most inexpensive option is $3.95 for a calibration print on a specific type of paper/surface.  The website offers complete instructions for how this works.  For $19.95, the other option is the Starter Kit, including samples of all their papers and a $20.00 gift card.  That's the option I chose; it's hard to choose paper types without a sample.

With a sample of every surface offered for printing, these are a great reference for paper surface, weight, color and detail accuracy.  The quality of reproduction is exceptional!  The samples help show which surfaces would display brushwork detail best.

This is the calibration print on giclee paper, the type of print most often used for watercolor artwork.  Once I'd looked through the samples in the kit, I found I also like the archival matte paper, entrada rag natural, and sunset cotton etching, too.

Calibrating the monitor makes the view on the screen accurate to what will print from the file.  My view on my monitor had been much brighter, resulting in dark prints.  The kit arrived and I used the printed copy with the file on their website.  I found the monitor settings for my monitor.  Making adjustments until the printed copy and the screen copy match closely, my monitor is now a lot more accurate.

A view of the this artwork on the screen after the monitor had been calibrated.  The photograph appears dark and muted...much like the prints that resulted from my order.

The adjustments are made to the photograph to reflect closest to the original artwork.  What a difference I see already!

The gift card that comes with the Starter Kit has a 60 day window before it expires.  A new order will be made in January before the gift card expires.  It will be very exciting to see the prints that result from these adjustments!

My studio is being transformed back into artist space...crafting and decor had been the mode for several weeks.  My back has healed so well in the past few weeks.  I'm so husband is ready to see me back at the art table with watercolor paintings in progress.  It's hard to pick my next watercolor project on Arches 300 lb. paper.  Maybe I'll need to go back through photos and get some sketches done.  

I've got some Yupo synthetic paper to try out.  It's a plastic surface for working with wet media in a variety of ways.  Look up Yupo painting on You Tube if you're curious.  It's very intriguing to watch the paint move unpredictably!  Abstract painting has never come easily for me.  The paint palettes came out of the refrigerator earlier in the week.  I've been watching instructional videos on Artists Network TV to get all the tips and tricks for working with Yupo.  Today, I had my first try at it with plenty of experimentation.  I'm hoping to share my progress next time!  My two teens will be off for two weeks of vacation...realistically thinking I'll be back in January to post another update.

So that's my update for this week!
Let me know your experiences with print ordering or Yup...I'd love to hear about it!

-because she must make art.

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