How To Make Art Prints At Home

A few years ago I bought an Epson SureColor P700, which is a pigment ink printer. I decided to splurge on this printer because I figured that if I was going to sell art prints, I wanted them to be the best quality possible and didn’t want to be buying another printer a few years later again because the first one wasn’t good enough.

Pigment ink printers are often considered the best choice for art print applications due to several factors, including resistance to fading, bleeding, manual handling, wider range of colour production and better accuracy to originals.

But the printer is only part of the equation.

The paper and quality of your original photo or scan have just as much impact on the ultimate quality of your final print. I figured it was about time I share more details of my process. I love when you guys ask me for blog post topics like this one, so keep them coming!

It’s important to note that there are different ways to digitize a piece of work to make a print and this is mine. I am not a professional photographer and I do not know everything about camera settings and perfect colour correction in editing, but I’ve done a fair amount of trial and error and have developed a system that works for me. I’m sharing that with you today.

How To Make Art Prints At Home

Before we continue though, if you’re thinking about starting your own business from home be sure to download the free business starter guide! I pride myself on providing as much information as I can to you guys, and this one doesn’t disappoint. Filled with really helpful info to get you started, today!

You’re in good hands! 
This free guide will walk you through the first 9 things you can do TODAY to get started on your business from home!
Sign up below and you’ll also receive exclusive content, updates and discounts on special collaborations. You’ll receive tips and tutorials to create and curate beautiful art, how to start your own business and much more! 
Thank you for subscribing!

Should I Photograph or Scan My Artwork?

The most common question when it comes to art prints – should you photograph or scan your artwork to create a print?

Short answer, both! Whether you should photograph or scan your artwork to create a print depends on various factors, including the type of artwork, and the desired quality of the print.

Photographing Artwork

  1. Size and Medium: Photographing is often more practical for larger artworks or those created with certain materials that might not fit in a scanner.
  2. Flexibility: Photographing provides flexibility in capturing three-dimensional textures and surfaces, especially for mixed-media or heavily textured artworks.
  3. Setup and Lighting: Achieving good results when photographing artwork requires proper lighting and setup. Ensure even lighting or natural day light to avoid shadows and reflections.

Scanning Artwork

  1. Detail and Precision: Scanners are generally better at capturing fine details and producing high-resolution images. This makes them suitable for smaller artworks or those with intricate details. Though, you can also use a macro lens on your camera to focus on paper texture, brushstrokes, etc.
  2. Color Accuracy: Scanners often provide more accurate color reproduction, which is crucial for maintaining the integrity of your original artwork in the printed copies.
  3. Flat Artwork: For flat, two-dimensional artwork, a scanner can produce excellent results without the challenges of capturing three-dimensional textures.

Tips for Either Method

  1. Resolution: Regardless of whether you choose to photograph or scan, ensure a high resolution to capture as much detail as possible for high-quality prints.
  2. Color Calibration: Calibrate your monitor and ensure color accuracy throughout the process to maintain consistency between the original artwork, the digital file, and the printed copies.
  3. File Format: Save your digital files in a high-quality, lossless format like TIFF or RAW to preserve maximum detail.

To be completely transparent, I usually photograph most of my artwork because I have a macro lens on my camera that allows me to get in really close. But, if I want to scan a larger piece in sections I’ll use the scanner. More on equipment below! I also really like natural light giving me a really nice texture of the paper as well that gets photographed.

How To Make Art Prints At Home

How Big Can My Print Be?

Probably the most challenging factor, what is the maximum size I can print without losing quality or sharpness? There are a lot of resources online to do super exciting pixel math, but this link has a good explanation of how big your print can be at various megapixels.

To do this at home, just take the width and length in pixels of your photo and divide each by 300 dpi. For example, 4500×4000 pixels. So 4500/300 is 15? and 4000/300 is 13.33?. That’s as big as I should go with that particular print to maintain a 300 dpi quality. I don’t go lower than 300 dpi for any print unless there is a particular exception.

Taking Photos For Art Prints

The Equipment I Use

CAMERA –  Canon E M200

TRIPOD –  Vanguard Telescopic Tripod

SCANNER – Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner

PRINTER – Epson Surecolour P700 (I believe this is the best printer for art prints. They have a larger size, the P900 that can create larger sized prints). 

My Camera Settings

  • I do not use flash. You don’t want any glare so be sure to turn off your flash! 
  • I have a preset that I’ve set up on my camera – it’s set to create a very natural quality photo and as true to the original as possible. 
  • I set the camera to auto (I don’t know all the camera settings inside and out and find when I set things up manually, it takes me a very long time to adjust for each piece, especially if i’m taking photos of different days with different lighting). 
  • I set the camera to take the largest jpeg photos, as I know I can then work quickly with them in Photoshop and Lightroom.
  • I set the 2 second timer. (Holding and shooting increases the chance of a blurry photo, so try to have a timer as well)

Once I have my photos, I’ll transfer them into my phone and open them in Lightroom to edit. I have three presets that I use on all my photography, linked here if you want to check them out. They create very natural, vibrant colors that are well contrasted but very true to the originals as I don’t want my prints to look different from their original painting.

I’ll apply my preset and then export those photos into my computer for any additional edits or cleanups and crop in Adobe Photoshop. 

In Adobe Photoshop, I’ll use the following setting if needed:

1. Crop / Straighten – to crop any background or wonky edges and straighten and photos that might have been taken off…

2. Curves / Levels – to adjust for white balance, any yellowing or contrast between colours and hues. 

Next, I export the file as a jpeg. When you are exporting, you can resize the image and make it bigger.

Once all that is done, I’ll print a proof to make sure my settings are correct and the print is the way I’d like it. Highly recommend, as a lot of the time, I have to go back in and make some additional tweaks!

Best Paper for Selling Art Prints

There are various brands available for printing fine art prints but my favourite by far is the 100% cotton rag, velvet fine art paper from Epson. Similar to watercolour paper in that it is 100% cotton and acid-free, fine art print paper is very specific in its characteristics. 

Some of the qualities of this type of paper are:

Matte Finish – Matte finish papers reduce glare and reflections, making them suitable for prints that will be viewed under various lighting conditions. Matte papers are often preferred for fine art prints as they’re a nice, smooth surface heavyweight paper that takes the pigment ink really well. 

A note about glossy paper – I don’t use glossy paper with my art prints but it is possible to do so. 99% of the time, matte is the way to go when in the realm of fine art. Glossy paper is typically reserved for photographic prints as photo paper. 

Weight and Thickness – Thickness: 19 mil, basic paper weight: 260 gsm (on the heavier paper side)

I love the texture and softness of this paper. Often times, because of how beautiful the surface of it is I prefer it to the original! It’s also the friendliest paper to use when you’re using the Epson Surecolor Printer as they’re sort of meant for each other. It’s one of the highest quality bright white paper you can find. Results in beautifully vibrant colours making the two a great choice together. 

I have also tried the Canon Fine Art Cotton Paper but I tend to get more errors with the paper feed, so I just stick with what I know works. It’s a personal preference but again, be sure to try different papers out for your specific art and style.

Archival Paper Quality:

Opt for acid-free and archival-quality high quality papers to ensure the longevity of the prints. Archival paper is typically a heavyweight, durable paper that resist yellowing and deterioration over time, making them suitable for collectors and art enthusiasts. Make sure your paper, whichever you decide to use is archival quality! When printed with pigment inks and archival quality paper, these prints also known as giclee prints. Epson velvet fine art paper falls under this category.

I would suggest to try a few different types of fine art papers with your printer because each print will look very different depending on the paper. Try different papers to see which look best to you and compliment your artwork. The right paper is very important, and is probably the most important factor to consider for best results. Some papers offer warmer whites versus bright whites, so depending on your artwork one might work better than another. Hahnemühle Papers is also a great choice, but doesn’t work with all printers so make sure whatever printer you have it will be compatible. They have a platinum rag paper that is great for fine art prints.

Should I Sell Prints?

I’m going to strongly caution you against jumping into prints unless you have the ability to sell them. It’s easy to assume that prints are easier to scale and cheaper to ship which is true, but there are also other things to invest in when selling prints – packaging, backing boards… and the ink and paper are not inexpensive. Are you being asked for prints or are you selling originals very quickly and struggling to keep up? If so, it might be a good choice to consider.

If you only have a couple of hundred followers, primarily sell online and haven’t explored retailers or events, and you struggle to sell your originals, don’t invest in the supplies to make prints quite yet.

Ultimately, only you know what is right for your business, but if you ever want to discuss your options with a fellow artist, I am always happy to offer my consulting services.

You can also start by downloading the free guide, 9 steps to starting your own creative business today to see how you can add elements to your business right away! 

You’re in good hands! 
This free guide will walk you through the first 9 things you can do TODAY to get started on your business from home!
Sign up below and you’ll also receive exclusive content, updates and discounts on special collaborations. You’ll receive tips and tutorials to create and curate beautiful art, how to start your own business and much more! 
Thank you for subscribing!

Full Supplies List to Start Making Art Prints

  • Art. I’m guessing you’re good there! 
  • Camera (I use a Canon E M200 with a 15-45mm lens and a micro lens for taking detail shots)
  • Scanner to capture a high-resolution image of your art. (I use a Epson Perfection V600 Photo Scanner)
  • A computer with a good monitor for displaying correct colours. 
  • Photo editing software. (I use Adobe Photoshop, and Lightroom on my phone.)
  • A pigment-based inkjet printer. (I decided on the Epson Surecolour P700)
  • Back-up inks. I use the Epson always have these handy because you don’t want to run out and wait for new inks to arrive mid-order!
  • Your paper choice. (I use Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper)
How To Make Art Prints At Home

How To Start Selling Your Art – More Resources

If you’re curious to learn more about how to adapt a business mindset and think like an entrepreneur, and how to turn your hobby into a sustainable business from home, this guide will take you through all the steps – including modules on defining your goals, more on how to deal with imposter syndrome, mindset, goal setting, business planning, equipment branding, finding your customer, photographing your work, resources, building your website, balancing what you love with what sells, learning links, and much more! 

You can also read about how to start an art website here and how to balance what you love with what sells and to help you get started if you’re an artist looking to start an online business! So many helpful resources that will without a doubt answer the questions floating around your head. 

If you’re new here, I’m Donata Delano. I am the creative owner and artist behind Donata Delano Art. I started The Good Canvas in an effort to build an art community focused on art, creativity and business. Aside from art related tutorials, tips and information occasionally, I also post recipes, crafts and out adventures living abroad in Mexico.

For more relates posts, freebies and how to connect follow the links below!



Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *