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Question about Prints? Ask and answer them here!

#1 User is offline   Toast 

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 12:45 PM

I'm setting this post up as a bit of an FAQ for those printing their files! Got a question? Ask it here and I'll add it to the list!

Q What size prints sell?
A 4x6, 8.5x10, 11x17

Q Should I leave a border on my prints?
A If you think someone is going to frame it, leave the border! You can ask your printing service if they will cut off borders.

Q What is DPI and why does it matter when I print?
A DPI stands for Dots Per Inch. The normal settings for printing are 150 or 300 DPI.

Q What displays are the most effective?
A Smaller artwork can be displayed in a binder. Larger items can be backed. Paintings can be set up on an easel.

Q What about those wire frame contraptions?
A It's normally just PVC or aluminium pipe cut and shaped - you provide that yourself.

Q What are tips on doing commissions?
A Have a binder of your work ready if anyone asks for examples. Don't sell yourself short - and don't give them a deadline you can't meet!
Be clear on what you are and are not comfortable drawing.

Q What are some popular genres that sell?
A Don't force yourself to draw something you aren't comfortable with unless commissioned. Pick something you like to draw.

This post has been edited by Toast: 14 April 2011 - 08:01 AM


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#2 User is offline   Hooked On Chibis! 

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Posted 18 November 2010 - 01:13 PM

well, prints don't work well for my type of art (crochet!), so I can't help you out very much with advice on how/where to get prints done, etc.

what I can tell you is that, as a buyer, I don't see nearly enough prints that are sized where I want to buy them. Poster-size is great, and it does sell a lot; I won't lie. But so many printers at other cons I've attended offer postcard size or smaller, or 11x17 and larger, with nothing in the middle. For my home, the perfect display size is somewhere between 6x9 and 9x14, with the old standby of 8x10 being just about perfect. (And I know, different artists will work with different rectangles, but I'm trying to offer approximations.)

As for what finish to get ... it depends on how you intend your work to be displayed. If you want your prints to act as posters, by all means get a super-glossy finish and nice, heavy stock. But if you'd like to make your prints frame-friendly, the high gloss can sometimes cause problems when glass is added. For mailable postcards, you want a REALLY heavy stock, with gloss on the art side only so people can write!

I hope this helps you out!
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#3 User is offline   Toast 

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 02:20 PM

View PostHooked On Chibis!, on 18 November 2010 - 01:13 PM, said:

I hope this helps you out!



It definitely does, thank you so much! :) I'll keep it in mind!

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#4 User is offline   Hooked On Chibis! 

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 03:07 PM

View PostToast, on 30 November 2010 - 02:20 PM, said:

It definitely does, thank you so much! :) I'll keep it in mind!


Oh, I forgot to add: definitely LEAVE the white outline if you think there's a chance of your work being framed. To secure work behind a frame or mat-board, there is an overlap onto the image that covers about 1/4" (0.75 cm) on every side. If you really can't stand that white border, or want it to serve as a poster, then just make sure nothing super-important happens on that space! (maybe just extend your background colors in a very general way, or fade to black or something, so nothing is lost) Also be sure to keep it in mind if someone asks you to sign work for them ^_^

Sorry, I missed the first time that you'd asked that! (I used to work in a frame shop, so while I don't get prints done all the time, I learned to appreciate that whitespace around pictures VERY quickly when customers started complaining about their posters being covered up!)
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#5 User is offline   MBluesummers 

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 05:29 PM

Paper wise I usually have my artwork printed on cardstock, non glossy. If the printer you go to is decent, the ink itself should have a natural sheen on its' own. Too me, glossy photo paper is TOO much and takes away from a professional appearance, even with full sized 24x30 posters. ((Plus glossy paper costs way more than ordinary cardstock, so you'd be saving on that front!))

As for sizing, I always make sure to sell 8.5" x 11" and 11"x17". These sizes sell the most for me. I make about 5-10 copies in the 11 x 17 and 10-20 copies based on how certain pieces sell, or how well I think they are going to sell. At a larger convention, more is better ((usually)). sometimes I will go smaller and make postcard sized prints, but that also depends on the type of artwork. Usually something cutesy will be on the "baby" prints. I have had a very hard time selling my horror genre small prints in the past and do not worry about it anymore.

As a buyer and a seller myself, I will throw this out here. Have someway to 'package' your prints to the customer. Such as cheap plastic print bags you can buy at the art store or three hole punch binder sleeves for 8.5 x 11 prints. Trust me, this is beneficial since not everyone will have a bag to hold theirs in.



That covers some of the things I thought of, hope it helps!

This post has been edited by MBluesummers: 30 November 2010 - 05:32 PM


#6 User is offline   thatreevesgirl 

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 07:48 PM

As for a border, ask the people who are printing your work. If they have to have a trim area, it is possible that your print border will come out uneven and it will not look nice. Make sure that you use templates if a printer provides them. If you are printing yourself, then it isn't that big of a deal. I do a mix of both. Paper is another thing that you can request from a printshop. Ask for a sample booklet of their different papers, and most will give them to you for free, let you look at them in store, or they are available to buy for a very nominal fee. Some prints look good on a semi-glossy, others look better in matte, other look nice with the full glossy aqueous coating.

If in doubt, if you are not the person printing, then ask the person who is. They are knowledgeable and can look at the file you are printing and give you the best advice.

If you are printing at home, your paper selection is determined by whether your printer is dye based ink or pigmented ink (or laser if you go that route, but don't, because it looks awful as a print). Paper will tell you what printers it is usable on (usually models though, so it is good to check on a paper manufacturer's website to find out the exact type of printer it is used for). I like to get my paper on eBay, but always do your research to make sure it is compatible with your printer.

http://www.oddparts.com/ink/faq19.htm is a good faq on the differences between standard home-printer inkjet inks.

I agree with MBluesummers. Have a packaging system. I use polybags. I got a 1000 14x20 1 mil for about $60 from http://www.esupplyst...p_445-2198.html (but I checked and the prices are a little higher than when I bought mine) They aren't as nice as some other artist's though, but I think that they work well for the price that I bought them. I might go with a higher mil bag next time. The other places I had bookmarked in my convention folder were http://www.napspolybag.com/ and https://www.interplas.com/ (and interplas seems to be the cheapest with shipping now). If you want the super crystal clear bags, you'll want to get the polypropylene bags, but those are more expensive than just flat poly bags. Honestly, it just needs to protect the print. I'm sticking with just polybags.

This post has been edited by thatreevesgirl: 12 December 2010 - 08:20 PM


#7 User is offline   Yuki_perv 

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Posted 14 March 2011 - 11:03 PM

i dont have an answer but some questions...if i read ur post right ur takeing questions too?....if not ill find out soon enough lol

ok i plan to get a table for artists alley of acen 2012 (i know im getting ahead of myself but oh well) the other replys helped me with my questions on prints but i have some geared more twards the 'buisness and display' aspect of selling at artist alley

1.where can i buy different ways of displaying my art and wht are some popular ways to display art that are affective?
2.in previos years iv seen some sellers display some of there print on this upside down U wire frame contraption, over their table and i was wondering where u get that? or is it provided?
3.wht are some tips for doing commisions?
4.wht are some popular genre that sell alot ( for instance, horror, funny, cutesy, action ect.)
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#8 User is offline   Accidental Suicide Bomber 

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Posted 14 April 2011 - 07:47 AM

View PostYuki_perv, on 14 March 2011 - 11:03 PM, said:

i dont have an answer but some questions...if i read ur post right ur takeing questions too?....if not ill find out soon enough lol

ok i plan to get a table for artists alley of acen 2012 (i know im getting ahead of myself but oh well) the other replys helped me with my questions on prints but i have some geared more twards the 'buisness and display' aspect of selling at artist alley

1.where can i buy different ways of displaying my art and wht are some popular ways to display art that are affective?
2.in previos years iv seen some sellers display some of there print on this upside down U wire frame contraption, over their table and i was wondering where u get that? or is it provided?
3.wht are some tips for doing commisions?
4.wht are some popular genre that sell alot ( for instance, horror, funny, cutesy, action ect.)


1. Depending on what you're trying to display and sell, you need different things. For small artwork, a binder with clear sheets is pretty simple and effective. It's easy to carry and stores a lot of artwork. For larger items, you might want a backing of some kind. Preferably something you can take apart and stow quickly. You can store the larger prints themselves in a document tube. If you have paintings, you'll want an easel to set them up, or a sturdy way to hang them.

2.no, you'd have to supply that yourself. (It's actually just a piece of PVC or aluminum pipe cut and shaped to the user's specifications with some hanging apparatus.)

3. -Have a lot of sample work to look at. This can be either a bunch of prints available, or a sample binder.
-Have a chart with flat rates available for your customers, including shipping. Flat rate envelopes are your friend for this.
-Don't sell yourself short. Balance the amount of work you put into something with the customer's desire for a low price.
-Don't give a customer a deadline you can't meet. You're better off overestimating and shipping out early than shipping out late and having to apologize.
-And of course, be as clear as possible with what you are -and aren't- comfortable drawing. That way people know what to expect from you.

4. There isn't any one particular genre that sells over another. Pick something you happen to enjoy drawing and just do it. Don't try to force yourself to draw something you aren't interested in unless specifically commissioned to. You'll sell more art that way because you'll do a better job.
-Popular series will sell quickly and easily, but so will an obscure title. More people might recognize the former, but it will be everywhere. Unusual series will draw in their own fans who might have a harder time finding merchandise.

This post has been edited by Accidental Suicide Bomber: 14 April 2011 - 07:49 AM

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#9 User is offline   heatherazzi 

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Posted 15 April 2011 - 08:47 AM

I have a question about pricing. What's the usual price range for different sizes?

Thanks, from a first-time AAer. :)

#10 User is offline   Yuki_perv 

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Posted 24 April 2011 - 09:37 AM

View PostAccidental Suicide Bomber, on 14 April 2011 - 07:47 AM, said:

1. Depending on what you're trying to display and sell, you need different things. For small artwork, a binder with clear sheets is pretty simple and effective. It's easy to carry and stores a lot of artwork. For larger items, you might want a backing of some kind. Preferably something you can take apart and stow quickly. You can store the larger prints themselves in a document tube. If you have paintings, you'll want an easel to set them up, or a sturdy way to hang them.

2.no, you'd have to supply that yourself. (It's actually just a piece of PVC or aluminum pipe cut and shaped to the user's specifications with some hanging apparatus.)

3. -Have a lot of sample work to look at. This can be either a bunch of prints available, or a sample binder.
-Have a chart with flat rates available for your customers, including shipping. Flat rate envelopes are your friend for this.
-Don't sell yourself short. Balance the amount of work you put into something with the customer's desire for a low price.
-Don't give a customer a deadline you can't meet. You're better off overestimating and shipping out early than shipping out late and having to apologize.
-And of course, be as clear as possible with what you are -and aren't- comfortable drawing. That way people know what to expect from you.

4. There isn't any one particular genre that sells over another. Pick something you happen to enjoy drawing and just do it. Don't try to force yourself to draw something you aren't interested in unless specifically commissioned to. You'll sell more art that way because you'll do a better job.
-Popular series will sell quickly and easily, but so will an obscure title. More people might recognize the former, but it will be everywhere. Unusual series will draw in their own fans who might have a harder time finding merchandise.


thanks for the tips that was really helpful
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#11 User is offline   KurolokiRoku 

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Posted 16 May 2011 - 07:13 PM

How much do people normally charge for prints? I finally got them on decent paper this year, so I want to make sure not to undercharge.
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#12 User is offline   Christy 

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 07:10 AM

View PostKurolokiRoku, on 16 May 2011 - 07:13 PM, said:

How much do people normally charge for prints? I finally got them on decent paper this year, so I want to make sure not to undercharge.


Basing your price off your cost will keep you from undercharging so you don't loose money. Take however much it cost you to print - if you're having them professionally done, that's pretty simple to figure out, if you're doing them yourself, it's the cost of a peice of the paper plus roughly a 1-5 cent mark up for ink depending on how many prints you estimate can get from a cartridge.

Then multipuly the cost by 1.5 or 2 - which ever one you think gives you a) the fairer price; B) is most in line with what work of comparable quality, print quality, size and material quality goes for and c) gives you desired wiggle room for having a sale (if you think you may want to do that at con). You can go as high as 2.5 if you want a lot of wiggle room for a sale, but for prints it may not be worth it depending on the final price.

Most 8.5 x 11 sell for between $3-$7 depending on the quality of the print. Matted prints, you can usually charge a couple bucks extra to cover the cost of the mat board.

11 x 17 prints/posters I've seen run between $10 - $15, without mat board. You can go as high as $20 or $25 if the peice is really unique and has unique features - like foil embossing or a really nice mat. Most people won't buy prints in the alley beyond $25 unless it's really really something special.

#13 User is offline   KurolokiRoku 

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 02:24 PM

Thanks so much. For some reason I thought 8.5x11 (ish) prints were running slightly higher, but that's about the range I was thinking for mine.
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#14 User is offline   Fyire Childe 

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 09:43 PM

Christy made really good points about covering your costs and pricing for what you are providing (ie mats, containers, sleeves) relative to how extravagant the artwork is. Things that should get you easily into the ball park of what price is right for your art.

I have just a few more cautionary pointers about baseline pricing for artists:

If you have multiple sizes available-a regular price increase makes sense to a consumers brain-and will help you never have to think too long on the "how much for a print" questions you will get tons of, even if you have the label right on the display. People will be people.
Pick a number inside the fair cost range you calculate that you are comfortable adding, subtracting and multiplying with for your merchandise cost. Beginners at this might not have a background handling cash money in a professional setting. To set prices in a way that will make it easy on yourself to add up purchase totals and make change isn't a bad idea. Most people commonly count in multiples of 3 or 5 when they get to processing numbers quickly.


Not centered on pricing, but not unrelated to it, when you have your pricing figured out: stock your cash box with the change you will need to do business.
I will name no names but I know someone who priced some items with $.50 increments and forgot to stock a roll of quarters. I'm totally not telling you it was me eons ago...
Think about what totals people purchasing from you might have if they got one or multiple items and what bills they may use (ie what is the highest value bill you would accept) to judge what sort of bills to get from the bank to start out your cash box.

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