How to Go from Painting to Print - Print making 101
Welcome to my first lesson. YAY! I get so many questions on how I create my prints so that I decided to do a little tutorial, kinda. I do recommend as an artist to own Adobe Suites, if not the whole suite because lawd it's not cheap at least Photoshop. You can sign up for monthly subscription on Adobe's website. It comes in hand with editing your art whether it's for prints or your website.
I live for self sufficiency! Other than working for myself, I try to not hire others to do things that I know I can do myself, or at least learn how. If I didn't learn it from VCU (Virginia Commonwealth best school ever University), or YouTube-versity then I did the good ole trial and error method. I've been creating my own prints since early 2014 and they have become the most popular items in my shop. Originals are pricey as they should be, but giving customers an option to purchase different size prints has helped me tremendously.
Start off when a large size photo of your art work. I use my regular degular iPhone 6 to take pictures of my work in natural light preferable. The difference between indoor light and natural sunlight can go a long way when it comes to artwork. Here's an example of an indoor vs. outdoor pictures of my Dazzle piece. You can see that the indoor photo is dark and even though all my lights were on in my apartment you don't get a glow from the paint. One thing I do like about the indoor photo is that you can tell it's gold paint I used, compared to the outdoor photo where it looks more yellow (which I use as my base coat when doing metallic gold).
Once you took a few photos pick your favorite one! Upload the photo into Photoshop (or a like editing software). From here you need to check to make sure the photo is print worthy. I zoom in to about 50% and make sure that the photo is not distorted or fuzzy. Of course with paintings the brush strokes aren't going to be perfect and may look blurred, but you can tell if it's just poor quality. Next I check the image size. Here you're looking to make sure it's at least 1500x1000 pixels for 8x10 prints. Also want to make sure you change the resolution to 300ppi, 72ppi is preset and used for web based photos.
If you're like me you don't try to perfect an angle when initially taking the photo. Since I take my photos just around my neighborhood I usually post against a building so it's slightly angled, but no worries there's a fix for that. If you're new to Photoshop you can play around with all the tools and menu options to see where everything is. My favorite tool is the "Perspective Crop" which is an additional option under the Crop tool on the toolbar. The tool is used to crop out pieces of a photo at an angle without distorting the image itself. This is when I wished I had a video to show but if you follow my snapchat I've shown this process a few times. Basically you create a frame around your artwork and whala it's a perfectly cropped out of the photo!
This step is optional. Some of my work I love how it looks without editing the color, however others I can see that the sunlight took the depth away from the black paint. Under the Image option there's adjustments you can make towards you image. I usually just up the contrast a little so that my black is solid. You can play around with brightness and other options before you finish. I save my finished art as a PDF file in two different size. Smaller size (3mb) is for my website or emails and a larger size (9mb or more) for printing.
As far a printers, I suggest to try a few local spots before going to online companies. That way you can see your product in person before purchasing. I print at good ole Office Max. I've been printing there since 2014 and have developed a great relationship with the print specialists. Test your work on different sizes and papers to see what works best for your art. I use gloss for a lot of my full color pieces and a semi gloss for pieces with white backgrounds. There's an 8pt card stock that I use for my cards which is matte on one side and gloss on the other (best for folded cards). I purchased my own Epson printer earlier this year so I do a lot of my own 8x10 prints but still send off my 12x16 and up to the printers. If you still have any questions pleaseeee send them my way!! -- firstname.lastname@example.org