How to go from Painting to Cards Printing Making - 103

Finally another tutorial! I know it’s been awhile but I’m glad to share my process of creating greeting cards. If this is your first read of mine know that I do have a degree in Creative Advertising so some of these things come natural to me. I’ll do my hardest to be simple with explaining the steps. One thing I’ve learned over the past year of producing cards is knowing how to do it yourself goes a long way. I’ve been printing at the same location for 4 years. I have my own print specialist that works with my art. Networking and building long term relationships with just about anyone who can help your business is never a bad thing. Well I work directly with one person normally and a few months ago that person left the location. I was broken for a few days thinking about how I’ll have to develop another connection with a new print specialist. My print specialist “E” was just beyond amazing. He recommended paper types, remembered all my formatting and of course looked out with the discounts. Ah, it was a big transition but I’m slowly learning to turn to another specialist. This weekend I worked diligently on my 2017 Mother’s Day cards which are now available on



When working with my watercolor designs I scan them in inside of the photograph method from my Painting to Prints blog. I have an Epson printer/copy/scanner which I use to scan in all my artwork for archival purposes. (I’m using a MacBook Pro Image Capture app.) For my settings I normally do 300dpi resolution. This is large enough so that if I need to scale it down it’s not distorted. I select the image surroundings. In this photo I scanned in as a JPEG but normally I save the original scan as a TIFF file. TIFF files are just better because they can be edited, resaved and transferred without losing its quality. If that doesn’t make sense just look at the difference from a JPEG and TIFF files after dropping it into Photoshop. I save the image with its file name directly in the folder of all my art print files.


I then open up the file in Adobe Photoshop. I use Magic Wand select tool which allows you to click on an area to select large similar connected areas. If you have detailing you would need to go in and select the smaller spaces. I select all the white background. On this particular piece I leave the design untouched. I use the Erase tool and clear out the background. In order to have a clear background you must remove the lock off the background layer (under the layer tab). Here you can also change around the brightness/contrast of your design. With my watercolor designs I leave it as is so that all the colors can have their original brightness. Save the file in the format of your choice. I decided to save this one as a PNG to preserve the transparent background.


Now let's jump over to Adobe Illustrator. Probably my favorite program because it allows me to be more exact with designs. For card signs I use Illustrator but Adobe InDesign can also do this job if you know how to use the program. I create two 5x7 artboards serving as each side of the card. Card sizes will vary depending on your design so choose what works best for you. I type up a simple copyright line for the back of my cards including my website for buyers. I then PLACE my image into the Illustrator. PLACE is under the file tab. This is important because if you link it through PLACE then if you change the original image file in another program it will update to the changes. (For example, I went back and erased more background in Photoshop after I had already placed the image in the Illustrator file. When I returned back to Illustrator I received a message if I wanted to update the linked file.) Resize, rotate and align the image to your liking. I save my cards as two file types: AI and PDF. Off to the printers they go.



Since I haven’t set my printer up for cards (I’m still learning the settings) I do print these with my specialist. One of the hardest part of card making is choosing the correct paper. You want to use something that will fold easily, enhance the design and have a matte finish on one side which will be the inside. For my Mother’s Day cards I wanted to add a personal touch to each so I chose a matte paper instead of gloss. Textured paper is hard to find that folds nicely but I really want to try in the future. After 3 different print samples we finally got the sizing and trimming down right. (I went with a matte white 65lb cardstock, normally I use a 8pt gloss cardstock that pre folded and cut to 7x10 size) I choose a matte finish for the front because I hand detailed each card with an 18kt Gold Leafing pen by Kyrlon. The original paintings are detailed with gold gel pen but I wanted the cards to have a nice glisten to them. Find a complementing envelope for your design and WHOLA! you’re finished.   

Cards can be purchased in the Etsy Shop click here to shop