How to sell art prints?
July 8, 2016 8:24 AM   Subscribe

I would like to start getting my collage art professionally scanned and sell prints of it online. Where in NYC can I get the pieces scanned, and what site would be best for selling the prints? Possibly relevant deets inside.

Possibly relevant deets/questions:

-I don't know much about scanning and printing, so I have no idea (for example) what level of resolution I'd need for this, or what type of print would be best.

-Most of these pieces are smaller than a sheet of printer paper, but a few of them are a few inches larger. If at all possible, I would like the final printed images to be exactly actual-size. It's fine if there's some white space around the edges.

-But if there's a site that lets you sell irregularly-sized prints and trims the edges to fit, that would be neat. (Example of an image I'd like to do this with.)

-Some of the pieces are postcard-sized, and it would be cool if there was a site where I could actually sell them as postcards (with the reverse side printed with standard postcard-layout stuff).

-I would greatly prefer not to print and ship these things myself.
posted by showbiz_liz to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
How big are your pieces (smallest to largest)?

I believe Society 6 does this and prints the images on postcards, prints, tshirts, phone cases, etc. and takes a cut.

If your pieces fit on a standard scanner you might just want to buy a scanner and do it yourself to save money. Buy it used online or on Craigslist. Otherwise, a Kinkos or office supply store could do it for you.
posted by mmmleaf at 9:39 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


If your pieces fit on a standard scanner you might just want to buy a scanner and do it yourself to save money. Buy it used online or on Craigslist. Otherwise, a Kinkos or office supply store could do it for you.

I was worried that the quality would be too poor if I did something like this.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:40 AM on July 8, 2016


The postcard ones are... postcard-sized? I guess around 4"x6". Largest ones are probably no larger than 14"x10".
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:43 AM on July 8, 2016


If you are not enlarging, 300 to 600dpi is plenty, and I believe all consumer-grade scanners can do those levels of resolution. Make sure you use a flatbed one; I (working for a digitizing company) have put artwork through sheetfed scanners before and there's a lot of friction, which is nervewracking when not wanting to damage the original (probably moreso with collage). If you are enlarging, do the math so the end-product DPI is at least 300dpi. Also, check your compression settings; you want as large files as possible, so if you scan a sheet of paper and get a 50MB file out of it, all the better, you don't want compression artifacts clouding the end printouts.

If your objects are small-ish, around the size of a sheet of paper, you can do well using a digital camera with 15 or more megapixels, because the photo works out to 300+dpi (a 16MP camera produces approximately 4608px x 3456px photos, so the largest object to photo to get 300dpi is 15.36in x 11.52in) Light it well and use a tripod. If your collages have texture, this might actually look a lot better than a flatbed scanner.
posted by AzraelBrown at 9:50 AM on July 8, 2016


A lot of large university libraries have kiosk scanners available for public use--if there are any of those near you call them up and see if they can help you. A flatbed scanner will be better for artwork than a feed or overhead scanner. Bring the biggest thumb drive you have, as the scanner machines may or may not be internet-connected. I would shoot for at least 600 DPI in TIF format, but really, scan it at the highest resolution their software will allow (assuming it will fit on your drive). You can always save a smaller version from it later.
posted by almostmanda at 10:08 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


If you are not enlarging, 300 to 600dpi is plenty, and I believe all consumer-grade scanners can do those levels of resolution.

Yes, a standard scanner will do that for you. I've scanned and printed art at 600dpi, 1200 dpi, etc and it's come out just fine. You can get an 11x17 flatbed scanner that goes up to 9600 dpi for $100-$200 bucks.
posted by mmmleaf at 10:15 AM on July 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I had great results from society 6. be warned: the advertising and emails are relentless.
posted by j_curiouser at 10:18 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Society6 is great for quality products, but they give you basically no money unless you're charging an insane amount for your prints(which isn't a good idea). I've made far better cash by using TeePublic. They do prints and mugs and phone cases as well as shirts, and they have awesome sales. Every few months I'll get a nice paycheck because they're had a site wide sale. I hardly post on their but still make a bit of cash. Teepublic also have much better staff and customer service.
posted by InkDrinker at 11:02 AM on July 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


...if there's a site that lets you sell irregularly-sized prints and trims the edges to fit...

As a potential buyer, I would much rather buy a standard-sized print (even if it has large areas of white or black around the image so that I can buy an affordable frame. Odd-sized art requiring a custom frame is significantly more expensive than picking up a standard 8x10 (or whatever) at the craft store.
posted by belladonna at 5:16 PM on July 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


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