If you’re creating prints of your art at home to sell at shows and online (and there are a lot of great reasons to sell art prints,) but balking at the quality you get from that $40 laser printer, you have a couple of options. The first is to outsource your printing to a local print shop. Of course introducing the hassle of an extra errand (not to mention the extra cost) into your schedule may be too much. You can also move your operation to a print-on-demand website, (check out our breakdown of the top POD sites here) but for the tradeoff of letting someone else take care of the printing and shipping you sacrifice a huge chunk of the profit.
The third option, for artists who find themselves needing to frequently print high-quality images of their art for prints or marketing materials, is to invest in a good printer. We chatted with some artists in our Mastermind group to get the inside scoop on the best printers out there for busy artists.
(about $650 on Amazon) – The Pro9000 claims to print photo lab quality 11″×14″ color photos in about a minute and a half. It also specifies support for heavy weight fine art papers and offers an Ambient Light Correction Feature. TAA artist Dawn says “We use the Canon PixmaPro 9500 MkII to print our two most popular sizes, 8″×12″ and 12″×18″. Prints larger than that are taken care of through our local professional print lab. Our studio printer is a workhorse; we’ve been using it since at least 2012. It has never jammed and we’ve never had issues with print heads or any other parts. (knock on wood)” Claire chimed in on this one as well — “Ok, limited edition Giclées I outsource. But cheap affordable non limited edition browser prints for under $35 each I print on my Canon Pro9000 Mark II using Pixma inks which last for 50 years in an album and 30 years under glass.”
(Currently about $1050 on Amazon) – Another from the Canon Pixma line. It features an Optimum Image Generating Program so you can get a clear idea of how your print will turn out before you use the ink and paper. Of the Canon Pixma line, TAA artist Robert says “I‘ve had two of them over the course of a decade and have really liked them.”
Amelie also loves her Pixma — “I love it. You can get archival ink for it or you can get compatible non archival a lot cheaper….all depends what your needs are.”
(About $1700 on Amazon) – The R2000 is a great choice for wider prints, accommodating a width of up to 13″. It supports photographic and fine art paper, canvas, and 1.3 mm thick board. It also boasts Epson UltraChrome Hi-Gloss 2 pigment ink for beautiful skin tones and a smooth, glossy finish. TAA artist Mike says “I print 8×10 & 11×17 prints using Epson R2000. It uses 8 set of archival quality inks and I get my archival quality paper from Red River paper.”
(About $2500 on Amazon) – The SureColor can handle paper up to 13″ wide and can print a panorama over 10 feet long. It contains 9 high-capacity cartridges, perfect for high-volume printing jobs. TAA artist Greg has an Epson SureColor and says “Best decision ever! Complete control over quality and no faffing about with printing companies. I can finish a painting and have the first print run of within an hour. I can try out different sizes and surfaces as and when I want.” Karin loves the same printer, saying it has “AMAZING quality. Can do larger prints.” TAA artist Kevin said “The Epson P600 is the right choice in many ways but is let down by the small over priced cartridges.” With that in mind, you may want to research your options for acquiring discounted ink refills before taking the plunge.
Epson Artisan 1430 Wireless Color Wide-Format Inkjet Printer (About $2700 on Amazon) – The Artisan 1430 still provides many of the same features as some of the more expensive models including wide-format printing and 6-color ink. It also offers color and lighting correction. TAA artist Debbie uses this one for smaller prints and loves it. Gilat says “I invested in an Epson Artisan 1430 last year. I go through a lot of ink when I create batches of prints, but I love the control and doing everything from my home studio.”
Once you have access to high quality prints at a fraction of the cost, you can get creative with how to sell your art prints.