Okay, it’s 3 am and for our updated website I’m editing over 300 colour swatches of our new artist’s paint lines from Canada. A really fun thing to be doing on a Saturday night…….right? Anyhow, it’s the perfect opportunity to do a follow-up to my last blog about shooting your artwork with a smartphone.
Earlier today when the light was absolutely perfect, I began shooting the small paint swatches from the High Viscosity Artist’s Acrylic Line. Initially I thought I would use my IPhone Xs thinking to myself, it’s a website. I’m not printing the images. They’re presented at 72 dpi. How much difference will it really make. Well…..see for yourself.
The first thing that I noticed was the resolution. Do you see the difference a professional camera and fine art lens makes? The next thing you will notice is the colour clarity. The colour swatch shot with the professional camera has true colour. The IPhone shot has this blue cast, which even in Photoshop is difficult and time consuming to fix.
Now something that you won’t see in this article is the maximum size that you will be able to print these shots. 300 dpi is the industry standard for print media. The IPhone shot at 300 dpi is 10″ x 13.5″ the Canon EOS 5DS at 300 dpi is 19″ x 29″ inches, more than twice the scale. If you really want to reproduce your work on a large scale, you really need the bigger image file to work from.
So there you have it. Beautiful print media results begin with high resolution images.
Shooting your artwork is a daunting task and best left to a professional if you want to achieve high quality archival pigment prints. Resolution and image size are limited if you use a smartphone but if your budget is tight and you are going to shoot your own work, then here are a few tips.
- Shoot your work outdoors on an overcast day.
- Use an easle and ensure that your artwork is at 90 degrees, not leaning forward or backward. I use a small level on the surface of the artwork to be sure it’s flat and not leaning forward or backward into the third dimension.
- Use a tripod to hold your smartphone. Your phone should be parallel to the artwork, not leaning forward or backward. This is very important to avoid image distortion.
- Fill the lens space with your artwork and shoot.
- Clean crop the edges of the captured image and adjust the exposure if necessary.
- TaDaaaa You have a digital image to make prints from.
Archival paper is an especially permanent, durable acid-free paper. Archival paper is meant to be used for works of significant value. Often, cotton rag paper is used for archival purposes, as it is not made from wood-based pulp. Thus, “archival paper” is sometimes broken down into two categories:
- Conservation-grade — acid-free, buffered paper made from wood-based pulp also referred to as alpha-cellulose
- Archival-grade (also Museum-grade) — cotton rag paper made from cotton pulp.
All paper choices offered by Wholesale Artist Giclee are acid free and archival. If you read through the paper descriptions you will find a variety of archival 100% cotton rag papers plus more affordable alpha-cellulose conservation grade papers.
Giclée is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. The name originally applied to fine art prints created on a modified Iris printer in a process invented in the late 1980’s. It has since been used loosely to mean any fine-art inkjet print.
Archival Pigment Print is the term of choice used by many gallerists to describe archival injet prints in lieu of the term giclée print.
Wholesale Artist Giclée works with Canon’s 12-Colour Lucia Ex Ink Set.
What makes the LUCIA EX inks so important? First of all, LUCIA EX inks are pigments not dyes. Here’s the difference:
- Pigment inks are made of microscopic solid particles that are suspended in a liquid. These encapsulated particles actually bond to the surface of a paper or substrate.
- Dye inks are water soluble. Dye ink is simply absorbed into the fibers of the paper. Because of the aqueous nature of dye inks, they will bleed if the printed paper becomes wet.
There are many advantages to using pigment inks over dyes. Pigments are much more water resistant. Also, pigment inks will not fade like dye inks will ensuring archival quality.
We have all heard the discussion surrounding lasting first impressions. Well your final step in the wholesale process becomes the first experience your customers will have with your product line, so be sure to take care as you box up your products for shipment. Use clean, eco-friendly packaging options if you can afford to do so. If you are recycling packaging material, ensure that it is clean and less worn looking. A package that arrives in pristine condition immediately tells your customer that your product is high end, with no imperfections. But if you package your beautifully crafted objects in over-recycled dirty and worn out boxes, your clients will immediately place a lessor value on your product line and may call with complaints regarding the poor quality of your items shipped. So do yourself a favour and train your staff to take extra care in these last, most important final steps.