Updated Post – 2/23/2024
Many artists who sell their watercolor paintings only sell their originals.
Selling original paintings is an excellent way to earn extra money, but there is also an opportunity to make more money from every original watercolor painting.
Having several different income streams is how successful artists make a career from their art.
There is no question that watercolor paintings are selling well online.
However, offering fine art at a fair price for the time invested in creating original art and the cost of watercolors is too expensive for most art collectors.
Instead of waiting for an art collector willing to invest in an original piece of art, there is an opportunity to earn money, and that is by offering reproductions of the original.
It is possible to sell art prints of your watercolor paintings to people who can not afford to purchase an original but would love to display your artwork in their homes. Artists can increase their income significantly by making prints of watercolor paintings rather than just having watercolor paintings for sale.
But the challenge is capturing the value of the watercolor paintings when you scan the art or photograph the picture.
Creating prints from watercolors is similar to making prints of graphite drawings.
Remember that the quality of every product you sell, including original watercolor paintings, giclee prints, and greeting cards, reflects your business brand.
You must take more steps than scanning your watercolor painting and sending it through your home printer.
There will always be a slight difference between an original painting and a print, but you want to make them as close as possible.
The art print should accurately represent the original piece.
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There are two options to choose from for printing watercolor prints.
The first option is to hire a reproduction service to photograph or scan your art and create the prints.
The pros of hiring a reproduction service are that you do not have to spend the time required to photograph the art, edit the digital image, and create the prints.
The con is that there is a substantial price for working with professional reproduction services, and many services require a print minimum.
The second option is doing the work yourself, which we will cover today.
How To Create Prints Of Watercolor Paintings Step By Step
There is a learning curve for making watercolor prints, and it will take some practice, but if you follow the steps outlined below, you can make prints your fans will want to buy.
Make A Digital Image Of The Watercolor Painting
As mentioned earlier, capturing the beauty of watercolor paintings is similar to obtaining the soft value changes of pencil drawings.
The difference is that scanning pencil drawings with a high-quality scanner captures the graphite’s soft value changes but does not capture the translucent nature of watercolors.
The best way to make a digital image of your original painting is with natural light and a DSLR camera.
To learn more about DSLR cameras, visit Best Digital Cameras For Photographing Art.
Sometimes, you have finished an original painting and will be excited to photograph it, but if it is a rainy gray day, you will want to put it off until a sunny day or use a professional Softbox lighting kit.
Here is a video showing you how to photograph in natural light.
Here is a video that shows you how to photograph your art with a Softbox lighting kit.
Hire A Photographer
Another option is to hire a professional photographer or ask a friend to photograph your watercolor paintings.
Ask a friend or family member who enjoys photography if you do not have a DLSR camera or can’t afford one.
Offer a free print of your artwork to a friend helping you out, or tell them that you will do a free commission painting.
How to Hire a Photographer for Your Watercolor Paintings
Hiring a professional photographer to capture your watercolor paintings can be a game-changer. Here are the steps to follow:
- Research and Compare Photographers: Research local photographers specializing in product or artwork photography. Look at their portfolios and compare their styles, quality, and pricing.
- Reach Out and Discuss Your Needs: Once you have a shortlist, contact them. Explain your project – you want high-quality digital images of your watercolor paintings. Make sure to detail your requirements regarding lighting, resolution, and any specific angles or aspects you want to emphasize in your artwork.
- Ask for a Quotation: Request a detailed quotation for the job. It should include the cost of services, any additional charges like travel expenses, and the time frame for the project. Remember, it’s not just about finding the cheapest option but the best value for your money.
- Check Reviews and References: Before finalizing the photographer, check their reviews and references. You can ask them for references or look at online reviews on their website or third-party platforms. This will give you an idea about their reliability and quality of work.
- Finalize the Deal: If everything checks out and you’re satisfied with their work, pricing, and reviews, book them. Make sure you get a detailed agreement or contract that outlines the scope of the work, deliverables, due dates, and payment terms.
Remember, the aim is to find a photographer who can capture the unique aspects of your watercolor paintings and present them in the best possible way.
Photographing Watercolor Painting Tips
- Mount your art to an easel or wall using a level and ensure it is square to the camera.
- Mount your DSLR camera to a tripod and ensure your camera’s angle is perpendicular to the painting.
- Look in the viewfinder to ensure the art is square on all sides.
- Use a grayscale in the frame and photograph the painting.
- If using lights, place the lights at a 45-degree angle, bouncing the light equally into the softboxes.
- Ensure the sunlight on your art is evenly distributed if you photograph your painting in natural daylight.
- Look at the digital images and repeat if necessary.
Editing The Digital Image
The next step in printing a watercolor painting is editing the digital image in Photoshop.
If you photograph your art in natural light or use a must, you will still need to adjust the colors of the digital image.
If you are not familiar with Adobe Photoshop, you will want to take some time to learn the software.
I found this video that will help get you started.
How to Scan Watercolor Paintings for Making Prints to Sell
Scanning watercolor paintings to create high-quality prints for selling can be a great way to reproduce your art. Here are the step-by-step instructions to help you accomplish this:
Step 1: Gather Equipment
Gather the necessary equipment, including a high-quality scanner with a flatbed, a soft brush or compressed air to remove dust from the artwork and scanner glass, and a computer with image processing software such as Adobe Photoshop.
Step 2: Prepare the Artwork
Ensure the watercolor painting is clean and free from any marks or debris. Use a soft brush or compressed air to carefully remove any dust or particles from both the painting and the scanner glass.
Step 3: Set Up the Scanner
Place the watercolor painting face on the scanner glass, ensuring it is positioned evenly and straight. Close the scanner lid gently to avoid moving the artwork.
Step 4: Adjust Scanner Settings
Open the scanning software on your computer and select the appropriate settings. Choose a high resolution (300 DPI or higher) for detailed prints, select the color mode (RGB for color paintings), and adjust any other settings based on the scanner’s capabilities.
Step 5: Preview and Adjust
Preview the scan to ensure it captures the entire artwork and make any necessary adjustments to the positioning or settings. Take note of the file format options and select the preferred format for saving the scanned image.
Step 6: Scan the Artwork
Initiate the scanning process, allowing the scanner to capture a high-quality digital image of the watercolor painting. Be patient during this process to ensure a thorough and accurate scan.
Step 7: Save and Edit
Save the scanned image to your computer and open it in image processing software. Adjust the brightness, contrast, and color balance to represent the original artwork accurately.
Step 8: Test Print
Before creating multiple prints for selling, perform a test print to ensure the colors and details are accurately reproduced on the printed medium. Make any final adjustments if needed.
How to Edit a Scan of a Watercolor Painting Print in Photoshop
Editing a scanned print of a watercolor painting in Photoshop can help ensure that the digital version closely resembles the original artwork. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you achieve this:
Step 1: Open the Scanned Image
Open the scanned image of the watercolor painting in Photoshop by selecting “File” > “Open” and navigating to the location of the scanned file on your computer.
Step 2: Adjust Levels and Curves
Use the “Levels” and “Curves” adjustments to fine-tune the overall tonal range of the image. This can help improve the contrast and brightness to match the original painting more closely.
Step 3: Color Correction
If the colors in the scanned image do not accurately represent the original painting, use the “Hue/Saturation” and “Color Balance” tools to adjust the colors. Pay close attention to the original painting to ensure the colors are true to the original.
Step 4: Remove Dust and Imperfections
Utilize the healing brush or spot healing brush to carefully remove any dust particles, smudges, or imperfections that may have appeared during the scanning process.
Step 5: Fine-Tune Details
Zoom in on the image and use the brush tool with a soft edge to refine any details that may not have been captured clearly during scanning. Focus on preserving the delicate texture and nuances of the watercolor painting.
Step 6: Save as a High-Quality File
Once you are satisfied with the adjustments, save the edited image as a high-quality file, preferably in a lossless format such as TIFF or PSD, to retain all the detail and color information.
Step 7: Compare with the Original Painting
After editing, compare the digital version with the original watercolor painting to ensure that the colors, details, and overall appearance closely resemble the physical artwork.
Step 8: Test Print
Before producing multiple prints for sale, perform a test print using a high-quality printer and paper to verify that the edited image reproduces well in print form.
By following these steps, you can effectively edit a scanned print of a watercolor painting in Photoshop to ensure that the digital version closely resembles the original artwork, maintaining the integrity and beauty of the original piece.
Making Prints Of Your Watercolor Paintings
Now that the hard work is done, you can decide how to make prints from watercolor paintings.
There are three options you can choose from for printing your artwork:
- Local Printing Service
- Online Printing Service
- Print them at home
Local Printing Service
The first option is to visit your local printing service.
You must save it on a Giclee to bring it to the shop.
Most of the time, you can spend quality time talking to a professional at a printing shop, who will guide you in the right direction.
Questions you should ask:
- What type of ink do they use?
- What would be the best paper for your prints?
- Do they offer giclee prints?
- What sizes art prints do they offer?
- What are the prices, and is it cheaper in bulk?
- Do They Offer Large Format Printing
Online Printing Services
Another option is to have your prints done by an online printing service.
You will not be able to talk to a professional in person, but most online printing services have customer service available by phone to ask the same questions as you would with a local shop.
You will not see a sample before ordering as you would at your local printing shop.
Top Online Printing Services:
- Finer Works
- Picture Salon
- American Frame
- Canvas Giclee Printing
- Prolab Digital
- Shutterfly – How To Make Your Photos Into Stunning Wall Art With Shutterly
Print At Home
The last option is to print your copies at home.
High-quality printers are becoming more affordable, but unless you purchase a giclee printer, you will not produce the same high quality as you would with a professional printing service that offers giclee printing.
To learn more about Giclee prints, visit What Is A Giclee Print.
However, you can find a high-quality printer that produces some great prints.
For more information on printers, visit 5 Best Printers For Art Prints.
There are many POD services available.
I have been using Fine Art America for many years and have never had a problem with their prints’ quality.
Do Watercolor Prints On Canvas Sell Well
If you’re an artist considering selling your work as prints, you may wonder what types of prints are most popular among buyers.
While there’s no guarantee that any particular print type will sell well, canvas prints are a good option.
Canvas prints are created by printing an image onto a canvas and then stretching the canvas around a frame. They have a sturdy, high-quality look that is popular among art buyers.
In addition, canvas prints can be easily customized to any size or shape, making them a versatile option for buyers who want to find the perfect fit for their space. If you’re considering selling your work as prints, canvas prints are a good option to keep in mind.
Benefits Of Selling Square Prints
Regarding selling watercolor paintings, square prints are a popular option. There are a few reasons for this.
Square prints are easy to frame and mat, making them appealing to buyers who want to put their new purchase on display immediately.
They offer a clean, modern look that can easily integrate into any décor.
Because they are becoming a popular size, artists often have no trouble finding buyers for their square prints.
Whether you are starting in art sales or are a seasoned pro, selling square prints is a great way to profit from your watercolor paintings.
Final Thoughts On How To Make Prints Of Watercolor Paintings
There is no better feeling than selling original artwork, but you will want to find alternative ways to earn more money from your original work as a business person. To increase revenue, promote reproductions on fine art paper, merchandise, and your original watercolor paintings for sale.
The tips outlined in this post will help you to:
- Take better photographs of your watercolor paintings
- Edit your digital images to represent the original work
- Decide what the best printing solution is for your art business
Are you interested in selling your paintings online?
If you are, you will want to read How To Sell Paintings Online – Complete Guide.
This post covers everything you will need to know about selling art online from start to finish.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the best method for creating prints of watercolor paintings?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer, as it depends on budget, quality requirements, and quantity. Options include local and online printing services, as well as printing at home with a high-quality printer. You might want to start by comparing the costs and quality of different services.
2. What is giclee printing, and why is it mentioned for high-quality prints?
Giclee printing is a type of inkjet printing considered the highest form of art reproduction. It uses high-quality archival inks on fine art papers or canvas, resulting in prints of superior detail, color accuracy, and longevity.
3. Are canvas prints popular among art buyers?
Yes, canvas prints are quite popular due to their sturdy, high-quality look. They can be easily customized to any size or shape, making them a versatile option for buyers trying to find the perfect fit for their space.
4. Why are square prints popular?
Square prints have gained popularity due to their modern look, ease of framing, and compatibility with most decor styles. They’re a perfect choice for buyers wanting to display new artwork immediately.
5. Can I sell merchandise of my watercolor paintings?
Absolutely! Merchandising is a great way to increase revenue from your original works. You can print your artwork on various products, such as T-shirts, mugs, tote bags, and more.
6. Where can I learn more about selling my paintings online?
For a comprehensive guide on selling art online, you can read How To Sell Paintings Online – Complete Guide. This post covers everything from setting up your online presence to marketing and selling your work.
- Are Metal prints popular?
Yes, metal prints have grown increasingly popular among art buyers in recent years. Known for their vibrant, luminous colors and impressive detail, metal prints bring a contemporary feel to any space. The durability and resistance to fading make metal prints a favorite choice for those looking for artwork that can withstand time. Plus, metal prints can be printed in various sizes and shapes, offering artists more creative options for their work. If you’re considering selling your watercolor paintings as metal prints, now is a great time to do so! Check out this article to learn more about the benefits of selling metal prints. Overall, many print options are available for artists looking to sell their work. Whether it’s canvas prints, square prints, or metal prints, each option offers unique benefits that can appeal to different buyers. As an artist, it’s essential to consider all these options and choose the one that best suits your style and target audience.