I’ve been ruminating for about five months on how to get high quality prints of my artwork at reasonable prices. After researching local printers, they all want $20-$40 to make an 8 x 10″ print, and they want a week or so to do it. This does not fit in with my business plan to provide high quality prints with a fast turnaround at a reasonable cost while not carrying an inventory.
I’ve been talking to artists selling prints at craft shows. Now there’s a marketing idea I’m really not interested in. After talking to these friendly folks for 10 minutes or so, I got to go home; they were there all day. Ugh. Anyway, they all seem to have printing companies such as I had researched do the printing for them, and when I asked about costs they said, yes, they try to order multiple copies to keep down the cost, and they have to give plenty of lead time.
I don’t want to do that. I figure, why try to guess which of my paintings will resonate with people? I can offer the broadest range of my work, experiment with new ideas, and eliminate inventory costs if I can just print on demand. Since printing companies seem unable to do this, I began thinking about buying a pro-level printer.
Serendipitously, I was just about to research them when my husband heard that his friend’s friend wanted to sell one, a Canon PIXMA Pro9000 Mark II Inkjet Photo Printer. I looked it up online and while photographers rave about its photo prints, I was only able to find a few people talking about fine art reproductions. The friend’s friend kindly let me try it out before buying, especially nice of him since I hadn’t realized it was unopened – the printer went from “new in box” to “one day of heavy use” on my watch. This heavy item was even delivered – what kind friends my husband has!
I worked on prints of these two paintings today, one a watercolor, the other a pastel, both of which I’ve had trouble printing in the past. I wasn’t really prepared for the printer and didn’t have the correct paper on hand. What I did learn is that I was unable to get an acceptable print on any of the papers I usually do my work on, various watercolor and pastel papers; the reds in particular looked ghastly, all blotchy. I was able to get some very acceptable prints on a few sheets of photo paper I had lying around (looked just like color copy paper); they looked great, but I can’t use thin shiny paper like that for my art prints.
But people say it works on Canon’s fine art paper, which isn’t available locally, so I decided to trust them (and not return a used printer to a friend). I ordered a pack of Canon’s Museum Etching paper online and paid for the printer. I’ll let you know what happens.