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1. How to create and sell art prints step-by-step

Artists' guide: How to make and sell prints of your art online

Artists no longer have to part with their treasured creations to turn a profit. Thanks to online selling, it's easy to digitize artwork and sell prints that are near-exact replicas of your original artwork.

Rather than investing in an expensive professional-grade printer and dedicating your time and money to distributing art prints, print on demand services can do most of the work for you.

It's an easy solution that artists everywhere can benefit from: create your art, digitize it, and upload it to your online store. When a purchase is made, your print supplier handles all the processing and fulfillment, leaving you to focus on your creativity and interacting with customers.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Digitizing original artwork can create an efficient, profitable business model for illustrators and artists.

  • Platforms like Etsy and Shopify can significantly widen your audience and drive sales.

  • Offering art prints and other merchandise items will appeal to a larger audience and increase your art's accessibility to consumers.

How to create and sell art prints step-by-step

Creating digital art of your original artwork is a great way to reach a broader audience by selling your work online. It increases the accessibility of your art to all four corners of the globe and can become a very profitable portion of your art business.

This section covers how to create and sell art prints, one step at a time.

1. Digitize your art

digitze art

The first step in selling prints of your art is to digitize any original artwork you want to sell online. Creating digital copies of your art is pretty simple; you need a scanner or a camera to create a high-quality print.

Scanning your art

You'll need a great scanner to create a quality digital version of your art that people will want to buy. There are many great options for quality scanners, but most illustrators and designers opt for Epson or Canon brands when scanning their creations.

After you scan the art onto your computer, clean up any marks on the file that may have transferred over during scanning. Clean up the paper background and select an image resolution of 300 dpi (dots per inch) for optimal print quality.

Once you've cleaned up your scanned image, it's ready to post online and sell!

Take a photo of your art

Many artists choose to take photographs of their artwork; this medium works best for larger prints that can't be scanned, as well as for images that have a shine or glare from paint mediums, metalic pigments, and gold leaf. 

To take accurate, high-quality photographs of your artwork, it's best to hang it on a wall with lots of natural light. If you have a decent camera (at least a 12-megapixel camera is ideal) and a tripod, your final image will look even better.

Once you've shot your images, run them through Adobe Photoshop or another photo editing program to adjust any color errors and crop the image.

For photographs, a high-resolution image should be at least 72 dpi for the best fine art prints.

2. Choose a print on demand supplier

choose POD

Selling prints online is easy when you partner with a print on demand supplier. Artists can upload a digital image of their artwork and once a customer purchases it, the print company will immediately print the art, fulfill the order, and ship it out.

Here's what to look for in print on demand services as you shop around.

Print on demand services

When evaluating various print on demand services, artists need to consider each company's product selection and quality. Consider the types of physical art you want to sell, whether it's posters, framed posters, canvas or acrylic prints, wood or aluminum, etc. By knowing which products you want to offer, you can choose a partner with the inventory and options you want to sell.

You should also consider the shipping rates and locations of each printing company. Some companies, like Gelato, work with fulfillment partners around the globe to offer cost-effective shipping rates and to get your work to customers faster.

Gelato print on demand

For artists, there's no better option in a printing company than Gelato. As a print shop, Gelato can help you offer high-quality prints to customers. Artists can sell digital art prints of their work without worrying about spending time creating art. Since it's now in a digital format, customers can purchase and receive the art quickly.

From ready-to-hang posters to modern acrylic prints, canvas, and more, you'll have ample customization options if you select Gelato as your print on demand supplier.

3. Select your print materials

select print materials

You've got your art prints selected and photographed or scanned, and you've chosen a printing company to work with, so now it's time to determine which products you want to apply your art to.

Test your art on different items

Upload a high-quality digital file of your scanned or photographed artwork so you can begin testing it on different products.

If you are sticking to selling only prints of your art, read up on the various types of paper the print company offers, so you know what will look best with your art.

Want to expand your audience? Test your art on various products, including home decor, clothing, or phone cases, to see how it looks in smaller formats and materials.

Consider what items are trending online, like tote bags or custom hoodies. For example, if you use your original paintings, add the image to different color tote bags to see how they look. This way, you can select a few color options to cater to a broader audience and modify the look and feel of your art on different backgrounds.

Order samples

Once you've determined which products you want to sell, order samples of every product you'll offer in your shop. From totes to t-shirts, mugs, test prints, and calendars, you'll want to see firsthand how your art prints look on different items.

When your samples arrive, take high-resolution photographs of each product so you can use them in your product listings in your store.

4. Pick a selling platform

pick a selling platform

The next big to-do item is to find a platform to sell prints and other merchandise. The popular places to sell prints and other items online are ecommerce marketplaces like Etsy and eBay and ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce. You can also create your own website to sell your art.

Both marketplaces and ecommerce platforms have their own perks and flaws, so let's discuss those here to determine which platform is best for you.

Ecommerce marketplaces

Marketplaces like Etsy are designed for creators who want to sell art prints and other handmade items. Etsy offers a simple way for sellers to connect with shoppers via their products.

Etsy has limitations on what sellers can do with their shops; there are minimal branding opportunities or customization options. You have a shop page and individual product listing pages, but there's not a lot of creative freedom for artists to showcase their skills and personality (outside of the artwork they're selling, of course).

On Etsy, sellers pay transaction fees of around 12 percent for every purchase and payment processing fees.

Ecommerce platforms

Many artists partner with ecommerce platforms like Shopify and BigCommerce because they offer much more customization and ready-to-launch templates and handle all the back-end development so they don't have to.

Artists can customize a branded storefront that fits them creatively and expresses their unique perspective. Shopify also offers sellers valuable apps for marketing, reporting, operations, and more, so business owners can improve the shopping experience for customers.

Shopify also takes payment processing and transaction fees from every seller, which can add up over time if your shop sees a lot of traffic.

Your own website

Most artists dream of having a website to list and sell art prints, right? While running your website means you have total control and creative freedom, there are many hoops to jump through regarding user experience, design, and development.

If you're an artist with a coding and HTML background, hosting your website may be the right choice. Otherwise, we recommend using a platform that does some heavy lifting, so you can focus on what you do best - creating unique art for the world to see.

5. Set up your art business

It's time to set up shop! Once you've chosen the platform for your online store, create an account and start setting up your website. Be sure to integrate any ecommerce plugins into your website or store that you'll need to drive sales.

Build your store

Create a memorable store name that reflects your art business and the pieces you're selling in your store. Whether you use your name or another moniker you've come up with, be sure it aligns with your messaging and the overall brand you've created. Upload the logo that you'll use on all your art pieces to create a reputable name for yourself.

Upload your products

Add your art products to your store and research how to set your prices. Be sure to cover the costs that your print on demand supplier charges so you are still profitable with every purchase. Consider the time you spent creating the art and what you want your profit margins to look like.

Add the high-res photos you took of your product samples and write detailed product descriptions about each product. If it's a print, describe the paper type and quality. For other merchandise like clothing, describe the material, sizing, and colors. Ensure your product descriptions contain relevant details so your customers know exactly what to expect from the purchase.

6. Promote your art prints

promote art prints

Promoting your art online may be nerve-wracking initially, but it's the most cost-effective way to get more visibility to your creations. Here are the best ways to utilize online marketing for promotion.

Social media

Share your art on social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Ask for feedback, host polls where your followers can vote on their favorites, and interact with other artists in the space. Collect email addresses from your followers to keep them in the loop on your latest designs and to share upcoming sales or new design drops.

If you've created a business page for your art, you can run paid ads through social platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, to get more visibility for your page and your posts. You can also utilize Google Ads to push visitors to your website for more exposure.

Email marketing

Once you've built an email list, you can send newsletters that share your new designs and encourage purchases with promotions and discounts. Share more specific details about your process, what inspires you, and how you create a piece from start to finish. These details will build a rapport and establish customer loyalty between you and your audience.

Art communities

Utilize online communities where artists gather to share art, find inspiration, discuss techniques, and much more. You'll find many threads on Reddit and DeviantArt where you can interact with other artists and make connections.

Start selling prints of your art for a profit

Making a profit on art you've already created has never been easier than with an online store and a reliable print on demand partner.

Select your artwork, take quality photographs or scans, choose a platform to sell on and a partner to print with, and you can start making money today selling your art prints. It's really that simple!

Artists are some of the most creative human beings, and selling high-quality prints shouldn't have to be a complicated business model. With a platform like Gelato, artists can connect with customers across the globe and generate a consistent income without having to manage inventory, stress about creating art promptly, or fuss over shipping logistics.

Gelato offers convenient integrations with popular sales channels like Shopify and Etsy. Artists can easily integrate their online store with Gelato to create a seamless customer experience and enjoy a hands-off approach to selling their art.

Ready to share your beautiful artwork with the world? Start creating your own prints with Gelato's stunning and high-quality art printing services today.

Creating art prints FAQs

Can I make prints of my paintings?

Working with a print on demand company like Gelato makes fine art prints of your original paintings easy. Gelato offers various fine art paper options to create beautiful prints of your art for customers worldwide to enjoy.

As an artist, you don't have to worry about printing and shipping your paintings; you can sit back and relax, knowing a high-quality printing company handles the heavy lifting for you.

How do I turn my art into digital prints?

Turning art into digital prints can be done with a good scanner or a quality camera. Once you've digitized your artwork, you should use a photo editing program to clean up the image, adjust any color variations, and save it as a high-resolution photograph.

These steps will ensure you offer customers a high-quality print that can pass as the original artwork.


Next steps

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