Sunday, October 30, 2011

Finding out how to make a print from my art

One of my old roommates contacted me about buying a print of one of pieces!  It's great news!  She really wants a piece I did way back in high school that I put up on my blog under the Paintings Tab.
This one: 
It's a good piece, but I didn't want to sell it to her as is. I did it in high school, and don't want my name on a piece of art I am not currently satisfied with, though I do like the concept behind the piece.  So, I am now in the process of making it better!  I am updating the watercolors and adding a little more detail overall. I guess I wouldn't feel right about selling a piece I did so long ago that I do not currently love.  I hope she'll be happy with my new touches.  I'll post a picture of it when I have it completely updated.

I think it's a pretty cool piece, personally, with an old map of the United States/Americas, a large charcoal ship coming to the Americas, and bright bold colors and details to draw you in.  The theme for the piece was "our heritage."  This piece symbolizes my pioneering ancestors. One of my direct ancestors came across on the Mayflower.  Many of my forebears settled new areas of the uncharted West (they were Mormons).  This piece is emphasizes my heritage. 
But, one problem I am running into is that she is interested in a print.  I don't know much about getting prints done from original pieces of art.  I would want to get a high quality print, or a giclee, I think.  They are supposed to be the highest quality print you can get today.  However, I don't know how to go about it!

I have begun searching the internet for different companies and their services and fees.  This website provided some good tips while comparing printers.  A company in Pennsylvania, Crimson Atelier, Inc, seems to have pretty reasonable printing costs, allows for small orders, will scan and proof an original piece at no additional cost, and will keep a proof on hand in case I want to order more.  It doesn't seem like too bad of deal.  The only big draw back is of course the upfront cost.  Will I actually be able to sell more than 5 prints to make up the cost of printing (assuming I charge 2-3 times cost) and make a profit?  Do you think this piece is something that several people would want to buy?

My friend is open to buying the original, but doesn't have a huge budget (she's my age after all) so she was interested in how much a print would cost, and so was I.  Though I may not actually make a print out of the final image, I may be interested in doing so in the future with other pieces of art that I have created or create in the future. 

If you are an artist, who have you used to make prints of your original artworks?  Any other things to consider?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Charcoal - Add and Subract Method

I wanted to share a little about the method I have been using to make most of my charcoal drawings lately.  It's an add and subtract sort of method.

First I print off the desired image from my computer as the size I want it.  Then I determine where I want the image to fall on my paper and measure accordingly.

Then I take masking tape, rip it to my desired length, and then de-stickafy it on my jeans, sweater, chair, blanket, whatever.  But before I stick it down against the border of my paper, I rip a piece of paper to the desired length and width, keeping one side mostly straight.  I then stick down the piece of tape right up to the border of my image, but place the paper under the majority of the tape so only a small line of sticky tape is touching the border of the image.

I do that to all four sides of the image.  I do this to help me keep clean edges.  I put the paper under the tape to protect the paper from being damaged.  It seems to work pretty well most of the time.  But, if there's better ways of doing this, I would love to know!

Once the border is in place, I shade in the entire area with a light charcoal layer and blend with my finger until even everywhere.  I then mark off inch-mark ticks on the tape and draw a very faint charcoal line connecting the marks to create a grid.  (I keep the lines light enough so that I can simply smear them out when I am done with the image).

After the grid is in place I often start just lightly drawing in the shape of the image.  I like to block most of it out before fleshing it out.  I usually measure the placement of the marks against the image I have printed and use my grid to make sure the image is as accurate as possible.
Once the shapes are mostly there I begin filling in the values.  I generally work left to right because I am right handed and don't want to smear my work, but I try to keep a piece of paper under my hand while I work too.  I like to flesh out an entire area with values and then move on to the next until most of it is complete, but sometimes jump around a lot.  Sometimes I also like to start by filling in the darkest values first.

Then after the values, I readjust if areas are too light or too dark.  To make an area white, I simply use my kneaded eraser and subtract the value. 

Lastly, I add in textures and other small details to make it complete.  Once complete, I sign it, take off the tape, clean up the edges if they need to be cleaned up, push down any damaged paper on the edges with a bone folder, and then spray with a fixative outside.

What is your favorite method when using charcoal?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dry Erase Board

I may not have a lot of time for art some times, so occasionally the art will show up like this:
A quick doodle of my family.  "Daddy" complains that he has "bloody" arms in the drawing.  Definitely not my best work, and has since been erased, but fun to add some art to my home and teach my children who's who. 
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