Curious to see the process of creating a digital art print?

I print my artworks in an art gallery / photo studio specialized in artwork reproductions and large scale prints. I always print them myself because I prefer having total control on my final artwork: Who said digital art prints are not “hand made”? I use one of my two favourite EPSON printers: Stylus Pro 9800 or Stylus Pro 10600, using the 8-color Epson UltraChrome K3™ ink technology that produces very high print quality. This printer can handle paper up to 44-inch wide – the length is illimited. Here’s Epson Stylus Pro 9800 – First step: I choose the appropriate kind of paper, in this case a watercolour 24 inch paper roll (24″ is the width of the roll), because I wish to plot a 24×18 inch art print:

Epson Stylus 9800 Printer

The next step is opening my digital file and making some printing tests. We call those printing tests “test stripes”. This means printing a small portion of the picture, like for example 2 inches x 24 inches – this is just to test how the paper reacts to the file, on several areas of the image. For example, canvas absorbs more ink than fine art paper. Or watercolour paper absorbs more ink than glossy paper. A print on glossy paper looks completely different than a print on canvas or on matte paper, even if you are using the same digital file. So I have to adjust the colours, in order to have them on paper exactly or almost exactly as I created them on screen. I print a test stripe and compare to the screen. If I don’t like the result, I modify my file or modify the printing options, then print another test stripe. And this goes on until I am satisfied with the printing result – as soon as the result is satisfying, I print the complete artwork. In case you are asking yourself what “colour management” means: It’s all about trying to make sure that the colours of the artwork I created on screen match with the colours of the print as best as they can.

Test stripes

Yes I know, I create a mess on any desk I use… As you see on the picture below, the test stripe on the right is a little “orange toned”, the one in the middle is a little dark and the one on the left is actually a succeeded one – light sepia / brown tones, like on my digital file. I juxtapose them and compare…

Test stripes

And here is my digital file – it’s a tribune to Auguste Rodin’s “Eternal Idol”. The artwork name is “The Kiss #7 – Variation Sepia”:

The Kiss #7 - Variation Sepia

The printing stripe was OK, so I proceed to the actual printing of the artwork.

Epson Stylus 9800 Printer printing digital artwork

I favourite watercolour paper for this kind of digital artworks, because it has a rough surface structure that gives my works a “drawing” aspect. It’s luxurious, thick, soft and resistant. And here is the final print. It has a white border that can be used instead of matting: the surface of the watercolour paper makes a very nice mat.

Epson Stylus 9800 Printer - Final print

Like this print? If you wish to buy a print, just leave me a comment here – your e-mail address will be visible to me but invisible to all other visitors of the blog. You can also buy this print at Imagekind.com.

Thanks for your feedback or questions!

3 Responses to “Curious to see the process of creating a digital art print?”

  1. Leena Says:

    Hi!

    Just noticed you comment on my blog and out of curiosity came to see yours. As I have also sold prints of my artwork to people, this was really an interesting article (well, I had to had them made by a professional printing shop as mine only prints standard office paper size).

    So true that making the colors match the original artwork can be quite some work sometimes!

    Leena :)

  2. Catherine Says:

    Hi, I really really would like a copy of the kiss #7 print – how would I get a hold of this – I am in New Zealand???

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Kind Regards,
    Catherine

  3. Ina Mar Says:

    Hi Catherine,

    you can buy a copy of The Kiss #7 on Imagekind:
    http://www.imagekind.com/showartwork.aspx?IMID=08797c72-89e5-47a2-9aa5-9b921c3a1931

    Shipping to New Zealand is no problem.
    Thanks for your feedback!

    Ina