by guest blogger Andy Derrick
To build a sustainable, full-time career creating your art you must work to diversify your streams of income. One of the most effective ways successful artists have done this is by selling reproduction prints of their artwork.
The beauty of selling reproduction prints is that it extends the value of each original artwork you create. Instead of the value of a specific artwork ending with the sale of the original piece, with the ability to sell prints you can continue making money off that same artwork for years to come.
To get your artwork ready to sell prints, there are a few steps you need to take:
- Understand the basics of digital images and printing (I wrote an article on ArtsyShark a while back about this subject. You can read that here.)
- Get high-res images photographed of your artwork. This is absolutely necessary to be able to make quality prints (My team and I wrote an artist’s guide to photographing art you can find here).
- Decide how you’re going to make and sell your prints (we’ll discuss one new way to do this for the rest of the article. To read about two more options check out this recent article).
Traditionally, artists selling prints have either had to purchase a run of prints requiring the risk of an upfront investment or sell through a print-on-demand website, which typically keeps a large portion of each sale as a commission. Both have their downsides.
Luckily, with the emergence of crowdfunding, both of these problems can be solved. You can eliminate the risk of purchasing a bunch of print inventory and keep 100% of your sales.
Here’s how it works:
- You create a crowdfunding campaign on a website like Tilt (which we use at ArtSquare to help our artists sell prints).
- You set your prices, the minimum number of prints that must sell for the print run to be “real”, and set an end date for the campaign.
- You promote your print run to your fans, friends, family (anyone who might want to buy your prints) and these people “pledge” to purchase a print and enter their credit card info.
- If you reach the minimum number of prints purchased by the campaign’s end date then the buyers credit cards are charged, you make the prints and send them out. If not, neither of these things happen. Essentially, you can sell your prints in bulk without worrying about getting stuck with inventory and losing money.
Most artists can’t afford the possibility of paying to have 100 prints made and hoping they sell out. Additionally, while print-on-demand is often a good option, many artists have experienced the difficulty of rising above the noise on these crowded sites (plus receiving only a small portion of the retail sales price).
This is where crowdfunding has emerged as a new, viable alternative. With little to no costs associated with getting started on a crowd-funding campaign, it’s a no-brainer to test out for artists wanting to sell prints.
I’d suggest looking into the following crowd-funding sites:
If you’d like help getting your first crowdfunding print campaign started, we’re setting up and promoting these campaigns for artists with both a free and paid ArtSquare Portfolio. You can sign up here for free to get a campaign started, plus get a 20% discount on printing services with ArtSquare’s print partners.
Feel free to share any ideas or questions in the comments below!
Andy Derrick is the Head of Artist Community at ArtSquare. ArtSquare is a service helping artists get high-res images and they’ve created their portfolio service to make it easier for artists to manage their digital portfolio and take advantage of new opportunities for their art.