Prints are not only a good way of potentially making back whatever money you've paid the artist, but if you are an organization such as a Wing or Squadron there is no better way to put yourselves "on the map" everywhere than with a good quality art print from your selected painting. Aside from being useful for decorating base rooms and offices, they are also ideal for gifts, awards, presentations, etc. and are specially collectible when signed by aircrew.
There are basically 2 alternative approaches to producing prints from the finished painting. The first route is the traditional offset lithographs: we engage a good printing company and put up the money for a run of at least a few hundred copies (usually 250–1000). This is the most cost-effective way, giving very low cost per copy, but we need to front up the cost for the whole run, at present usually about £1,500.00.
The other route is the newer, digital giclee process: suitable for small numbers (anything from single copies upwards). Giclee printers essentially print to order, allowing discounts for block orders, and therein lies its flexibility. But the process is labour intensive, every order having to be individually processed, and therefore costlier per copy (currently £150.00 each). If you foresee needing anything over about a dozen copies and you are concerned about your costs, giclee may not be the choice for you.
Lithographs: Going to Press
I have organized more than 200 litho print runs (see Gallery) so far and the number of repeat customers proves the popularity and success of this approach.
Once the painting is complete and you decide to proceed with prints, the following procedure comes in.
- I will send you a final image of the finished painting for you to check and approve.
- Think of the "graphics" – the title for the print, and any text (no more than approx 150 words) and logos (wing/squadron patches, as jpgs scanned to 300dpi) you want on the print (see sample print layout below). Make sure I have everything.
- I will put you in touch with a local printing company of my choice. You need to write/fax/email an ordering letter to them, requesting x number of prints to be produced under the direction of the artist, specifying high quality 350gsm acid-neutral, chlorine-free art paper and light-fast ("permanent") inks. The company needs this order before they start any work. Make sure to provide your own address and contact numbers in that letter. Confirm a price for the job. Agree on the method of payment with the company, and request payment information, e.g. bank account details. The company will be billing you directly for the job (for non-EU clients, that saves on the VAT). For overseas orders the UK company may require up front payment.
- Once the painting is approved, it will go to a photolab for a high-quality digital photo file, which will serve as the basis for the print reproduction.
- I will make an appointment to go to the printing company and work with their technicians on colour corrections and layout planning. At that time, I will request that you will be by your computer so that a PDF proof of the print can be emailed to you for final checking and approval. I will then schedule another appointment for the thing to go to press. On that day I will be there with the original painting for final adjustments and checks. I find that this can be critical.
Giclees: Doing it Piecemeal
This is a newer and very successful way of making good art prints. It is more expensive, and therefore good for small orders. It offers the added choice of having your print on canvas instead of art paper, made to the size of the original painting itself if you wish.