I don't know about you, but even a small painting can take me a full week to finish. (Note to self - write a blog post about the stages of a painting.) Not (yet!) being a big name artist, expecting people to pay a realistic price for my work is unreasonable. While I have had offers of £1700 for a painting in the past, the usual going rate is around £250 and often a lot less just to get some money coming in.
That's not strictly true though - the usual state of affairs is that the painting remains unsold or it's a gift or the good lady claims it as hers as with the following examples:
|Claimed by Mrs Gelert Design|
Now, what happens when a painting has mass appeal? Once it's sold it's gone and an opportunity missed, so what to do to make this piece keep working for you even after it's left your hands? Well, get it reproduced of course! You could do very well for yourself if you picked up a contract with someone like Athena, Hallmark, Ikea or even Wilkinsons, but this post will concentrate on doing it for yourself.
If you're sending your work to a printer digitally, be sure to convert the file to CMYK (Cyan Magenta Yellow blacK) and don't leave it as RGB (Red Green Blue) as the colours won't be true even though they look fine on your own screen. Check out these 2 examples:
The first is the original, the second is a greeting card print that used RGB instead of CMYK. You can see there's a lilac tinge to everything:/ So make sure you've got your CMYK sorted and save yourself some money!
Prints are great, but don't simply get copies run off at your local copyshop! Ensure you're going to a proper fine art printer who will give you good giclee prints on acid free papers etc. The problem with prints is that they can be quite expensive to get made if you're on a budget. Plus the buyer has to factor in the cost of framing. If you believe in your work, then by all means get your limited edition prints run off, but don't stop there! As I said in my last post, the possibilities are almost endless:
Vistaprint and get a whole range of items made up featuring your work - keyrings, coasters, mousemats and magnets.
Personally, I've yet to come up with a painting that I think would be popular enough to reproduce in this manner. I tend to paint the landscapes and castles of North Wales. Perhaps reproduced as the merchandise above they would prove popular in the CADW giftshops. It's something I've been meaning to get round to doing for a good 2 years already - maybe I'm just scared of rejection!?
So for now I've been investing in cards. Vistaprint and Moo are worth investigating to get small runs or greeting cards and postcards made. Here's a selection I currently have available in my Etsy and Folksy shops:
Another avenue is the ACEO. It's beyond the scope of this post to explain what ACEOs are, so follow this link for a fuller description: Artist trading cards. As an ACEO is just a small painting, these too take me far too long to produce to be cost effective as one-offs so signed and numbered prints are a good way to go. They have to sell for just a couple of quid each, but I had 100 of each of mine printed for just over £20 in total. They've paid for themselves already and I still have plenty left - pure profit:-)
|Cnicht form Croesor|
I hope this has given you some ideas on how to make your art work harder for you and fulfil it's earning potential. Just remember - you have to speculate to accumulate.