Do You Image Your Artwork?

I know when I first began painting, I had so many questions about artists' reproductions.  I wondered how artists sold multiple copies of one painting.   How did they reproduce their paintings after their original was sold?   How were their prints, and giclee's distributed?   I also wondered if the artist wast paid for each those reproductions sold.

This is when I discovered the technology of "imaging."  Imaging is your point of access to printing reproductions, multiple gift-giving opportunities, online sales, portfolio building, and copyright records. 

Poppies in the Sunset by Shawna C Elliott Commission

Ok, so if you're as naive as I was when I had my start in the "art arena," someone had to explain what a giclee was to me.  It's a French word meaning spurt, or squirt, so it's pronounced with a soft "g" and ends with the double e's sounding like long "a."  It's a process in which they use digital technology and ink jets to spray ink onto canvas, paper or any other surface.  Giclee's can even printed on metal and glass.

In order to have a giclee or reproduction made of your artwork, you need to have your piece "imaged."  Imaging takes a digital scan of your art.  Of course, there are varying qualities of imaging which depends upon the number of color pixels per square inch.  For the highest quality image and museum quality reproductions, have your piece professionally imaged.  You can find these resources in almost any city.  They charge you according to the size of your artwork and can also offer photoshop color adjustment.  Your art will be formatted as a jpeg and/or tiff file.

Now that your piece is imaged and available to you digitally, you can do almost anything with it.  You can merchandize your art for sales or gift giving.  You upload your jpeg file to multiple sites like Zazzle or Walgreens where you have your art put on pillows, mugs, key chains, canvas, serving trays, calendars, and so much more.  It's fun to see your artwork featured on everyday items.

With your artwork imaged, you can post it to online galleries.  Fine Art America, Saatchi, and Esty are just a few.  You can sell your work online.  Wow--what a great way for millions of people to see your art!  Several sites will offer your work in a variety of formats, handle all of the billing, and have very reasonable membership fees. 

Another benefit of imaging your art--your portfolio.  Again, when I first began painting, it was difficult for me to understand the significance of building a portfolio.  Imaging allows you to keep a record of everything you have painted, so even if you've given several pieces as gifts, or (heaven forbid) painted over a piece, they are still available for viewing.  For example, if you are looking at the possibility of presenting your work in a gallery setting, gallery curator's require a portfolio.  Building your portfolio is an important step in your art career.

Imaging your artwork allows you, the artist, to retain your copyright privileges.  You continue to earn money on reproductions of your art while your original pieces may have been sold long ago. 

So, don't let your artwork leave your hands without first imaging your work.  For all the benefits imaging offers, it's definitely a valuable investment. 

Shawna C Elliott

Shawna is an independent artist and instructor residing in Northwest Arkansas. 

Create, Appreciate and Let Art Change You!