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Creating Watercolor Prints

By Mary Ann Boysen

Artists who want to reach a larger market must think about watercolor prints of their best works. There are some drawbacks (price, quantity, and marketing), but done with a little forethought and preparation it can be very rewarding.

ONE OF THE PITFALLS that you must avoid is listening to your friends who say, "Oh, you must print that one!" Then you head for the printer and have thousands printed before doing any market research. This can lead to you sitting on unsold prints for years! I know. I have done it!



I am talking here about "offset" printing, which is a laborious process for the printer, and wastes untold amounts of paper. From the 1970's thru the 1990's, wasted paper remained a big problem and contributed greatly to the cost.  In the '70's, printers had to make four plates (one for each color: Cyan, Yellow, Magenta and Blank). In the '90's the first four color presses were used and everything could be printed at once; but still wasted a lot of paper in the process. Quantity, therefore, was the only thing that could bring down the cost per print to a reasonable amount.  That meant a lot of up front, out of pocket, CASH!

Are you beginning to see where a mistake could be costly? If you don't know that your prints will sell, you're simply wasting your money. Planning is the key to anything where success is the desired outcome. So here are some of the things I plan for before I print a watercolor painting.

Marketing Your Watercolor Prints - An important thing to remember is that the marketing should begin before the printing!

New Printing Technology - Giclee - It's not cheap, but gone are the days when you have to print a large quantity. We are now in an on-demand world

Pricing Your Prints for Retail - I've come up with a few rules I follow over the years. Hopefully they will help you too.

Return to Watercolor Techniques from Watercolor Prints

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