What Paper to Use for Prints?

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  1. #1
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    What Paper to Use for Prints?

    Alright, well I have my first product (A drawing that's painted digitally) for my business established and now the only question lies in printing paper. What is the standard or usual types of paper used for making prints of Art to sale?

    Last edited by babybro; December 25th, 2009 at 02:43 AM.
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    So nobody knows what paper to use for prints? Does nobody sell prints of their own work?

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  3. #3
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    Sorry that you haven't received a reply yet, but it's most likely due to a lot of people being gone for the holidays.

    Unfortunately I cannot fully answer your question because I do not usually get prints made of my work (at least not anything fancier than what can be done at the local office supply store), and most of the prints I've purchased from other artists have come in a variety of paper styles.

    Will your print need to be rolled for shipping? Most larger prints I've purchased are done on a "poster weight" paper, while smaller ones (that can be shipped flat) are sometimes done on a heavier stock.

    Is there a way for you to see (and feel) the different paper options available to you from the printing company? Paper that feels cheap makes your print feel cheap. If your selling a product that someone may be handling directly to frame, you'll want something that has a quality look and feel.

    Does your printing company allow for sample prints to be made? Some forms of printing produce a "glossier" ink pattern, while others have a more matte finish. Also, your artwork may look different on different finishes of paper, so it's nice to have some reference on how your final product will look.

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    Whew, Thank You for your reply. To be honest, I was going to use paper as well from the local office depot or stables since I'm not expecting these items to be mass produced. The problem comes to when I talk to like fed ex regarding print details, they primarily discuss about printing on photos. While I decided I'm going to add that option as well, that isn't what I'm looking for. I remember going to Comic Con and seeing Jeff Scott Campbell selling prints and he did it on this large thick smooth sheet of paper which looked very nice. But I have no idea what it is.

    I am primarily going to have the print done on 8x11, but can do special request for larger images as long as they are willing to pay the price difference.

    So my initial plan is to find paper akin to the print paper I seen at comic con somewhere at like a local office depot or staples, I just have no idea what I'm looking for or what it's called.

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    Quote Originally Posted by babybro View Post
    I remember going to Comic Con and seeing Jeff Scott Campbell selling prints and he did it on this large thick smooth sheet of paper which looked very nice. But I have no idea what it is.
    Why not try to track him down and ask him in an email? It can't hurt to try.

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    I have, unfortunately no response. I've tried both his facebook and his sales department who is in charge of the ordering of prints, no response. But I did check out the deviant art process and they provide an option to have a paper on something called fine art paper, is that the paper people use?

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    If you're printing at home/studio, I suggest using an Epson printer that has the Ultrachrome K3 inks installed. These are the newer printers, but you can upgrade older Epsons to the K3 color space with a few quality aftermarket options available online, I'm looking into one myself. Secondly, this should go without saying, make sure you have a color calibration device for your monitor and prints. This is actually the most important part. Be prepared to burn a few ml's of ink to get a comparable result and check your room lighting's luminance and temp beforehand and make sure it get close to your monitor's setting. You also might want to invest in a good RIP for your printer. Sometimes the default drivers and available profiles for the paper types just might not be enough, not so common, but possible. Then you make your paper choice. Almost all specialty papers have good weight to them, but it depends on size and the surface texture effect you're aiming for. None of the aforementioned points mean anything if delivered on cheap paper. I usually stick to a matte finish. With glossy photo papers, I just can't seem to get the results I want. Epson has an excellent matte paper selection, so do a few other paper manufacturers that come recommended. I just tend to stick to the Epson system, that way if I don't get the results I want, I have the right to hop on the phone with them to find out what the deal is. Honestly I haven't been disappointed yet. Look around the net for reviews on some of the finer art papers available for inkjet and see what those guys are using to print on them (printer/inks). Hope this helps.

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    Actually that helped a bit, but I might have left out a little bit of information that might have been important. Essentially, my goal is to get paper (from what it sounds like, fine art paper) and have it printed out at my local fed ex. I presume that these companies have better printing quality that at home printers? Is that correct? If so, than the primary thing I'll need to do is find some fine art paper for the prints it seem. So Epson Matte Paper Print is a good choice? I'll definitely check it out.

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    Moab by Legion Paper (http://moabpaper.com/) has high quality paper for professional printing, some of them cotton stock (check out the Entrada Rag series). Being truly professional, they even have ICC Profiles for each of their paper products.

    I haven't tried them myself (yet), but I read good reviews about them. Maybe you'd like to buy a Sampler, it includes two sheets of each series at $20.00.

    Jaime G. Wong
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    Quote Originally Posted by babybro View Post
    Essentially, my goal is to get paper (from what it sounds like, fine art paper) and have it printed out at my local fed ex. I presume that these companies have better printing quality that at home printers? Is that correct?
    Pretty much everything I've had printed at Staples has been holiday/greeting/thank you cards, and I do that because the toner they use is really durable for mailing. I've held those prints under the sink, and scrubbed them with erasers, and they don't flinch. Unfortunately I have ended up with prints with noticeable banding (toner level issue maybe), and the "ink" is noticeably more shiny in certain color saturations than others. Also, I don't think they have much control over making corrections for machine calibrations and variances. In other words: good for stuff that is going to be abused, not so good if you need super high quality.

    A high quality ink jet printer should be able to give you good quality prints, and would be an investment worth looking into if you're interested in doing a lot of prints.

    Actual photo emulsion paper is an option if you need something done fast, but I'd recommend looking for "pearl" or "luster" finish which is an in between matte and glossy in terms of shine, and shouldn't show fingerprints. (Please note: you cannot buy this and bring it in! These printers use 200-500 ft roll magazines, so you have to find a lab that has these paper types in stock) High quality photo emulsion printers now allow color/saturation adjustments, are calibrated daily, and new photo papers are supposed to remain true to color for 60-80 years if kept out of direct sunlight.
    Pro:
    - You can talk to real people who are often familiar with the machines they use, and can print out small test copies in advance.
    - Nice quality paper
    - No ink/toner issues such as streaking, spotting, banding, etc

    Cons:
    - Finding a decent pro lab that doesn't cost a ton can be a pain. ($5 each would most likely be the minimum price you could get away with for something in the 8x10-8x12 range)
    - You'll prob have to do some cutting.
    - Photo emulsion is easily damaged by water/liquids

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  11. #11
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    Sounds like a sweet plan, but I wouldn't put my work in the hands of anyone other than myself or a reputable reprographics agency (which essentially is what Kinkos/FedEX have billed themselves as). Nothing beats inkjet for art production except a full-blown lithography operation. Dye sub is "ok" but best known for the wide range of substrate choices you can use when making a quality print. Laser is cool for spot color proofs, but loses to inkjet time and time again on detail and color accuracy. I personally wish I could do the lith plate thing in the back of my studio somewhere, these guys can get $300-400USD for a 24x36 framed print of an original....not bad if you're distribution and location game is tight when you're finished product is ready to rock, imagine what a dedicated collector of your prints might pay for the original. The only thing that I've seen come close over the years is the wide format inkjets by HP and Epson. HP has been a bit more cost effective when it comes to their unit prices and consumables, but Epson has made a science out of it, literally (this coming from a guy who hated Epson products, those frickin' carts seemed like they ran out way too fast). When going into FedEX ask them what they're using for your prints. Remember, it's the sales associates/"color experts" job to make a sale and get you to believe your satisfied with the results. Avoid words like "laser" and printer names you can't even pronounce. Also ask if they have profiles you need to work with, this will help you get a tighter match for what you see at home and what comes back from the printer. Also ask if the inks are OEM and if they're dyes or pigments. OEM pigments are what you're shooting for on an inkjet, I've had to personally generate new profiles on the same printers when trying dyes, it was a pain and I never got the same results. Also dyes aren't as lightfast over time, something that is important when your art gets into the hands of a buyer who is going to hang it wherever they feel like it. You want that red to stay red, not turn reddish orange or a bleached pink over time. If all of these check out and you get your specialty paper, do a few test prints of course and look for banding or wheel marks on the prints. Just because you have a specialty paper doesn't mean their printer and inks will work well with it. If you're on a deadline and they print your complete run only to see errors on each and every print afterward, they are definitely liable, but now you have to wait for them to do something about it, which may take some time. Let me know how this goes for you dude.

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