Practical Fine Art Inkjet Printing: Create Beautiful Prints Of Your Work | Gillian Dreher | Skillshare

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Practical Fine Art Inkjet Printing: Create Beautiful Prints Of Your Work

teacher avatar Gillian Dreher, Designer + Illustrator in Oakland, CA

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.



    • 3.



    • 4.



    • 5.

      Trimming & Packing


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About This Class

Learn to Create Beautiful, Archival Fine Art Prints At Home 

Looking to get started producing prints of your art but not sure where to begin? By the end of four short lessons you'll gain the confidence and knowledge you'll need to start printing from home right away.

Throughout this course, you'll learn

  • What to consider when shopping for an inkjet printer
  • Different sorts of fine art papers available
  • How to navigate the perils of the print dialogue box
  • Tips to get your prints looking their best

This class is full of information for students of every skill level, whether you're trying to start a home print business or just looking to print some high quality holiday cards. 

Instructor Gillian Dreher is a designer and illustrator who sells prints of her artwork out of her apartment and has a wealth of hands-on experience to share. Her prints have been featured on Popsugar and BUST magazine.


Meet Your Teacher

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Gillian Dreher

Designer + Illustrator in Oakland, CA


Gillian Dreher is a designer, illustrator, dog enthusiast and boba drinker living and working with my two cats and one guy in Oakland, California. I graduated from UC Berkeley with a major in painting & printmaking, and now work as a digital product designer by day and an illustrator by night.

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1. Intro: everybody. I'm Jill. I'm a designer and illustrator living in Oakland, California A little bit about me is I am a digital product designer during the day, making naps and in my free time, I like to illustrate and design things, sometimes for my fault and sometimes for clients. So for a long time I was just like making drawings and putting them on my computer, like in a file on my door and not really doing anything with them. But at some point, I kind of wanted start sharing them with the world. So I decided to get into inkjet printing. I thought that would be a good way to do that. So when I was looking for a printer, I was looking for something super flexible that I could make things in a wide range of sizes on, and that wasn't super expensive to maintain. My personal set up is an Epson artisan 14 30 inkjet printer. I can use a tone of different papers, a prince upto 13 inches wise, so it's super herself and I love it. It's so cool to be able to draw something, upload it to your computer and then within 15 minutes you've got, like, 10 of that thing and you give him your friend or your mom are whoever in this course we're going to talk about everything to get you started printing by yourself whether that home were some of your stuff out to a printer. I was really scared and intimidated at the idea of printing my stuff out myself at first and now you'll never comfortable with it. And I hope that through this class, I think all of you comfortable with it also, so 2. Printers: in this lesson. We're gonna talk about the options you have when you get started printing but home printers . And then you got different outsourcing options. One of the reasons that took me so long to get started making my prints and maybe you're having the same problem, is I just could not decide on a method of printing or a printer. I knew that I wanted to make Prince, but I was super intimidated at the process of finding someone to make my prints. And then if I did that knowing how many prints a maker, even what kind of prince to make, I had no idea what I was doing. I also kind of wanted to get into printing at home. But that seems even more intimidating. Like, I imagine these human $1000 printers that I would have to buy, like, dedicate a room Teoh and like, how much would it cost? Probably $1,000,000,000. And all these papers, all these terms, like we meant inks and do plays and all the stuff was just so intimidating. I didn't know where to start, and so I didn't start for a really long time. But once you really start getting into it. It's not that hard at all, and the options are pretty clear, and you should be able to look at your situation and see you pretty easily. Which option will be best for you starting out for me? I started by outsourcing my prints to a digital printer on an online digital printer. Um, I used Society six. This was an awesome way to get started just to see if I upload this image. What will my friend look like having no experience at all? This might be the right choice for you. Or maybe you can just skip over that part and move street. Take it in your own at home printer because once I did make the leap and get my own printer , it was just like Why did I wait so long? This is so convenient and so easy to maintain and really changed my life in the way that I make art. Okay, let's quickly look at that. Anglers, this pigment in printers. So with that in printers, you've got super vibrant colors. They print more vibrant colors with a less number of cartridges than pigment in quitters. You've got really speedy printing the that in printers or just generally faster than pygmy printers, and they're super economical. The based printer typically cost less, and in cartridges typically cost less. On the other side, pigment ink printers are more favor. Assistant pick making printers typically can support thicker papers, so heavier fine art papers pigment in printers also often support rolls of paper, whereas thank printers don't. Ah, but pigment in critters are typically a lot more expensive, both up front and for the thinks. In the long run. Remember, there is no one right printer for everyone. There are plenty of situations where it might not make sense for you to invest right off the bat in and at home printer. And if that's you, you've still got plenty of options out there for getting prints made of your work. Two of the best options are outsourcing your prints to a local printer or to an online printer. Local printers are awesome for single additions when you just have ones. But the big image that you're looking to get prince made of. They're great because, especially if you find ah local printer in your neighborhood, you can come by and check out proofs of your prints before you have that full edition printed, they often have flexible options. Sometimes local printers will have more than one printer so different options, and also they usually are super flexible, with paper sizes flooding you dio custom sizes of however larger small you Blake. They're usually pretty speedy. If you need your prints quickly, they'll work with you to get those out to you as soon as possible. One bad thing is you're probably gonna end up with some excess prints unless you know exactly how many prints you're gonna sell ahead of time. You'll probably want to order fairly large edition. And if you don't know how those they're gonna sell, you might end up with a stack of excess prince. Whereas if you had printed at home, you can print on demand and you won't have that access Online printers are an awesome modern printmaking option. I've only ever printed with Society six. But in the class resource is always some other great online producers for you to try. They're great because they have a really low set up costs. All you need to do is upload an image of your artwork and you can get printing. They're great for doing lots of additions of variations because usually there's no cost a post different images, so you can have 15 20 100 different images at no extra cost to you. Some of the downsides are that there is usually no proofing process. You might want to just order one each of the images that you post to be printed online just so you can check it for yourself. Often these printing services used standard sizes, which is great for customers, because then they can buy standard size frames but might not be great for you if you want to print things at very custom. Sizes. Also, with online printers usually have a pretty low profit margin in exchange for printing and often shipping prints for you, that online printing company is gonna take a pretty large cut of the profits, leaving you with a lot less than you would have gotten. If you print it at home or sent out to a local printer, don't forget to check out. The additional resource is I've posted in the project description for more information on these four different options, if you can. I highly recommend either finding somewhere where you contest these printers out for yourself, or looking up what your favorite artists used to print their own print and check out the quality differences between the two. If you can ask those artists questions about what papers they use, how they like their printer, because it's just such a wide range of printers. And to be great, test them out before you make a big financial commitment. When term that gets thrown around a lot in the digital printing world is G. Clay. Do you Play is the term that was originally meant to cover all forms of different. But today, when people they do play, prints usually need prints that were printed on a watch format Printer on super of rival acid Free paper. If you are making present home and you're using ah, large format digital printer with high quality on archival paper, you can put that label G clear on your prints. You don't have to outsource or do anything fancy to get that legal 3. Paper: So when you're picking a paper, you've got a few things to consider. You've got the makeup of the paper, the weight of the paper size of the paper and the finish the paper. So when we talk about the makeup of the paper, we're talking mostly about cotton paper versus cellulose paper cotton paper you might see like cotton rag hundreds. That con rag is paper that has absolutely no acid in it. No chemicals that are gonna degrade your print over time. When you're making an archival print or aji clay print, you definitely want to use hundreds. That cotton paper, the weight of the paper refers to how heavy it is. So you can see even what these two These are both two, like fine art paper is this one's 100% cotton. This one is a cellulose paper. You can see this one like stands up straight. So have your weight paper while this one is a bit sloppier. So when you're looking for different weights of paper, you just want to consider what your final product is gonna be. It's going to be a print that you're gonna frame, uh, the way it doesn't really matter is much. But if you're making greeting cards or something that needs to stand up for stays dish, you're definitely gonna want a stick or heavier paper when we talk about the finish of the paper, mostly referring to Matt versus Glossy for fine art prints. Generally, people prefer Matt paper. That's what I use, Um, when I buy her princess, usually how they come. But I know some artists who definitely prefer glossy and totally up to you. It's personal preference. If you do choose to do a map paper, there is a wide variety of texture is within that category you can get Ah, hot pressed paper, which is like thick, very smooth paper. Or you can get a hold press paper, which is almost like, Ah, watercolor Buber texture but printable. Um, and there's everything in between beyond So when you began paper, definitely open the package and fuel that paper get a sense for the weight and the texture . Who's gonna be a huge difference in your and I really recommend ordering a sample pack from somewhere. Red River Peeper has a great sample pack. If you want to see how your prints look on a wide variety of finishes. It's really fun to take the same image and print it out on all the different types of paper and really see which one you like best. The final thing to consider is size. Different papers come in different formats. Sometimes they come and cheat, sometimes in roles. My, a personal printer prints up to 13 inches wide, so the biggest paper I could get a living 13 9 18 if you need a bigger than that, you're probably gonna want to consider a role at Misty Cheats. Per printer is much bigger than 13 by 19. So another way talked a little bit about the different printing options out there and the different fine art papers you have to choose from. I would love for you to post in the project section about which choices you think are gonna work best for you when printing your find out. So go into your project and tell us which printing method you've chosen, whether at home or outsourcing to a printer and which sort of peeper you're going to be using. And then when you're ready, move on to the next lesson and we'll get reprinted 4. Printing: Hagen. Okay, so now we're ready to do it right And get on the computer and we're gonna get your prints going. I'm gonna be using Adobe Photo Shop for the suit. Auriol, if you don't have your own copy of Photoshopped, I posted a link to a 30 day free trial lesson plan. You can also use a different program to print on. The steps are going to be a little bit different, but I think you'll easily be able to adapt what we talk about here to suit your own personal set up in this lesson, we're gonna talk a bit about printer profiles. You may not have encountered these before, so I just wanted to talk a little bit about them before we get started. Printer profiles are things that you download and use when you're printing to tell your printer what type of media your printing on. So it knows what sort of ink toe output, usually a printer Profiles can be found on your paper. Your printers website. I use an Epson printer. So I found my printer profiles on the upside website. You should download the printer profile that exactly matches your printer, but you may not be able to find profiles that exactly match your printer paper combination . If you can't find the exact profile for your combination, just choose a profile. That is for a paper that is really similar to the one you're using. For example, I print a lot on Epson Velvet Fine Art Peeper, and that profile doesn't come with my printers profiles. So I use the Epson Ultra premium presentation Paper Profile, which is another very heavy Matt paper, and that works out fine. I've included a link to read Rivers Guide to Printer Profiles in the Class. Resource is, if you need some more information on printer profiles, they suggest to do things a bit differently. Then we're gonna talk about in this class. One thing to remember when you're using printer profiles and printing in general is just It's going to take a little bit of trial and error to find the exact combination of techniques that works for you, your printer, your paper and your monitor. There are a lot of little things that can cause color variations in your prints, and it's just gonna take a little bit of fudging with your profiles and your printer colors to get exactly the result you want. But that guide could be really helpful to you in addition to what we're going to talk about in this class. So open up photo shop and grab the image that you want to print. This might involve taking a photo or scanning your image if you work in traditional media. There's a lot of awesome skill share classes on digitizing traditional media and cleaning it up within photo shop. So I highly recommend taking one of those classes if you're new to digitizing your traditional media. But once you've got your image all scan or photographed dragon into photo shop, you'll see I have my image here. I work digitally a lot of the time, so I don't have to do a lot of cleaning up. But just make sure your image is super crisp and clean and looks the way you would want to see it printed on paper. So once you've got that all done, we're gonna open up a new document, and we're gonna make it the size of the paper that we're planning on printing on. So I'm gonna print on an 8.5 by 11 piece of paper. So I will do those dimensions here. You're gonna want to make sure your resolution is set to 300 pixels per inch. That's the standard printing Resolution 72 d. P. I is the standard Web resolution, but it will. I make sure you're on 300 here. You're gonna want to keep your image set toe rgb z m y que is traditionally thought to be the format that you want for printable images. But a lot of modern day printers, especially home printers, automatically are going to reform at your RGB images into C M y que. And since RGB images show way more colors, it's way better. Just toe work in that and let the printer handle the conversion to see him like a you'll get away whiner color. Game it that way for the color profile again, you're gonna want to keep a RGB profile, but it's actually best toe work in Adobe RGB. That color profile has the most possible colors even more than s RGB, so it's just a good habit to get into. But srg be right here is also fine. So open up that image we're gonna wanna set up this page to look just how you want to see it printed out for your final project. One thing you're gonna wanna do you right off the bat is set up. Some bleeds on the borders. A good sander bleed. Size is 1/4 of an inch. You can also do an eighth of an inch. I usually do 1/4 just to be safe. But if you're trying to get the biggest possible image, go for an eighth of an inch, Be here. So I just amusing guidelines right now to mark off those bloodlines. Oops, quote. So I've got 1/4 of an inch on each side. I'm just gonna go ahead and drag the image that I want to print into that space like this. So I dragged it in here. You can see my pages set up in profile of you and my printable images landscape, so I'm just gonna rotate it around really quickly. Did you? Okay, so now you see it right in the center of the page. If you like to make your image bigger or smaller, you can do that. Now you can stretch it to be the full with of the page if you want, if you want it to be like 1/4 of page. If you have a smaller image and you want to fit for to a page, this is a good time to do that. You can just set your markers up like so like that, and then you can grab your imagine. Put it like this into one of the boxes. Oh, area in the plate you can do is go like this. You'll have four of that image. It's just a handy little trick. If you want a bit more to a page, I'm going to go back because I just need one quote. So finished setting up your page. Make sure everything's looking clean and crisp. If you're working with a traditional media that's been digitized, make sure there are no stream marks in the edges. Clean that all up and we're ready to print. So when you're all set to print goto file print and the first box that will pop up is your photo shop print settings box. We're gonna want Teoh manage our colors through our printer instead of through photo shop, so make sure the printer manages colors Box is checked. This is gonna mean that we're gonna jump over a lot of the settings within this Photoshopped print settings box, but there are a couple we want to pay attention. Teoh for position and size. I always do center rather than scale to fit media. Since we've already set up our bleeds with them. Photo shop There's not really any reason to scale your image to fit your media. There's also some options that printing marks. There's a bunch of standard printing marks here, like corner crop marks or center crop marks. Is this super helpful? If you're gonna put more than one image to a page or want some help trimming your image leader, you can also manually add some little crop marks in photo shop by adding just a mark with the pencil tool or with the line tool just along the edges that you know you're gonna cut off Anyway. This is super helpful because sometimes when your paper feeds through your printer, it gets a little misaligned. So even if you measure precisely, your image could be a tiny bit off, these crop marks will assure that your lines are cut exactly where you want, so make sure only one copy is printing. Unless you want more, make sure your layout is set to the properly out for your image. I've got Portrait selected here and don't worry about print settings here because when we hit print were automatically gonna bring up that print setting silo box. So hit that. Now we've got our printer settings, so make sure the printer you want to print on a selected at the top. One cool thing about running your settings through your printers. You can set up different presets, so I'm just working with default settings right now. But it's a really helpful tool to make sure your print settings are consistent. So I'm doing one copy. Your paper size is important because sometimes you're gonna be working on bigger papers and then come down here. There's not really much for us to do in the layout section, but we'll click into the color matching section, and this is where you're going to select the correct profile for your paper. So I've got my Epson profiles downloaded here, and I've got the setting selected for the paper that I'm printing in the ultra premium presentation. Matte paper. I'm actually printing on EPS in velvet. Fine art, peeper. But I've tested out a bunch of the different options and this seems to give me the truest colors. Oh, and make sure color think is selected Epson color controls is just gonna automatically choose a color profile for you. And you wanna have much control over that as possible. So then come down to paper handling. Make sure you've got the right paper size here. You can see we've got it scaling to fit the paper size. We don't need to do that. If you don't have your bleed set up, you might want a skill to fit paper size and come down to print settings. This is gonna ask you which type of paper your printing on again? I've got Epson papers bloated here because I'm working with the Epsom printer here. Print quality. You've got photo or photo. Rpm photo. Rpm just uses a bit more ink than photo. The print process is a bit slower, and it's going to use up more of your in cartridges. So if you're not doing something super important, something that needs really rich colors go for photo, but you can usually tell the difference if you want some really rich colors do photo rpm. It checks mother stuff. But yeah, we're good to go when you're ready, hit that magic print button and your print will start printed. This makes the process look pretty smooth and quick and easy. There a lot of things that can go wrong in the printing process. I've been through my share of troubles, so if you're having any problems, please feel free to comment, and I'll try to help you as much as possible. But of course, as always, the Internet is your best friend. There are, Ah, 101 different online guides to get your printer up and running again. 5. Trimming & Packing: so you might be done. At this point. Maybe your picture naturally has a white border on it, or exactly the size you want it to be already. But you also might want to trim your print down. I always make my prints on larger paper and then trim them down just because I really like having faced sharp corners on my prints. Sometimes the people you get out of the pack has its almost perfect. It's got, like, a little bit of events corner. I love having super crispy, clean looking print, so I always trimmed on my edges to get the sharpest possible side. First, gather your supplies. You're gonna need some sort of cutting. Met an Exacto knife or a box cutter. Make sure the blades really sharp, a pencil and a long, preferably metal ruler. So get all your supplies out on your desk and grab your print. And first you're gonna measure where you're gonna cut and remember to be super careful during this part and measure twice. Cut once so you don't have to end up printing your print out again and wasting more of your fancy paper. It's once you've measured where you want to make your cuts. We're gonna go ahead and make those cuts. You can use the guidelines on your cutting board to help you. Or you can just focus on those guidelines that you've just drawn. Make sure toe work really slowly when you're cutting out your print so you don't make any wrong groups and have to print that print again. And then there is your print, all trimmed up and ready to go. You could be done at this point, but if you like, you can package up your prints and then one step further, put it into a shipping envelope. If you're milling that out to someone for packaging up my print, I like to use up just a standard piece of chipboard. Make sure it's pretty sturdy, so your print won't bend and I use, uh, cellophane bag. You want your cell vein bag to be a little bit larger than your print, so you have no problem getting that print in and out of the bag. You're chipboard may not be the size that you want it to be. Fair print. You don't want that chipboard to be like huge compared to your print um, I like to trim my chipboard down to about the size or sometimes exactly the size of my print. I just think it looks really clean here. I'm gonna measure that chipboard in relation to my print and then trim it down with my exact on eighth once I've got that chipboard trim down all sick that at my print in my cellophane bag and my bags a little too big for my print and ship pork. So I used some washi tape to seal it up, and there it is for shipping. I personally use extra rigid cardboard Miller's. Some people ship in tubes, which I think is a great option if your prints are a little larger. But for something 8.5 by 11 or smaller, I really like the extra rigid mailers. And I've never had a problem with them bending so sick your print in the envelope and they're all ready to go. So that's it. Or done. You got your print. You can hang it on your wall or give it to your mom or ship it out somewhere in the world. Thank you so much for taking the class of me I hope you've learned a lot. I hope you've got all your questions answered. If you do still have questions, please reach out to me. I've been asking your projects or we dropped me directly. I will definitely try the answer. Those for you. Thanks again. So much for taking the class. And I can't wait to see your prints out in the world.