Thinking of starting a print shop. Any advice?

  • Hey SVS people. I've considered opening an online print shop. It's a little daunting knowing that no one could be interested and my prints will end up just collecting dust in my house.

    It's also a little daunting going into it because I feel like there are a lot of nuances you have to know in order to create and print something on a pro-level, which I don't think my work looks anything near pro, but I try my best.

    On the actual print side of this kinda stuff is there anything I need to know about the type of paper and color profiles I should use when sending my work off to a printer? Does the type of paper you'd want to use vary on your style? My style is pretty graphic, almost like if you mixed Derek Laufman, Jake Parker, and Miyazaki together. Here is my insta: . Any other things and pieces of advice that would be helpful going into this would be great to hear. Thank you so much!

  • Moderator

    One thing I can suggest is doing a search of the forums using the word "prints" or "printer". There are tons of threads and posts that talk about the virtues and pitfalls of different papers, different printers, etc. You may find that there are already a lot of discussions that have been had over the years that could answer a couple of your questions... I know specifically that Lee White makes his own prints and has a favorite print machine but I can't recall what type it is.

    I can also tell you that from what I've seen of those discussions over the years doing your own prints is not an investment to take lightly... Lee uses a high-end printer that was a couple thousand dollars if I recall correctly.

    I think there are also many YouTube videos of artists who share their own print setups and the printers they use, but many of their printers aren't made for the large-scale prints many artists prefer to sell... I've searched for them myself in the past, and while many of them weren't making high-quality prints there were a couple that were relevant.

    Fronting the money and having the space to do fulfillment and shipping has always been my particular issue that has prevented me from going all in. But others have takent he leap and made it work!!! I hope it works for you!!

  • @phoenix-yip I really highly recommend checking out Red River paper. Aside from having nice high quality paper (if you’re printing yourself) they have a TON of educational articles on types of paper to use for what and what printers will work with their papers and printer reviews etc. It REALLY helped me to figure out which paper and printer to get but also the differences between the various types. Even if you’re using a print company it might have some great articles to help you

  • @carlianne Awesome! Thank you so much for the advice. I will check that out!

  • Is there enough demand for your art prints for you to do your own printing? Printers are expensive. Paper is expensive. Ink is very expensive. Packaging is expensive.

    Prints need to be on quality paper using archival inks.

    Can you make money while devoting the time and expense to fulfilling your own prints? If so, great, go for it! If not, or if you are unsure - devote your time to building a brand, a customer base and producing art that others want to buy and have it printed and shipped from elsewhere for now.

  • Piggybacking off @jimsz comment. I agree that if you haven't sold your prints before then investing in an expensive printer right off the bat is quite high risk and it might take you a while to make your money back. I'd suggest you start by using a print company with then move on to printing yourself if you feel confident that a decent customer base is there. What I've done in the past is ask on social media who might be interested in a particular print and use this as an informal pre-ordering system. Then I ordered a very small run of prints knowing I'd sell them and they wouldn't be gathering dust at home. Of course with most of these printing companies it works out cheaper to buy in bulk but that's up to you to weigh the risk and reward. Btw just from browsing your insta I think your work would look awesome as prints! Best of luck 🙂

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