I had hoped to transition effortlessly into etching .It has always been close to painters hearts. However I got a good question in the comments last night, so I will go after that. Here it is:
I would assume that selling prints would devalue the original somehow. The person buying the original I would assume, want to be the sole owner, not having to tell everyone at dinner "thats the original you know"
Greeting cards is interesting, although since I print up a load of cards for my openings, I would find it hard within myself to charge them 2 bucks a card for what i essentially give out for free. Still, there might be something in it.
This post is aimed mostly at you who have a retail venue to sell prints and cards. I mean reproductions of original art and not fine art prints, by the way. Last night I recommended against most painters doing a lot of printing. If you have to wholesale your art to print shops and distributors, that takes a lot of time and effort. It is really a full time job, with an appetite for capital, inventory to store, and phones to answer. Your little one man part time company will be out in the field competing against giant well established outfits with big advertising budgets. They will also be selling hideous schlock that you won't go near, and you will find out quickly that a fair number of your clients want that and not the delicate landscapes that you make. They will ask, "don't you have anything with radioactive flowers and phony little English cottages with angels and virgins living in them?".
But the real advantage they will have over you is that they handle hundreds of different artists, not one like you. When that client asks for the a's and v's, they got em! wearin balls and chains. So unless you want to get real serious and compete in that arena as an under capitalized naif I suggest you stick to what you already know about, and that's painting.
However if you have control of the retail,say you have a little gallery like our friend above, or are doing outdoor shows or art fairs having prints might be useful. Let me tell you what I did and perhaps you will find that informative.We were of course a small mom and pop gallery in seaside tourist town in New England, Rockport. The town did have a reputation as an art destination and that helped prime people to shop for art.
You asked whether having made a print of a painting decreases that paintings value, I think just the opposite is true. Buyers like to think their picture has such a great appeal that it was wotrh making prints of, and THEY HAVE THE ORIGINAL!
We had the following printed items;
- Offset lithographs framed out to about 24 by 36 they were a reproduction of one of my paintings of the harbor . We charged a couple of hundred dollars for them, (this was years ago).They sold well but they were expensive to print. I am guessing that they are now old technology and you will want to do some form of on demand giclee.
- we had giclees in little frames of about ten different paintings of mine, mostly about 11 by 14, but we had some 16 by 20 or so picture to. These were again all reproductions of my paintings. We did a lot of these on canvas. WE sold those steadily at about a hundred dollars or less. We of course sold them as decorative objects and not as fine art. I made a point of saying that to everyone who expressed an interest in them.
- we had about twenty different images available on note cards with envelopes. We also sold those in boxes of six. We let people select which images they wanted in the boxes, from a Plexiglas display rack built by my wife, who is very handy indeed.I had an old cash register and rang those up and put them into little bags for small bills all day long. They kept us in groceries.
- We had those same cards in little mattes and glassine envelopes for about 12 dollars.
- We had postcards, I don't know that those were worth the trouble and it was really annoying sometimes to watch people torture themselves over whether they should spring for a fifty cent postcard.
Our young daughters enjoyed selling cards though and they would be left to watch the shop sometimes and when I would return they would say proudly, "I sold three cards dad!" One time my two preteen daughters made a 6,000 dollar sale, but that's another story for another time.