Finding a Printer

Who should produce prints of digital art?

FineArtAmerica
FineArtAmerica

Being a digital artist who uses FineArtAmerica (now called Pixels.com) I’m a bit biased, I prefer to use them…but I have tried getting my art printed from a few different places including Costco, Walmart, RedBubble, Staples, Snapfish, Zazzle, and Shutterfly.

For the most part, print quality is all the same between them, generally above average and perfectly acceptable to everyone who has ever bought a print from me.   In fact, the word is that all of those print on demand sites actually use the same clearing houses to produce prints.

The only one of lesser quality was Walmart which was not THAT bad, but a little below what I would consider acceptable for a sale – though perfectly okay for my own personal prints.   However, because they print on site at the store they are fast and less expensive.

If you want exceptional quality, then you need to look up your local professional giclee print house.  They are generally quite expensive and you’ll have to go on word of mouth to know if they are any good.

I also owned my own Epson Stylus Pro 7600 for a time to print my own stuff.  I would not recommend going that route.  It was VERY expensive and very difficult to get quality prints.

Framing Art

How do you frame an oil painting on canvas?

In addition to being an artist, I worked my way through college in a frame shop.

My first suggestion would be to hire a professional framer to do it.  Framing can actually be quite difficult, but, if you’re the do-it-yourself type:

First off, your painting needs to be stretched.  Most likely it already is as canvases sold in art supply stores are sold prestretched on a wooden frame, but if it is not, I suggest you take your painting to a frame shop where you can have a professional do it.  Stretching a painting is actually somewhat difficult and does require some practice and know-how.

Assuming you’ve gotten to the point of having the painting stretched, you need to find or build a frame that fits the dimensions of your painting.  This is where oil paintings on canvas have a disadvantage over something like a photographic print or a painting on paper.  You cannot use mats to alter the side ratios or increase the size of the work up to a larger frame.  You have to have a frame that exactly fits your painting.

You can build a frame by ordering the frame moulding from any number of vendors then assembling with corner fasteners (usually provided by the vendor along with the moulding), or, if you are handy with carpentry, making your own with wood and house moulding from the local hardware store.

Oil paintings are generally not framed under glass.

It’s better to have frame that is deeper than the depth of the canvas’s stretcher bars, but it is not strictly necessary so long as the frame is wide enough so that no one will see the sides of the canvas from any reasonable viewing angel.

To mount the painting in the frame you can use metal canvas clips (even if the frame depth is less than the canvas depth), or, if the frame IS deeper than the canvas, you can use nails, brads, or staples partially sunk in the inside of the frame to hold the painting in.

Use two screw eyes 1/3 of the way from the top on the back of the frame as anchor points for the hanging wire.

Hanging wire is a braided metal wire that you can buy from just about any hardware store or big-box store.  Be sure to get something that is rated with a weight strong enough for your painting.

Run the hanging wire through the screw eyes, then cut it leaving several inches on each side.  You might want to wrap a bit of tape around the ends of the wire to prevent cuts. Bend the ends of the wire around the screw eyes then wrap them around the rest of the wire (the part between the screw eyes).

Now, find a good spot to hang it 😀

Check my Art Gift Shop

Mug
A mug featuring my work “Spirit of the Forest”

Perhaps you like my art, but just don’t have any wall space.  Well…I have many other ways you can enjoy my art.  For instance, you might want to have a coffee mug featuring my art, or a phone case, or a tote bag.  They’re available in my Art Gift Shop!

One of the nice advantages of the fulfillment service that I use is that they offer much more than just wall prints.  They also will print my art on a whole variety of gift objects.  As such, I’ve just added a gift shop this site featuring some of those items.  

Check it out…

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Electric Jaguar

Electric Jaguar
Electric Jaguar

A glowing expressionist images of a running jaguar.

This was a work that I put together while working with Topaz Glow

As always I have prints and gifts featuring this image available.

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Can you sell art through social media sites?

Have you made any sales of your artworks through social networking sites like Facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram?

My Fan Page on Facebook

This is a question I’ve gotten a couple of times.

Yes, I’ve made numerous sales through Facebook.  To do so though, I have a fan page that I use to market my art.  I would not recommend using a personal FB page to do your art business.

I’ve spent several years building a following on Facebook, and it has required lots of time and some money for advertising.

If you want to learn more on selling art through Facebook, check out my quick start guide to selling art online.

I’ve made a couple of sales through DeviantArt as well, but that site tends to be more social rather than commercial when it comes to art.

As for Twitter, I have a couple of thousand followers.  Whenever I post art there for sale, I usually only get one or two click through’s to my website, and, if any of those pitiful few have ever converted to a sale, I didn’t catch it.

 

Landing Heron

 

Landing Heron
Landing Heron

A white feathered heron lands with a splash in a shallow pond.

 
I created this using a variety of digital art tools, but primarily this one is about Topaz Impression which is what I used to give this the Impressionist stylized look.
 
It you want to know what Topaz Impression is, check out my overview of it on my blog: http://fineartbydaniel.com/2017/12/22/topaz-impression/
 
There’s plenty of other digital tools involved as well.  You can check out my resource list here: http://fineartbydaniel.com/resources/
 
Thanks for looking!
Daniel

As always I have prints and gifts featuring this image available.

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Big Bad Wolf

Big Bad Wolf
Big Bad Wolf

A menacing wolf snarls at you.

This was a quick work that I put together while experimenting with Topaz Glow.  It’s mostly just something I did for fun while playing around with art on Christmas night 2017.

As always I have prints and gifts featuring this image available.

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Topaz Impression

Topaz Labs produces some pretty cool products.  I’ve talked about Topaz Glow which you can use to giver your images a neon glowing effect, but my all time favorite product from them is Topaz Impression.

Wolf - Topaz Impression
Wolf – One of my artworks made using Topaz Impression

With this tool  you can convert your images into Impressionist Style Artworks.  All you need to do is load up your image, then select one of the many presets, such as “Monet”, “Oil Painting”, “Cave Painting”.  You image will instantly (well…almost instantly, processing for large images may take a minute or two) be converted.

You’re not limited to the presets though.  Once you’ve kicked things off, there are sliders that let you control the brush type, width, the stroke length and direction, etc.  You can get very elaborate.

Impression used to be a stand alone product.  These days though, it is a plugin for Topaz Studio.  One of the big advantages with this is that you can layer effects with multiple Topaz products.  Topaz Studio is free, but the Impression plugin will set you back about a hundred dollars.  That may sound like a bit much, but I’ve sold several prints of artworks made with impression and have easily recouped my cost.  

One of the things I find really great about products like Impression and Glow is that they can give a photo a really standout style, and when your competing against thousands of photographers, it’s that kind of style that gives you an advantage over the others.

Get Topaz Impression

A while back, I made a video to go over some of the features of Impression.  This was before it was a Studio plugin, but the functionality is pretty much the same:

Regards,

Daniel

Topaz Glow

My quick overview of Topaz Glow…

Glowing Shark
A Hammerhead Shark Image post processed using Glow

A hammerhead shark swims beneath the sea in this impressionist work featuring fluid glowing lines with an almost neon quality to them.

This was actually made from an older image of mine that was a realistic image of a hammerhead shark, created using digital 3D rendering techniques. I’ve altered it though using a tool called Glow From Topaz labs. It’s a really cool computer program that gives your images a wild expressionist look ranging from a style reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh to modernist neon impressionism.

 
Hammerhead
The Image before being processed in Glow

I’d seen a lot of photographers making sales with their photos that had been run through Topaz Glow. They looked awesome and I knew I wanted to give the application a try with some of my render art. It required me to update the drivers on my graphics card, but once I did that, it was easy to install and very easy to use.

I found that it doesn’t always make an image better, but for some it really had some great results. This particular image, I thought, turned out very well.

Glow used to be a standalone application, but now you get it as a plugin for Topaz’s flagship application Topaz Studio.  Studio is free and allows you to integrate most of their products.  Glow will set you back around 70 bucks, but it’s can pay for itself in just one print sale.

If you’d like to check out Topaz Glow, and I recommend that you do, click on the button.

Get Glow

By the way, that link is an affiliate link. If you click on it and should happen to buy glow within 30 days, I will get a small commission on the sale. It does not raise the price for you. For those of you who do buy, THANK YOU!

I’ve also done a video review of glow.  This was the older version prior to being a plug in for Topaz Studio, but the latest version is quite similar in what is can do. 

 

Regards,
Daniel

A Storm of Mammoths

A Storm of Mammoths
A Storm of Mammoths

A Storm of Mammoths

Winter is around the corner, and I wanted to post some art to get me in the mood. This one, a bit of Mammoth Art, is from my paleoart series.  I have Mammoths heralding the coming of the cold season. The first dusting of snow has fallen and a rabbit has ventured out to see what all the commotion is about. 

Most animals have a collective noun that names a group of them. For instance, a group of crows is called a murder, a group of chickens is called a brood, cats…a clowder, geese…a gaggle, etc.. However, there doesn’t appear to be a collective noun for mammoths. I guess being extinct deprives them of that. Well, I’ve decided that I like the word “storm” for a group of Mammoths, at least for this particular artwork. 

This artwork was created digitally using 3D art applications as well as painting applications.

Do you want to know how this is made, go here.

Tools I used to make this?  Check out my resource page.

Prints and gift featuring this image are available.

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