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Printing Artwork

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Artist Obscure
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I'm going to be making some prints soon for my artwork. I worked in printing for a long time, but I've always gotten different answers to this question: What is a suitable dpi size for an 8.5 x 11 print? A lot of my artist friends make prints at 300 dpi, but this seems low to me since 600 is about the best you can do. The problem with 600 dpi is it's a taxing size for the printer to print out and even a heavy duty machine takes some time to print this (and I might not have time to make all my prints).

I would really appreciate an illustrator's perspective on this. I'm having prints made of my entire portfolio (about 10-12 prints), promotional postcards and business cards made. Since my Father-in-Law owns the business I can be there and have a lot of control over the prints themselves. I need the portfolio prints to look good, because I'm having someone look over them at a conference I'm going to. Thanks for any help you can give!

Edit: Oh also with Business Cards... do you guys include your addresses or just email/webpage/phone numbers?
#1 - April 30, 2012, 12:06 PM
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 12:09 PM by Dani Duck »

CaroleB

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Dani,
No help from me, but wanted to say I love your Tale of the Dragon Turtle illustration. It's lovely. I'm  happy I took a peek at your work and I wish you lots of luck.


Hopefully someone will give you some tips here. Enjoy your conference.
Carole (who loves illustrations)
#2 - April 30, 2012, 12:35 PM

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I'd say it depends, but 300 dpi is usually ok for printing portfolio samples and postcards/business cards. Can you do a couple of test prints first, to see if you can print at 300 dpi and have it look good/professional?

Info on cards: I used to print address/phone number, etc. Then I went to website and email only. It hasn't been a problem. I think it used to be more important to have the other info on there, but these days most people will email, and then you can give them your # if you want.

I usually do everything in 300 dpi, unless I think it might need/want a larger file later, or might have to send it to a publisher (then I do 600 dpi).

edited to add: I just looked at my latest postcard and it doesn't have my email! Might have to add that back in. My latest business cards do have my email though.
#3 - April 30, 2012, 01:17 PM
« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 01:20 PM by Ani Louise »
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300 dpi is very adequate, if you're using a good printer and quality scanner. I use an Epson Stylus PHOTO 1400, and when printed on glossy photo paper, 300 dpi art prints out beautifully. No visible pixels or graininess whatsoever. So I'd say it depends on your scanner and printer,... but in general, 300dpi is fine.

As for business cards, I wouldn't include an address. There doesn't seem to be a need for that on a BC. Email and website is best, IMO. Good luck!
#4 - April 30, 2012, 02:02 PM

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For the items you described 300dpi is standard. Very few places use a higher dpi to print cards etc, and some even go as low as 200dpi.

Just make sure your files are as clear as possible and don't ever size art up to increase the dpi.

However, if you plan on selling prints of art to collectors, you'd want to have giclee made and the dpi varies by the printer. The giclee uses archival papers and inks.
#5 - April 30, 2012, 02:09 PM
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I've never done anything over 300 dpi, for my own use and for sending to the publishers.
I think you'd need super human vision to really tell the difference between 300 and 600 and truly, if you work in multiple layers to produce the work your computer/photoshop would likely crash:)
The only time you might have to go to 600 is if the final art was going to be enlarged for printing?

Another vote for no address. Name, on-line portfolio and email. No one snail mails things anymore, even contracts are attachments now.
#6 - May 01, 2012, 02:25 AM
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 02:29 AM by christripp »
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
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Carol - Thanks for your words of encouragement. Unfortunately I won't be able to add that Illustration to my printed portfolio, because I believe the originals were on my computer that was stolen. I like that one too.

Ani - I can go in and check the prints to see if they are okay before go, but I'd like most of them printed before I go in.

Thanks to you all for all the information. I just wanted to make sure I was using what most people in the industry use. I'm not doing any fine art prints yet, but I do scan most of my artwork in at 600dpi. All of my digital artwork starts in 600 dpi. I use to have a computer that could handle me creating those images. Ah well, I have to break this computer in somehow, might as well be by crashing it multiple times! :)
#7 - May 02, 2012, 09:38 AM

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Scanning at a higher DPI is the best option so the fine details aren't missed . . . so the 600 dpi for scans is great.

When you convert it for print, reducing to 300 after having a high res scan usually makes for clear prints. I was told by the manager at a print shop that too much dpi for print doesn't always convert well to printers and often bleeds or oversaturates the image.

Sorry your computer was lost. Backing up on external hard drives/flash drives, etc., has helped ease my mind lately. I used to use one external and it was lost for some time :cry2 . . . now there is always at least one back up.  :cheers:
#8 - May 03, 2012, 06:34 AM
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I print at 300 dpi. But the art director at a recent SCBWI conference told me her prefers artwork created in Photoshop to be 600 dpi.
#9 - May 11, 2012, 07:30 AM

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I print at 300 dpi. When I submitted digital image files to Simon & Schuster BFYR for I'M BORED, the art director (Laurent Linn) said 300 dpi was fine; they wanted TIFF files.

For biz and postcards, I don't include my address.
#10 - May 12, 2012, 06:42 AM
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I print at 300 dpi. When I submitted digital image files to Simon & Schuster BFYR for I'M BORED, the art director (Laurent Linn) said 300 dpi was fine; they wanted TIFF files.

For biz and postcards, I don't include my address.

On postcards, without a return address, how do you keep your files up to date with moves?
#11 - May 12, 2012, 08:15 AM
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Yes, my experiences have always been the same, for Scholastic 300 dpi is all they require as well and TIFF's seem to be the most popular of all the book and mag publishers. I have never been asked by a publisher for 600dpi. (and I wouldn't do it either, it would never make the transfer, with layers especially:)
Perhaps for large scale prints 600 is necessary, if they blow up the art, 600 may be necessary but for book work and for an 8" by 11" page, no.
#12 - May 31, 2012, 02:28 AM
"Penelope and the Humongous Burp"
"Penelope and the Monsters"
"Penelope and the Preposterous Birthday Party"

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