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I have googled this as many ways as I can think of, and I searched the board here, too.  Can't find an answer.

If I want to make an illustration that needs to print at a certain size (let's pretend 4 in. x 4 in.) is there any benefit in drawing the image larger and then shrinking it in photoshop?  Or is it better to just draw the original image in the size that you know you want in the end?
#1 - August 28, 2012, 07:50 PM
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I've read that people often work a little larger than the end product dimensions. It tightens things up when you shrink it slightly. If you work loosely anyway, maybe it doesn't matter as much?
#2 - August 28, 2012, 08:26 PM

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I like to work actual size when I paint, but when I did graphic design (mind you this was a few years ago) the rule was never enlarge the original more than 10% and never reduce more than 15% to void loss in quality.

I can't think of any reason that there is a benefit to working larger than the actual size you want, unless maybe you do highly detailed work and working larger achieves a greater level of detail? My artwork is quite detailed (pay no attention to zombie cat, he doesn't count, lol) but working too large throws off my lineweights, etc.

Hope that helps!
#3 - August 28, 2012, 10:53 PM
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Thanks! It's nice to have some percentages to think about.

#4 - August 29, 2012, 04:40 AM
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I've met illustrators who work large and some who work small. Some amazing original collage work I've seen was quite large as the textures the illustrator wanted in each small detail were important to her. It boils down to what you are comfortable with. Once it's scanned, and the image size is reduced, the detail work is still there if the orginal is large. Enlarging a smaller piece becomes more pixelated the more it's enlarged. When I've worked large, scanned and reduced the image, then converted to CMYK for print correcting my out of gamut colors, the printed images look great.
 
ETA, I used this youtube tutorial the first time I converted to CMYK and go back to it from time to time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LhIy5KafE3E

I found that running prints at Costco doesn't work if you convert. The images turn somewhat green. The employees told me their printers work differently and they prefer RGB. However, when you order prints through for promotional postcards or business cards through Vista or GotPrint, etc., they usually ask for CMYK converted images.
#5 - August 29, 2012, 06:32 AM
« Last Edit: August 29, 2012, 06:44 AM by Cynthia Kremsner »
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Detail. (Use your example 4"x4") If you work bigger it is a lot easier to work on an 8"x8" image than a 4"x4" you can get in there with your brush or whatever you're using and get the job done. Also when you work bigger and then reduce size it does tighten everything up. If you made a small blemish at a larger size when you shrink it down it is a lot less noticeable. Or say you are doing some line work and the lines look a little wobbly after you reduce your image to the correct size those lines will look a lot tighter.  :paperbag
#6 - August 29, 2012, 08:50 AM

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I am getting ready to begin illustrating a small dimension children's book and plan on creating all of the illustrations in twice that size - I'm just making sure that it will remain in the same dimensions when it is reduced. I feel I can get more detail, brushwork & texture in the illustrations when I work large and especially getting the background in even though it may still be simple or loose. :clover1:
#7 - August 29, 2012, 12:38 PM

Yeah, so I was kind of thinking it just comes down to what the artist prefers. It's good to hear reasons for why to do it one way or another. Thank you everyone!
#8 - August 29, 2012, 10:09 PM
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Now I have a question about this! If publishers ask for a certain size don't they want you to send the artwork in that size instead of having to shrink it down themselves?
#9 - August 31, 2012, 03:33 PM

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Yeah, so I was kind of thinking it just comes down to what the artist prefers. It's good to hear reasons for why to do it one way or another. Thank you everyone!

Yes, that about sums it up. But why make more work for yourself, if you don't need to (by painting larger, I mean). If you like detail, and its easier to paint larger, by all means do, but then be sure you know what your art will actually look like reduced down. Fine lines can disappear, for example.

You can also scan your finished work at a higher resolution (600 dpi rather than 300 dpi, for example) and then you'd be able to enlarge the final art for a bigger print and it should look OK.

There are no definite 'rights' or 'wrongs' - just do what works best for you!
#10 - September 02, 2012, 11:59 AM

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Now I have a question about this! If publishers ask for a certain size don't they want you to send the artwork in that size instead of having to shrink it down themselves?

Its always best to just ask upfront! Mostly they expect things to be 'same size', but I've had publishers ask for larger, or who ended up printing the piece 25% larger than the original, etc.

If you're doing the scanning of final art yourself (if its not digital) then you can manipulate it how you want to, size-wise. I've had to send in the original art, and have also had to scan it myself.

Like I said - just ask!
#11 - September 02, 2012, 12:04 PM

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