One of the biggest decisions I faced as an artist was whether to sell original artwork or prints. It’s a question that plagues many artists, and there’s no easy answer. If you find yourself asking “is it better to sell original art or prints” then rest assured it is not a negative sum game.
You can actually do both, and by selling both original art and prints you increase your earnings per every art piece produced. It’s almost like free money.
I have been selling both for years after being initially scared to sell prints out of the fear that it devalued my original art. But after all these years I’ve come to a conclusion that it works for me and I think it will work for you.
You’re scared prints will devalue your original artworks
And I know why you’d be scared to sell prints of your artwork. While there’s no denying the appeal of selling your original artwork, it’s important to consider the practicality of it.
Originals are one-of-a-kind pieces that can’t be replicated, which means they can command a higher price point.
However, creating originals is time-consuming and can be costly when factoring in materials and studio space.
Not only that, the original might be out of the price range or budgets of some of your most biggest fans.
So why not sell prints? It’s Like Printing Money
Prints, on the other hand, are much more affordable to create and can be sold at a lower price point, making them accessible to a wider range of buyers.
You can sell open edition prints or limited edition hand signed prints to increase the value a bit. You can also provide certificates of authenticity if you feel that might add extra value.
Original Art vs. Prints
Definition of Original Art
Original art is a one-of-a-kind piece created by the artist. It can be a painting, sculpture, drawing, or any other form of art. Original art pieces are unique and cannot be replicated, making them valuable.
Definition of Prints
Prints are reproductions of an original artwork. They can be produced in large quantities, making them more affordable for buyers. Prints can be made on paper, canvas, or other materials.
Pros and Cons of Selling Original Art
Pros: Selling original art can be profitable for artists who have established a name for themselves. Art collectors, investors, museums, and galleries are willing to pay high prices for original pieces.
Cons: Creating original art can be time-consuming and expensive. It can also be difficult to find buyers for original pieces, especially for emerging artists.
Pros and Cons of Selling Prints
Pros: Selling prints can be a good option for artists who want to reach a larger audience. Prints are more affordable than original pieces, making them accessible to a wider range of buyers.
Prints can also be produced in large quantities, making them easier to sell. However, the profit margin on prints is lower than on original pieces if you get them made externally. I purchased a Giclee printer and never looked back. The profit margins on self produced prints is out of this world.
Cons: Prints can also be easily replicated, which can decrease their value. Overall, whether to sell original art or prints depends on the artist’s goals and target audience.
Selling original art can be profitable but requires a lot of time and effort. Selling prints can be more accessible but it might not bring in as much profit.
As an artist, it is important to consider both options and decide which one is best for your career. here are some more factors to consider.
Factors to Consider
Demand for the Artwork
When deciding whether to sell original art or prints, it’s important to consider the demand for your artwork.
If you have a large following or fanbase that is interested in purchasing your art, selling original pieces might be more profitable.
If you’re just starting out or looking to expand your audience, selling prints might be a better option. Prints can be sold at a lower price point, making them more accessible to a wider audience.
Cost of Production
Another factor to consider is the cost of production. Creating original artwork can be time-consuming and expensive, especially if you’re using high-quality materials.
Prints, on the other hand, can be produced in larger quantities at a lower cost. When deciding whether to sell original art or prints, it’s important to consider your budget and how much you’re willing to invest in each piece.
Artist’s Goals and Values
As an artist, your goals and values should also play a role in your decision to sell original art or prints. If you place a high value on the uniqueness and authenticity of your artwork, selling original pieces might be more in line with your values.
If your goal is to make your art more accessible to a wider audience, selling prints will be a better option.
Ultimately, the decision to sell original art or prints depends on a variety of factors, including demand, cost, and personal values.
This is your career and your art so it’s important to weigh these factors carefully and make a decision that aligns with your goals and vision for your art.
Is it better to sell original art or prints – Wrap up!
If you’re still wondering is it better to sell original art or prints then in this wrap up I will reiterate: after my own experience and also researching what other artists have achieved and also considering the pros and cons of selling original art versus prints, I have come to the conclusion that selling both original art AND prints of each is the best decision for any artist needing a viable income stream.
In the end it depends on the individual artist’s goals and circumstances.
If you value exclusivity and uniqueness, selling original art only will be the best option. Original art pieces can fetch higher prices and can be seen as more valuable due to their one-of-a-kind nature.
Remember, creating original pieces can be time-consuming and may not be feasible for artists who need to produce a large volume of work in a short amount of time.
On the other hand, selling prints can be a more efficient way to make a profit and reach a wider audience.
Prints can be reproduced quickly and easily, allowing artists to sell more pieces at a lower price point.
Additionally, prints can be sold online, which can expand an artist’s customer base beyond their local area. You can even go down the Print on Demand path if you don’t want the hassle of making your own prints.
Ultimately, the decision to sell original art or prints should be based on your personal goals, style, and resources. It is important to consider factors such as production time, cost, and target audience when making this decision.
By weighing the pros and cons, you as an artist can determine the best approach for your unique situation.
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Joseph Colella (Joe Colella) is an Editor and Writer at WastedTalentInc. As a frustrated artist with over 40 years experience making art (who moonlights as a certified Business Analyst with over 20 years of experience in tech). While Joseph holds a Diploma in Information Technology, in true wasted talent fashion he spent years applying for various Art degrees; from the Accademia di Belle Arti (Napoli), to failing to get into the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Arts) at the University of Western Sydney. While he jokes about his failures at gaining formal art qualifications, as a self-taught artist he has had a fruitful career in business, technology and the arts. His goal is to attend the Julian Ashton School of Art at The Rocks Sydney when he retires from full time work. Joseph’s art has been sold to private collectors all over the world from the USA, Europe and Australasia. He is a trusted source for reliable art advice and tutorials to copyright/fair use advice and is committed to helping his readers make informed decisions about making them a better artist.
He also loves all things watches (ok it’s an addiction) so show him some love and visit his other website https://expertdivewatch.com