How to get your paintings printed onto greetings cards

What a pa-lava!

I've had a series of my original artwork professionally printed onto greetings cards and I'm so pleased with how they have turned out I thought I would share the process with you.

The Kicking Donkey, Ormskirk
The Buck I'th Vine, Ormskirk

Why a pa-lava? Well, it took three months of to-ing and fro-ing to the printer's to get there!

Here is the process I went through. If you follow these steps you should be able to avoid some of the pitfalls and have a successful outcome!

The Bandstand, Ormskirk
Clieves Hills, Aughton, Ormskirk

  • Start well in advance of when you want your cards to be ready. For me, the process took 3 months - I consider this to be time well invested because when I need a rerun it can be done at the push of a button.
  • Take good quality photos in good light. I take mine outdoors on a bright day, out of direct sunlight and not behind glass. I have a 20MP digital compact bridge camera. Make sure that the lense is clean and use a tripod to eliminate camera shake. Don't touch up the photo - let the printers do that. They have the skills required to know what changes need to be made to suit their printing equipment.
  • Choose your printers carefully. Unless you have a LOT of money to spare, you will be looking at digital printing rather than lithographical printing. This isn't a bad thing, just make sure your printer has a top quality printer to work with. Previously I made the mistake of going to a small scale printers who used a standard office printer - needless to say the quality was not good, and that print run ended up in the recycling bin. You will be viewing a lot of proofs, so locality may be important to you - it certainly was to me.
  • View proof printed samples of every image to make sure that they looked like the originals. This is VERY important - my previous card run (at afore mentioned small scale printers) was done without proofs and was a complete disaster - as I said, the cards ended up in the recycling bin.
  • Choose the card stock (finish, thickness, texture etc) and view more proofs. My cards are printed on white 350gsm card with a satin finish.
  • Source good quality envelopes. The ones that my printer had on offer were very basic - I chose to search for some myself and found some good ones in The Range (UK).
  • Source cellophane bags of the exact size to fit the card with the envelope tucked inside. Mine came from The Works (UK).
  • View proofs of the cards made up to the size I wanted, and to check the wording and the positioning of my logo on the back was correct.
  • Once printed, check every card for quality (quality of cut, finger prints, any bends, ink marks, accurate fold etc), match with an envelope and put them into cellophane bags.
  • Seal the cellophane bags - this bit took a surprising amount of time - persuading the extremely static peel-off strips that they wanted to go in the bin and not stay stuck to me was a challenge!

Ormskirk Parish Church of St Peter and St Paul
St Michael's Church, Aughton

Now that they are all packaged up I am looking for local shops to stock them. I have 2 Ormskirk Cafe's signed up: "The Edge" near the bus station and "Brew and Bake" near the library. I am also in discussions with a couple of independent card shops.

And finally I sell them through the greetings card section of my online shop

I hope this article was of use to you! Feel free to ask any questions in the comments box below.