Education

Print It! Back to the real world | Illustration tutorial part 3

So you’ve conquered the artist’s block, found inspiration and finished an illustration for a client who wants to pay for your work? Congratulations! Cartoonist and illustrator Andrew Rae says there is a one even greater moment in an artist’s life: holding the actual printed work in your hands. Check out the last part of his online tutorial series “Luck of the Draw”.

Andrew uses a Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet for his work.

You already know about the different types of jobs and the different ways of working for clients. Now, let’s focus on how to get the artwork out of the computer and bring it into the real world! Unfortunately, not all art is made for “reality”. Lots of work nowadays – animation, for example – is actually produced for online use only, meaning: It will never leave the screen.

Andrew Rae final Wacom artwork

Why is that?

Well, most of all, because it’s easier to get more viewers online.

However, illustration has been a print-based medium for hundreds of years, and there will always be printed work in the future. You might call this concept old-fashioned. But: looking at printed illustrations just has a different, literally more tangible feel to it – and a better feel at that. Plus, if you want to really exhibit an illustration, you will have to print it sooner or later.

So let’s prepare our artwork for print.

Start with a color check – or else you will be unpleasantly surprised, as printed colors can (and usually do) look extremely different from how they look on screen. As a matter of fact, a lot of colors don’t come out well at all in CMYK. So watch out.

The same goes for overhead projection, which artists use to enlarge an image for a mural or live drawing event. So be careful with colors no matter what medium you choose for presentation.

If you’re lucky, someone else – an expert, hopefully – will handle the printing process for you. Just send them the image. Try to make sure that it’s bright enough and that the colors are printable.

The Ghost in the Machine screen print by Andrew Rae

Screen prints are awesome.

It’s almost always a good idea to make screen prints. They can be extremely powerful: You can use intense colors, or fluorescents, or foil blocking. Remember, however, that screen prints need to be sent in layers – each separate layer is a solid black. Use overlays to see the colors on the screen.

Once you’ve sent the image data to your printing partner, all you can do is wait. And be excited.

Andrew Rae´s Moon Man

Ah, the joy! Receiving the printed item

Now comes the most elating thing for many artists: the moment the postman brings to your door the package with the printed, finished item. Look at the unopened box for a second and enjoy the mixed emotions. Then carefully unbox it!

It is almost as exciting to see your illustration or piece of art somewhere out in the world – on a billboard, in a magazine, on a wall. If this happens, try to think back to the moment just before the work started … maybe it was when you received the email with the brief for the job.

From a brief to an idea to art to print: Isn’t this the most sublime transformation ever?

You know what they say: Repetition is the mother of learning. Ready? Watch the video and memorize even better how to prep artwork for printing:

Previously:

Part 1 – The blank page: 7 ways to overcome artist’s block

Part 2 – Don’t polish a turd: how to grow a drawing for clients

Andrew Rae trivia

Andrew Rae is best known for his line drawing, expressive characters, playful and busy images filled with detail, as well as his sardonic, irreverent look at the world. He is a member of the multi-disciplinary Peepshow Collective, art directed the award-winning BBC animation Monkey Dust and created the graphic novel Moonhead and the Music Machine. ´

Andrew gained special recognition in 1998 when he produced a series of flyers for the legendary club night Perverted Science in London, the vibrant city where he currently lives and works.

 

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