LISA MALTBY
LONDON BASED ILLUSTRATOR & LETTERING ARTIST

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Welcome to my blog where I post about all things creative, from my latest food illustrations, design work and hand lettering doodles, to articles about freelancing and creativity. I hope you like my posts.

Understanding digital art and reproductions... know what you're buying.

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I often get asked about why some prints are more money than others for seemingly the same thing so it’s important to know what you’re buying when it comes to art. Understanding digital art is very important because you could be fooled into buying something that’s of little value. 

1). How does digital art compare to traditional methods?

Digital art is obviously on the increase and selling it has led me to realise that a lack of understanding can cause havoc for both the seller and the buyer. I work in both traditional methods and digitally, the reason being that each method suits different briefs or subject matters differently. If I think something will need a lot of reworking and I want the freedom to adapt my illustrations then working digitally gives me a freedom to do this. It also enables me to add textures in a way that isn’t possible by hand. Sometimes I just like a sketch the way it is and I may add a splash of watercolour - but as an artist, both methods are equally viable. When I come to print a digital piece of work it is every bit an original as much as the watercolour. The issue comes when the possibility of several prints can be reproduced - but in theory if only one digital print were made it should have the same value as it would have if it were done in paint. 

2). Understanding originals and limited editions.

And this is where the issue of quantity comes in. If someone creates a digital piece of work and prints it off 100 times it will not be worth as much as a hand drawn original. However, if the artist chooses to print only one edition of the digital art, it will be worth just as much. When you are buying digital art is is important to enquire about how many the artist is producing because the smaller the number of editions, the greater their worth.

3). Determining the quality of a digital print. 

In theory any artist could buy prints in bulk or print them out on their home printer in editions of 100 and say they are limited edition prints. All well and good but the likelihood is that cheap prints will be on low quality paper and the likelihood of them fading over time is highly likely. To ensure quality, art should be printed on a minimum of 250gsm fine art paper and colours should be relatively colourfast. Giclee printing ensures quality.

4). How much should digital prints cost? 

You may as well ask how long a piece of string is. Here are some factors to consider: 

How well known is the artist? Well established artists can charge a lot more than up and coming ones but obviously that doesn’t mean that less established artist’s work can’t gain value. That’s the beauty of art, it could be worth millions one day. 

What is the quality of the print? As mentioned, make sure that the print is well produced.

What is the size of the print? The larger the size, the higher the cost,  but this obviously needs to be considered alongside number of editions etc. An A4 print in edition of 10 will be worth more than an A3 print in edition of 100.

How many editions are in the print? The lower the number in the edition, the higher the cost. It’s also worth considering that lower numbers may be worth more because they are the first sold.

I hope that helps some of your questions about digital art. I would love to hear from other artists if you have any further advice on this, or if you’re a buyer and you have any comments! 

Check out my prints on my website

www.lisamaltby.com

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