From Digital Creation to Print - (NSFW)

Updated: Apr 3, 2019



Watercolor Flower digital illustration created using a SurfaceBook, printed and framed at 8x10

In preparation for a upcoming presentation I needed high quality prints for a number of pieces. I took a trip to Blick for the prints because a yoga series I worked on a few years back reproduced in print form really well from Blick. Pricey, yes but sometimes, we just have to stop bitching and moaning about prices when the quality speaks for itself. You get what you pay for.


In this digital age, we've grown spoiled working within the confines and color spaces of digital environments. But each piece of art to be reproduced had to be prepped for print publication. Taking a RGB image and running to the printer is asking for problems. So, there was some work to be done. First, all of the images had to be resized for standard frame dimensions. Due to working digitally and with pixel counts, some of the images didn't quite meet standard print sizes. There are ways around this which I'll get to later.


After resizing, each image had to be converted from a RGB (red, green, blue for the uninitiated) color profile to a CYMK (cyan, yellow, magenta, black) color profile which is more suitable for print. There are many applications that can perform the conversion. In my own creative application collection, the conversion could have been completed using Affinity Photo, various versions of Photo Director that I purchased, Quark Xpress 2017 which supports image processing functions, Krita and Clip Studio Ex. I went with Clip Studio Ex because I really like the interface and the way the application works when embedding/changing color profiles. It also has incredibly robust drawing and painting features that allow for last minute creative changes without going back into the original application the illustration was created in. Although Krita and Affinity Photo provide tools for digital drawing and painting, neither are as good as Clip Studio Ex in my opinion.



Art Museum landscape, created using a Surface Studio printed and framed at 16x12.

After the conversions are done, all that's left to do is to transferred the images to external storage (thumb drive in this case) and make a run to the printer. I was already familiar with Blick's selection of various paper types so I saved each image in a directory on the thumb drive that corresponds to the appropriate paper type. For example, the portrait "Too Cool to Exist" was created using the canvas Aquarelle for it's rough texture, a favorite of mine. Blick has that very paper type available for print so obviously, the "Too Cool to Exist" portrait was saved in a directory named Aquarelle with the image dimensions saved within the name of the file (in this case, 9x12) along with CMYK in the name as well. This way, the printer knows exactly which paper type to use when printing the piece as well as the dimensions and color profile making it easier for them to complete the order.



"Too Cool to Exist" portrait, created using a Aquarelle canvas in Rebelle 3 on a SurfaceBook 2 and printed on Aquarelle paper. Framed at 9x12.

Some images have non-standard sizes such as "The Cold Waters of Winter" which is 10.20x17 instead of 11x17. I could have used a matte to fit the image into a standard frame size but decided not to because I didn't want the image cropped in any way. Instead, I used a 11x17 frame but bought a large black matte board from Blick and paid for it to be cut into three 11x17 pieces. Using one of those boards as a back for the illustration, I used the 11x17 frame which you can see below.


"Cold Waters of Winter" created using a Surface Studio. Framed at 11x17.

There are other works with non standard dimensions that required a different solution. The "Sleeping" illustration of a friend is 11x15.29. Obviously this won't fit a 11x17 frame and it won't fit a 12x16 frame. So I bought a 18x24 frame with a matte cut and used that instead.


"Sleeping" the full NSFW version created using a Surface Studio in a printed matte 18x24 frame.


Shon Tenaj #3 created on a Surface Studio, printed in a matte 18x24 frame.

Working with print pieces can be fun especially when seeing how digital work translates to the printed page. I've worked in print publication for many years in corporate offices but the work wasn't always fulfilling or required much creativity. But this collection (this post only features a small sample) was a joy to put together.


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