Photo of Canon Pixma Pro-100

Printing your own Illustrations

Let’s talk about printing your art, more specifically let’s talk about the benefit of printing your own art yourself.

 

The Printer

There are so many options for printing, it’s tough to figure out the best option. For the longest time I used to use online printers for my prints, and while it was very inexpensive and the quality was decent there was definitely room for improvement, so I invested in my own printer: A Canon Pixma Pro-100. I purchased it refurbished, it ran me about $200 and I am so happy I bought it.

The expenses of ink and paper can add up, but in my opinion the quality improvement alone makes it all worthwhile. I absolutely LOVE being able to control what my prints look like, I no longer end up with prints that are too dark and I am free to print on whatever type of paper I like. Using good paper can really make a world’s difference!

 

The Paper

I really like Canon’s Museum Etching paper. While a little costly per sheet, it makes your illustrations look absolutely gorgeous. It has a lightly textured surface and the sheets are nice and thick, none of that flimsy easy-bend paper. The only minus is you can’t do full-bleed on the Museum Etching paper, the prints have to have a 1,5 inch border. However with this paper you’re basically doing your own gallery quality Giclée prints at home.

For a more inexpensive paper option Canon’s Photo Paper Pro Luster is also excellent. This has the added benefit that you can do full-bleed, so you get beautifully large prints and it also has a lovely half-matted surface. I use this type of paper for my larger 13″ x 19″ prints.

Another benefit is when you can print your own prints as you need them you no longer have to order minimum 50 copies of one illustration that you potentially wind up not selling and therefore have to store or dispose of, it’s just less waste.

Lastly, I live in another country than my family, so being able to print a single print of new art or a few photos on the spot whenever I send birthday cards or letters home is just wonderful. For family and friends there’s just something nicer and more personal about receiving a physical print rather than seeing it online.

 

The Cons and Pros

All in all it’s a trade of, my expenses are higher but I’ve deemed it worthwhile. Here’s a Cons and Pros list for your convenience and an Amazon affiliate link to the products I use, should you be interested in checking it out for yourself.

Cons:

  1. Printer cost and maintenance
  2. Ink cost
  3. Paper cost

Pros:

  1. Quality control
  2. Full color calibration
  3. Pick your own paper
  4. No excess prints
  5. Test print art whenever you need to

Links:
The Illustrator’s Guide to Online Printers

Kiri Østergaard Leonard
kiri@kirileonard.com

Kiri Østergaard Leonard is an award winning illustrator and artist from Denmark, currently living in Austin, Texas. She enjoys working on projects within the fantasy and children's illustration genre.

7 Comments

  • Henrik Larsen Kirkeby

    11.12.2016 at 01:53 Reply

    Thank you for posting – i myself have bought the pixma Pro 100s and have not been getting the results i was hoping for – i do simple drawings sometimes Colored in digitally with watercolor… in your experience will both papers mentioned Work out for this? I sometimes Like to add a solid background color and this has Cole out streaky up to now When not using a glossy photopaper…. have you done a solid background color on these papers succesfully? I agree these papers are Pretty costly which is why im hoping you Can confirm wheter this is doable ?

    Thank you again for taking the time to write this post

    Curious to see my Works you can check my Instagram henriklarsenkirkeby (from Denmark too)

    Greeting

    Henrik

    • Kiri

      11.12.2016 at 11:14 Reply

      Hi Henrik, I haven’t had any printing problems with the Pixma Pro 100, even doing solid color on different types of paper it comes out flawless.

      If you’re experiencing streaks but may want to contact Canon and see if they can advice you on what to do with your printer. It sounds like something isn’t working right.

      • Henrik Larsen Kirkeby

        12.12.2016 at 03:07 Reply

        Hi Kiri,

        Im not sure – when i print on Canon glossy paper everything comes out fine – however glossy is not what I’m looking for when printing illustrations 🙂 I think I will give it a go with Museum Etching and hope the ICC profile of this paper will solve the problems with a solid background that i have seen on some paper types

        thanks again

  • Bronwen

    22.07.2015 at 16:29 Reply

    Thanks for the post, Kiri. I’ve been looking into getting prints made online, but it meant that I was essentially going to have to pay double shipping. Once to get the prints to me in Japan, then again to get them out to other people around the world. I’ve been looking at printers recently and they were all so expensive, but this one looks very promising. Perhaps a silly question but I want to be certain before I make any expensive decisions: the Pro-100 ink is archival, yes? If I print a pencil sketch would I be able to water stretch the paper without the print running?

    • Kiri

      23.07.2015 at 08:37 Reply

      You’re welcome! The inks are archival, but I’m not sure about water resistant. If you look up Elisabeth Alba on Facebook she can suggest you an Epson Printer that does have water resistant inks as she uses the method you describe there for her art 🙂

  • Alexandra Rena

    22.07.2015 at 14:57 Reply

    Thank you for this helpful post! I recently received an EPSON WorkForce WF-3620 for my birthday. It has been a godsend for scanning (I was having to pay to use Epson scanners at a print shop). I use it for black & white prints on specialty paper that I pick out, but find that it isn’t cost effective for my color prints. I don’t think it prints as large as 19×13, maybe I’ll look into a printer like yours if I want to start printing more from home. 😀
    If I need a small quantity done (because I normally run last-minute, finishing a piece then needing prints) I go to a local print shop, where I can edit in photoshop there and make changes if I don’t like the color. For restocking many different prints, I go to CatPrint.com . They specialize in short-run and their color comes close to what I am expecting.

    • Kiri

      22.07.2015 at 15:02 Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Alexandra. I’ve heard really good things about Epson! A friend of mine has one of their printers as well. I didn’t actually know there’s the option of going to print shops, heh, you learn something new every day, but that’s a great way to do it so you can check the colors and what not! 😀

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