When I first tried to print my watercolor paintings I realized I had a lot to learn. When you try to reproduce watercolors I realized that things needed to be fixed on both ends.
- Less is more for both the painting and the print
- try painting the water first and then adding the color instead of mixing the water and the color before painting on the paper
- Let one layer dry absolutely and completely before painting anything else anywhere near it.
- Scan once everything is bone dry.
Buy Good Paper!!
It is very easy to become frustrated because low quality paper will buckle and warp.
For paper I recommend Strathmore 400 series and Canson Monval make sure is 140lb any lower than that you are going to run into issues.
Both of the suggestions are good quality and inexpensive.
Arches is another good option and I have been told that it is the best quality paper, but expect a large price tag with their paper. The other 2 are perfect I own more Strathmore than Canson.
Paper is a big part of it, and as you have just read we want paper that does not warp. This is a big part of making things work. Warped paper leaves shadows and ruins the whole art.
I prefer to scan my originals at 1200 dots per inch for archiving, and as for printing I will rescan them at 600 DPI.
Yes, I scan my work twice. The reason is because if you try and scale them down you will not get the same detail as if you actually have a clean scan at size. I have also learned that my scanner can get too much detail, even capturing the shadows of the texture of the paper.
Obviously every printer has its quirks with color, even the settings used to save the file can change the look. Inkjet has far more vibrant colors than laser, so its ideal for watercolors.
That leaves me with three, maybe four requirements:
- A great ink jet printer good ink. I can't imagine using a laser printer would come out with good results at all.
- Great paper- he uses Red River Press paper constantly with amazing results on pearl, matte and watercolor paper.
- A monitor calibration tool. I have a Spyder, an old one I bought from a friend in the print business, which helps make it so the color on screen is what comes out the printer. This has saved me from printing multiple attempts until I am happy with the outcome.
When it comes time to buy, both the Hobby Lobby and Michaels have a handy 40% coupon which is great and they usually have sales.