Meet the Artist – An Interview with Richard Smythe

Richard Smythe - The Artist's Print RoomIn our latest blog article featuring  our clients, we’ve spoken to freelance illustrator, Richard Smythe. We love Richard’s adorable drawings, in particular his dancing squirrels (which you can view on his website!)

When did you first discover your passion for illustration?

From a very young age I enjoyed to draw and create things. Eventually I realised art and design came more naturally to me than other subjects at school. I remember first being commended on a drawing I did at primary school. Probably the only time I was ever praised for school work, however!

Where do you get your inspiration from and what inspires you?

Inspiration for my illustration work comes from many sources. Usually just everyday life. Whenever I see something funny or an unusual circumstance.

How would you describe your style?

richardsmythe_dogandcatadventure
©Richard Smythe – Dog & Cat Adventures

Quite loose and naive, but representational enough for young children to understand and recognise.

What makes you different from other illustrators?

It’s hard to say but it’s probably more down to how I interpret the subject matter  in the author’s manuscript. Each illustrator comes at a project differently based on their own experiences I think.

What is the most challenging thing for you when it comes to illustrating picture books?

Meeting a deadline. I normally schedule my time on a project before I start, but other things beyond my control get in the way which inevitably delay the project. If the picture book requires me to draw something unusual or complicated then this requires extra study or experimenting, which all has to be done under the time constraints of the deadline.

What would be your career dream? What project would you love to be able to do/complete?

richardsmythe_watersong
©Richard Smythe – Water Song

I honestly don’t know. I really just love what I am fortunate enough to be doing now, which is illustrating picture books for kids. I suppose it would be nice to work on some of my own stories at some stage as I always have lots of ideas.

Did you have another career prior to this? If so, what was it?

I had a lot of other nondescript jobs to make ends meet before I was able to make a living as an illustrator. I worked with young adults with physical and mental disabilities for the longest time though.

Where would you like to see yourself in 10-15 years’ time?

mouse_cup_richardsmythe
©Richard Smythe – Mouse Cup

To carry on with what I’m doing and perhaps to have had a few more awards under my belt would be lovely.

What is your typical day like?

Very long. I get up around 6am and finish up about 6pm. I split my time between client work and personal development. As well as exercise and dog walking!

What do you love the most about your job and what do you hate the most?

richardsmythe_foxbytheriver
©Richard Smythe – Fox By The River

I think the most enjoyable part is creating something out of nothing. The opportunity to interpret an author’s story is a great privilege to me. Picture books (if they’re good ones) can be passed down from generation to generation of kids, being cherished and loved forever. That’s a great thing to be part of. I suppose the main thing I dislike is not being paid on time, which can happen unfortunately.

How do you relax after a long day?

I like to read and do exercise, and just hang about with my family. 


You can find out more about Richard’s work on his website or through his social media accounts; Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

Meet the Artist – An Interview with Nicky Thompson

We’ve decided to ask some of our clients a few questions, we love learning more about what and how artists are inspired. Here in our first blog post, we’ve spoken to artist Nicky Thompson.

Nicky Thompson - The Artist's Print Room
Nicky Thompson

When did you first discover your passion for art and painting/drawing/photography?

By drawing with my mum as a child, my early works were mostly bad copies of Roy of The Rovers comics.

Where do you get your inspiration from and what inspires you?

Nature and the work of artists and illustrators I greatly admire. I especially like Singer Sargent, Barbara Hepworth, Peter Firmin, Charles Tunnicliffe, Frank Henry Mason and Ken Paine.

How would you describe your style?

I have a few styles (being mostly a commercial illustrator)…I am probably best known for my 1930’s inspired travel posters, although I love portraits (pastel/charcoal) and botanical work.

What makes you different from other artists?

Virgin Visual, Nicky Thompson - The Artist's Print Room
Virgin Trains, Nicky Thompson

I tend to have a direct style. I think this comes from my background as a commercial illustrator/designer…I like images that work viscerally. I enjoy pushing the boundaries between fine art and commercial illustration. Illustration seems to be enjoying a renaissance at the moment, with people purchasing illustration as fine art print. It’s all very exciting.

What is the most challenging thing for you when it comes to your art?

Commercial work is difficult because you need to marry your intuition and instinct with the expectations of a client (and often the voices behind the client).

What would be your career dream? What project would you love to be able to do?

I think to leave behind a body of work that transcends the commercial requirements of a brief. I think of Charles Tunnicliffe and how those Ladybird Book illustrations did so much more than keep his client happy. They inspired awe in generations of children. That is a wonderful thing.

Did you have another career prior to this? If so, what was it?

I briefly flirted with the idea of being footballer! However, two left feet swiftly ended this dream…I started art school at 16 and have been doing it since.

Where would you like to see yourself in 10-15 years’ time?

Cheshire Life, Nicky Thompson - The Artist's Print Room
Cheshire Life, Nicky Thompson

Still drawing and creating pictures. It’s what makes me happy.

What is your typical day like?

I’m not sure I have a typical day! Tomorrow looks like this…coffee at home, drive to Chester University to deliver two-hour lecture. then a meeting afterwards with course leader. Drive to my studio, eat a sandwich in the car. Work in the afternoon (three projects need attention tomorrow). Finish work at 6pm, play racketball. Shower. Home, cook tea (maybe with a glass of wine). Read for an hour (The Magpie Murders). Watch a sit-com (Early Doors). Then sleep.

What do you love the most about your job and what do you hate the most?

I love drawing. My day feels exactly the same as doing art at school…but all day, which is brilliant. I never take for granted how lucky I am. I don’t hate anything, although admin and invoicing is never a daily highlight.

How do you relax after a long day?

Playing racketball, cooking dinner, glass of wine and reading.


To see more of Nicky’s work you can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Acrylic Mounted Prints

Here at The Artist’s Print Room, we’ve recently invested in a new laminating machine to bring you another alternative to your fine art prints, acrylic mounted prints.

Acrylic Mounted Prints

Acrylic mounted prints are an elegant, modern and minimalist way of displaying your fine art images as alternative to traditional framing techniques. In addition to this, acrylic mounts give a sophisticated dramatic and stunning impact.

Acrylic mounted prints are ideal for commercial environments – many businesses use this technique to create signage. Additionally, this form of mounting is ideal for displaying wall art in your home or exhibition images.

Your fine art print is printed as it would be when producing a traditional fine art giclée print. However, it is then bonded and sandwiched between a piece of acrylic and a backing material (select from either a 5mm white or a 10mm clear backing) this backing prevents any warping of your image occurring. The process of acrylic face mounting is complex and intricate which entails careful handling and a lot of precision. Here at The Artist’s Print Room you can trust us to get this right, each and every time. We take great care in all the products we produce which makes us unique when compared to mass production photographic labs.

The acrylic mounting gives your image a beautiful high gloss finish which is shatter proof in addition to being dust and damp proof. The final product is lightweight, however, despite this your final product is rigid and durable. Wall hanging fixings are attached to the sub-frame on the back, therefore your prints are ready to hang straight away.

You can order your prints through our easy to use step-by-step online ordering system in which you can select the substrate you would like your image printed on and also sizing options are included.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or further information that you may require.

Understanding Printing – Talks for art groups & photographic societies

Understanding Printing

The world of printing can be daunting, that’s why we offer talks to photographic groups and societies in addition to art clubs and groups. We can explain some of the processes behind fine art printing and workflow to give you an understanding of what goes on behind the scenes.

What does this entail?

Firstly, we will give you a brief understanding and an introduction to giclée printing including the history of the process. Additionally, we will cover the four most vital aspects of giclée printing; resolution, inks, papers and of course the printer. Furthermore, for art groups we will cover the topic of artwork reproduction photography.

Our presentation is a great opportunity to get ‘hands on’ with all the different papers and canvases that we offer. Samples of both our prints and substrates will be on display for you to see first hand.

We also cover aspects such as copyright law, the principles of Limited Edition prints, how to publicise your work on social media and also touching upon some laws and regulations you may need to be aware of.

Don’t just take our word for it though:

‘Fabulously interesting and very useful- been looking for someone that can print my work as I want it & such interesting info. So very useful to my art practice so thank you.’

‘Really useful session – full of all the things you wouldn’t think of or have time to ask!’ 

‘Very interesting technical background to colour and substrates. Interesting to me as a photographer.’

The evening will be an opportunity to bring along any of your work in addition to asking all those burning questions that you’ve never had answered before.

So, whether you’re a member or organiser of an art group or photographic club, please get in touch about our understanding printing talks and we can discuss your requirements and tailor each to the specific needs of your group.

All about Mark & The Artist’s Print Room

 

When using a small business and their services, sometimes it’s nice to get to know more about the business and who is behind it all! Therefore, we’ve given Mark a few questions so everyone can get to know him and The Artist’s Print Room a little better!


What inspired you to set up The Artist’s Print Room?

My wife, Helen, had been trying to get her work copied and printed. She had worked with local printers and national printers, each having there own problems in capturing and reproducing her work.
Helen, couldn’t get printers to reproduce the artwork consistently, even during a print run, there would be variations. On returning from work, I found a very large crate on the door step, Helen, appeared out of the front door and said “I’m going to print my own work” and so, the rest they say, is history!

What were you doing previous to The Artist’s Print Room?

My core is I’m a fault diagnostics engineer, and for 10 years, I’d set up and run my own successful engineering business. In 2016, I left engineering behind to study my passion which was photography. As a young man, photography was not a trade. My Father had told me to get a real job in engineering, and that’s the route I took. Life, had sprung me an opportunity, and I realised I could choose my own destiny. After a few years I got the opportunity to work with a great Chef, that changed my world, I was now working in food photography. With social media now playing a greater hand, work, was not as profitable as before, therefore Helen, buying a printer came at the right time for me.


Where would you like to see The Artist’s Print Room in the next 10-15 years?


I’d like to see steady growth, not just financially, but in the reach and breath and variety of types of work my clients produce. We already have hundreds of artists and photographers from across Europe and the UK. I really hope Brexit doesn’t hamper this growth.

 


What is your typical day like?

A typical day starts at 6am, my morning coffee, computers, printers turned on and then a quick nozzle check. Setting up the packing bench and packaging all the prints ready to take to the post office, ideally I like to get this done before 9.30am. At 10am, my first client arrives, this could be an introductory meeting, collection, or colour editing session – it varies day to day! I typically see 4/5 clients per day. Then at around 5pm I start printing the days orders, this sometimes takes me through to midnight to complete. On days where a large order has to be printed or artwork photography has to be done, I will not meet with clients. Telephone enquires take up a large proportion of my day, A typical enquiry can last for 20 or so minutes.


What do you think makes TAPR different from other fine art printers?


Communication, as many people know, I can talk for Britain! But I spend great deal of my time listening and understanding my clients wants and needs, then explaining in plain English, what we can do and what is achievable. Communication to me is the most important factor for success with The Artist’s Print Room.


What do you find most enjoyable with The Artist’s Print Room?


Meeting and chatting to my clients, Listening to their problems, it’s important to me to allow my clients to talk freely, to express their thoughts and concerns. The ability to listen and understand is a powerful thing, an art of communication that has gotten lost in this digital age of social media and email.


What’s the one thing you would like everyone to know and understand about printing?


Image file quality is king! Although we have great software that can repair or alter and enlarge poor files, the basis is its still a poor image file. Start with a high resolution ultra sharp capture and the prints will be ultra sharp and have perfect colour.

What motivates you?

Development! As an engineer, (yes, I still see myself as an engineer first, it’s a way of thinking), I was always moving forward, make it better, faster, stronger and more efficient. Constant learning, constant development, constant research into new practices, new papers, new techniques, better understanding of colour management. Development, what can be done, I do NOT believe in the impossible.


What has been the most satisfying moment for you and The Artist’s Print Room?

 

Getting the Hahnemühle Certified Studio in 2017, that took me over two years of persistence. For whatever reason there were constant changing goalposts and seeing other companies certified that didn’t stock Hahnemühle papers kept me focused on achieving this. As always, I never gave in, I just dug my heels in, and drove forward. I never believed for a second that I wouldn’t achieve it at some point.

How do you relax after a long day at work?


Murder! I have a love of murder mysteries, it started with Columbo as a child, now it’s CSI, Criminal Minds or Dexter. But don’t worry, to calm my murderous thoughts, I love the outdoors, walking, climbing, just being away from everything that is man made or technological, sitting at the top of Hellvelyn in the Lake District or Tryfan in Snowdonia, on a snow capped morning, that’s where I’m at my absolute happiest.


Finally, if you had a magic wand, what three things would you like to change about the industry?


1. I would love a clear definition for Limited Editions to be in Law, nearly everybody I speak to in the industry gets this wrong.
2. Ban the sale of consumer printers, I get hundreds of calls from people who buy these machines, and then want advice from me on how to get their prints correct.
3. Ban the sale of cheap art at places like Ikea, Dunelm, B&Q, this cheap art stops professional artists and photographers from being able to sell their work at good prices that represent the work and time that goes into them.


Thank you to Mark for answering all the questions! Is there anything though that you would like to know about Mark or The Artist’s Print Room? Why not send your questions to us via Facebook!

Artwork Reproduction Photography

Artwork reproduction – turning your original art into stunning, true giclée prints!

There are only so many pieces of original art that you can create in one lifetime. With artwork reproduction you can have one piece created as many times as you like sharing your work near and far thus making your artwork ideal for resale. All artworks can be reproduced, including; watercolour, pastel, oil, illustration or acrylic. Even 3D sculptures can be captured and produced as a fine art giclée print.

Artwork Reproduction Services

When it comes to reproducing your original artwork the first and most vital step in the process is the image capture. Artwork reproduction photography is a specialist process which requires outstanding accuracy and a thorough understanding of colour workflows. So, if you are looking to reproduce your original artwork to sell we offer a professional artwork reproduction photography service with an exceptional reputation for attention to detail. Using our vast experience, understanding and specialist equipment, we can capture the subtle hues and fine details in your original artwork. This is extremely important as any fine details missed in this process will subsequently be missing from your final fine art giclée print. We have experience in handling delicate artworks, so you can be assured your original will always be in safe hands with us.

Soft Proofing Set-Up – The Artist’s Print Room

With our custom-built artwork reproduction photography set up the final file of each piece of artwork we photograph is a massive two-times the size of the original piece. With the incredibly large file size it ensures that there is an incredible high-colour depth, all minute details included, full tonal range and perfect accuracy. For example, a typical 16” x 12” original piece will produce an image file of 160mp and an immense 900mb (16bit) at 300ppi. Consequently, this will then produce a final giclée print of 36” x 24” at 300dpi without any additional enlargement or distortion.

View our artwork reproduction photography page for further information and to start your order.

 

Paper in focus – Gloss Fine Art Papers

So, here we will run through the gloss fine art papers we offer in addition to the textured and smooth fine art papers previously looked at.

Gloss Fine Art Papers

The most important thing to be aware of here when considering a gloss fine art paper is that when we talk about gloss, this tends to be more of a subtle lustre or satin finish. Not the high gloss on your standard photographic prints that you get produced. These finishes are much more subtle and arguably more exquisitely beautiful.

Canson® Infinity Platine Fibre Rag
Canson Platine Rag - The Artist's Print Room
©Canson Infinity Platine Fibre Rag

The Canson® Infinity Platine Fibre Rag is a combination of the combination of the premium 100% cotton Platinum paper that Canson has supplied for many years to the original Platinum and Platine photographic market, with the latest microporous coating. The paper contains no optical brighteners, thus not affecting the longevity of the print. An excellent choice of paper for both black and white or colour images. A 310gsm which overall provides a stunning satin finish to your image.

 

Hahnemühle PhotoRag Satin
Photo Rag Satin - The Artist's Print Room
©Hahnemühle Photo Rag Satin

As above, this paper from but from Hahnemühle is a 310gsm,  and has a satin finish. A smooth surface and 100% cotton rag, the paper has a lovely natural white tone. A unique paper in that when you image is printed on this paper, the unprinted areas remain matt, however, the printed areas have a slight sheen. Your image almost shimmers in the light.

Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl
FineArt Pearl - The Artist's Print Room
©Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl

The Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl is a 285gsm paper and provides your prints with a sensational pearl finish. This paper isn’t cotton rag like others previously mentioned, it’s a 100% a-cellulose paper (which is wood pulp) and has a bright white tone. Due to this bright white, prints will have impressive colour contrasts and the black in your images will have an incredible depth.

Hahnemühle PhotoRag Baryta
Photo Rag Baryta - The Artist's Print Room
©Hahnemühle Photo Rag Baryta

Photo Rag Baryta is a 315gsm, 100% cotton paper and the ‘glossiest’ paper we offer. Using barium sulphate in the inkjet coating, ensuring the typical gloss that makes this paper a genuine replacement for traditional Baryta papers from analogue labs. The coating on this paper provides a water resistance and the tone of the base paper lends well to black and white prints.

 

 

 


Remember, if you would like any further guidance on any of the papers we offer, you can book a free introductory meeting. We will be able to provide samples of each of our papers for you to take a closer look at. The offer of tea or coffee is still there too!

 

 

 

Paper in focus – Textured Fine Art Papers

With so many paper options to choose from, it can always be a difficult decision of which to go for. Here we are going to look at and give you a run down of the textured fine art papers we offer.

Textured Fine Art Papers

When paper is produced in the paper mill, textured fine art papers are created with a much more coarse felt, this then produces the texture on the finished product. The surface of these papers can then highlight any texture within your image, whether that be photography or an art reproduction. These papers tend to more closely represent traditional watercolour papers with a pleasant feel adding more tactile qualities to your work.

Hahnemühle Museum Etching
Museum Etching - The Artist's Print Room
©Hahnemühle Museum Etching

This paper is mould-made and 100% cotton with a natural white colour. The etching paper features a distinct textured surface which gives a special touch, feeling like a genuine artists paper. A heavy 350gsm fine art paper which meets the highest industry standards and producing excellent colour sharpness. Due to it’s very beautiful texture, it is similar to traditional etching papers and is a great option when reproducing these prints.

Hahnemühle William Turner
©Hahnemühle William Turner
©Hahnemühle William Turner

The William Turner paper from Hahnemühle is heavily textured albeit a much finer texture when compared to the Museum Etching paper.  A 310gm mould-made paper, again similar to the Museum Etching as it is 100% cotton. The William Turner has a natural white colour and is ideal for reproductions of traditional artworks and expressive photography reproductions. The paper also offers a water resistant coating.

Canson Infinity Arches Aquarelle Rag
©Canson Infinity Aquarelle Rag

This 310gsm textured paper from Canson contains no optical brighteners. Again a mould-made paper which is 100% cotton and a natural white colour. A traditional watercolour paper with a unique surface texture and an inkjet coating. Canson Infinity Aquarelle Rag gives a unique and unrivalled character to the fine art reproduction of traditional artwork and photographs.

St Cuthberts Mill Somerset Velvet Enhanced White
somerset-velvet-surface - The Artist's Print Room
©Somerset Velvet Enhanced

Once again, a 100% cotton paper, however, this time from the St Cuthberts paper mill. A 330gsm paper with a velvet, textured surface. The texture of this paper will lift images, giving them a beautifully elegant fine art feel and ideal for both artists and photographers alike.

 

 


If you would like further guidance on any of the papers we offer, you can book a free introductory meeting. We will be able to provide samples of each of our papers for you to take a closer look at. We will even supply the tea and coffee!

 

WIN your work printed!

Competition

To celebrate our recent Canson Infinity Certified Laboratory status we are running a competition for you to win your work printed on the Canson Rag Photographique paper! Your print can be any size up to A1 and we will deliver free of charge to any address within the mainland UK.

Entry to this competition is simple, head on over to our Facebook page and like the competition post and also share this with all your friends! Deadline for entry is 8pm on the 15th July 2018. We will then draw the winner from a lucky dip of all entrants.  Good luck!

Canson Rag Photographique

The Canson Rag Photographique is a 100% cotton museum grade white Fine Art and photo paper, with an exceptional smooth white tone which has been achieved during manufacturing by introducing natural minerals to the process. The stunning Rag Photographique offers a unique extra smooth surface with a sensual feel. It also provides one of the highest achievable Dmax currently available on the market and contains no optical brighteners, making it ideal for fine art photography as well as fine art printmaking.

Read our social media Competition terms and conditions

ArtSure from The Fine Art Trade Guild

A few weeks ago we shared with you the exciting news that we are now a Canson Infinity Certified Print Laboratory in addition to a Hahnemühle FineArt Certified Studio and an Epson Digigraphie Studio. However, in addition to these outstanding accreditations we are also a member of the Fine Art Trade Guild ArtSure scheme, but what does this mean?

ArtSure from Fine Art Trade Guild

Overall the ArtSure scheme differs from the print studio schemes mentioned above, however, it does work with great synergy alongside these.

The ArtSure scheme is designed to give you piece of mind even before the printing has even begun with quality papers and inks. Sadly, poor quality prints are easily produced, to the untrained eye these can be difficult to distinguish between when compared to genuine fine art prints. Therefore, the scheme approves papers and inks to add an additional level of assurance and to ensure only the highest quality products are producing the highest quality prints both for photography and art reproductions. Papers from different paper mills are tested externally for archivability. For example, pH levels of papers that are approved by the scheme are required to be between 7 and 9 for optimum longevity, additionally the paper has to be a minimum of 250gsm. For inks to be approved as part of the ArtSure scheme, they are required to score at least a six on the Blue Wool scale or an equivalent certification. Additionally, there is also a list of approved printers, of which The Artist’s Print Room Epson Sure Color SC-P9000 is listed. You can find a full list of ArtSure approved materials and equipment here. Only prints produced according to the standards set by ArtSure and The Fine Art Trade Guild can use the ArtSure logo, whether this be on the corresponding certificate of authenticity or within the border of the print itself.

The Artist’s Print Room can offer assurance, security and provenance during each and every stage. The Artist’s Print Room is the only studio in the UK to have all these outstanding achievements of both certified laboratories and ArtSure membership.