Should Artists Put Their Art on Greeting Cards? | Collective Wisdom

I recently received this question from a RedDotBlog reader:

I have been earning a living solely from my art for more than 25 years and much of my income before that was from my art. I own an art gallery, the success of which depends mainly on the paintings and prints sold. For many years, people have asked me to put my paintings on gift cards. That might seem like a good idea on the surface (good advertising, spreading the messages the paintings were created to spread), but the followup to that question is often “I want to frame them.”Production costs of quality cards isn’t inexpensive, packaging and signage must be added to that, and labor is intense. You’d need a marketing rep for cards to make card sales pay anything to make it worth your while. Then take into account that the sales of cards, which might earn you a dollar each if you do them yourself, replaces the sales of prints. After the recession hit, some people were buying canvas bookmarks I made from some of my paintings to sells “stocking stuffers”, but they wound up being main gifts. They framed bookmarks. This happened at my biggest studio event of the year, which normally brought in a substantial amount of money, enough to get through the long winter off-season at the beach. That year we brought in about 20% of my lowest year, about 10% of my highest. The recession had a lot to do with that, but the less is better for gifts mentality seems to remain.

Taking all this into consideration, do you have an opinion about offering cards of artwork? In my case, all of my prints are gicle’es and I care about the quality of color reproduction to the extent that I do the gicle’es myself. Cards would probably misrepresent the work in addition to replacing print sales. Someone very nice approached me for a card of one of my most important works today and I had to turn her down. I could see she wasn’t pleased, so I’ve been going around in circles thinking about this again.

Should artists put their paintings’ images on gift cards?

Ellen

My Response

It sounds to me like you already have a pretty strong sense that you would be better off not creating the cards. I can’t make an argument that is strong enough to counter any of the points you’ve made.

I know that many artists are creating these kinds of cards and either selling them or using them for promotional purposes, but I’m not sure that those efforts are having a strong impact on their total sales.

I personally don’t have strong opinions one way or the other – I don’t feel that creating cards is either going to destroy your career or make you fabulously wealthy. With that said, I look at cards as a good potential way to increase the visibility of your work and a potential way to convert non-buyers into buyers.

On the Pro Side of the Question

I like the idea of using these cards for thank you notes and to send out updates of newly available work. If you are going to be using them to this end, it makes sense to think about packaging them for sale as well.

If you are in an area that has a heavy volume of traffic but a large percentage of that traffic doesn’t buy either originals or prints, it may be that having a lower priced item like a pack of cards could help turn non-buyers into buyers. While the sale of one pack of cards probably isn’t going to have much impact on your bottom line, if you can convert a decent percentage of walk-ins who like your work but wouldn’t buy an original or reproduction to buy cards, it can have an impact over the course of a year.

On the Con Side

You are right to be concerned that you might have some buyers who would have bought a giclee who end up buying cards instead, but you might also have some who buy cards who eventually move upmarket and buy reproductions or originals. Someone who is going to frame a card probably isn’t your best target audience for more expensive work anyway.

You are also right that the quality and color isn’t going to be perfect. You certainly couldn’t expect the same quality in terms of printing. I think that’s okay for cards though. As long as the quality of the card is good and the imagery looks good, the fidelity to the original isn’t as critical.

There is certainly also time and energy that will be put into creating the cards, and the cards probably aren’t going to generate enough revenue to make them wildly profitable.

What do you Think?

Do you reproduce your work on cards or other promotional/gift items? Why or why not? If you do, has it been good for your business? Can you add to my list of pros and cons? Share your thoughts, experiences and insights in the comments below.

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71 Comments

  1. I have notecards for sale. I also hand out a notecard and envelope whenever I go to a little pop up. Since I am new to all this, I don’t have data on how much it helps. But, I have run into people who have received a notecard from me and are following me to events and my open studio. I have been in business selling a line of Christmas cards for 28 years and we have always added something to the packaged order…T-shirt, calendar, cookies, and it produces a very loyal following. I am hoping this will help in my painting career.

  2. I have not found a quality printing company that will do small batches of cards, I don’t want to have massive amounts of inventory, so I’m in a quandary. I have had people say they are going to frame one of my cards, like i should be flattered that they thought my work was frame worthy, even as small as a card.😑
    I’m also on a POD site and often have a sale of one card , which I am then left to wonder are they framing it or reprinting it?

  3. My reaction to both cards and prints has to do with an integral part of the art itself. That is the conceived size and scale of how the artist conceived the original work. Usually, the print and of course the card is a severely reduced size. I suspect from conversations I’ve had that for most people, artists and consumers alike, this is a non issue- the image being prime. But it does matter in the quality of how the work is created.
    My second reaction is on the basis of a request from a friend. HE had seen a couple of my early spiral designs and thought they might form a note card package. I even worked out a couple of designs to see what they might look like. What I did was to create new original designs in the notecard format – proportions and size.
    I think for artists who are concerned about how their work is seen and understood, this might be a way forward.
    On occasions where i have bought the notecard prints, that initial excitement has waned rapidly.

  4. I make cards and sell a lot of them. My primary work is assemblage but I also love collage and photography. My cards are usually collages with my own photo images so they are quite different than my main body of work. I do have regulars who will buy a year supply of the cards. As far as profit I sell them for about $5 each so not huge, but the joy I get from making them far outweighs that. It gives me a break from my assemblage which takes about a year for each series.

    1. Valerie, I like your answer. I just started offering greeting cards at art fairs. $5 ea, so not a big money maker. I print them myself, so my cost is in the ink, card stock paper, and envelopes. I have a big supply, so my costs are pretty low at this point. My goal is to just get a discussion started and the cash register ‘ringing’. So far, the images on the cards are different from my larger sized work. Due to their small size, the artwork on them is small works, i.e. small birds and flowers, digitally manipulated in my style. Just something fun and get the $$$ flowing.

      1. I’ve made and sold cards for years off and on, depending on time and budget. Not a big moneymaker, but it’s fun to do and fans on a low budget definitely appreciate and enjoy them. I usually use different images than my painted or digital art – or use my own photographs. I print them myself and try out different images over time. It’s a fun project to do them as a change of pace. They’re often an eye-catcher or conversation starter at a show.

        1. I work as an artist assistant and at a fine art printer that makes cards (which we get a lot of orders). Part of my job is coming up with ways for our artists and photographers to sell those. If it works for them it only benefits us to help them be successful. Most artists say that price point that is smaller than their giclee prints is getting money from people who never were going to buy in the first place but it is getting paid on promotional material. Even on a small sale get their email to cultivate a future collector who when financially in a better place may be an up sell. Now you could sell in a small set at the price of of your smallest print.

  5. I have made cards for years. An inexpensive way to get my art out there. I use my cards to sell for others not a money maker. But it could by advertising your name and where to find your originals. Plus I send Christmas Cards. Not necessarily a Christmas Theme. But something my friends can feel free to frame them if they want. I like to give a little gift. All my cards are blank. So I hand write my sentiments. This is very personal to each person. On the back is the name of the painting, what medium and my website.
    I am thinking of doing cards that are cropped but in reality the cards do not look as good as the original. I have thought about tweeting the colors on my computer. As long as it is still good. But original is always better. I also like to make note cards to go with my animal portraits. I add the cost in there. The client loves this!!! I feel you need to give to receive. Give more than the client expects. Word of mouth is the best advertiser.

    1. I make 4” x 5” cards of my work. I sell them probably too inexpensively, 2 different designs for $5.00 in a crystal clear bag with 2 envelopes and tied up with a curly ribbon. I sometimes sell enough to cover my gallery membership (coop gallery @ $20.00 per month plus parking). But I sure wouldn’t want to depend on that for my income. (I have a pension from a full time teaching career) I love doing my art and I’m totally free to do what I want. I make some income through teaching children how to draw, which is very rewarding in itself.

  6. Currently I am working on a series of paintings with the goal of taking the batch around to find a dealer who will work with me. I am a retired graphic designer. For years I have used scraps of my art on my business cards (laser-printed at copy shops) and I have made my own greeting cards. Because I paint, I don’t often buy the paintings of others. But I have purchased an avalanche of the printed cards of other artists over the years and will continue to do so. My shelves groan with the weight of art books I have collected. It seems to me that the market for printed cards and small hand-painted items and books of reproductions is not the same market as that of buyers of paintings. My friends who collect art have small libraries of art books and printed cards that pertain to their areas of interest. Then there are the people who buy paintings to match the couch…

  7. I am a photographer so it is easy to print my photos in a smaller size and sell them as cards. I attach 4 x 6 glossy versions of the photos to card stock with double sided photo album stickers. I sign each card in ink in the lower right corner and had a self inking stamp made with my logo and contact info to stamp on the back ala Hallmark cards. I am represented by a gallery with a gift shop and make several hundred dollars a month on card sales. The cards are sold individually in plastic sleeves or in a plastic box of 4 cards. I also sell framed prints and matted, unframed prints. There seems to be a much larger market for cards than framed wall prints for photos. I have tried framing 4 x 6 photos and selling those with limited success. I think in this market, people are interested in smaller items. I have many repeat customers and don’t think it cuts into sales of my larger work. I have a wide variety of subject matters, from local landmarks to floral images to landscapes to seasonal photos.

  8. I dont think anyone should plan on becoming rich and famous from putting your work on cards but I do agree the person who will frame your card may upgrade to a larger reproduction. If not chances are you haven’t lost a large sale but gained a small one, Also its a form of advertisement that you the artist are getting payed for rather than paying out. In doing shows I have found cards are a quick inexpensive sale, each card sold takes my name and web sight address with it and who knows who may receive it or what the outcome may be.

  9. I make cards with images of my work for family Holiday cards (our own) and also send these to patrons who have purchased my work in years past. Each year’s card features a painting I’ve done in the current year so folks can see what I’m doing now. I doubt these get turned into framed prints because in designing the cards, I include some printed statement like “Season’s Greetings” over a portion of the image. I have done the same with my “logo” image which is on my business cards and I’ve made Thank You notes out of them with the words “Thank You” on the front. These I have packaged up for individual sale at one of my galleries and I’ve sold a few (usually just pre and post holiday). The holiday cards are not marketed simply because I normally have our family names with a message pre-printed on the inside.

  10. I think it really depends on how it is handled. I have a giclee printing business and sometimes artist clients ask me to run off some 5×7’s as cards they can use in a number of ways, as promotion, as gifts, etc. I also make oversize 4″x5″ business cards for myself with one of my works printed on it with contact info. These are free and frequently get grabbed up by visitors to my studio. They are really too small to be framed but big enough to remind someone of the works they saw in their visit.

    I think as a source of income there are better ways to earn a living than on sales of cards but I do think that they can be useful for promotion.

  11. Great subject, which I’ve struggled with myself. Should I or shouldn’t I. I’ve been asked by a lot of people why I don’t make postcards or gift cards of my work. When I’ve talked to other artists they said there just isn’t enough money in it for the trouble and then they are left with an unsold inventory of cards. I tried something different. I took a couple of my paintings and had 3×5 photo magnets made of them, just to see what kind of response I would get. I only had 25 of each made. They sold out in two weeks. Some people would buy 3-4 at a time to send as gifts. I made $5 off of each one, but still even after they sold out, I was left wondering if I could have made a sale on an original painting if I didn’t have them. I know it’s good to have your artwork in people’s homes so their friends can see your work and hopefully you gain another customer, but I can’t say that I got any business from those who purchased the magnets. I’ve never printed any more, but I started making smaller, more affordable paintings. I’ve been able to sell those to people who have never purchased before but admired my work. I still like the idea of selling a smaller painting vs a card or a magnet. I think most people that ask you for cards of your work, just don’t want to spend the money on original art work, but if there aren’t any other choices, will they eventually? Who knows.

  12. I just started selling cards. I’ve always done only original oil paintings, and went back and forth about having prints made. The worry was that I’d be competing with myself, and people who may have bought an original would just take the cheaper option and get a print, but I knew there were those who just wanted a little something to take with them. So I decided to go for cards, and so far they have worked well!

  13. I have seen framers make a whole lot more money framing art cards than the artist made from the sale of a card. Now, I only do cards for really special clients because of that.

  14. I personally only make cards for thank you, promotional, or announcements of shows which I don’t do anymore due to cost and evolution of the digital marketing era.

    I have struggled with this tho. Wanting to make greeting cards as I’ve been painting vs. scuttling. I don’t see much profit as I’ve done the research. And a lot of outgoing expenses. I prefer to sell originals. I collect originals and nothing’s beats it. Even giclees.

  15. Very timely. I just received postcards I had made of two major paintings of mine from last year. First time I’ve done this. They are high-quality, the color is right on, and I will have them for sale in my studio gallery. I also plan to start making giclee prints. I don’t see the postcards as a money-maker, although I got them at a good price and every dollar in my pocket these days is a plus. I see them as little ambassadors for my studio, going out into the world with my contact information on them. They are business cards that might get pinned to the wall or stood up on a bookcase for awhile. As an artist I sometimes really want to bring home a postcard from a museum, a reminder of a painting that spoke to me that day. I’m happy to offer that to my studio visitors. Note cards seem to me to be a much bigger investment, and not worth the effort in terms of potential sales. Also, I am not prolific, and my subjects change. If I had more of a brand, I would consider note cards. For now, I won’t be making those, but I will make other postcards. Jason, do you sell artist’s note cards and postcards in your galleries? Do you produce color announcements for your openings?

  16. Coming from South Africa, things may be very different. I paint each card each an original. Normally watercolour.

    I would never ever consider making prints of my work, they would not sell here. I find that there is quite a good market for African themed cards. Women carrying pots of water etc. I can paint cards while exhibiting. I can paints cards when on holiday or when I have a bit of a block. I sell them cheaply R25 each at R15 to the $ . I package them neatly including an envelope and polycarb packet.

    Can’t say I grow rich, but when things are very quiet as they are now, the card sales pay my petrol. I also like to give 3 in a pack tied up with ribbon as gifts, or to folk who have purchased a painting. Yes, I like painting cards.

    1. Good for you, Liz. I have done the same (minus the ribbon) and enjoy giving and selling single art work 5X7 cards all originals. I would not spend the money and labor printing and have extra inventory. If all paintings, large and small, are original then what difference is it if people want to frame the work?

  17. Funny that this popped up today. I just ordered 4×5 cards this week in hopes of bringing in traffic that hasn’t stopped in before but just walked by. I ordered 30 each of 6 designs and I will make up mixed boxes of some of them and sell the others separate. I will see if it makes a difference. Enjoyed all of your comments on the subject.

  18. Perhaps you could consider it from the point of view of what TYPE of art do you produce? Some lends itself very well to reproduction and some doesn’t. Like another comment above, sometimes you lose the impact of the original when reducing it to fit on a card.

    On the other hand, some people, Mary Engelbreit comes to mind, have made a serious fortune reproducing their charming images in almost every type of product you can think of. Some will say that is simply because that artwork is the right ‘type’ for reproduction, that it’s decorative and not ‘real’ art. But then you’re back to a whole other conversation about what is art, decorative vs fine, lol.

    I haven’t done any reproductions of my work, but I have thought about it. I’m just never sure if it’s worth the cost.

    1. You mention that some folks think that “decorative” art is not “real” art.

      Keep in mind that Michelangelo painted Bible stories on walls and ceilings as requested by the Pope – I think most people would agree that it’s both decorative and real or “fine” art.

      The quality of art is independent of whether it was created for commercial purposes, for a gallery, or just for the pure joy of it.

  19. I’m a fine art oil painter and would never put those images on cards. However, I do colored pencil work commercially and wholesale them to a couple wineries. The two mediums differentiate the work.

  20. I sell prints and cards of my work thru Fine Art America and I also set up weekly at a market where 75% of my sales are from cards and about 25% are from prints. At larger shows when I do bring originals I still find that 50% of my sales are from cards (many of paintings where the originals have already been sold).
    I have a painting I did of Wrigley Field and when the Cubs won the World series two years ago I sold about 250 cards @$5 and 50 prints @$25 and I still have the original ($395). I suppose it all depends on what kind of market you live in and how you merchandise.

  21. I have a friend who sold a card and later saw that image enlarged and hanging framed in the buyers home. She was doubly hurt by this sale. Lost the sale of a print and the betrayal of the person who enlarged it. In your case, no more cards.

  22. I actually started a notecard business 30 years ago. I did it instead of artwork because I felt that there is only so much room on one’s walls for artwork. I thought that consumable artwork made sense. I think where I differ from the initial premise is that I designed the artwork AS a card, rather than a small version of a piece of artwork.

    I am still emotionally attached to my notecard business but I will mention the downsides. First of all, you need to print an enormous number of cards in order to make the product affordable. Quality of the cardstock as well as the artwork and the printing process were incredibly important…not to mention the boxes and sundry other things that go into it (envelopes, etc).

    Now…as I’m moving solidly into doing artwork and expecting a reasonable value for my artwork… my question is …how can you charge $150 (extraordinarily low end) for a piece of artwork if you’re charging $5 (very high end) for a reasonably good quality print? And I have found $14/box of 8 cards to be high compared to the general market.

    Additionally, people have absolutely no concept of how the printing process works and will never understand why you can’t just print off a handful of cards for them for a buck apiece.

    I still believe in my cards and my followers absolutely love my cards…but I’m not a salesperson and I’ve never figured out how to make the business viable. Volume is key. I have sold wholesale to local shops but a shop order ranged $50-$100…and my personal sales to customers are in the same range… so I’m just selling double the product for the same $$$. I have sold fairly consistently at local fairs… but not enough to make the event worthwhile.

    Tax wise you also have an issue of inventory to consider.

  23. I used to print a lot of note cards before giclees became the great thing that they are. But, I did the notes in black and white (much less expensive to produce at the time), and I created specific graphite drawings for that purpose only, and sold the original drawings with no other reproduction except the notes. Yes, it took a lot of dedicated time to count out the cards and envelopes, and then shrink wrap them, but they were often the difference between a “bust” show and a show that paid for itself and then some. I called them my bread-and-butter items, and had 21 different patterns. Today, I don’t think I would do that again, even in color on my own computer, and certainly not on my originals, especially ones with prints, for the same reasons the writer outlined in her question. But here’s another very important reason: hardly anyone writes notes anymore! Emails, text messages, etc., have taken the place of note cards for all but the very dedicated few.

  24. I have been creating greeting cards from my paintings for a few years, and have found it to be positive. On several occasions, I gave cards to people who were taken with the images and inquired if the original was still available, and bought several paintings. I sometimes donate packs of cards to charitable functions which has attracted more patrons. And yes, I also sell cards when I enter small shows and fairs. All in all, it has been well worth the trouble and expense of producing the cards.

  25. I like to use single or set of 3 greeting cards with envelopes, in cellophane wrap, as
    thank you gifts for buyers of my originals. I may send one card (one image), or
    perhaps 2-3 postcards, depending upon the situation, but always with a thank you
    for “their interest in my work” and which includes my contact info. I use them also
    to announce upcoming exhibitions I’m in and that does often draw people the show.
    I guess it’s the old thing, ‘different strokes for different folks’ and may work better in
    some cases than in others. Just be aware and watch the outcomes so you know
    what and when to alter course if necessary. Good luck to all of us !!

  26. I believe that art cards sell well to those who just like to enjoy touring galleries but never buy a painting or print. I have found an excellent printer who will print 10-15 cards for me at 1.50 each and put them in clear seal individual bags for that price. Their color quality is excellent and they also print my gicles on high quality paper. I sell my cards for $5 each and offer five for $20 and they sell well. During the last open studio tour I sold over $200 worth of cards, a mounted print and two originals. It is worth my time and many people will spend five dollars for a card but won’t buy anything else. Needless to say I do not make prints of all my paintings, just a select number and I keep the rotating rack stocked with 16 different cards.

  27. As a small coop gallery in a rural area (near Albuquerque), we have the best selection of “art cards” around. Some folks buy hand fulls, others come for an event, love the gallery but don’t have much expendable income and want to buy “something”. A few buy a piece of art for a gift and a card to go along with it. We sell a bunch. No one gets rich off them, but they are popular and seem to please our customers.

  28. I make cards from some of my paintings, but not all. I do it for promotion. In the back of my cards I put the regular stuff, my name, the paintings name, the medium, my web site and a statement that says, (original 30×40 is for sale until sold.) or what ever size the original is. I figure when they go to my web site they will see some paintings that they can’t get in a card and hopefully they will buy one.

  29. One question first, are we talking about reloadable gift cards? If so, I don’t know if I would. Granted if they offered a few different choices and you or us as the artist would get a piece of that. But….the few cards a I do have. I don’t look at them as works of art either. I wouldn’t mind one of my own just to have. If I did, they wouldn’t be a complete image. Just a part of it. So if they want that piece, it’s either buy the original or a print.

  30. Now if it’s Greeting cards, oh yeah! Why not? For years I’ve been creating my own greeting cards. The poem, the artwork, the card stock. Everything. People love them. I make nothing from them, except for the joy of doing them and the response I get. Also being a musician, I look at it like when we play benefits. To get to the bigger picture (pun intended lol), occasionally you have to play for free.

  31. I sell 4.25” x 5.5” cards of all of my work – new and old. I create them myself and have them printed from a PDF (and cut and scored) at a local printer with no minimum quantity required. I sell them for $4 each or 3/$10. My costs are well under a dollar including envelopes and bags. I am thrilled when someone buys my card even if they’re going to frame it. It is a compliment to me. They are obviously not in the market for a large print or can’t afford it or don’t have available wall space. I also use the cards for personal contact with patrons and when someone is clearly interested in a print, I will give them a matching card to help them remember it. I give away slices of photographs of my work is bookmarks, as well, and they fly off the table. They all have a sticker on the back with my contact information. And one bonus… When someone sends one of my greeting cards, they can refer to my name and website on the back. I like my work being accessible even if it’s just card. We need to spread art- people need to see it.

  32. I own an art gallery & several of the artists make cards & some don’t. Most that do agree that they don’t make much of a profit but it is bread & butter in the lean times & it also helps to get their names out there. I know if I love the art on a card, I always check the back for the artist’s name & often look up the artist to see more of their work. People will always want to frame or copy, no matter what you do. Art is a luxury for many & I remember many times in my life that was true for me & if it wasn’t for the “refrigerator art” in my life I wouldn’t have had any art at all.

    A woman just came into my gallery last week & came up to the counter with tears in her eyes. She told me she was crying because she saw a piece in the gallery that she had purchased a card of. It was a beautiful image of aspen trees by a local artist that was entitled “Letting Go”. She was a soldier in Iraq & told me that she had purchased that card before she went overseas, kept it close to her & that it had meant the world to her when times were tough. We all need the big sales to survive, but I think those smaller sales come back to all of us in a big way

  33. My work is in two local galleries. One of them is in a high traffic tourist area and we get a lot of non-purchasing foot traffic. I started having cards printed with images of some of my paintings. They sold but not In any great number and most of the profit went to the printer. I have since started hand painting cards in time periods when I would not usually be in my studio. I have charged $10 – $20 for these without any problem and most of the profit is mine. The hourly rate is nothing to brag about; however, they are created in time slots were I wouldn’t usually be earning.

  34. I have agonized over the issue of whether I should make prints of my paintings or not.
    I have solved that issue by having my paintings as the original with no prints made from it. That’s way, anybody that buys my paintings will know that no one else is going to have a copy of it. ( though, I have had some printed on my business cards for obvious reasons.)
    I paint or draw specifically with printing in mind. Those originals are not for sale. These are used to print cards and on fabric for things like tote bags, shower curtains…

    This way people that bought my original paintings know it’s the only one & the people that bought something printed will know that there will be others out there like it. So win-win for everybody because nobody’s gonna get upset.

  35. I have a few cards of my work- it is nice to use as a thank you card (that I always include when I ship a painting out) or to give away at events- especially to kids who are very interested in my art or art in general. They would never sell enough to make a living, but are nice to enhance a connection with people. My husband thinks I give too many away, but i’ve found that people will come back to me later and buy my original pieces if they have a strong sense of a personal connection with me.

  36. PoD. I don’t want to invest in cards, myself so I am using some small pen and ink over watercolor works as greeting card art in the Print on Demand market. I have been using a company that vets every card for both art and marketability. I’ve only just started and I haven’t quite got the marketability aspect down yet, but I can see the possibility of an additional stream of income at some point. Note that I have not used my canvas paintings for these.

  37. You know, not everyone has wall space for each new print they like. Nor does everyone have the money to buy larger ticket art. I’m out of wall space for my own art, let alone anyone else’s. However, people still do send cards, and I feel that it’s a good way to get your art seen by the masses. I recently had some art made into notecards, and I have an artist friend who makes a good percentage of his non commissioned art into notecards. He has fabulous sales with those cards.

  38. I don’t sell cards but I do use one of my paintings every year on holiday cards that I send out to my friends. It is a mellow way of reminding people that I paint. Last year I sold a couple of prints to a neighbor who discovered that I paint when she received my card. She called me to inquire about the painting and ended up going to my website to purchase the prints.

  39. I sell from Dailypaintworks. I include a 4 pack of the cards when I ship a painting. I have printed a lot f them through Vistaprint so cost is low. It is just a perk that I think adds value. I have also donated them to A Women’s organization for a luncheon..

  40. I wrote, illustrated, designed , and self-published am IPPY award-winning field guide to the lighthouses of Texas. The original illustrations were drawing in pencil or pen and ink. I started making blank note card sets of the six remaining lighthouses in Texas to sell along with the book. This effort is not a huge money maker but it does provide my studio guest with the opportunity to take home my book with a beautiful set of cards. I like to give buyers of my other artwork a set of cards as a gift to bring them back into my studio.

  41. I’ve been making and selling cards since 1997, when I did my “Year in Bloom” project – 365 paintings of flowers. I actually made my cards larger so people could frame them in a standard 5×7 frame, after I went in houses and saw cards proudly framed in a frame that showed the edges because they did not fit. I use a color copy four up and hand trim and hand glue, so they are a mini print. It costs around a dollar each and they sell from $2.50 wholesale to $5.00 retail. It takes me about a week twice a year to assess, copy, trim, and glue to manage my outlets. No, I do not make a lot of $$ but I do make some and it helps. They go into local gift shops and I sell some directly. I have made some in collections of 6 related images but they are being phased out, because the labor is more intense and not worth it any more to me. If anything, it feels like a gift to my community – mostly people who are downsizing and/or can’t afford art. And, yes, there is that info on the back with name and website.So it is advertising too. And my cards bring a lot of joy. You can see my card collections on my old website; the new one is under construction. I haven’t yet decided if the cards will be on it. http://lynneschulte.com/giclee-prints/

  42. Eric Rhoads was talking about good marketing practices in art on one of his podcasts. He suggested sending notecards of the painting that was purchased to the person who purchased it. It may bring them back as a collector. I have done that as a nice gesture along with a thank you note.

  43. I heard somewhere years ago that it’s wise to NOT reproduce your artwork unless/until the originals are selling. That being said, I can’t tell you how many times people have asked or recommended I do prints. Years ago I was drawing with color pencils until I found oil painting to be my stronger suit. I do have a line of drawings that I did specifically for reproduction, florals that I made into cards and hoped to see them on calendars, mugs, etc. someday. (I’m not a very good marketer, so they sit). There’s a feeling I have that doing one type of art for reproduction purposes and one for originals only makes sense, though I agree that reproducing originals for promotion purposes is always worth it.

  44. While the card industry is not what it once was,it STILL makes up about a quarter of the art sales I do! there are art snobs that may say it’s a dead art form or I need to do it a certain way (I get many who want tacky sayings in the cards! I will ALWAYS refuse that! If you are into that, try hallmark!) I still see cards as valid & they have provided me with an easy travel sized way to promote my paintings & various other things I do. While the world is very digital these days (I’d say a little too much) there ARE people who DO enjoy handmade crafts & as long as those people exist then making cards is still valid to me! Add to that I just enjoy making the cards Ido,so that in itself is valid enough for me, even if I am not becoming rich off what I do!

  45. With today’s excellent digital printing I find it quite easy to have high quality, true color cards printed.

    When I owned a brick and mortar gift shop, greeting cards were indeed a wonderful asset for many of the reasons mentioned in the article ( Exposure, entry level sale of art, promotion of work, etc.).

    As an artist, I also gift a set of cards to my client when they buy an original. They are quite proud to distribute the cards and often re-order cards of “their” painting.

    On my best selling images I have profited from a revenue stream far greater than the original purchase price of the original work. So all in all, I give greeting cards a thumbs up!

  46. MOMA, the Met and a lot of other museum galleries sell post cards, cards, etc. While Rembrandt can’t complain, I bet he would be happy knowing these make money.

    I am represented by one gallery and I have note cards for sale. They do very well. I also make scarves based on my art, and magnets and such.

    First off the cards and scarves have my name on them and email address. The buyer knows who I am. Secondly I know that I have some income coming in every month as does the gallery.

    Yes some people do frame the note card. I’ve done this too. It doesn’t bother me. Three people who bought a lot of my note cards through me personally, recently bought small paintings of mine but that I sold.

    The Best of the Pines has the gallery listed in five different categories and this is partially due to the cards.

    Not all my paintings really make a profit, at least not to live on. But I make about $150 a months clear on my cards everywhere. I make even more when I write my clients or give some as gifts.

    PS I am changing websites. So to see my work go to FB or Instagram.

    Why not?

    Tommy B. McDonell, Ph.D.

  47. I love to include two or three note cards with the sale of a painting. The front image is the piece the customer just bought and my name and logo are on the back. I figure they want to show their friends their new acquisition and like to I facilitate that. I invested in a quality printer some years ago, and I keep some card stock and envelopes for these occasions.

  48. My art doesn’t lend itself to cards. However I buy them all the time when I am travelling. I am not in the market for a big piece. However in my tiny studio I have a dozen or more cards pinned up on a large cork board along with photos. They act as triggers, stimulus and inspiration. I change then on a whim. If I really love a piece I will frame it with a dollar store frame and move it to my bedroom for a while where I do have some slightly larger pieces.
    At least if there is a fire/water inundation I won’t have lost something I really value. (been there, done that).
    One also has to consider that many people don’t have big spaces. I basically have 2 rooms in a house that isn’t mine. I will buy your cards. That is it.

  49. I’ve been hesitating about making cards for a long time, with the idea that it might reduce the chances of selling an original or giclee print. I think if I do decide to make cards, I would not sell them individually, but in packs of, say, ten, and that pack would be at least as much as a small sized, matted print, which for me would be about $50. They would be getting a pack of ten for $5 each, which is cheaper than many mass produced cards these days. I could probably live with that. Now, would anybody buy a $50 pack of greeting cards? We’ll see.

  50. I have sold the original artwork for every card I have had made save one. One client loved my one card so much she bought the original and 3 other originals. And one painting was an oil of “The Boulders” and priced at $2,500. The only card image that did not sell, a watercolor of a red prickly pear flower, but has won countless awards and is in a gallery. Each time I won an award I increased the price. Not bad so I truly believe in getting cards made of my originals. Lately I have not pursued getting cards made as my favorite printer retired. Maybe next week I will look for a new printer.

  51. Having been a professional artist for 30 years…I have notecards…sometimes they sell like hot cakes and sometimes not at all. The printing of my original works is never perfect nor exactly like the originals but but very good representations. And sometimes when I sell a large original I give a box of notecards to the client as an additional thank you! My cards are nice but small and if someone chooses to frame them then so be it. I find that they are many times bread and buttter sales when sales aren’t particularly great.
    As a printmaker I would appreciate it greatly if all artists would call the reproducing of their works REPRODUCTIONS and not Prints….big difference….an original handpulled print by the artist is an original piece of work….a copy, or giclee is a REPRODUCTION NOT A PRINT!!!
    Many people of the art buying public get very confused when artists sell giclees or reproductions as prints…and as a long time artist I feel it’s important that we use the proper terminology as to exactly what it is we’re selling. As far as notecards or any reproductions that are made and sold you will make more money selling originals than reproductions….notecards are just kind of the little icing that can be offered as a lesser expense!

    1. While I appreciate what you are saying with regards to traditional, hand developed prints … a giclee print of an original digital file is not a reproduction but an original print. Just because the tool used is a computer does not make the end result any less a piece of art.

  52. I don’t sell prints of my paintings. I have works on paper, panels, and canvases that provide collectors with a range of prices for unique, original work. For my open studio events (Sacramento Open Studios Tour) I have made linoleum block-printed cards. People always snap those up, but they kept asking for cards with photos of my work. So this coming open studios, I will have cards with images of 5 of my paintings. I hope that this will encourage visitors to become collectors. I had them printed with my website address and Instagram handle on the backs, along with the title, copyright, and my name.

  53. Because I print and glue my own cards, the cost is minimal but the time is immense. However, I come from a different perspective than most in this thread. I am not a marketing/business artist. I work because it gives me joy, and I give my cards to family and friends to send with blessings. I agree with the statement above that a lot of people love art but are not in the financial category of an “art collector”, so if someone wants to purchase a 5×7 card from me and then frame it, so be it. However, the woman above who spoke of a “friend” having enlarged her card to wall-art size … that, I believe, is a copy right infraction and totally wrong. Whether or not I ever become a “selling” artist, I will continue to make my visual poems and prayers into cards as long as I am able.

  54. For years I have done Xmas cards for my own distribution . Initially they were painting depicting Christmas takes on scenes from trips I had done that year. For example folks dragging a Xmas tree home to their live aboard barge in Holland. Then there followed Xmas memories from Montreal where I was raised.

    Lately I painted Nuns doing winter things. ” Nuns have fun!” I decided they were members of the “Order of Winter Habits”. They have been skiing, playing hockey and sledding. This year will be a snowball fight.

    The point is it gets your name out there but also reminds folks you are still painting.

  55. The variety of responses already made is food for even more thought. The question of “original vs. copy” should only trouble an artist whose greeting cards could be mistaken for an “original” (usually photographers, whose “originals” ACTUALLY ARE prints). Such artists should be careful to identify any card they produce as NOT the sort of thing the buyer would want to frame.
    As an oil-on-canvas artist, I make a big distinction between a Reproduction, which MUST be printed on canvas, preferably the same size as the original, and a PHOTO of my painting, which can appear on a greeting card but NEVER on a card for sale. That’s because the “Reproduction” is intended to be framed and used as art, but the “Photo of the painting” is a communication vehicle. The card works the same as a photo of the art on my website, which no one thinks is an original.
    The bottom line, after all our concern and maneuvering, is that people will frame or otherwise cherish anything they appreciate, from a pretty cat on a Purina box to something from a flea market.
    Let’s all hope they’d rather have something of ours.

  56. I have been selling cards featuring limited images of my work since 1990. At first I bought blank cards and pasted reprints of photos on each card and signed the back of the card. As technology improved, the quality of my cards improved. I now use a photo printer to print my images on card stock I purchase from a local printer and wrap them in plastic sleeves. I now have inventory numbers on each card so I can keep tract of which card sells the best. I sell the cards out of my studio, during studio tours and at events. I have always looked at this product as providing the lower end price points for my work, so that everyone can leave my studio with an image of my work. Those $3 single cards add up over time. I always made money above my card production expenses.

  57. I have been selling note cards along with original art for about 15 years. I have done the math and do make a modest profit on the cards whether sold separately $3/each or boxed $24/box of 8 cards. Many people purchase the boxed cards to give as gifts or for personal use. Handwritten thank yous and brief notes in general have not gone out of style in my area. I don’t rely on the notecard sales for a very large percentage of my sales but they do help. There have been art fairs where the notecards are all that I have sold. I do not reproduce my artwork on anything except the note cards and only use a few images. I am flattered when someone tells me that they think enough of the image on the card to frame it. I even have artist friends who have done so. I do not feel that this diminishes my art or sales overall. I consider the note cards an added bonus.

  58. I produce note cards from my work and I think it’s completely relevant. Note cards are like perfume, when people can’t afford to but a designer garment, they can afford the fragrance and it makes them feel special. I buy note cards of work of the masters because I obviously can’t buy the original.
    Isn’t better for everyone to have art on some level than to not have any art in their life.
    Isn’t better for someone to be able to go to the opera for $65 when they can’t afford a ticket that costs $200 or more and are willing to stand for three hours but at least they got to have the experience.
    We produce art because we want to share our vision with others, so who cares how that gets accomplished as long as it does. They’re will always be people with money who can afford original artwork and it’s a total ego boost for someone to know they own the original.
    So I say YES! to note cards!

  59. Just the last few years I started selling my original art, however when I made that choice, I choose to have my art professionally imaged. Obviously that’s a big expense, however, the print company I use also offers card and Gicleé reproductions. They will print multiple images of which I usually get 20 of each. When you get into “volume” 200 plus cards etc… it will usually drop the cost down to below $1.00 per card (back and front of a 5 x 7 on a nice heavy card stock with a semi gloss finish) including envelope & protective clear sleeve. I sell them myself & to a small retailer in town for $4 a card and she sells them for more, if you could get 2 or 3 retailers it adds up. The print quality on the cards is really good as they keep the profession image on file. They also do both canvas and paper Gicleé reproductions for me and again volume speaks discounts. I make a tidy amount of money off of these sales, though admittedly I still work full time and do not rely on art sales. I feel it’s a different customer altogether that buys cards and prints over originals, most of these customers can’t afford the real thing so are delighted to be able to enjoy your art in their home or share it with others at an affordable price. Though I don’t think it’s necessary, perhaps an easier answer is to leave our fine art and Gicleé reproductions in the Galleries and sell cards elsewhere.

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