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I've tried looking through past posts and haven't found a discussion on this.

I do colored pencil drawings. I am doing my first shows for my artwork this fall. I have been stressing out about getting good scans and then good prints/reproductions done that I can matte and sell inexpensively. Then today I thought, do I even need to bother? I am new to selling my drawings (not new to art shows). As everyone knows, it is a decent chunk of change up front for scans, printing, mattes, packaging, etc. Should I just take my framed originals to these first three shows and see how they sell, if there is even any interest, before I invest the money in repros?

I feel like I'm rambling. Any advice and thoughts are very appreciated. Thanks!

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What are your price points?  Can you replace originals with new originals quickly enough to have work for your following shows?  If you can sell enough originals (and make more in a timely fashion) and at price you are happy with, then you don't need to have reproductions.  I think reproductions make it harder to sell your originals, but if you are at such a high price point that you won't sell any originals....

I think your last thought is good - go with just originals and see how it goes. 

Thanks for the input!

My prices will most likely range from $200 to $1200. Most pieces will be in the lower end of that. I can turn out the smaller pieces in a pretty timely fashion (a piece every one to two days). Larger pieces take longer, obviously, but the higher price will keep the turn around lower also. Maybe I get scans of the large pieces so when they sell I can have large reproductions made.

I went to Cincinnati Summerfair a few weeks ago to scope out pricing and was surprised how many artists have mostly framed reproductions for sale. Only a few had only originals. As someone just starting out, though, I don't have the capitol to start with a bunch of reproductions. Guess I just answered my questions, huh, start with originals and go from there. :)

I feel like I'm driving myself crazy thinking about this. Thanks again for the input, it's much appreciated.

I used to sell prints, but sold so few that the print bin took up more space in the suburban than it was making me.  If that makes sense.

Hi, I just finished a show over the 4th of July weekend and sold both prints and originals.  The prints and notecards pretty much helped my cover the cost of attending the show.  I was lucky to sell a handful of original pieces as well.  I also do colored pencil work, as well as watercolor, acrylic and ink.

I guess it depends on what kind of reproductions you are thinking of selling.  I scan my pieces and sell them as notecards,matted prints and bookmarks (see attached pics).  These of course are just inkjet prints but printed at a high resolution.  One thing I consider is that not everyone can afford the original but would still like to take something home that is your art.

I sell the matted prints as a 5x7 image in a 8x10 mat in a clear poly envelope.  The notecards are sold in clear envelopes also (helps keep the fingerprints off them).  The bookmarks are in a 5mil thick pouch that is then heat laminated.

I mainly do native american shows and all the items I sell as reproductions do very well.  I even sell them (wholesale) to shops across the country the specialize in native american fine art.  I have my products for sale at the Heard Museum Bookstore in Phoenix, AZ as well as the Gift Shop at the National Museum of the Native American in Washington, D.C.

Hope this helps,



It all depends on what you want to do. If your booth is full of small reproductions that is what people will focus on. It also depends on the show. If it is a show full of reproductions selling your originals will be harder. So think about what your profit on an original is then think about how much time and money it is to sell as much of the small pieces. Does that work for you? Which would you rather do? Aiming at the better quality events and specifically at the "only originals" shows, may make up your mind for you.

I sell both and it works very well for me. I started doing shows with just originals and this is my first year selling prints. We have all had those shows where people weren't buying higher priced items, so for these shows prints have really saved me. My booth walls are all originals ranging from $300 to $2,000 and then I have a print bin. One thing I've noticed is people that like my work either b-line it to the print bin or ignore it all together. I believe those who buy prints can't afford an original, so why not make a little money off them too? 

If you do decide to eventually sell prints, I believe it's important to keep them minimal so the originals are the main focus in your booth.

I was next to a lady this past weekend who did not have any reproductions. She had no problems selling her original framed pastels. Her price point was between $200 and $1500. 

I've been selling matted reproductions and notecards. I have recently have added coasters and some reproductions on aluminum (mostly because for my work they make sense.) The matted reproductions don't sell that well. If I'm lucky, I maybe sell 2 at a show. I only have matted reproductions of paintings that have sold and not full size. Everything on my walls are originals. However, the note cards, coasters and to some extent the metal reproductions have done very well. I've raised my prices on my notecards and they have sold VERY well this year. For notecards you don't need as high resolution images so I've shot most of them myself. However, I am also a graphic designer so I have some experience with image/color manipulation, layout and printing.

My worry is that these sales may be taking away from sales of my originals since I have sold few of those this year. I think it all depends on the type of shows you're doing. I have a couple of shows where I will not be bringing any reproductions.

Realize that if you sell notecards/reproductions that you will have people asking if you have that drawing in this size. Or if you have a reproduction or card of this one. You will have people that spend 20 mins searching through your cards and laying them out and asking which three go well together. You will also have people wonder if all the work on the walls are original, especially if many of the other 2d artists have mostly reproductions. All of these may happen if you only have originals, but the return on the time spent selling is more.

Getting people spending 20 minutes in your booth is a great thing. People are always attracted to a crowd. I almost always sell an original when my booth gets crowded.

My sales of originals have increased since I started selling prints.

I didn't mean any of those things were bad.


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