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How I created art products from my paintings?

Lots of people have been asking how I put my #art onto a physical product!

You know what? It takes a lot of time and dedication - its not a quick thing. But I wanted to write this to help other #artists, as when I started I didn't have a clue! It took months of reading and just finding things out for myself.

I want to share this info and spread the arty kindness! So, if you know anyone who might benefit from this info - please pass this blog onto them and comment below!

When I started about 5 years ago, I was a Mum to my 6 month old daughter, worked as an #artteacher in a school and set up my own business, as I knew that all I wanted was to create art and be a Mum. It was 2019 and I was burnt out from the career I thought I wanted.

I knew what I wanted to achieve and I was and still am determined!

Emily Carter - ECCarter Art, sat on a rock on the Headland, Hartlepool holding a large, colourful painting in an abstract style.
Emily with the painting - A Piece of Me

So, after a few years of fumbling around and the Covid years I decided that I wanted to create my own #artproducts from my paintings. I couldn't find any info anywhere that was written in a bog standard way. Everything seemed overwhelming and I didn't know where to start, this is why I have written this blog, to share this info!

I have now launched many products and feel that now is the perfect time to share this info. There are so many products out there, but the main ones I chose were #mugs, #coasters, #totebags and #decorations as these are all things I wanted in my own home.

Some people are not sure of the process, the equipment needed, the short cuts or the time it takes, so this is why I wrote this blog.

Here are the basics to photographing, designing and producing your own products:

Step one: Photograph your paintings/ art works

Mobile phone vs SLR Camera:

Mobile phones are great especially when it comes to speed and being able to add your pictures to social media really quickly. No matter how expensive or high spec the camera on your phone is its unlikely that the image quality will be good enough to get printed any bigger than A3, but if you were wanting to do a print run, the images need to be really good quality.

But that's ok, your only really wanting an image for a small space - on a mug or coaster - so its great for if you are starting out!

SLR cameras are built for quality. Right at the beginning I saved up everything I sold via my artwork and bought myself a second hand Canon from (I am in no way sponsored for this, I wish!) which is a second hand camera shop, you can also sell them on there too. I think at the time I got a really decent Canon for about £120 and I still use it now!

For me, this was a key piece of equipment as I could then take really high quality images of my paintings which could be printed up to 3 meters sq or probably more.


Step 2: Taking photos of your art work / paintings

Below I have added a photograph of my set up including the much needed glass of wine! haha!

It includes:

  1. Canon SLR Camera

  2. Surface Pro Computer

  3. Camera Arm (to photograph from above - mine is made by #rode)

  4. 2 x day light bulb

*the links I have added are just my personal choices there are many things for different budgets out there! Comment below if you have a specific question!

a picture of the lighting set up including my Canon camera  surface pro, paint pot and a painting of the ~Kelpies.
Emily's lighting and equipment set up

I have this set up when I am doing smaller work and have the lights facing my easel when doing bigger works.

This set up is with day light bulbs in the lights. If you are on a budget you could get a day light bulb and put into an angle poised lampstand.

You need to make sure you have good lighting or natural lighting when you are taking photos of your paintings otherwise the colours will look muddy and more than likely the quality will be poor.

Step 3: Editing your paintings/ art work

Photoshop vs Other Software

Photoshop: is the leading editing software provider (allows you to change the image) and is used in most creative industries. I use Photoshop Elements (simplified version) as I knew it from school and I was able to buy the product rather than get into a monthly payment scheme like Photoshop (full version).

This software allows you to manipulate images and change the size etc as well as change the format, for eg: JPEG, TIFF, PNG. (don't worry if this is all gobbledygook! We all start somewhere)

Other Software: There are other software providers out there with similar tools. If your on a budget, there's and free version called PhotoPea that runs off your internet browser. The speed all depends on your internet. There are a lot of step by steps on youtube.

Lastly, there are some great Apps for your phone. I tend to download 4 or 5 and try to use them and delete the ones that I don't like.

If your not tech savvy at all and don't want to learn, there are places out there that you can out source to and you would just send them the photo.

Step 4: Designing your paintings / art work

As you can see below, the image is of an OM Symbol and using Photoshop I was able to put my painting inside the outline. There are many step by step guides online.

You may want to stick with something more simplified. I tend to take lots of images of my work as I am painting and this gives me a massive selection of photos to work from.

Again, this is something that could be out sourced!

Start researching and collecting images of products that you like either from magazines, pinterest or from websites

an image of an OM Symbol with Emily Carter's - ECCarter Art's painting / art work as the Om symbol
Om Symbol designed by ECCarter Art - painting of 'A Piece of Me'

Step 5: Getting samples of your potential art products

Now you have photographed your art work, edited your images, designed your product, its now time to get samples!

Its up to you how you want to roll with this, but possible options are:

  • Use a local company who creates dye sublimation products ( they may do some one off samples for you)

  • Use a massive global company, where you may have to buy your items in bulk and not get samples

It really depends on your budget, you may want to go BIG, but think about the storage of all these products. If you go smaller, like I did, then you can see what people are into and what the products look like.

Bare in mind that all of this comes at a cost. So start writing this down, your hours spent, packaging, postage etc. Many people think that a product just appears, but it takes a lot of time:

A ching mug and coaster with Emily's artwork / painting dye sublimated onto it.
One of my first sample products from 4ish years ago.

This is just a little snippet of the info I have collected over the years and I will be creating more content to explain including pricing your work!

If you would like to keep up to date with what I am doing I have a PRIVATE FACEBOOK group and you can sign up to my newsletter, where you will get updates on when Blogs etc are released.

If you have any questions of comments, please post below and share this blog with a friend!

Comment below with other bits and bobs you want to know about!

I hope you found it useful,


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