Thursday, March 06, 2014

Preparing images for publication in a book #1

I'm deep in the depths of correspondence with c. 50 artists at the moment in relation to inviting people to contribute images to my book. The next step is to help them generating both the images and the copyright forms and getting both transferred over to me so I can send them to the publisher.

It seems like a good time to record some thoughts on image preparation should you ever get asked whether you'd like your artwork in a publication.

So here's the first instalment. More later....

Generating top quality images for publication

#1 top tip is "assume all art you produce will be needed for a publication"

That's drawings, paintings, sketches etc

That way when you generate it first time round you'll scan it at 300 dpi or take a decent photograph and consequently have a file you can go to when somebody asks if it's possible to use that pic you produced two years ago.

Plus it also means if it's one you're sending to an exhibition and it sells that you still have a decent image of it!

So always, always, always get a decent digital image of everything you produce.

Then do the low res for the web image which is the one you will share with the world! :)

#2 tip make sure you learn how to produce a decent image for reproduction

Basically we're talking about a large image @300dpi or more, preferably saved as a TIF or other format which includes all the pixels. Plus saved in CMYK format would seem like a good idea since these images are being preserved for print publication rather than website.

Here's a couple of links to information and advice about producing top quality images
This comprehensive guide focuses on many common image questions in regards to image resolutions, resizing images, file types, vector and raster images, scanning, saving and more.Last Updated: Nov 15, 2013 URL: Print Guide

#3 tip is file and archive your super duper file somewhere where you can find it!

Get a system and follow it!

You might file by year of production or type of image and have subsets. Whatever !  Just make sure that you leave yourself enough clues that you can find it again later.

This is where tagging suddenly seems to look like a very good idea.

I can tell you that a large file totally devoted to and well organised with TIF files suddenly looks like the intelligent answer!

#4 tip is file it somewhere else as well!

Don't forget there are various services now which give you oodles of space for very little outlay which means you need never ever rely on one copy which is on a hard drive which is going to fail at some point in the future.

If you don't backup, be prepared to forgo the retrospective catalogue - and all requests to get your artwork published ......... ;)

More to come.


  1. Thanks for this Katherine.
    I do good photographing my work but I admit I have never understood well enough the differences in JPG, TIF etc and what is the best for archives, print, web.

    It can be difficult with each new thing to learn and then keep up with changes in technology!

    I recently bought a new camera, finally, the Canon SX 50 and will now really take to task figuring all this out.
    This post really shortens the learning curve for us.
    BTW your post on getting iPad brushes playback onto a blog did the same for me, I only had to follow your steps.
    Your blog is one of the most valuable on the web.

  2. i do all those things as soon as i finish a piece...because of my day job i've learned to be very organized and efficient,so i have good quality photos at both high and low resolution on two different hard drives besides my computer. once you make it a practice it's easy to do every well as a good inventory list!


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