Ilford, the maker of PRINTASIA paper, recently launched two new products for use with today?s high-quality, affordable inkjet printers. The PRINTASIA photo glossy greeting cards and fine art matte paper allow artists who have access to a personal computer to make personalized greeting cards and/or reproduce their own artwork.
Ilford describes the fine art matte paper as having a heavy grain “ideal for those who wish to duplicate original designs and images such as sketches, paintings and watercolors.” It?s 100-percent rag and acid-free, which means that it?s archival. The photo glossy greeting cards are pre-scored and come with envelopes and instructions. “All PRINTASIA paper products have an ink absorbency rate that allows quick drying, eye-catching colors and sharp text,” says the company?s spokesman.
We asked Margaret Huddy, whose beautiful paintings are often featured in our magazine, and who often uses her home computer to reproduce her original art, to test PRINTASIA and compare it with papers she had previously tried. “I was delighted to test these papers and report my findings,” says Huddy, “because I know an artist can spend so much money buying all these different brands and then not liking them.” For her experiments, Huddy used a Hewlett-Packard SanJet 6200c flatbed scanner?a model that has recently been replaced by Hewlett-Packard 5550c?to scan small (8? x 11-inch or smaller) paintings. For larger paintings, she used a digital camera to photograph the images then downloaded them into her computer. To print out the images, Huddy used an Epson Stylus Photo 870 six-color printer stocked with the following inks: magenta, cyan, yellow and black, plus two lighter values of the magenta and cyan; these inks are supposed to be lightfast for 25 years. (Note: Most standard printers use only four colors: magenta, cyan, yellow and black. Although these printers will also give you a clean, clear image, there may be some subtle differences in color between the original painting and the printed version.) Also of note, in addition to the 870 model, Huddy uses an Epson Stylus Photo 1280 printer, which can accommodate paper up to 13 inches wide. This feature allows her to make larger reproductions of her originals. The larger size is more attractive to art buyers.
How does the choice of paper affect the outcome? “When you print on an inkjet printer, the quality of the paper influences how the ink is absorbed,” says Huddy. “The ink really functions as a dye; the quality of the paper?and whether it?s coated or uncoated?influences how the ink is absorbed. In general, coated papers, which keep the ink from being absorbed too much into the surface and blurring, produce the crispest results. Too much coating, as I found in some greeting card stock; however, can be a bad thing as it doesn?t allow the ink to be absorbed enough.”
“In general, PRINTASIA papers, both the card stock and the fine art matte paper, performed very well,” says Huddy. “The glossy surface of the PRINTASIA card stock produced sharp edges and clean color when I printed color photographs or watercolor paintings,” she says. “I also liked the PRINTASIA fine art matte paper very much. On this paper, the details come out beautiful and absolutely crisp. I?ve learned through trial and error that some papers (typically uncoated) absorb the ink more than others, resulting in images that tend to be hazy. Of course, some artists may like that effect, but since my paintings are always well-defined, I like a coated paper that keeps the colors sharp and focused, as PRINTASIA does.”
PRINTASIA Fine Art Matte Paper comes in 8? x 11-inch letter size in a pack of 10 sheets retailing at $14.39. The paper is 100-percent rag, acid-free, with a neutral pH balance. PRINTASIA Photo Glossy Greetings Cards are pre-scored and come with envelopes and easy-to-follow instructions. A pack of 10 cards with envelopes retails at $14.39.
For more information and to see a gallery of images on PRINTASIA, visit their Web site www.printasiafun.com The “Frequently Asked Questions” segment of the Web site, along with the support assistance and archives, make using PRINTASIA paper a good choice?the extra information can mean the difference between success or failure. You can also call PRINTASIA at 201/265-6000.
Paul Wilson grew up in Frederick, Maryland, where he lives and paints today. He studied at the Schuler School of Art in Baltimore and monitored for Daniel E. Greene at his summer workshop in North Salem, New York. In addition to his portraits and still lifes, he paints plein air landscapes in Maryland and on frequent trips to Colorado.