Sunday, March 25, 2012

Christmas in March

Yesterday it felt like I was getting ready for Christmas. I was wrapping and packaging 10 paintings ready to be sent to their new homes. Now all I need to do is take them to the courier or post office :-)

Each package was personally inspected by my little furry buddy as she had to lay down on each package and sniff each one. I think she has some kind of brown paper fetish :-) No there are no drugs in the package and no she is not a drug finding cat working for the DEA.

I thought I would just impart some words of wisdom about shipping un-framed watercolours.

  • 300lb Watercolour paper just does not want to roll up and fit in a mailing tube. :-(
  • So you need to ship the painting flat and rigid to prevent those pesky delivery guys bending, folding or mutilating your artwork. ;-)
  • I elected to do the following for now, but may try to come up with a cheaper solution. I first taped the painting lightly to a piece of acid-free mat. Then put the painting and mat into a "Crystal Clear Bag" to keep the artwork dry and clean. I then taped the bag with the artwork onto a piece of high-density foam-core and covered it with another piece of the same foam-core. Taped the foam core sandwich together to form a rigid package. Then wrapped the foam-core sandwich in plain brown paper suitable for shipping. Finally I labelled the package with both a from and a to address including a telephone number for both addresses. I then clear taped over the marker written addresses so that the marker ink would not run if the package got wet. Oh.. re-inforce the corners with clear packing tape, 'cause that it usually where any rips in the packaging start. 
  • Whenever possible send multiple paintings in one package  .. it's cheaper :-)
  • Well we shall see how this works out when they get physically shipped. I have stuff going to various parts of India, UK , USA and Canada.
  • I have a feeling shipping will not be cheap :-(
Okay I will let you all know how that works out. The delivery guys should be able to toss, drop-kick, and wet the packages without damaging the painting.

Okay so thats the originals sorted out.

So the next thing is what happens if the customer wants the high-resolution images for digital printing?

  • Well, if you agree they get a copy so they can get prints done locally, then you need to get them the file(s) and this usually includes a high-res .tif file and a web-ready .jpg. Try and get your photographer to provide colour corrected image files that are 300 dpi at at the size of the original art. 300 dpi file for a 8" x 10" image is not the same a 300 dpi for a 30" x 22" image. If this is not right then you or the customer will be disappointed when digital print is made at full size. You can always make the file/image smaller but not make it bigger without losing resolution.
  • The .tif file usually ends up being bigger than you want to be sending via email and lately there have been lots of issues with sending non-commercial CD's / DVD's through the mail or courier service. This is especially true when shipping internationally. There are all sorts of iCloud and ftp site methods for allowing the retrieval of these files. I have just recently begun using Drop Box. I set up a low volume free account which is fine for me as long as i keep the box clean. I just found out about the public box that allows non-drop box people to access individual files and download using their internet browser. You just send the recipient the individual file link and the he/she can retrieve the file through the browser and do a save as to keep the file. I tried it out and it works just great.


  1. Hi VanCouver Fletcher,
    Congratulations on finding homes for so many of your artworks. Too many of mine are no doubt tired of their garage-storage ghetto. However, people have bought a few of my watercolors and sketches from my exhibit at the airport. So things are going well here in Florida.
    To send paintings thru the mail I use Residential Sheathing Insulation (a Dow product) that is about 1/2 inch thick, rigid and impervious to water; this is the blue foam-like board that they use building homes here. There is a foil-covered version of the same thing that is actually cheaper, but sometimes the foil has a slightly oily residue from the manufacturing process.(With th foiled stuff I wrap the art in plastic first before sandwiching).
    Just sandwich the painting between two sheets (very easy to cut to size) and tape around the edges. If you do a good job taping you can actually send like this thru the (US) post; if you doubt your taping, or just want an extra layer of (more professional-looking package) wrap with paper or plastic (but I still write the address on the insulating foam in case the "envelope" gets torn.
    I enjoy your blog.
    Florida Fletcher

    1. Dear Florida Fletcher
      Thanks for the tip, I'll have to try that Residential Sheathing. My sandwich packaging was more expensive than I wanted. Yes it was solid, light and secure... but still darn expensive and now I am scrounging around to get some art boards to paint on. I was using the high-density foam core to tape my watercolour paper to for drawing and painting.

      VanCouver Fletcher