9 Qualities to Look for in a Truly Valuable Wildlife Print

Boys Night Out by Ryan Kirby
Boys Night Out by Ryan Kirby
Ryan Kirby Art
Ryan Kirby Art

Graniteville, SC –-(Ammoland.com)-  Let’s face it, we can’t all drop the cash for original oil paintings.

Prints have and always will be the most affordable way to put artwork on your walls.

And if you’re like me, you want them to look great and increase in sentimental and financial value over time. Keep these nine points in mind when you’re shopping for a wallhanger.

1. Look for VERY Small Editions
VERY low volume editions (as small as 1, as large as 100) dramatically increase the value of a print. Anybody who watches American Pickers or Pawn Stars knows that the more rare the item, the more valuable it is and the more potential it has to increase in value down the road. Whether you’re buying a print you intend to pass down to your grandchildren or simply holding the artwork as a financial investment, look for very small, exclusive editions.

2. Look for Unique Editions
Often artists and galleries will offer several different editions of the same print. For example, they might offer an Artist’s Proof edition of 200, a special collector’s edition of 500, and then the main edition of 2,000, all of the exact same artwork. The same principle applies to #1 above – buy the Artist’s Proof, which is typically the smallest edition and first off of the presses. Often these can only be purchased directly from the artist.

3. Look for Signed and Numbered Prints
These days, signed and numbered prints are standard when you buy from a gallery, conservation group, or directly from the artist. But double check before you buy. You want a print that was formally viewed, approved, and signed off on by the artist.

Paper prints are often signed and numbered in the white margin below the print. Canvas giclees, on the other hand, have no margin between the printed image and the frame and are signed directly on top of the artwork with a metallic pen.

'Posting Up'  by Ryan Kirby
‘Posting Up’ by Ryan Kirby

4. Add a Beautiful Frame
A high-quality frame will enhance the value of any artwork, often increasing its value by as much as 50%. While it’s more convenient to buy framed artwork, consider buying the paper or canvas print and having it framed for YOUR taste to match YOUR home. Nothing is more unique than that and it will hold much more personal value.

5. Consider Giclees
While paper prints are great, canvas giclees can produce an even more remarkable piece to hang on the wall. Giclees are printed on canvas paper, then stretched over stretcher bars and framed, just like an artist does with their canvas before they begin painting. There is no glass over the image – the same as an original painting. A well-produced giclee can look remarkably close to an original painting because of it’s textured surface, gloss finish and framing style. Because they require more time and materials to build, they’re typically created larger in size than a paper print (see #8).

6. Look for Archival Materials
Once an image has been printed on the paper or canvas and then framed, it’s very hard for the untrained eye (or even the trained one) to tell if the artwork was printed on quality materials. Ask the artist or gallery owner to be sure the artwork was printed on archival paper or canvas. Archival material is time-tested and guaranteed to extend the life of the print by combatting fading and/or yellowing. This ensures a longer life (sometimes hundreds of years) and added long-term value to your print.

7. Add an Artist’s Remark
This is the ultimate way to add one-of-a-kind value to a print. An Artist’s Remark (different artists and galleries may use different terminology) is a custom embellishing of the print by the artist. It may be a pencil sketch, a small color sketch done in watercolor or acrylic, or a handwritten message to the recipient of the print. Most importantly, it’s original – no other buyer will have the same remark as you do, no matter how many of the prints are sold.

On a paper print, remarks are often done in the white margin at the bottom left of the print. When matting and framing, the matting is cut lower or notched out to go around the Artist’s Remark and make sure that all parts of it are showing.

On a canvas giclee, the artist can retouch areas of the canvas with acrylic paint, add texture to the surface of the canvas with an acrylic medium (to mimic the textured brushstrokes of the original painting), or sign a handwritten message in metallic ink.

Click here to read more about my Artist’s Remarks

8. Look for Bigger Prints
In most situations, the bigger the art, the greater the value. Not only does a larger piece look more impressive hanging on your wall, it also shows more detail, texture and color and garners more interest from those looking at the print. Obviously there are exceptions to this bigger-is-better rule, but in my opinion, the closer in size the print is to the original painting, the better.

9. Buy Something You Like
As I debated between two very differently priced trucks on a dealership lot one day, the salesman told me “Buy what you want, because you’re gonna be spending a lot of time with it.” I knew it was a sales pitch, but it worked, and I’m glad it did. I bought what I liked, and 7 years later I still enjoy driving the same paid-for truck. I’m closing in on 200,000 miles and have no intention of buying another one because I enjoy what I have.

While art is historically a good financial investment, it’s so much more than that. It’s a way to bring your passion for the outdoors into your home or office and share iconic images from the woods with others. I paint because I’m inspired by the outdoors, not because I’m trying to create a financial asset on canvas. My goal is to share that inspiration with as many fellow outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen as possible, and the best way to do that is by reproducing my originals through prints.

You’ll be spending a lot of time with this print. So buy what you like, and keep these points in mind – I guarantee you’ll be glad you did.

2013 QDMA Print of the Year by Ryan Kirby
2013 QDMA Print of the Year by Ryan Kirby

For more of Ryan fantastic art work, check out www.ryankirbyillustration.com and www.ryankirbyart.com.