8 Ideal Artist Traits Art Print Publishers Seek

Are You An Ideal Artist for Print Publishers?

One of an art print publishers most crucial tasks is to find new artists and fresh looks. Discovering new artists as possible additions to their print catalogs is a constant, critical need. Publishers never know, but always hope, that the next artist they meet will become a superstar.

Realizing just how much weight publishers put on finding artists should encourage your desire to land a deal with one. Understanding what their needs are and how closely you match the ideal artist traits they seek will boost your confidence in your ability to work with them.

Art print publishers have specific measures for what they consider ideal artist traits. Here  are composite criteria qualities they seek in an ideal artist. I compiled this list based on years of working with art print publishers.

Art Print Publisher’s Ideal Artist Wish List.

Publishers want to work with an artist who:

Live Your Best Artist's LIfe
Live Your Best Artist’s LIfe
  1. Work has substantial commercial appeal.
  2. Work is consistent.
  3. Artist is easy to work with.
  4. Works on deadlines.
  5. Artist is coachable on specific design requests.
  6. Artist is trustworthy and reliable.
  7. Is available and easy to contact.
  8. Is flexible and versatile.

Do those qualities accurately describe you? If can answer yes to all, congratulations! Your success is nearly signed, sealed and delivered. However, the truth is few artists live up to every item on the list above for untold reasons.

Matching the Ideal Artist List 100% Not Necessary

Publishers are aware their wish list and realities rarely coincide perfectly. As such, they remain flexible with what they find in the best and worst qualities of artists with whom they work. The lifeblood of an art publisher’s business is to sell art prints. That means adapting to market trends, wholesale buyers’ needs and artists’ capabilities and personalities.

Benefit from Using this List for Self-Assessment.

Whether you work with an art print publisher, or self-publish, having ideal artist qualities benefits you. I suggest you use the items on the list to take a self-assessment. Be brutally honest with yourself since it you will never share the information.

When you have your answers, you will know your weak spots. They will be the ones hurting your ability to achieve the success you desire. Armed with this knowledge and understanding, you can make plans to shore up those things that are holding your career back.

You do not require interest in the print market to make this assessment work for you. It works for any creative person. The items on the art print publisher’s ideal artist traits are common sense. Sometimes we just need another source or individual to point out the obvious.

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The Art Print Publishers Ideal Artist Traits Are Not Equal.

The first trait, “Work has substantial commercial appeal” is on the top for a reason. That is, the other traits do not count unless your work sells well. You could be aces on all the other items mentioned, but if art buyers lack interest in your work, it will not matter.

Compelling Work Is the Secret to Success.

This is not unique to visual arts. It holds true for all creative endeavors where the artist seeks to earn a living from their work. It is not completely necessary for an artist to possess all the traits on the list to succeed. If that were the case, you would have never heard the term, “Temperamental Artist.”

Art print publishers and the public will tolerate a lot of angst and antics from artists whose work is compelling. Whether it is Picasso or Axl Rose, we tend to compartmentalize their work from their behavior. But, if either had failed to produce enduring works of art that touch us in the way that only art can, they would be toast.

Put your greatest effort into making it compelling art, and then you never need worry whether it has substantial commercial appeal. It will happen as a natural byproduct of your work’s captivating style.


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  1. Hello Barney,
    Thanks for your articles. I find them interesting. At this point as an artist, (an abstract painter) I would love to be able to read an article or a contact list of the top 50-100 Art Print Publishers so that we, as artists can begin to contact and look up their websites to see if it is a fit. That would be really helpful.
    Many thanks,
    Dena Carter

    1. Hi Dena, Thanks for your comment. Last week’s How to Find Art Print Publishers post contained links and suggestions to find art print publishers. It will require some research, but everything you need is in the post. All the best, Barney

  2. Hi Barney, I would like to add another factor which I know appeals to art publishers. When artists work in a series, it gives the publisher to opportunity to offer prints that belong in groups, potentially bumping up every sale. As a rep in this industry, I often ordered for my customers, making sure that inventory included works that could be bought and hung in sets of two, three, four – you get the picture. It increased sales for the artist and art publisher, and often brought in extra framing income for the retailer too.

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