Buy prints online

Buy Prints Online: A Guide

Collecting art is more fun and accessible than ever. There’s nothing more satisfying than buying prints and filling your walls with beautiful artwork. It’s also the perfect first step when starting your own art collection.

There’s so much choice when it comes to finding the perfect print for your wall—collect one of a kind lithographs or fine art reproductions of your favourite paintings. Express yourself by creating your own gallery wall layouts or curate several extra large canvas prints to pack a punch.

In this guide, find where to buy art prints online from reputable galleries and stores. Then discover the different types of quality art prints you can buy for your budget. Plus, find some art inspiration, from our selection of featured artists, who each specialise in making a different type of print.

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Where to buy prints online

Buy from an online gallery, a marketplace, or an artists’ website. When searching for prints on an online gallery, you can search by print type, filter by limited edition or open edition and search for prints in the style of your choice. 

Saatchi Art

This online gallery showcases over 1.4 million pieces of art, by talented established and emerging artists. Search by subject or style, for limited editions or for prints on canvas. On Saatchi, there is also a large selection of artists who create prints with printmaking techniques such as linocut and silkscreen. Saatchi and Artfinder are the fine art gallery options, so their prints will generally be more expensive than what you would find from others on this list, but it is reflected in the quality.

Saatchi offers competitive global flat rate shipping costs, along with a seven day return policy. You can search through artists’ profiles to find out more about their work and to see where they have exhibited.

Artfinder

Search for your favourite kinds of paintings from over 7,000 emerging artists and use the filter for ‘has fine art prints available’. That way, you can find quality reproductions of awesome oil paintings, acrylic paintings, watercolours and drawings. 

Artists on Artfinder offer the option of buying canvas prints too, so you can hang and frame it as you would with a canvas. On top of this, Artfinder has a separate printmaking section where you can find original linocuts, etchings and more. 

Etsy

On Etsy, you can find an abundance of original art, illustrations, giclée prints, linocuts, etchings and more. 

You can find fine art giclée prints on Etsy, or you can find digital prints at the cheaper end of the scale. Some artists opt to sell printables that you can download and print yourself. This is a great option for print buyers on a budget. Some sellers also sell copies of paintings by old masters and 19th century artists. If you love classic paintings by Monet, Van Gogh, Klimt or other famous artists, you will be able to find what you’re looking for. 

Redbubble

Redbubble is a marketplace that stocks various open edition prints of cool illustrations, graphic designs, watercolours, acrylics and more. 700,000 independent artists sell their work through Redbubble. Prints are sold on a range of substrates, like metal prints, wood prints and canvas prints.

Society6

Society6 lists over 1 million unique artworks from creators, designers and artists around the globe. From fun illustrations and typographic artworks, to vibrant abstracts, portraits and eye catching landscapes. 

Prints are affordable on this marketplace. Find a statement piece, or buy a number of prints to create your very own gallery wall setup.

What are the different types of art prints?

There are five main types of printmaking processes. Under these five categories come a number of techniques and specific materials that can be used. With each technique, artists can achieve totally different results.

The most common type of print you will likely see in galleries and artists’ stores will be giclée prints. With this method, artists make reproductions of original paintings digitally with an inkjet printer.

Other printmaking techniques such as etching, lithography and screen printing aren’t reproductions of digital files of original paintings, as giclée prints are, but they are made by making multiple impressions of the same piece. These impressions can vary in appearance slightly, and they retain originality. Printmaking in this way is an art in itself, with each edition considered as an original rather than a copy. Therefore pieces are often priced higher than giclée prints.

Learn about the different printmaking processes so you know what you’re looking for when searching for prints. You might find a printmaking technique that you particularly like the look of, as each method has its own unique aesthetic characteristics.

Giclée prints

Original Women Painting by Owen Normand | Expressionism Art on Canvas | White Draped Future

White Draped Future’ by Owen Normand: prints are available on Saatchi

Giclée printing is a fine art inkjet printmaking process. Pigment inks are sprayed onto the surface in the printer. The pigment inks used will be permanent and archival quality meaning the colours will not fade over time. 

Inkjet giclée prints are ultra high resolution and can be printed on a number of substrates, including paper, canvas and panel. Another feature of fine art giclée prints, is that they will be printed on an archival quality substrate, such as thick, acid-free paper.

If a reproduction of an original painting, or a copy of a digital painting is what you’re after, giclée prints will be what you would buy.

Intaglio

Original Portrait Printmaking by Simone Geraci | Realism Art on Paper | Echos - Limited Edition of 10

‘Echos’, limited edition of 10 Etching by Simone Geraci, available on Saatchi

This is a printmaking process whereby lines are incised or etched into a metal plate. The ink is then pooled in these incised lines and forced out by pulling paper through a heavy press.

Etchings and engravings

Original Places Printmaking by Jerry Difalco | Documentary Art on Other | Fountain in Savannah Park - Limited Edition 1 of 5

Fountain in Savannah Park’, limited edition of 5 by Jerry DiFalco, available on Saatchi

The processes of etching and engraving are similar, but distinct. Both involve incising lines into a metal plate then coating with ink before running paper through a heavy press. 

Etchings are made by making marks in metal by incising, then deepening the lines by submerging in acid. Engravings are made on the metal plate with a sharp tool called a burin. 

Aquatint

Pink Magnolia Print’, Limited Edition of 1 by Marta Wakula-Mac, available on Saatchi

Another form of intaglio printmaking, on top of creating an etching on the plate, the artist will additionally fuse resin particles to the plate to create colour tints and gradations on the paper.

Relief prints

Big Fishes’ Limited Edition Print by Slawomir Chrystow, available on Saatchi

Relief printing is another interesting printmaking technique. Examples of relief printing are woodcuts, wood engravings and linocuts, where impressions are made from a raised surface. 

Artists use a variety of tools to hollow out areas of the wood or lino. Then multiple layers of ink can be built on the surface to make different colours. 

Planographic printmaking: Lithographs 

‘Uncovered’ Limited Edition lithograph print by Oriol Angrill, available on Saatchi

Lithography is the process of drawing on a porous stone with grease, then pouring over ink and water. The ink sticks to the grease and so an impression can be made when paper is pressed onto it. You can also buy this lithograph directly through Oriol Angrill’s website.

Stencil printmaking: Screenprints 

‘Berlin Sketch’ limited edition print by Gerry Buxton, available on Saatchi

A stencil is made from a negative transfer of the design on mesh. Ink is forced through the stencil onto a substrate with a squeegee to make an imprint, which will resemble the original. 

The process of making a screenprint is pretty labour intensive, from transferring the design to making the stencil and mixing the correct colour inks. Forms of stencil print include screenprint, silkscreen and Risograph.

Limited edition vs open edition

Open edition prints can be repeatedly reproduced. An open edition is most commonly made with a giclée printing process, as this is the most efficient printing process to use on a larger scale. On sites like Redbubble and Society6, you’ll find a range of open edition prints at a lower cost. You will also find ultra high quality open edition prints on Saatchi and Artfinder

Limited Edition Seascape Painting by John A Sargent Iii | Realism Art on Canvas | CLOSER TO OTHER

‘Closer to Other’ limited edition print by John A Sargent III, available on Saatchi

Limited edition prints are considered to have more inherent value, due to their limited availability. Prints will usually come numbered with a certificate of authenticity, so you can prove that you own an original edition. Having a certificate of authenticity is necessary if you’re interested in collecting prints from blue chip artists. An original edition will have a fairly high resale value. 

Limited edition prints of stencil prints, relief prints, etchings or lithographs are considered originals in themselves. As each print is an impression of the original artwork, usually there will be fewer editions available. This is because it takes more time and materials to make the final product.

Buy art prints online: Tips

Look for what materials the artists use in the printing process

If you want to buy a fine art print that will maintain its colours over time, be sure to buy prints that are printed with pigment rather than dyes that can fade. 

It’s important to look for which paper the artist uses too. A thicker paper will usually be more durable and more suitable for mounting and framing without tearing. Make sure the paper the artist prints on is archival quality, or acid-free. Acid-free paper means that paper won’t yellow or degrade over time.

Check out the preview feature

Gallery websites such as Saatchi have a preview feature, so you can see what the print will look like in situ. This can help you to gauge the size of the piece and how it might fit into your space. On Saatchi’s website, you can also view the painting in your own room, by clicking on ‘view in my room’ then using their app to view the painting as it would look on your wall through a camera feature on your phone. 

Look at the sizes and reserve spaces your walls first

If you’re putting home styling at the forefront of your priorities when buying art, think about the space that you have on your walls around your home and how you can fit art into those spaces. 

Often, it’s difficult to find extra large giclée prints to fill up big walls, you may have more of a limited choice of artworks that are printed on large pieces of paper. You could look at canvas prints, or if you don’t mind compromising on quality, you could find a tapestry or poster (which would be a lot cheaper). On Saatchi, sizes of some canvas prints go up to around a metre large.

When you find something you like, note down the size. A good tip if you want to hang art in a way that looks organised and planned, is to cut out pieces of paper or parchment paper and tape it to the wall in the sizes of the prints you want to buy. That way you can work out how the artworks will slot together. You can make a gallery wall layout instead of buying large pieces. Stack artwork in a grid formation where artworks are aligned with one another, a box formation or an organic arrangement.

Of course, if you fall in love with an artwork and you just have to have it, you will make it fit in with your space. 

Buy from independent artists

You don’t have to look at a gallery website or marketplace to find great art. Lots of artists sell prints directly through their own shops. Find artists you like on social media like Instagram or Pinterest, usually they will have a link in their bio to their website or print shop. 

You don’t need to know what you’re looking for!

You don’t need to plan carefully in advance the kind of styles or colour schemes you want to showcase in your home, although some people will want to do this. Allow yourself to look at the art with an open mind. What do you naturally respond to? When you allow yourself to think outside the box, you will find pieces that you may not have considered that end up being the perfect fit for your home.

Buy downloadable designs to print at home

This is a super affordable way to buy art. Look on a marketplace like Etsy for downloadable prints, then print and frame the artwork at home yourself. You could even take the design to your local printer if you want it printed to fine art quality.

Buy prints on canvas

‘Valley Flowers’ canvas print Vahe Yeremyan, available on Saatchi

Saatchi, Artfinder, Society6 and Redbubble all offer the option of buying prints on canvas. Canvas adds a new dimension to artwork, making it pop. The advantage of buying a canvas print is that you don’t have to frame it behind glass. This means that you can display the artwork without worrying about glare from a glass frame.

With a stretched canvas print, you don’t need to worry about framing your prints at all, as you can hang a canvas straight on the wall using D rings and wire. This makes the print much more versatile as you can hang it anywhere without having to buy a frame to match your decor.

Where to buy large art prints

Original Abstract Painting by Yossi Kotler | Abstract Expressionism Art on Canvas | the pressure to mutate

‘The Pressure to Mutate’ large canvas print by Yossi Kottler, available on Saatchi

On Saatchi you can filter prints for sizes, small, medium, large or oversized. Opt to get an extra large print on paper, or on canvas. Canvas will be more stable and easier to frame and hang at this size. Saatchi canvas prints go up to around 45 inches, so you can fill a large blank space of wall with something beautiful.

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