If you've been learning about digital art for a while, you'll have probably come across INPRNT.
It's really popular with artists in the entertainment industry as a platform to sell art prints on.
So naturally, when I decided I was going to set up my own print store I took a cue from other artists and started it on INPRNT.
But now that I've had my store for a few years and I've had some sales, I actually decided to take all my prints down from my INPRNT shop..
Of all the hands-off print-on-demand platforms like Redbubble and Society6, I would say INPRNT is the best for selling prints and canvases to your audience. You get great quality prints and they take the lowest cut - but it'll still be hard to make a substantial income with INPRNT .
I really like INPRNT and think it's a great site, but ultimately the biggest problems I have with it are the same as the ones I have with all the print-on-demand platforms of this kind.
What is INPRNT?
If you haven't come across it before, INPRNT.com is an online print-on-demand service that allows artists to sell their work on products like art prints, canvas and acrylic prints, phone cases, art cards and a few more things.
All with little to no work on the artist's end.
INPRNT differs from other PoD services like Society 6 and Redbubble in that it focuses on art prints and canvases, and they 50/50 split the profits with the artist.
It's been one of the most popular print-on-demand sites in the USA since 2006 - not so much the rest of the world as their international shipping is pricey!
It's especially regarded as the best PoD service out there in the fantasy and science fiction digital art community, because of their focus on high quality and profitable art prints and not on merchandise like t-shirts and mugs.
How INPRNT works
Print-on-demand essentially means that you can sell products just by uploading your art to their site - and you don't have to worry about anything else after that.
Once you've uploaded the work, they handle the rest - processing payments, printing, packaging, delivering the print to the customer, customer service - they do it all, and the time you would be putting into this you can instead invest into making more art.
They even take care of your customer service - if one of your customers tells you about a problem with a print they bought from your store, you can just report the issue with InPrnt and they will handle it from there on.
You can start selling on Inprnt two ways - you can either be invited, or you can join the site yourself and go through an application process.
If you choose to apply, before you can set up your shop you have to submit 3 pieces of art to INPRNT - these are then voted on by other artists already on the site.
If you're voted in, you'll be able to set up your shop - if not, then just make a couple of new pieces of work and try again.
This application system is in place to keep the quality of the art on the site high.
Once you're approved, uploading your art is really straightforward - you'll need files at least 1800 x 1800 pixels, and maximum 10200 x 6600 pixels.
Then you can select the types and sizes of product each piece of art will show up on in your store, and set your prices!
Prices and profit margins on INPRNT
You can set the price of your prints to whatever you want - by default all products are set to the minimum prices, which are very competitive and still offer a decent cut for the artist:
INRPNT takes 50% of the sale price of Art Prints, regardless of your pricing.
You can also decide if you want to sell the other products INPRNT offers:
For Canvas Prints they take 40% of the sale price, and for Acrylic Prints 30% of the sale price. For frames and phone cases the artist gets $5 for each sale, and $1 for each card sold.
This is a much better deal than basically every other print-on-demand platform out there.
As a comparison, a 12'' x 16'' print on most platforms has default pricing of around $18 - if we compare the profit margins for this print on multiple platforms:
- ArtStation would give you $3 profit (or $3.75 if you subscribe to ArtStation Pro)
- Redbubble would give you $3.50 profit
- Printful would give you a profit of $3.70
- InPrnt gives you $9 profit!
INPRNT can offer over double (triple in some cases!) the profit compared to its competitors.
InPrnt provides the most profit per sale, at least when it comes to a typical art print at typical prices. They should be commended for paying the artist this much, when the other platforms pay so little!
You're able to withdraw your earnings once they are over the $100 threshold after waiting at least 14 days, I assume in case a customer asks for a refund or something like that.
How good are the prints?
INPRNTs print quality is great. They make their art prints on strong museum-quality paper, with fantastic color accuracy.
Their black and white prints look to be really good quality, with saturated blacks and clean egg whites, in comparison to the almost titanium-white of basic copy paper.
In my experience INPRNT's colour prints are competitive with the other platforms I've tried, but as with all print-on-demand services, INPRNT included, I find the prints come out darker than expected and so benefit from a little bit of a brightness boost before uploading.
This isn't INPRNT's fault at all - it's probably because the brightness of my display tablet is a bit too high when I paint.
Other artists are also really satisfied with INPRNT's quality:
- Loishh, one of the most famous digital artists in the world, according to her blog has sold her prints on INPRNT since 2014, and has only good things to say about their print quality.
- Here's a review on another blog of INPRNT's print quality compared with Redbubble and Society6.
- And another: Sam Bosma has been using INPRNT just as long as Loish, and on his blog called INPRNT "the perennial champion of high quality art prints".
The digital artist community on Twitter also seems to be satisfied and moving to Inprnt from other PoD sites:
- @Kejokaya couldn't be happier with the quality of their test prints
- @Owakita_ moved to InPrnt specifically because of better earnings on InPrnt.
So you can see that the quality of InPrnt is just as good as other popular PoD services, and everyone, including me, is very happy with their prints.
What are the issues with Inprnt?
At this point you might be wondering why I took my prints down - I mean, the profit margins and print quality are fantastic and even mega-fame artists sing its praises - so what's the problem?
Well, the problems aren't exactly INPRNT's fault, they exist on all of these printing platforms, and in selling prints in general.
1. It's hard to get a decent number of sales on INPRNT
I had my prints live on INPRNT for around 18 months, til early 2020 - you can see below that I sold 9 prints with $69 profit, and all of these sales were within roughly a 6 month period in late 2018/early 2019.
Now, I didn't do anything particularly special to try to drive traffic to my INPRNT store. I was streaming on my Twitch.tv channel during this period, and i'm fairly certain all of these sales were from my regular viewers there.
At the same time I also put a link to my INPRNT store on my instagram, but from what I can tell none of these sales are from followers over there.
I can only speculate as to why I only had sales during that 6 month period, but I think it was because I had a backlog of pieces to upload when I first opened the store - people who were waiting for certain pieces of art to be available as prints grabbed them as soon as they went up.
After that I only added new stuff when I finished a suitable piece of art, which was obviously less often.
Prints and canvases are very niche products. Once purchased you need to frame them, which is expensive, and you need a place to hang them - most people only have wallspace for a few prints.
To top it off they are pretty expensive for what amounts to a single image, when the internet is filled with millions of images you can grab for free.
Only your most devoted fans will purchase prints from you, which means that to sell a lot of prints you need to have a huge audience and a lot of true fans.
INPRNT's withdrawal threshold is also $100, so I can't even withdraw that $69! I'll probably spend it on a few prints by artists I like.
2. INPRNT doesn't do limited edition prints for most of its users
I'm not exactly sure what their process is for limited edition prints, but there's only a handful of limited editions on INRPNT and I've never been able to figure out how to offer them. There are no options anywhere, no FAQ or help articles about it.
My guess is that limited editions are privately negotiated between INPRNT and the artist somehow.
This is a shame because offering limited editions would be a great way to balance out the low number of sales - limited editions command a higher price, due to their scarcity. Your true fans would probably quite happily pay extra if they knew it was for a limited edition.
Perhaps I've got this totally wrong and there is a super secret button or switch somewhere on INPRNT to offer limited editions - if I find one, I'll update this section.
3. INPRNT won't promote your prints for you
This is the case with all PoD services, so it's not like INPRNT is any worse than sites like Redbubble and Society6.
But at least those other platforms have substantial traffic of their own, so there's a chance that someone may randomly stumble on your work and make a purchase - unlike INPRNT, which has somewhere around 1% of the traffic of Redbubble.
You'll have to do all the promotion yourself - which in my opinion means you are doing the hard jobs of creating art and marketing it, while INPRNT takes care of the relatively simple job of printing and posting.
What's worse is that after you've done the hard job of making the art, and the even harder job of convincing someone to spend money on it, the next problem raises its ugly head:
4. INPRNT doesn't give you any customer details
Let's go back to this image with with my sales figures for a second:
That blurred column is all the information you get on your customer - a tiny part of their address. Certainly not enough of their address to be able to send them a thank you card, let alone get back in touch with them about new products!
You don't get any information about who they are, what their email address is, or what platform (social media, etc) led them to your shop.
This is a huge deal, as these are the people who have spent money on your art and are most likely to be prepared to spend more - they are some of your most important followers, so knowing who they are and which platform actually provides you with customers is really important!
A massive part of selling art online is staying in touch with past customers and letting them know about your latest products - you simply can't do this on INPRNT, or any other print-on-demand platform.
To rub salt in the wound, guess who does get the customer's email address and information about which platform they came from? INPRNT gets it - your customer just became their customer.
5. INPRNT's international delivery is really expensive
This one speaks for itself - if your audience is in the USA, INPRNT will deliver to them for a reasonable fee, but if your audience is global (which is likely for most digital artists) INPRNT will charge a lot of them an arm and a leg.
On top of this, the shipping time will be pretty long - upwards of 2 weeks in many cases.
A lot of platforms have their printing houses dotted around the world, so they can ship worldwide quickly and cheaply, so INPRNT really misses out here.
Whats the verdict on selling prints on INPRNT?
You probably know my feelings by now:
INPRNT is the best of a bad bunch. If you need a completely hands-off way to sell prints in the short term, it might be worth experimenting with. If you want prints to be a large part of your income as an artist, INPRNT and platforms like it will not get you there.
All of the things I don't like about INPRNT can be overcome by building your own website and selling your prints there instead.
There are PoD services out there that will seamlessly integrate with your site and handle all of the printing and delivery for you - all with your own branding, without taking or hiding your customers information from you, and with affordable worldwide delivery to top it off.
I'm currently building myself a site just like this, but it's not ready to be public yet. Once it's ready I'll be sure to explain how it works, and how you can build yourself something similar.
Lastly, I should say I don't doubt that people could make a lot more sales on INPRNT than I have - but I think anyone who is able to generate a large income on INPRNT should probably abandon it as soon as possible, and build themselves a superior solution on their own website and reap the greater rewards.