In many ways, creating fine art is akin to an exploration wherein an artist tries to find new methods and avenues for expressing him- or herself through art. In the last decade, wide-format printers, especially the flatbed type, have given artists a lot of new avenues to explore in creating their fine art. While not a lot of artists have readily adapted to using digital technology in their work, more and more of them are seeing the advantages that digital technology, such as the use of flatbed printers, can bring to their work.It is understandable, however, why artists are not that willing to experiment with flatbed printers. The cost of a flatbed wide-format printer alone is prohibitive for most artists, with the price of such printers ranging from US$55,000 to US$500,000. Only artists who are successful and affluent enough can afford to own such a printer. Other than the cost of the printer, it is also a fact that not all artists know how to work with flatbed printers and they would need to learn how the machine works before they create art using them. Still, artists should at least try using a flatbed wide-format printer if ever they have the chance to use one.Creating Art with Flatbed PrintersThe main reason why an artist should try to experiment with flatbed printers in creating their art is because these printers allow them to use many different mediums for their art. With these printers, artists are not limited to painting by hand on canvas. They can create their art on what are considered to be non-traditional mediums, such as metal, glass and ceramics. They can try working with porous and non-porous mediums, as well as matte and glossy mediums and see what works with them.Flatbed printers that use UV-cured inks cartridges can create a hand-painted look on a printed artwork. If the surface of the medium is not entirely flat, the artist can strive to give an etched or embossed appearance to his or her work. The artist can also play with white ink and see how it looks like when used on colored mediums.Printing with Flatbed PrintersFor artists working with flatbed printers, the image resolution and the printer speed are not the qualities he or she would be looking at when trying to find a suitable printer. Some of the printer characteristics that would be more important for these artists are:1. The ability of the printer to work with different kinds of media, depending on texture and height of the media.2. The motor strength of the grid rollers so it can pull in heavy printing mediums such as wood, glass, ceramic tiles or metal sheets.3. The printer's double-striking feature, which will allow the artist to overprint on the medium he or she is using without any problems.4. The ability of the printer to allow the artist to restart the printing job to make the necessary adjustments and to resume printing where it has left off so it can complete the job.As mentioned above, flatbed wide-format printers are very expensive. Owning one may be impossible for artists who are just starting out. However, finding a flatbed printer to work with without having to own it is not impossible. There are many print service providers that rent out flatbed printers for artists to work on; it is just a matter of finding them.

John C Arkin from printcountry the contributor of PrintCountry Articles. More information on the subject is at Flatbed Wide-Format Printers: What Artists Need to Know Before Using Flatbed Wide-Format Printers, and related resources can be found at Ink Cartridges.

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