I’ve been printing my own cards for years – this began with my wedding invitation business in 1996.
The only disadvantage is that it is inkjet printing; so if you splash water on it, the ink runs. On the other hand it’s a card and if you splash water on most cards, they get damaged anyway! If you need fine printing for posterity, you have to have it printed professionally and commercially using 4-colour printing on special paper.
This is one of my most popular cards and it is now available online as a giclee (professionally and archivally printed) and as a greetings card where the printing is about 80% as good – but the giclee is so like the original 50cm square painting, that there is no difference except for the size.
I use water colour for my originals and water colours scan really well. This is because there is a light deposit of pigment and the paper glows through it. let me try to explain this. If you paint a solid red area of gouache on good paper it will be a velevety red. Give it another coat and it gets dull. This is because with the first layer, there was still a slightly uneven surface of paper that could reflect light. With the the second layer, there is no light between the particles of paint. Water colour takes this further – the paper is more uneven and the paint is transluscent.
If you print on specially treated paper for printing, the colours sit on the surface. On ordinary bond paper, the colours sink into the paper and look dull. This is more the case with photographs than watercolours because of the huge amount of pigment deposit which sinks into untreated paper. So when we print photographs we use paper with a glossy finish. The glossy finish reflects the light and the colours glow.
I don’t use specially treated paper – I use a 270gsm commercial paper with a bit of a texture, but that’s only because I like texture. It looks like watercolour paper but doesn’t behave like it as you can’t paint on it successfully.
My giclees on the other hand are printed professionally on 100% cotton Hahnemulle paper. It is an expensive procedure and I can do home printing that looks about 80% as good; but its important for my giclees to be professional and archival, which home printing is not!