Realm of Possibilities: How Print Makes Fantasy Art and Anime a Reality

Realm of Possibilities: How Print Makes Fantasy Art and Anime a Reality

For creators and storytellers behind the uniquely stylized world of fantasy art and anime, turning a concept into a reality is no easy task. Even more challenging? Finding the right medium to present that artwork. Edwin Huang, freelance comic book artist and illustrator, says, “Whether you’re just starting off or a seasoned artist, print has always been a pillar in the comic and anime community.” It’s a pillar they’re using for both profits and personal connections.

A pile of booklets laying open to black and white illustrations and fantasy artwork.

100# Coated Matte White Cover with custom fold, 100# Uncoated Smooth Text Interior Pages, soft touch aqueous coating on cover, 6 x 9″

Subject Matter

When it comes to magical realms far far away and the illustrations that bring them to life, fantasy artist Kiri Østergaard Leonard looked no further than Perfect Bound Booklets. Ideal for projects with 30 pages or more, their clean, professional look was the right fit for Leonard’s “The Heretofore Undisclosed Sketchbook of Subject 1984.”


“Originally, I wanted to make a hardcover book, but I found a Perfect Bound softcover better fit what I had in mind for a collectible sketchbook,” she said. Taking inspiration from the folklore and landscape of her native Denmark, Leonard’s imaginative work leant itself easily to the customizing options of Perfect Bound Books, including stock and coating.



“I went for a heavier paper which made the books feel even better,” she said. “My collectors really liked that the paper quality felt much like my original drawings.” That, paired with a velvety smooth Soft Touch cover coating and jacket-like fold, made Leonard’s fantasy art book stand out nearly as much as the illustrations themselves.


Smartpress’ online printing services make it easy to present your work exactly how you want, whether that’s with the seamless square spine of Perfect Bound Booklets or our Saddle Stitch format, where pages lay flat and are stapled through the fold line for clean, uninterrupted content.

Custom postcards printed with fantasy artwork of a girl in the forest with a fox, bear and butterflies.

A stack of custom postcards printed with an illustration of a girl in a forest and Soft Touch laminate.

12pt C2S with soft touch aqueous coating, 4 x 6″

Extra Sensory

Creator Chloé Elimam envisioned her enchanting sketches, charming characters and fairytale whimsy on a smaller scale with custom Postcards. Perfect for showcasing fantasy art on one side and messages about the storyline or design inspiration on the other, Postcards are for more than just sending salutations.


“I created my ‘Evie and the Forest’ postcards as part of a children’s book and calendar Kickstarter campaign,” Elimam said. “And now I have used them to launch an online store on my website.”

And like Leonard, Elimam turned her art into more than a visual medium with Soft Touch coating. Along with Ultra Gloss UV and Flat Matte UV, Soft Touch helps protect your work, giving it a high-end look and a substantial feel.


“Every time people would look at my postcards, [they’d] say it’s pretty, and then they’d pick it up, and all of a sudden they’d say, ‘Oh, wow! It’s soft!’” said Elimam. “I love that Smartpress not only has given me beautiful prints with vibrant colors, but that people get that extra sensory enjoyment, as well.”

Three custom anime prints lined up in a row.

80# Coated Gloss White Cover, 12 x 18″

Custom posters laid out on top of each other with fantasy artwork.

100# Coated Matte White Text, 17 x 10″

A Visual Strategy

Following adorable Evie and the woodland creatures she encounters, Elimam’s Postcards needed to show various forest scenes. Enter: Versions. “The Versions feature was so convenient and straightforward,” Elimam said. “I created five different versions and the process of uploading everything was just simple and easy.”


Huang, with his arresting artistry on Small Posters, echoed a similar user experience: “I’ve used Versions on almost all of my orders. It is very intuitive. I never saw it as a special function because of how simple it is to use!”


Allowing you to create various designs with the same size, stock and finish, Versions saves you time, helps you stick to your budget and is available on so many products. From Large Posters giving every detail the spotlight to Bookmarks offering a glimpse into your creative concepts and wider worlds, Smartpress’ online printing products let you tailor the application to your art.

“I wanted to create a quality product, something that felt precious and was beautiful”

Posters, booklets and postcards lined up in rows with custom fantasy and anime artwork.

More Than a Genre

From selling designs at fairs to connecting with fans at conventions and networking with peers at trade shows, artists are proving just how crucial print is for their intricate work. And how partnering with an online printer like Smartpress makes showcasing it all seamless.


“I wanted to create a quality product, something that felt precious and was beautiful to my collectors – and all of that without breaking my budget,” said Leonard. “We had some difficulties getting the colors right for the pages, but Smartpress stuck with me until we got it just right!”

For Elimam, involving Smartpress meant more than just a business arrangement. It was more akin to a personal relationship. “Smartpress actually worked with me a lot, making sure things like the bleed wasn’t cutting off important parts of my product – someone even checked in with me on a typo. To me, that’s above and beyond.”


Elimam concludes, “The products are absolutely beautiful, but the extra effort to make sure that I was really happy with my order was so impressive. They really want to make the process as simple and problem-free as possible.”


And that’s the definition of creative collaboration.

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