These images are generally printed onto fine art paper or canvas and then framed. Artists can have their original paintings scanned and printed in the same way to create limited edition prints for a fraction of the cost of traditional printing. The growing interest in giclée has created dozens of ‘fine art printing’ companies.
Giclée is an advanced “state of the art” printing method that closely replicates original paintings in all aspects. Giclée’s have great advantages in beauty, quality and durability. The process can be used to print artwork that has been captured from the original painting, photography or digital artwork. Artists can produce several prints, hand embellish them as they wish, sign and number them and sell each print for at least 10 to 15 percent of what the original is worth. Prints can be produced in small numbers and always be ready to produce more.
How the process works
The first step is to “digitize” the artwork by using a digital camera or scanner to produce a jpeg or tiff image file. (You can also use a regular film camera.) A proper lighting setup is critical for achieving the best results. Scanning the artwork will produce the highest quality possible and create the most workable jpeg or tiff image. If you do not have access to a hi-resolution scanner or camera, consider out-sourcing this service to a photo studio.
Next, load the digitized picture into a graphics program such as Photoshop to size, crop, modify background, make color adjustments and generally clean up the image. Sometimes nothing is required but all adjustments are done in this step.
Now you are ready to print the picture. First, print two small 5”x 7” test prints to ensure that you have correct color settings. This also gives the customer two options to choose from. Check the printer settings to ensure the output quality is what you want to achieve. For example, Epson printers have profiles built into their driver, so when you match the Epson paper with the profile in the driver, you get excellent results right from the start, without having to create custom profiles. Once the customer has approved the test print, you can print on canvas or watercolor paper as many prints as they have requested. Store the digital file so when the customer requires more prints, everything will be ready.
Giclée prints can be damaged if exposed to moisture or UV rays. The inks are water based and will smear if liquids are splashed on the surface. By applying an inkjet liquid laminate over the artwork, it will not only protect the print but it will give the print a “work of art” finish.
Research before investing
You can spend up to $85,000 for a wide format Giclée digital printer, or you can spend as little as $4,145 for an Epson Stylus Pro7600u 24” printer. Make sure you investigate your purchase carefully to get the printer that will suit your specific needs. You are welcome to visit me at Currys in Mississauga to see the latest in Epson printers in action and see a gallery of prints produced from different machines.