Courtesy of Digital Arts Studio Atlanta

Advice on Working with Giclées & Giclée Printers

You’ve decided to create giclées of your work. Here are some important things to know.

Congratulations! You’ve decided to create giclées of your work. Here are some important things to know. These items are by no means all you need to consider but should help inform your decision on how to best proceed and succeed with adding giclées to your portfolio. The savvy suggestions provided here come courtesy of Barry Glustoff, master giclée printer and owner of Digital Arts Studio in Atlanta, GA. with a select few comments by me.

Tips for Great Results with Giclée Printing

Image Capture

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Quality is essential to compete in today’s print marketplace effectively

  • The best result for your final output starts with your initial step, which is your image capture
  • Quite simply, the most critical part of producing the highest quality finished work begins with obtaining the highest caliber digitized file of your work available
  • The adage, “garbage in equals garbage out” is an inarguable proven fact here
  • Creating the best possible digital file of your work requires a professional’s skills, equipment, and expertise
  • Although technological advances have brought costs down, professional grade digital scanners and cameras used for fine art reproduction still cost tens of thousands of dollars
  • Equally important is the specialized filtered lighting needed to properly illuminate artwork, capture its subtle textures and details, and to eliminate glare from canvas varnishes and glossy paints
  • The best latest 10-15 megapixels digital cameras using flash or outdoor lighting are still incapable of creating the highest quality image capture

Selecting a Giclée Printmaker

Finding the right printer is more important than finding the closest printer

  • When shopping for a giclée printmaker, look for those that do their own digital capture and printing
  • Prices for this service range from $75 to $300 per image for color corrected, and proofed files ready for print
  • Some printers companies waive this fee with a minimum print purchase causing you to weigh the pros and cons of paying a setup cost versus ordering more inventory than you need
  • A first-hand recommendation or warning from someone else’s experience might be the best criteria for finding your ideal giclée printmaker
  • Make every attempt to contact other artists who have or currently use a printmaker you are considering
  • Some printers, especially those only that operate exclusively online might appear to be full service or less expensive than others, but they may not be able to provide the attention needed to “get it right.”  Or maybe shipping work offshore without your knowledge

Tips for Working with Your Giclée Printer

They may be the experts, but you need to maintain control

  • Your printer should strive to establish a cooperative, working collaboration with you, understanding your needs and goals, and able to easily communicate with you in “non-technical” language
  • It is highly suggested to maintain an actual print in your portfolio of each substrate you print on as a reference sample
  • Don’t let any printer hold your artistic property “hostage.” That way, if you’re not satisfied with their print quality, you can move on.
  • It is critical you archive your own backup copies of your digital files for safekeeping
  • Whenever possible, get actual printed proof copies of your work, printed on the canvas and paper type you intend to use. Don’t be “fooled” by companies who refuse to provide this option
  • Every giclée printer attempts to match your work accurately, but depending on equipment, types of inks, papers, and skill, it is not always possible to get 100% accuracy. Situations like this occur when attempting to reproduce one media with another, such as by printing a copy of an oil painting with water-based, pigmented inks
  • The color range of the pigmented inks used in giclée printmaking is not always equal to the colors achievable with solid, pigmented oil or acrylic paint
  • Seldom, if ever, will the original and the reproduction be displayed side by side. That said, a competent giclée printmaker will have an excellent understanding of color control and correction techniques and should attempt to make any corrections as directed by the artist, until satisfied

The Giclée Advantage

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Print-on-demand has forever changed how fine art print reproductions are created and marketed

  • Avoiding the costs associated with inventory. You don’t pay to print until you have sales.
  • Creates a saleable replica from your original that is a faithful representation of your work
  • Print on a wide variety of substrates, including paper, canvas, metal, Mylar, wood and more
  • The color gamut range is higher than with traditional offset printing
  • Multiple sizes are easily made within equipment and aspect ratio capabilities
  • Custom projects for collectors are easily and affordably fulfilled

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