April 1

Advice on Working with Giclées & Giclée Printers

3  comments

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

7 Marketing Tools Top-selling Artists Use
Download your art marketing tools list here.

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

7 Marketing Tools Top-selling Artists Use
Download your art marketing tools list here.
  • 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

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

7 Marketing Tools Top-selling Artists Use
Download your art marketing tools list here.

 

Loved this? Spread the word


About the Author

I help artists and photographers find buyers, sell more art and operate profitably.

Barney Davey

Related posts

On Being Thankful with Best Wishes for You on Thanksgiving and Beyond

​Read More

Art Marketing: The Ultimate Guide for Artists

​Read More

To Improve the Groove Is Something You Should Do

​Read More

Art, Merit, and Money: Why Marketplace Meritocracy Matters in the Fine Art World

​Read More
Leave a Repl​​​​​y

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Great advice! I actually just uploaded the first jpeg from my first Giclee to my site. I had never dealt with a Giclee printer, as my work has mostly been commissioned. I did alot of research on many sites, and referenced Barney’s book (my copy is dog-eared and highlighted to the max! LOL) and then went to the printer’s studio to see his set-up in person. I know this is not always an option, but even in my new town of Bend, Oregon, Pop. 80,000 we have several printers. I chose the one I am using by quality of his work, his answers to my questions, and his personality to deal with, NOT by the pricing. I figured that even if it is a bit more per print, I know that I couldn’t put a price on the “headache factor” of dealing with a discount printer. I have a collector base to build, and getting an upfront cheaper price could mean potential problems down the road. Keep in mind that there are limitations to each printers sizes, scanning abilities, etc. My painting is 36″ x 48″ which isn’t too big to scan, but being on canvas, it would have needed to be removed from the stretchers, and it was a gallery-wrap. I chose to have it photographed by a professional he recommended and then he scanned the transparency, so this added an additional cost. As my painting has high contrast between the sky and the dark passages in the mountains,I was then made aware of the fact that a camera can’t make as many “clicks” as they called it, which is the exposure adjustments as a direct scan is able to. In my case, it was alright, but for anyone painting high drama lighting, it is something to keep in mind. In the end, I am looking forward to a long working relationship with my printer, and the upfront time and research I am sure will pay off in time saved in working with a professional.
    Thanks for all your information…I read it religiously!

  2. This is the best outline on giclee printing I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing how often these things are not understood. We have been providing giclee services for 7 years. Our production staff truly has a color science background providing skills that few giclee printers offer. The results for our artists have been stunning. The new Epson 11880’s improvements have also made achieving this much easier.

    One comment about this explanation is that artists should be sensitive to the challenge of making money in this business when producing prints in low quantities. Artful Color charges between $75 – $150 to scan and proof. That work is done at a loss. If the artist then prints the minimum $300 in prints and no more, the company has operated at a loss on this job. We produce the finest quality digital capture and proof till near perfect. The investment is greater than the gross margin for these jobs. Giclee printers make their living on artist who print full editions either to begin or over time.

    Artful Color is located in the Raleigh NC area where not too many highly successful artists are located. Our challenge is getting the word out on the quality of work and very competitive prices we offer. We are looking for some of the artist who need a high volume of prints and are not happy with the value they are currently receiving. We are confident we could make them very happy. We have the references and are willing to print a sample to prove it. http://www.artfulcolor.com

  3. This is the best outline on giclee printing I’ve ever seen. It’s amazing how often these things are not understood. We have been providing giclee services for 7 years. Our production staff truly has a color science background providing skills that few giclee printers offer. The results for our artists have been stunning. The new Epson 11880’s improvements have also made achieving this much easier.

    One comment about this explanation is that artists should be sensitive to the challenge of making money in this business when producing prints in low quantities. Artful Color charges between $75 – $150 to scan and proof. That work is done at a loss. If the artist then prints the minimum $300 in prints and no more, the company has operated at a loss on this job. We produce the finest quality digital capture and proof till near perfect. The investment is greater than the gross margin for these jobs. Giclee printers make their living on artist who print full editions either to begin or over time.

    Artful Color is located in the Raleigh NC area where not too many highly successful artists are located. Our challenge is getting the word out on the quality of work and very competitive prices we offer. We are looking for some of the artist who need a high volume of prints and are not happy with the value they are currently receiving. We are confident we could make them very happy. We have the references and are willing to print a sample to prove it. http://www.artfulcolor.com

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter now!