How to Make a Giclée Print

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A Giclée Print is simply a fine art print produced on a special printer.  These printers are 8 to 12 color printers that produce a print without a screen, so it does not show pixels. Giclée is a French term meaning “to spray or squirt”, and this is how all ink-jet printers print, though Giclée prints are much finer quality than your average home printer.  Because you can make as many or as few prints as you need, this is an attractive, lesser expensive alternative to mass-producing your art.  There are a few options when considering how you want to make your Giclée print which are outlined below.

The first thing to think about when printing your fine art as a Giclée print is what format of media you will use.  Canvas and archival quality paper (made of various materials) are options for your art prints.  Many artists choose canvas for their prints that originate on canvas to retain the same look and feel, though canvas prints tend to be slightly more expensive.  You also need to decide what size print you want, which will also determine the final price of your materials and/or printing cost.

Once you have decided on your media, you need to choose which piece of your art to print.  Many artists use Giclée printing to create a sample portfolio of their works so their originals remain safe at their studio.  A compact catalog is a hands-on, effective way to present your art.  These prints are also a great way to sell your art without selling your originals.  As these are such high quality prints, many artists will do a small run and sell their work as limited edition, numbered prints.  This can drive up sale prices and give your customers something to be brag about to their friends!

Next, decide if you want to purchase a Giclée printer, or if you want a professional printing business to handle the job for you.  The printers are quite large (around 3 feet wide or larger) and are quite expensive.  For artists just starting out, it would be more fitting to have your work printed, rather than purchasing a printer yourself.  For artists with a steady demand, purchasing your own printer may be more cost-effective in the long-term.

If you do choose to use professional printing services, ask the manager for references and samples of their printing.  This way, you can hear testimonials from people that have actually used the service and see how good the end results are.

A good scan is critical to the quality of your final print.  High-end scanners and digital camera setups can cost several times the price of a Giclée printer.  This is another good reason to use a professional service rather than buying the equipment yourself.  If the original image is digital, the art can be sent directly to the printer so there is no loss of quality.  Paintings or other material art must be scanned.  A high quality scanner will result in very little loss of color and quality and will produce in museum quality prints.


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