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Posts Tagged ‘Giclee’

Here is the continuation of Thursday’s post regarding giclee print service. Once again, what we do for our printing service at Wild Faces Giclee, is in italics.

How is the artwork handled and stored? Always a good question to ask. Some companies make a big to-do about using white gloves while handling the prints.

We don’t, but will do so if asked. (the wearing of gloves bit, not the making of a big to-do bit.Though I suppose if you really wanted us to . . .) We wash our hands thoroughly to wash away any naturally occurring body oils before working with either your original work or prints. (which is why in winter, we have the driest and scratchiest hands around.)

All original artwork taken in at WFG is stored carefully in protective sleeves or in boxes.

Archivability and longevity You should ask whether the prints will smear or scratch easily. Do they need to be coated to prevent this. If they need to be coated is the printing company going to coat them, or are you supposed to do it. If they coat them, is there an additional fee for that.

Our paper prints have no need for a coating, as they won’t smear or run from water. We do coat our canvas prints however, though again they are water proof. We use a brush on coating which both enhances its UV protection and adds to the illusion that it is a painting, because of the noticeable brushstrokes on the surface. And yes, there is a nominal fee to have that service done by us.

“Some companies make a big to-do about using white gloves while handling the prints. We don’t, but will do so if asked. (the wearing of gloves bit, not the making of a big to-do bit.Though I suppose if you really wanted us to . . .)”


Find out how lightfast the inks are and if their papers acid free. If your printer says something like this ink and paper combinations has been tested to last 75 years. Bear in mind that is under museum conditions. Which may include, temperature and humidity controlled environment and possibly in the dark (seriously) Since most of us don’t live in the dark, ask if they have any real world samples of printouts.

Also an important fact to consider, is that most of the longevity claims are based on simulations. I mean giclee has only been around for about 15 years. There is no way any real world testing could be done to verify that, yes indeed the print will look unchanged for the next 75 years, (again, under the best possible scenerio, museum conditions) when 75 years hasn’t elapsed yet.

My experience with my own prints hanging in the gallery is, they have held up beautifully. And I have some fairly harsh conditions. My front room is all windows along one side and my overheads are flourescent (which is the absoloute worst for uv.) I’ve had some prints sitting about for years and they look as good as day one.

We did one test where we printed a small printout. Hung half (as in taped to) the west facing window (all my front room windows face west) for 6 months. When it was taken down and compared to the half that was stored away in a dark drawer, it looked virtually identical with the exception of a slight yellowing of the paper. From my perspective this was truely excellent results. Trust me, had I hung a major printing house offset lithograph in the window for 6 months, it would have been barely recognizeable.

That being said, I would urge caution when trying to push some longevity results on potential clients (buyers of your art prints.) Yes, the test have been done, and their results are real. As real as simulation results can be. Get my point?

“I would urge caution when trying to push some longevity results on potential clients (buyers of your art prints.) Yes, the test have been done, and their results are real. As real as simulation results can be. Get my point?”

Do you get to proof the reproduction before the prints are run? Digital color profiling systems are geared for the photography industry, as they are the “money” market when it comes to giclee printing. This is partly because they naturally have a higher volume of work. Photography profiling differs in process from art prints in that it has no “original” to match to. It just needs to look correct.

This is why it is important to know whether you get proofing. In other words, do they run a program and what you get, is what you get. Or do they offer to tweak and modify colors per your request. If so, find out if they charge for that service.

We offer proofing as part of the setup package. There is no additional fees for that service. We strive for artist satisfaction.

Do you retain all copyrights? This seems so obvious but it is always good to look into it and to make sure that somewhere it states that you (the artist) retain all your own copyrights.

Of course at WFG the artist retains all copyrights. We keep the rights to profiles and adjustments used in the creation of reproductions.

To wrap up the giclee series, in upcoming posts we will have a few miscellaneous questions answered as well as care and storage of your prints and artwork.

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Choosing a Giclee Printing Service Part 1

These are some of the most commonly asked question we get at Wild Faces Gallery. (WFG) I am going to include what we do (in italics) to give you an idea of how we handle the process. For more information on our process and pricing you can visit our giclee website WildFacesGiclee.com

Since the post got rather huge, I divided it up into two entries. The remainder of the questions will be posted tomorrow.

What is the difference between a Print and a Reproduction? There is much debate about whether the word “print” can (should) be used as a descriptive of any reproduction created by either offset lithography or giclee. There are some who think the word “print” should be used exclusively as a title regarding photography, relief woodcuts, intaglio (like etchings) lithography (not to be confused with offset lithography) and serigraphy. Each of these methods is considered an original work of art.

For the intents and purpose of this post, (my blog and websites) I use the word print as synonymous to the word reproduction. Perhaps it is because I grew up in the industry, during the decades when Limited Edition Reproductions where having a hay-day. And they (major printing houses) adopted the word print as a descriptive of offset lithographic prints, as did giclee later on. Whether right or wrong it is how I view it, and I use the word print in a like manner.

” . . . even after all these years selling my artwork, I still don’t know which images will sell and which will languish. I can’t predict a successful seller anymore than I can predict this weeks winning lotto numbers.”

Why should I choose giclee over more traditional methods for my art? Giclee printing method is best when large quantities of prints are not required. You can choose to get only a handful of reproductions to see how well they will sell. And when they do sell, you can order more. With giclee printing there is no big financial hit, where you get a 1000 images and hope you sell enough to cover your costs.

The truth is, even after all these years selling my artwork, I still don’t know which images will sell and which will languish. I can’t predict a successful seller anymore than I can predict this weeks winning lotto numbers. So we print a few and see what happens.

Our setup fee for paper prints is $200. That includes scanning complete with a cd copy for you, color correction, proofing, and a $75 credit to go towards your initial print run. Shipping fees are additional.

How do I find a good giclee printer? The best way to find a trustworthy printer is by word of mouth. Either ask your artist friends, who does their printing and why. Or if you have a printer your interested in, you can always ask them for references. No one knows what issues arise, better than other artists.

Do I need to send my original? We prefer to have the original painting so we can create a quality scan. Also it is essential for color proofing. The average consumer grade digital camera files generally don’t provide sufficient resolution for a good quality image. So whenever possible we’d like the original.

What kind of equipment and materials do they use? Bear in mind that any print produced on an inkjet printer can probably legally be called a giclee. So ask what they’re level of experience is, as well as the equipment and materials used.

Since the equipment and papers are constantly being improved and since everyone has a different set of criteria for what they want from their prints, I can’t really tell you what is the best option. So do your homework and find out what will provide you with the best print to supply your needs.

” So to sum up, ask about the files. For the love of God (or whatever spiritual deity you believe in) ask!”

How do they create a digital file. Do they photograph it or scan it. Is their scanner a flatbed or drum? Generally a drum scanner is thought to offer a slightly better scan. We however use a flatbed scanner. This means we can scan canvas paintings while on stretcher bars.

Do I get a copy of the digital Files? Some printers view that as their work and may not give you a copy of the files. We have done some work for one such artist whose previous giclee company went out of business. All the files that they did for her were lost and she had to start from scratch with us.

We make two copies of the files and one is given to the client. We keep a copy as a courtesy, so they can call us up and order more without shipping the cd back and forth. However the copy we give the artist is the important one. We bear no liability if we lose or destroy our copy.

Here is another story to further illustrate my point that having issues with files is not an isolated case. I received a call yesterday from a giclee client whom we did a printing for this past summer. He called to order more prints but seemed to have some trepidation in his voice when he placed the order. I said “sure, we’ll have them in the mail by Monday.” The relief from him was palpable.

He went on to explain that the last giclee company he worked with had scanned the original, run the prints and mailed them out to him. “Okay” I thought, “that sounds about right.” He then goes on to say when it came time to reorder they said “they” didn’t keep any files in house (nor did they give him a set.) They reacted like he was a little out of touch for thinking they would house any files for their multude of clients. They assumed he ordered all he wanted the first time and that was all he was going to get. So to sum up, ask about the files. For the love of God (or whatever spiritual deity you believe in) ask!

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Giclee Printing Part 1

Finally the long awaited giclee posts. (Or at least the first one.)

In this first post we will discuss what Giclee is and how it differs from the most widely used reproduction method, Offset Lithography.

In upcoming posts, additional reader questions will be answered as to what to look for when choosing a printing company, the proper handling and storage of artwork and a few miscellaneous technical questions.

What is a Lithograph?
An offset Lithograph is the most common form for reproduction of artwork, (though giclee’s are gaining on it every second.) These in large part are the type of prints you would find in print galleries and produced by major printing houses like Hadley House. (Though even Hadley House is offering some giclee’s now.)

It is a mechanized process where the image to be reproduced is printed photographically to a metal plate, that is mounted onto the roller of a printing press. Ink is applied to a plate, transferred to a rubber roller called a “blanket” and from the blanket onto paper. Offset Lithography is one of the most widely used methods of printing.

So then what’s a Giclee?
Giclee is pronounced zhee-clay (urm . . . think Zha-zha Gabor, only with an “e.” Instead of Zha say Zhee. It might help put you in the mood, if you attempt to fake her accent. Yes, that’s it my daarlings)

“Oh la la, I feel like I should be sitting at a Cafe, while wearing a beret and smoking a cigarette.”

Giclee is the type of printing we do at Wild Faces Gallery. The most simple explanation is, it is a digital process of high resolution scanning, color correction and storing of information. The prints are then created using a large format inkjet printer that produces high quality prints, using archival inks and acid free papers.

The term Giclee was coined in 1990’s and has it’s origins from the French word gicler. The literal translation is “to spurt or spray”

I have a story about the origins of the term but since I cannot find or remember from whence this story comes (I think perhaps Decor magazine though I also checked wikipedia to no avail.) you must consider it gossip. The reason they came up with the word giclee is that the guys who were going to introduce this printing method at an expo in the 90’s, wanted something more exotic to call the process other than what is it, an inkjet print. And so the Giclee printing process was born (or rather coined.)

I think they succeeded admirably. I mean when you say Giclee, it sounds so mysterious and exotic. Now say it with me, only slower this time. “ggiicclleeeee.Oh la la, I feel like I should be sitting at a Cafe, while wearing a beret and smoking a cigarette.

In the early days, giclee prints didn’t have the best lightfast quality and the prints were delicate to handle (they would run if they got wet and they scratched easily) But the technology has improved dramatically. And now depending on which printer you have, as well as ink and paper combinations, most prints will outlive you if cared for properly. In upcoming posts, we will talk about longevity and archivability.

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