What Is A Giclée Print?

Since most of my income stems from the sale of cards and reproductions, I have started reproducing my work almost exclusively as giclée (pronounced "jhee-CLAY") prints. A technical description of this process is below, but briefly, the process is as follows:

My original art work is scanned into a computer by a professional photographer, and printed out onto watercolor paper using the Epson 9600 printer and UltraChrome inks. The resolution of these reproductions is so good that I can actually enlarge my work at least three times the size of the original without losing any sharpness. We are limited only by the size of the paper/canvas, which comes on a roll 44 inches wide. In other words, a small 8x10 original painting can be reproduced as an enlargement of up to 44 inches in one dimension; I haven't been asked to go this large yet, but it is nice to know that the option exists! Briefly, this means that my clients can custom-order any of my images as a giclée print in virtually any size they require. The image can even be reversed, cropped, flipped, stretched or altered in any way the client desires.

Costs:
My retail prices depend entirely upon the size of the printed image requested, but are roughly .40 cents per square inch on watercolor paper, or .50 cents per square inch on canvas, with a minimum cost of $45.00, not including shipping.

All prints come with a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist and the printmaker, stating when the print was created, and which paper and inks were used. This certificate ensures that this image has not been reproduced without permission of the artist.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns about these prints, and I will be happy to explain further and/or give you a price on a particular image and size.

Technical Information:
Giclée printing has become a highly visible and rapidly growing segment of the fine art and photography world. In the art publishing field, inkjet prints have come to be called "giclée" prints. Giclée (pronounced "jhee-CLAY") is a French word that means "squirt or spurt". In this usage, giclée alludes to the digitally-controlled inkjet nozzles of a printer which precisely "squirt" millions of microscopic droplets of ink per second onto
the media in place to form the image. A typical 22 x 30 inch Giclée image is made up of well over one billion individual ink droplets!

With an apparent resolution of 1440 dots per inch for watercolor paper and 2880 dpi for photographic paper, the detail and color vibrancy exceeds traditional print-making technologies such as lithographs and serigraphs. Unlike desktop ink-jet printers, the Epson uses a sophisticated seven-color print head that can produce a single droplet as small as 4 picoliters to create a smooth, continuous tone print and incredibly sharp text and line art that rivals a final press sheet. With the Micro Piezo DX3 Technology, each print can produce up to three different dot sizes which greatly decrease print times while optimizing quality. Average imaging time is 30-60 minutes per print. The prints have a "made-one-at-a-time" quality that is very appealing to the artist, dealer, and collector alike. Giclée prints have a unique artistic feel that must be seen to be appreciated. Preliminary data from Wilhelm Imaging Research, Inc. indicate the light-fastness of color UltraChrome prints made by the Epson 9600 printer will be rated from 82 to 100 years under glass on specific Epson media. For maximum print life, display all prints under glass or lamination or properly store them.

For an artist, the economic benefit stems from the fact that one can order giclées only as needed. The up-front costs needed for conventional lithographic processes is eliminated. If the first few giclées of a planned edition don't sell, the artist never has to order another print of that edition. In effect the print-on-demand nature of this process allows the artist to test the market in an economical way. The client can call and order more prints as they are needed, sold or ordered.

The Epson inkjet printer can be used for reproducing existing art, or the creation of original art. Artists creating images on computers can utilize this service to output their original concepts on a variety of mediums, including watercolor paper, canvas or photographic papers. Any material capable of holding the water-based ink is a potential substrate. Some artists add their own touches to the finished prints such as pen and ink, foil, and paint for a mixed media effect that makes each piece unique and original.

Literally dozens of museums in the U.S. and abroad have either mounted exhibitions of giclées or purchased them for their permanent collections. These include The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Museum of Fine Art (Boston), The Guggenheim (New York), The National Gallery for Women in the Arts (DC), The Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and the Smithsonian Institution Libraries (New York), among others.

Sara Muender's giclée prints are created by Brian Leonard at Custom Photo Lab in Duluth, Minnesota. For more information, a demonstration, or a free consultation, please contact Brian Leonard at Custom Photo Lab at (218) 722-6759 or via e-mail at nimages@chartermi.net.