Giclée Printing

Giclée Printing

The name derives from the French noun ‘Giclée’ which translates as a ‘spray’ of liquid. In Giclée printing there is no dot screen or any mechanical intermediate process in the production; the ink is literally sprayed onto the paper and when everything is calibrated correctly, it delivers a perfect reproduction with all the tonalities, hues and detail of the original painting. Many prints are now referred to as being a ‘Giclée’ even though they are actually reproduced using a far more basic 4-colour ink jet process, but a true Giclée comes from a professional 8/12 colour printer using high quality Archival paper and Archival inks that are light-fast and non water soluble. These prints are the industry gold standard and are commonly found in museums and prestigious art galleries.

For a number of reasons Giclées have revolutionised the way in which fine art printing is done. In previous years I used a very different process whereby the original painting was photographed on a large format camera and then this was turned into a master plate, known as the printers ‘matrix’. From this I would be given a predetermined quantity of prints which equaled the exact number in the limited edition plus one artists proof and once I had seen and approved them, the matrix was destroyed. No further prints could be made.

Giclée prints are produced from a digital master, which is usually created by scanning the painting. The technician accurately calibrates the colours to the printer and the specific archival paper stock that has been chosen and runs off a test print to place alongside the original painting. Once an exact match has been made and approved by the artist, the file is then labeled as the Giclée master. Being in a digital form it is now possible to run just a single print for a gallery exhibition and then print to order as and when additional numbers from the edition are sold. Each reproduction is identical even if prints are made months or even years apart. Once the complete number of prints within the edition has been printed, the digital master is deleted, but in theory it is possible for an unscrupulous artist to continue producing prints. To ensure the validity of every print within my own limited editions, I provide a certificate of provenance. The certificate carries the edition number, the individual print number, the date of printing and my signature. The digital file is then deleted.

The advantages of Giclée printing are considerable; the exquisite quality of reproduction, coupled with the fact that within the fixed number of the edition it is possible to offer different paper sizes to suit buyers individual requirements and also print onto high quality canvas. Once stretched, the effect can be almost identical to the artists original canvas. On a secondary level there is great benefit to the artist because Giclée’s are printed to order, therefore the genuine risk of storing 50 - 500 (for many artists as much as 1,000 prints) and keeping them in pristine condition is removed.

As with everything, there is always a downside and premium quality Giclée prints (pronounced as Zhee-Klay) are expensive to produce. This is reflected in the price at which they are offered for sale, however the purchaser is getting the best possible reproduction of the original painting in the form of a canvas or heavy-weight paper print, with certified provenance from an exclusive limited edition.

My printed editions are produced by the fine art specialists 'The Whole Picture Company'