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Fine Art Western Gearmakers Fine Art Craftmanship Printing Process

What is a Giclee Print

Giclee printing replaced the older lithograph method which was done on a mechanical press with the ink being rolled onto hard paper. Lithos can be run off in large quantities because of the simple and relatively fast mechanical process. Once the ink dries, lithos cannot be altered. The litho process produces a very inexpensive piece of art and is appealing to many buyers.

The term Giclee (pronounced gee-clay) means “liquid spray” or “sprayed ink”. An advanced method of producing images of original paintings digitally using a computer. The original art is scanned electronically into a computer allowing the color or tones to be adjusted by the artist to match the original art as close as possible. Then a specialized high-tech ink jet printer transfers (sprays) the image of the original painting onto the chosen paper.

There are various types of giclee processes and printers. Depending on the type of printer, various types of paper can be chosen for the giclee print. Some printers transfer the inks to a coated paper while other print methods such as an Iris printer use absorbent watercolor paper which may match what the artist used for the original painting. Other variables affecting a giclee print could be the colors used in the original art which could determine which printer is more appropriate. Price is also a factor.

The end giclee result with an Iris printer is a very high quality reproduction with many of the same qualities of the original painting. Compared to other forms of giclee printing where the ink is sprayed onto a coated paper and not absorbed, the Iris method (ink is absorbed into the paper) produces a more durable print and closer resembles the original painting. Price is also a factor.

Giclee print editions are generally 100 – 350 numbered and signed by the artist. Most artists offer a certificate of authenticity with each print. Specifically Iris print editions are usually smaller 50 – 100 which increases the value of the fine art print.

Giclee prints offer the buyer the next best thing to owning an original. As with any fine art print, special care and handling is recommended to ensure the lasting beauty and longevity of the print. Consult with a professional and reputable framer for proper care of your Giclee print.