Giclee (pronounced Gee’clay) is a French term meaning to spray or squirt, coined by Jack Duganne, a printmaker, which is how an inkjet printer works. However, it is not the same as a standard desktop inkjet printer, and is much larger. In Giclée printing, no screen or other mechanical devices are used and therefore there is no visible dot screen pattern. The image has all the tonalities and hues of the original painting. Prints are a little over a metre wide and are often affectionately referred to as a “knitting machine” as they look very similar.

Giclées do not use ordinary printers ink but special light-fast inks. The way the image is scanned is also different. The original is scanned directly on a drum scanner. Giclée prints can be produced on any paper as you wish, and printers generally have several specific ones to choose from. For me, if the original art is on canvas then that is what I prefer to use when printing. With my pencil work, I prefer a high quality art paper. I want the Giclée to be as close a reproduction of the original as possible, a clone.

The first Giclée I had made was of a drawing I did of my children, I was amazed when I put the original alongside of the Giclée…I could not tell the difference and found myself actually touching the picture to see which one was the original.

Since art can be printed and sold individually in accordance with demand. Inkjet printing has the added advantage of allowing artists to take total control of the production of their images, including the final color correction and the materials being used, and it is even feasible for individual artists to own and operate their own printers. If we do a Giclée of our original and limit that, say to, twenty prints then we as artist know there is only twenty and no extra prints are laying around. We can feel comfortable that when we sell to our collectors and say it is “Limited” we know that to be a fact.

These prints should receive the same care and attention as any other valuable artwork. The most important fact to remember is that all color fades. Some original watercolors and most lithographs will fade faster than a well-made Giclée print. Unlike lithographs and serigraphs, Giclées have undergone extensive, third-party fade-testing. Giclée prints are museum quality prints that offer extraordinary detail and the richest possible interpretation of an artist’s original work. Giclées are recognized as fine art prints by museums all over the world, many of which choose them as their own in-house custom-made prints from the great masters’ aging originals.

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