To Giclée or Not?

Herb Tannen Art

What is "Giclée"?

The term “giclée” (from the French "gicler” meaning “to spritz”) has become the industry standard for inks and media that are the state of the art for brilliance and longevity. A properly-made giclée print begins with the creation of a high-resolution digital master printing file with our Better Light digital scanning camera, the same system in use by many of the world’s finest galleries and museums. Next, we make one proof (or more) in consultation with the artist. During this stage, we take great care to help both first timers and old pros make sure they get the look and feel they desire with their finished prints. Finally, the file is printed on archival paper or canvas with equally archival Epson K3 inks on a printer made for this purpose. The final product should last at least 100 years or more without any deterioration (Epson claims 200 years!). This is why giclée prints are the fine art industry standard for digitally reproducing works of art..

How Many prints do I need to make at once?

Only one, though the first one is relatively expensive, as it bears the costs of scanning, proofing, and print set-up. For example, let’s say an artist submits a watercolor, 18” x 24”. Our Better Light scan is $65 plus a one-time only fee for proofing and set-up of $25. The price for the first print on high-quality water color paper is $57, totaling $147. The additional prints, however, are only $49 at any time. This print-on-demand feature of giclée printing is a tremendous advantage. The old way of making a limited edition through offset lithography meant making a minimum of a few hundred prints!

How do I know if it makes sense to make giclées of my work?

If you mean economic sense, it depends on what prices your originals bring. A rule-of-thumb gallery formula is that a signed, numbered print should bring between 20-30% of the original. But many good artists have yet to “take off”. Even though they may be getting “art fair” prices today, there is potential for a big upside. These artists would be advised to invest in a high-quality digital master scan of their best pieces now before they are sold and go away for good. We routinely work with artists like this who bring in a dozen paintings or more to copy and proof, without printing. This brings the scanning prices down way down. Call us for a quote.

Can I bring in my own digital file?

We are always happy to look at a file an artists comes in with, but rarely are these suitable for making a fine-art print. The usual problems begin with insufficient size. For example, artists might use an I-phone with a 12 megapixel sensor (the current max). In digital terms, this is a file 4000 x 3000 of pixels which looks great on a computer screen, but when printed at 300 dpi, gives you a 10” x 13” — hardly big enough for a place on the wall. Then there are the issues of bad lighting, off-color and sharpness which we cover in the next “learn more”. We can sometimes improve these things but this is at an editing rate. Let us do it.
Penguin Digital Arts

Hours: M-F 9AM - 5PM  |  SATURDAY: By Appointment
31139 Via Colinas, Suite 304
Lindero Oaks Center, Westlake Village, California

(805) 707-8070

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