Giclée Fine Art Prints

Never before has technology allowed the artist to reproduce work with such quality and ease. State-of-the-art equipment allows printers to capture the emotional essence of original work through the fine art reproduction process known as Giclée Printing.

What is a Giclée?

From the French verb "to spray", the word Giclée (zhee-clay) is used to describe a digital fine art printmaking process. Giclée prints are created using a high-resolution inkjet printer. Images or paintings are carefully scanned and reproduced using stable pigment-based inks. Giclée are printed on a variety of substrates or mediums, the most common being watercolour paper or canvas. Image permanence is a concern to artists and collectors, the Giclée process gives fade & colour shift resistance of better than 125 years. Fine art reproduction has been revolutionized with the Giclée printing process. Giclée are digital reproductions of original artwork. Paper or canvas is individually mounted onto a drum that rotates during printing. As the drum spins a fine stream of ink droplets spray onto the chosen archival substrate. Since no screens are used in Giclée printing, the prints have a higher resolution than lithographs and the dynamic colour range is greater than serigraphy.

What is digital printmaking?

Digital printmaking utilizes computers to precisely control specialized digital printers. Most fine art printmakers use ink jet printers that apply ink to a variety of media, primarily high-quality watercolour papers and canvas. The digital printmaking process is capable of producing exceptional results for both original printmakers and for the reproduction of original works of art; because of its extended colour gamut and continuous tone characteristics, digital printmaking is considered a superior technology for printing all forms of art including photography.

How do I care for my Giclée print?

You can extend the life expectancy of a Giclée art prints by not hanging them in direct sunlight or in rooms with excessive moisture. Care for them as you would any fine artwork. Application of a UV coating is recommended for added protection.

How does a giclee print differ from an Iris print?

Giclée prints are sometimes referred to as Iris prints, but the piggybacking of terms can be confusing - and misleading. Iris prints usually refer to an earlier process developed for posters and proofs. Iris and Roland giclee represent the evolution of the process used for making Iris prints to the level of fine art, with a more refined system for fine-tuning colours and inks that, on average, resist fading 10 times longer than those used in Iris prints. A good analogy: giclee is to Iris prints what serigraphs are to screen prints.

How do giclee prints differ from lithographs and serigraphs?

Offset lithographs are created by taking a continuous tone image and processing it through a screen. The result is an image created with a series of dots, each one proportional in size to the density of the original at the location of that dot. Serigraphs are really screen prints. These prints are made by creating a set of screens, each representing one colour. Ink is then squeegeed through the screen and onto the media. For fine art reproduction purposes, the number of screens required to approximate the tonal qualities of the original are typically from 20 to more than 100. The larger the number of screens, the closer a serigraph can appear to be continuous tone and the more expensive it is to produce. Giclée prints have many advantages over both the offset lithograph and the serigraph. The colour available for giclee processing is limited only by the colour gamut of the inks themselves. Therefore, literally millions of colours are available and the limitation imposed by the screening process does not exist. The giclee process uses such small dots and so many of them that they are not discernible to the eye. A giclee print is essentially a continuous tone print showing every colour and tonal nuance. Giclée are printed on beautiful fine art papers and canvas and the result is a print befitting the definition of fine art in every way.

Commonly used giclee terms

Edition Size:

The total number of giclee printed, or pulled, of one particular image. Separate edition sizes are recorded for the signed and numbered giclee, artist's proofs and printer's proofs.

Limited Edition:

A reproduction of an original work of art that is signed and sequentially numbered by the artist. The total number of giclee is fixed or limited by the artist or the publisher.

Open-Edition:

A reproduction of an original work of art that is sometimes signed by the artist. The number of giclee published is not predetermined.

Signed and Numbered:

Limited-edition giclee that have been signed and sequentially numbered by the artist. The artist's signature is usually found in one of the lower corners of the giclee and is accompanied by a number that looks like a fraction; the top number indicates the number of the giclee and the bottom number indicates the total number of giclee in the edition.