What is a Giclée Print? A Process of Quality Fine Art Digital Printing
The new buzz word in the world of fine art prints? Giclée, a type of high quality digital art print made using high resolution inkjet printers. Derived from the French verb “gicler,” meaning to spray, giclée has quickly become the print method of choice for art galleries and art collectors looking for accurate reproductions of paintings, drawings, photographs and other original two-dimensional artwork.
Giclée (/ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-KLAY or /dʒiːˈkleɪ/) is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. The name originally applied to fine art prints created on IRIS printers in a process invented in the late 1980s but has since come to mean any inkjet print.
Printers first started experimenting with giclée in the 1990s with the arrival large scale ink-jet printers. Today, with the capability of 8-color and 12-color printing, popular giclée printer brands include Epson Stylus Pro 7900 Printer or the Epson Stylus Pro 9890 Designer Edition, ... as an example.
To make a giclée print, a digital file (“high-res jpeg) of the object to be printed is created. Then, using archival quality ink, the image is printed onto any one of an array of textures and finishes. Popular substrates (base materials) in giclée printing include using specialty papers:
- cotton canvas,
- water color and other special fine art paper,
- photo papers (matte and glossy), and
- textured vinyl.
The result is an amazingly detailed print. How does giclée stack up against traditional 4-color lithography prints? Consider these key advantages:
Excellent Color Accuracy: Digital 12-color technology allows for highly accurate color matching with original artwork compared to standard 4-color printing.
Unlimited Print Runs: Once an image is digitally created and saved, additional printed reproductions can be made with minimal effort and reasonable cost.
Size Variety: Want to make two prints... one to fit a wall and the other to fit in a wallet? Digitally printed images can be easily scaled to any size.
Media Variety: Want to turn your photo into a watercolor? With the wide range of canvases and art papers, including water color paper, to choose from in creating prints, giclee allows for truly customized and unique prints.\
Is it real or is it giclée?
As you explore the world of giclée, whether as someone who makes prints or collects them, you may be pleasantly surprised to find how versatile and true-to-the-original giclée prints can be. This is no doubt why giclée prints can today be found in museums, art galleries, photographic galleries, and in art collections across the world.
Some of Foto Club's favorite printers and printer supplies used for producing the best in digital giclée prints are found here:
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