Gicleé Editions


Gicleé Prints Can Boost Artist Earnings

If you are an artist or are interested in artwork, you have probably heard the term “gicleé. It is a French word used to describe the process of making high-quality reproductions of original artworks or photographs that can be sold as limited or open edition prints.

What are gicleé prints? Simply stated they are inkjet prints with a pedigree. The word itself means “to spray,” and gicleés are made by the process of using high quality inkjet printers to spray tiny dots of colored ink onto paper or another medium.          

It all started in the late 1980s with the introduction of the Iris printer, a machine originally intended to make check proofs for offset printing presses. The machines used four inks similar to those used by the printing presses, the familiar CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) color sets. Unfortunately, the Iris printers didn’t do a good job of matching the results seen on the presses.

However, it was soon discovered that while the Iris machines did not have a bright future in the pre-press market, they could be used to make striking reproductions of scanned photographs or digital files made from artwork. Graham Nash, of the music group Crosby, Stills & Nash, saw an opportunity and in 1989 purchased an Iris printer to reproduce his photographs. Two years later he founded Nash Editions to produce high quality fine art reproductions using the Iris system. One of Nash’s printmakers, Jack Duganne, coined the term gicleé to describe the results.

Although gicleé prints made on the Iris printers were pleasing to the eye, they were not very stable. The inks were water-soluble and a single drop of water could easily ruin a fine print. Efforts were made to solve this by spraying or laminating a protective layer onto the prints. Later, inks were improved but the Iris system was never able to produce prints that could be described as truly archival, able to hold up for the long term.

Around the turn of the century Iris printers were overtaken by large format printers made by other companies, notably Epson. These printers use pigment inks that are more durable and able to resist the ravages of time and the environment. While most of today’s versions still use ink sets based on the classic CMYK model, additional ink tones have been introduced to further improve the quality of reproduction.

For example the 17- and 44-inch Epson fine art machines used at Moab Printworks have a total of nine UltraChrome inks installed, including a choice of matt and photo blacks (used alternately depending on the qualities of the paper) plus light black, light light black, vivid cyan, light cyan, vivid magenta, light magenta and yellow. When printed on acid-free papers, these inks are truly archival and will remain bright for a hundred years or more with proper care.

We can produce a complete limited edition or print-on-demand, which is the best choice if you choose to offer an open edition. We have a high-quality scanner that can handle smaller works, and can photograph larger works with a top-line Nikon camera to produce large working files. We will fine tune the image in Photoshop and make a proof print for approval before creating an edition.

Gicleé editions can give your artwork a kind of immortality by making fine art reproductions that continue to sell for years, even long after the original might have been sold. We can print your art on fine art papers, and even canvas or metal.

To discuss the opportunities of making gicleés part of your marketing plan, give us a call at 435-355-0121 or call David’s cell phone at 435-210-8158.

Gicleé Prints and Note Cards

We produce artist’s editions of unsurpassed quality and at reasonable cost when ordered in quantity. For example, our already competitive cost for an 8×10 print made on acid-free paper with archival pigment inks is just $8.50, if you order a quantity of ten or more you will receive a 50 percent discount, or just $4.25 each. Order 50 or more and take off 60 percent to pay just $3.40 each.

We can also print your fine art note cards, yielding unsurpassed quality at a reasonable cost. For example, 5×7 note cards with envelope printed on archival paper costs as little as $1.50 each for up to 50 of each image. Print 51 to 100 and the price drops to $1.37 each, and order more than 100 of each and pay just $1.25 each. With a minimum order of 100 cards, prices include setup and typesetting for artist information, logo etc. Check with us for details and other formats.

From Our Clients

Tatsy Guild asked us to create a set of note cards featuring her landscape watercolors. We scanned the artwork, worked the images up to create the best balance of color and contrast, and designed the layout for the cards. We printed them on a high quality paper stock, Archival Polar Matte from Red River Paper. Tatsy’s work is evocative of the Desert Southwest, combining geometric shapes to hint at the landscape scenes. The example shown at right is titled Sun Bursting Through Clouds. We also designed and printed a cover sheet with thumbnails of the four images to go in a package containing one of each of the four cards. Tatsy had this to say about our work:

“I couldn’t be happier about the printing job that Moab Printworks did for me. Not only was their final printing spectacular, but their attention to the details of layout and design were also terrific. Everything surpassed my expectations. I highly doubt that I would be satisfied with any other printing process now.” – Tatsy Guild, Watercolor Artist

Nancye Culbreath is a fine art painter who operated a frameshop and gallery in Colorado for 15 yearsbefore moving recently to Monticello. She came to Moab Printworks to make gicleé reproductions of about ten of her original paintings. We printed them for her on archival Red River Polar Matt paper to create a series of sizes up to about 11×20 inches. Here is what she had to say about our work:

“I was extremely pleased by the thoroughness and knowledge of printing that Mark Brown and David Brown showed me … as well as photographs that were impressively mounted or framed in their office. I was delighted that Mark took time working on my images for reproduction, checking back with me by phone or email to be certain I was pleased with the result. By doing so, I received the best quality of professionalism that is impossible to find if you take your images to a “quick print” store. David and Mark have gone above and beyond my expectations and I’m thrilled that I now have Moab Printworks as my professional fine art printer.” — Nancye Culbreath, Painter