Giclee Printing FAQ
A common question amongst artists regarding giclee printing is: How are Giclee art prints made? In giclee 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. Giclee (pronounced Gee’clay) is a French term meaning to spray or squirt, which is how an inkjet printer works. However, it is not the same as a standard desktop inkjet printer, and is much larger. Giclee prints are a little over a metre wide and are often affectionately referred to as a “knitting machine” as they look very similar.
Another popular question regarding giclee is: Do Giclee printers use ordinary printer inks? No. They use special light-fast inks, which, if kept out of the sun, will remain true for up to 25 years. The way the image is scanned is different also. The original is scanned directly on a drum scanner, in my printer’s case, it can scan flexible images up to 500 x 700 mm. If the image is larger, or cannot be taken off the stretcher frames, then a large format transparency must be taken of the piece, and this is then scanned. I have done one this way, and find that it works quite well, but you must factor in the cost of the professional photograph, and the additional time it takes.
And of course, most artists want to know what kind of printing paper is used for Giclee prints.
Giclee prints can be produced on any paper as you wish, and printers generally have several specific ones to choose from. I chose to print on to canvas. My original paintings are on canvas, and I wanted the Giclee prints to be as close to the originals as possible, not only in colour, but also in texture. And canvas prints are much more durable than paper as they do not crease when rolled for mailing.