Artists Printing – What you need to know about online giclée printing
Starting out artists printing their artworks as giclée prints need to realise there is more to giclée printing, than just printing. We’d also like to stress that we are fine art printers, with a knowledge and understanding of colour, the technical requirements of colour and how this impacts the different fine art papers available.
Also we discuss what you need to provide and consider, when it comes to ordering your giclée prints online. We also discuss other aspects of fine art printing services as well.
A giclée print compared to a consumer inkjet print
To begin you need to know what giclée prints actually are. They are digital prints created using atleast 6-12 pigment inks. These inks are squirted as micro dots onto specially created fine art printing paper. This fine art printing paper is coated in a membrane, which allows the pigment ink to sit on the paper, not absorbed in it.
There are some people who think an ordinary inkjet print such as your home printer, is the same as a giclée print. In a nutshell it isn’t. A giclée print is printed with archival pigment inks, with a large gamut colour creating fine micro dots of detailed colour and shadow. Whereas your home or consumer printer uses dye inks. Also a giclée print is printed on archival fine art printing paper. Therefore a true giclée print will be a superior high quality archival print, compared to an inkjet print.
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First step to fine art printing
Firstly for artists printing their artwork, you need a digital file of your artwork. This can be achieved by either scanning your artwork or photographing your artwork. This is something you can either consider trying yourself or get a professional to do it. Achieving a good photograph of your art or a decent scan of your art is not easy, so be wary of which professional you choose, ensure they have experience in digitising your type of artwork.
Issues with scanning and photographing
Bear in mind subtle watercolour washes may be lost in the scanning process. Also you cannot scan oil paintings using a flatbed scanner as usually they flatten the painting and remove peaks of oil paint too and can become stuck to the glass.
If you choose to photograph your artwork yourself, consider using at least a DSLR camera, to create a larger digital file. Many artists use their mobile phone, but they don’t realise the actual file created is tiny. Meaning only a small giclée print, usually the size of a beer mat, can be achieved from their file.
A good fine art printers can edit your digital files, either to enlarge, remove marks and to white balance your image, though of course the size of the file will limit how much enlarging can be achieved.
Please see our Digital File to Print Size Calculator for more help
What size digital file do you need for artists printing?
Typically the file needs to be between 300-360ppi high resolution, with an embedded AdobeRGB colourspace. So a wider range of colours and definition can be achieved in the giclée printing process.
You also need to ensure the image is in focus in all areas, especially if you wish to create a large print, otherwise any imperfections will be clearly seen in the final giclée print.
Photographing your artwork
Here at The Artists Print Room we offer a professional art photographing service, because we believe you achieve a far better quality digital file by photographing your artwork. We are experts at photographing artwork and are happy to save you time and hassle.
What is a print-ready file
Before commencing your giclée print order, we ask if the digital file you’re supplying is a print-ready file.
A print ready file is an Image size at exact print size in millimetres at 300-360ppi, saved as .tif with embedded RGB colourspace.
Also that all marks and cropping has already been done.
If your digital image of your artwork includes, the frame it is in or the easel it sits on, then of course your final giclée print will include these items. At The Artists Print Room we endeavour to contact you to say, the file is not print ready and needs editing. Either you can edit the file or you can request our editing services, to edit your file for you. Please feel free to Get in touch
So overall a Print-Ready file is a digital file of your artwork only. Also all the editing has been done and it is the correct size for creating a giclée print.
Also bear in mind that if your digital image file already has a border, the actual print will be smaller.
At The Artists Print Room, we offer an image file inspection. We can tell you what size fine art print can be achieved and whether any editing needs doing.
Artists Printing artwork need to consider aspect ratio and cropping
Artists need to consider the aspect ratio of their original artwork, if you decide to create a different size giclée print to the original artwork size.
Aspect ratio is the measurement of an image or artwork by width to height, such as a size of 12” x 18” has an aspect ratio of 2 : 3.
Therefore, if you decided to create a giclée print of the artwork as a different size, such as A3 size, which is 11.7” x 16.5” with an aspect ratio of 1.414 : 1 you have a different aspect ratio. So you have to crop the digital image to create the size you want.
Alternatively if you chose a giclée print size of 16” x 24”, it has an aspect ratio of 2 : 3, the same as the original artwork. Therefore this would require no cropping.
See our Aspect Ratio charts for more information
Choosing print sizes for artists printing
It can feel overwhelming working out aspect ratios, what print size restrictions there are and how large your prints should be. Therefore to give you a freedom of choice, here at The Artists Print Room we print bespoke sizes. We are able to print up to 1117 mm wide and 2400mm length on fine art paper rolls.
We also have a helpful blog that discusses giclée print sizes, please click the link “Choosing your print size for Giclée Printing”
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Choosing a fine art paper for your giclée prints
What paper you choose for your fine art prints can have a big effect on how your artwork looks printed. Certain artworks look better on textured fine art paper, while bright white papers can suit digital artworks better.
At The Artists Print Room we have 19 papers and canvases for you to choose from. Created by the World leading fine art paper mills Hahnemühle, Canson Infinity, St. Cuthberts Mill and Ilford.
We produce a fine art paper/ canvas sample substrates book, so you can see and touch the papers for yourself. Each paper and canvas has a colour gamut. Therefore you can see which one will suit your art better.
Order Samples of our Substrates here .
What are ICC Profiles?
ICC profiles are simply a calibration profile, with standards set by the International Color Consortium. Put simply, a profile has a set of data that describes the properties of a colour space, the gamut (range) that a monitor can display and also what a printer can print. For example Adobe RGB and sRGB are colour spaces.
Each fine art paper has different properties, such as surface structure (satin, glossy, matt, texture, felt) which affects the colour gamut. So they each have their own ICC profile. At The Artists Print Room we create our own customised ICC profiles for every paper and canvas we have available.
By downloading our customised ICC profiles you can look at your digital image file of your artwork, on your screen and see how it will look on your chosen fine art paper.
What’s next? Print Proofs / Test Prints
So you have finally got a great digital image of your artwork, with all editing done and you know what size print you want. Now you may choose to do a print proof, also called a test print. This is helpful if you want to see if you’re happy with the digital file you have created and whether it looks like the original artwork. You may want to use this print service a couple of times, making colour editing adjustments, until you’re happy.
Also you may still be deciding over which fine art paper or canvas best suits your artwork. Therefore it makes sense to do a test print on one or two papers. So you can compare them.
A Print Proof is a cross section at 100% of the digital file, rather than a small print of the whole artwork. This way you get to see the finer colour and details. An overall small print will not truly represent the final print size you’re looking for.
Artists Printing – Finally
Now that you have a digital image file of your artwork, that you’re happy with. Whether we have photographed the artwork or you have supplied the file, you’re ready to order your giclée prints. You’ve taken the time and effort to produce your artwork. So it’s worth taking the time to get the most out of your artwork, to produce the best high quality art prints you can. Once you have been through the process you will have a better understanding of what fine art printing actually is.
Of course there are other decisions to make, such as the depth of border around the print, will it be a limited edition print, is the print going to be mounted onto board, do you want deckle edging, do you want the print varnished, do you need a certificate of authenticity ?
Our online ordering giclée printing service guides you through your choices.
Did you know that we are the only fine art printing company in the UK which has been accredited by Canson Infinity, Hahnemühle Fine Art, Epson Digigraphie, ILFORD and the Fine Art Trade Guild? Also, why not sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with news, products and future competitions at The Artists Print Room – just complete the form below.