Are you interested in selling prints of your original artwork? Are you confused about what Fine Art Giclee Printing is? If so, you are not alone. In this post, discover what Fine Art Giclee Printing is and what your options are.
Fine Art Giclee Printing – What Artists Need to Know
There are many ways for an artist to supplement their income. Fine Art Giclee Printing has been around for over twenty years and is helping artists to generate extra income while they are waiting for their originals to sell.
Very few artists can successfully make a living just selling their original paintings or artwork. With the help of technology, artists have many different opportunities to supplement their income.
The internet has made it easy for artists to promote their art around the world. Videos have helped artists to produce tutorials for learning artists. Giclee printing has made it possible for artists to sell high-quality prints of their original work.
What is Fine Art Giclee Printing?
Giclee Printing is defined by Wikipedia as:
“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 1980’s but has since come to mean any inkjet print. It is often used by artists, galleries, and print shops.”
Many artists become confused between the terms digital prints, inkjet prints, and giclee prints. Because digital printing is relatively new and technology changes quickly, these words are often used interchangeably by galleries and artists. Many times, the pricing and terminology will confuse a potential buyer, and the result will be no sale. If you are selling prints of your originals, it is imperative to have clear and easy to understand descriptions as well as a consistent pricing scale.
ArtBusiness.com described giclee prints into five basic categories in an article Giclee Printing and Pricing for Artist Limited Editions.
Images conceived and created entirely on a computer that exists only as digital files until they’re printed out. These are generally referred to as original digital works of art.
Photographs that are taken with a camera and printed out directly from the original digital files or original negatives. These are generally referred to as original digital photographs.
Images of existing works of art like paintings, photographs, watercolors, screen prints, etc. that are either photographed or scanned or uploaded into a computer, and then printed out to look exactly the same as the originals. These are generally referred to as digital reproductions or copies of original works of art.
Digital photographs or images that are uploaded or scanned into a computer and then manipulated, enhanced, reworked or otherwise altered by a digital process (using programs like Photoshop, for example) before they printed out. These can sometimes be more like reproductions and sometimes more like original digital works of art, depending on the extent and degree of the manipulation.
Giclee or digital images of any kind that are enhanced, reworked or altered after they are printed out- like hand-embellished with paint, watercolor, collage or some other medium. These can sometimes be more like reproductions and sometimes more like original mixed-media works of art, depending on the extent and degree of the manipulation.
You can see many variables can come into play when trying to describe your art prints. It is important for you to describe your prints honestly and accurately. Let the customer know exactly what they will be receiving when they purchase your products. Misleading buyers will only lead to a bad reputation you will never be able to rebuild.
Some artists will modify their prints with a medium of choice. Include any changes made to your copies in the descriptions. Describe how much you altered the print. Explain what colors, medium and what percentage of the print was changed. Remember, if you modify the print in any way, you will not be able to claim it is a replica of the original.
The bottom line is to describe your prints honestly and accurately.
Limited Edition Prints
Some artists sell a limited edition of their originals to generate extra income from an original piece of artwork.
Not too long ago, artists would hire a printing company to print a specific number of prints of their original paintings or drawings. The artist would then offer them as a limited edition. The prints would include the artist’s signature, date and a number of the print which would look something like 45/100.
Many collectors collect limited editions because they know there will be a limited amount being circulated. In some cases, limited edition prints will increase in value after they have all been sold.
Offering a limited edition will usually increase the value of your prints which will allow you to charge more. However, once all the prints have been sold, no more revenue can be generated from the original piece. You will want to take that into consideration when you are deciding to offer a limited edition.
If you choose to sell limited editions, never offer more prints than initially reported. If you do so, you will tarnish your reputation and lose your audience. Weigh out the pros and cons to determine if selling limited editions is best for you.
In the past, selling prints was risky. The artist would have to invest in the prints, hoping to sell them. Today artists do not have to carry an inventory. Purchasing printers is more affordable, and POD (Print on Demand) sites allow you to sell prints without carrying an inventory.
Due to technology continuously improving and online sale increasing, you will find more and more POD services available. Most POD services offer similar features. Take the time to review the terms & conditions and commissions. Most sites are very similar, but you want to make sure the site you use is your best option.
Popular POD Sites:
Fine Art America claims to be the world’s largest marketplace and Print-On-Demand company and has been around since 2006.
When I first started using Fine Art America, they focused on prints and greeting cards, over the past year they have introduced prints on apparel and home décor.
Fine Art America’s software makes it easy to upload an image and have it live for sale. Like most POD services, Fine Art America will take the order, process the order and ship the product to the buyer.
ArtPal has well over 70,000 selling original art, prints and custom framing. It is easy to start selling on ArtPal, and better yet it is free to get started. Unlike most POD sites, you can sell original artwork as well as using their free POD services.
Another positive is you do not have to wait to get paid. ArtPal processes the payments and transfers the funds to your account.
Imagekind is similar to Fine Art America and has been around since 2006. Buyers can be sure to find what they are looking for with over one million images by independent artists around the world.
Starting is easy and uploading images will only take a few moments.
More POD Sites:
This is a small list of the POD sites on the internet. Take a few moments to become familiar with what each site has to offer.
Many artists believe once they upload an image on a POD site or their online art gallery, they will start to see sales rolling in. This is just not true. Uploading your art is only the first step. You have made the art available to be purchased. Now you must let people know it is out there. This is when the work begins.
Every successful artist is a specialist in marketing. They know how to promote and market their art so they can be discovered by collectors who are interested in their artistic style. They spend a specific amount of time each week to learn about marketing and implementing their marketing strategies.
Here are a couple of articles to help get you started:
- 6 Content Marketing Strategy Basics Artists Must Know
- 10 Social Media Marketing Tips Every Artist Must Know
To keep up to date with what’s new in art marketing, sign up for my free newsletter. Every Friday I will send you a newsletter with my latest art marketing articles.
Some artists do very well selling prints of their original artwork. In fact, some artists generate over 80% of their income from prints.
If you sell a lot of prints, you might want to consider purchasing an inkjet printer. Printers are now affordable, and your profit margin will be much higher.
(Amazon Affiliate Link)
- Print wirelessly and effortlessly from your compatible iPhone, iPad, or iPod
- Compatible with Individual/Combo CLI-251 XL Ink Tanks and PGI-250 XL Pigment Black Ink Tanks.
- You only need to replace the inks that run out saving you money.
- 6-color ink system, the results are photo quality perfect for replicating original artwork.
(Amazon Affiliate Link)
- 8 Dye based inks for amazing color.
- 3 Dye based inks are dedicated grayscale for beautiful, crisp black and white prints.
- The Optimum Image Generating System reproduces colors by logically selecting the optimum ink combination and placement.
- Save by replacing only the ink that runs out.
- 4800 x 2400 dpi for incredible detail, perfect for replicating original artwork.
Depending on the price of your prints, you could have a printer paid off with about a dozen sales.
You will want to try different papers to see what will work best for you. Every paper will have a different look and texture.
Popular Paper Used for Fine Art Giclee Printing:
Hahnemuhle William Turner 310gsm Deckle Edge 8.5″ x 11″ – 25 sheets Available in different sizes. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308gsm Deckle Edge – 8.5″ x 11″ – 25 sheets Available in different sizes. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Hahnemuhle German Etching 310gsm 11″ x 17″ 25 Sheets Available in different sizes. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Hahnemuhle Museum Etching 350gsm 13″ x 19″ 25 Sheets Available in different sizes. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Hahnemuhle Fine Art Bamboo Fiber Natural White, Smooth Warm Tone Inkjet Paper, 290gsm, 8.5×11″, 25 Sheets Available in different sizes. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta 325, Ultra Smooth High Gloss, Bright White Inkjet Paper, 325gsm, 8.5×11″, 25 Sheets Available in different sizes. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
11 x 17″ Photo Rag Baryta Fine Art Paper (25 Sheets) Available in different sizes. (Amazon Affiliate Link)
Spend some time researching the paper before you purchase a specific brand. You will be able to make a better decision on what will work best for your artwork and your audience.
I recommend only using one or two different types of paper. Most buyers do not understand the difference and if you give them too many options they might feel overwhelmed and not purchase anything.
Many artists supplement their income selling Giclee Prints of their original art. You have the choice of selling a limited edition or selling unlimited prints. You also have the option of using a POD service or printing your own prints.
Now that you have a solid understanding of what Giclee prints are, you will be able to make the best choice for your business.
If you are interested in learning more about growing your art business, visit Nevue Fine Art Marketing Courses. New material is being added regularly.
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