Making Giclee or Art Prints

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Is it worth creating art or Giclee prints of your work and what does it involve?

From Denise Macgregor

Giclee Print of Wild Tulips by Denise Macgregor

Think about all the time and effort you put into a painting. And then the joy of selling it. Trouble is, when it is gone, it is gone. And you have to start all over again. Now imagine selling it over and over again, at a reduced price so that many others can share your work, with minimum effort and high long-term returns. That is what can happen if you make prints your paintings. The methods available today are very sophisticated, and easy, with minimum outlay.

Why should I buy an art or Giclee print rather than an original?
As an artist, I thought that the only thing to spend my hard-earned cash on would be an original work. After all, they are often available for reasonable amounts if you look for them. And, I must admit to being a bit snobbish about it really. Someone once said that when you buy an art print, all you are really buying is the frame… the print is not worth much, and will not usually appreciate in value, as could a painting. But then I remembered when I first began to collect art for my walls. I certainly could not afford originals, and art prints were my only option. In that way I could look at really great works of art for a minimum amount of money. It’s a bit like writing a song, you don’t sell the song, you sell records.

How did you decide to make Giclee prints?
First of all, I thought it necessary to see if people liked my work and if there might be a market for art prints. Yes, I had exhibitions and sold quite a few pieces in them. But many of my friends said they liked my work, but could not afford it. So I tested the market and made greetings cards of my paintings on my computer at home. I displayed these at my exhibitions, and to my surprise they all sold. They cost me about 50p each to make, taking into account the card stock, envelopes, cellophane wrappers etc and I sold them for £1.50 each. Selling them all led me to believe that my work was well liked, and that there might be a market for prints.

How did you find a printer who makes Giclee prints?
By accident, really. I requested information from a number of specialist printers who advertised in artist’s magazines, and found this to be very helpful. Then, at a networking meeting I casually mentioned to a friend that I was thinking about having art prints made of my paintings. Shortly afterwards I received a call from a local printer who had just seen my friend, who gave him my name. Since he had recently invested in the latest equipment for producing high-quality Giclee prints but had never used it for fine art prints, he asked if he could quote on my printing needs. We met shortly afterwards. I found it useful to use a local printer, as I could easily drop by to review progress, but I don’t think this is totally necessary, as they will always send a proof prior to printing.


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