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Doodlebug1967
11-17-2005, 08:03 PM
Hi all!

I've just started playing in pastels and have had some interest from folks to purchase prints of a few pieces I have done so I'm looking into having some giclee prints done but know little about it. Does anyone have any suggestions in what to look for in a printer? I've also noticed that some offer certificates of authenticity and some don't. How important is that in offering/selling giclee prints?

I have a professional background in printing and pre-press operations (with my degree in commercial art and advertising design) so I know about the printing process and what it takes as well as how cost prohibitive it can be, especially for a budding artist. Now while working in publishing I still having close ties with the whole printing/publishing industry so I understand photographic processes, slides, digital images and resolution. That's not an issue. From what I can gather giclee's are an affordable alternative to traditional prints. Do those of you who have used them just have prints done as they are requested or have several run at one same time? This is a whole new perspective for me being the artist and not the prep-team. I've never worked anywhere that offered giclee's so this is all new to me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Bringer
11-17-2005, 09:21 PM
Hi,

Can't be of much help but the actual issue of Artists Magazine(November) has an article about it.
I've got two threads : October pastel links and November pastel links.
Can't remember if I have anything about it tough.

Best regards,

Josť

PeggyB
11-18-2005, 11:21 PM
[Quote] From what I can gather giclee's are an affordable alternative to traditional prints. Do those of you who have used them just have prints done as they are requested or have several run at one same time? [Quote]

"Affordable" is relative. Some clients will understand the whole "archival paper and ink" concept of giclee, and know that they can still expect to spend a lot of money depending upon the size of the product. Others will think in terms of "poster print" and expect to get it for very little money.

Since you are familiar with the printing process you know that finding someone who is able to successfully translate the digital colors of a painting into a print can be very frustrating. The pastel medium can be especially difficult to reproduce depending upon your technique. I've had giclee prints made of some of my work, and sat at the printmakers side while he worked on his computer getting the colors "tweeked" just right. This can be a very time consuming operation if you are both fussy about colors. Therefore, it isn't necessarily "inexpensive" (compared to the old method it is, but compared to a photocopy it isn't). The paintings that have only a few layers of color are wonderful - on my website you will see one titled "Seeing Red" and another titled "Purple Wave" that are super good examples of a few colors and glicee prints that are hard to tell from the original pastel paintings. You will also see one titled "Serenity" that is a multi layered painting with very dark shadow areas that's been very difficult to reproduce, and I'm not really satisfied with it as a good likeness of the original, but it is an "ok" image on it's own (although those who see it and not the original seem to like it well enough to buy it so I'm the one not too happy). That one I have reproduced on canvas. The person I work with is very fussy about using only the best inks and papers or canvas so my prices aren't exactly "low". However, they are less than the originals so I guess people balance one against the other. Unframed, "Seeing Red" is $300 for the print, and "Serentiy" (on canvas) is $400. They are almost the same size - 18 X 24. "Purple Wave" is $250 and 16 X 20. I am fortunate in that my printmaker will reproduce them one at a time. I'm not so fortunate in that he is a bit flacky and I can't get ahold of him easily, but that's a whole different issue!

In a nutshell, if you have a printmaker that will work with you until you are both satisfied with the result, that will give you a cost estimate before you begin, and that will print on demand, then it might be worth your while to go ahead with this project. However, I'd also find out just how much the prospective clients really are willing to pay for a print of the work. I know several artists who went to great expense to have multiple copies of their work made with archival processes, and when all was said and done most of those copies are in storage and used as wedding, birthday and holiday gifts for friends and relatives!

Another thing to consider is some artists are making "photocopy" prints of their smaller work. They don't try to pass them as archival, and the prices are indeed very affordable. However, pastels are still not easy to do in this manner due to the number of colors we pastelists usually use, and the pastel dust isn't exactly welcome on the scanner bed!


Oh yes, your question about a Certificate of Authenticity - That is entirely up to you. Does the print have your signature and the edition number on it? That should be proof enough that the print is "authentically" yours and in limited quantities. Some certificates go into detail about what paper and inks are used and what length of time they can be expected to survive, and that can be useful information for clients. They also include the number of limited editions of that print as well as the title and your signature. IMHO - they are a marketing tool that may or may not be worth the paper and expense of printing them. Ask other artists in your area what they have experienced in this regard, and you'll have a more accurate answer about prospective clients' reaction and expectations.

Peggy

Paula Ford
11-19-2005, 12:21 PM
Peggy,
A while ago, someone posted a link to this site and I was wondering what you thought about it...

http://www.iprintfromhome.com/

My brother said he "wants" two of the paintings I just did, but would rather have prints. (I don't have the heart to charge him even though I AM a starving artist.)

So, I'm looking for an affordable way to give him prints.

Thank you,
Paula

PeggyB
11-19-2005, 02:40 PM
Paula - I am very familiar with iprintfromhome because they print my slides from the digital images I send them. So far, I'm quite happy with the results, but then I'm pretty careful about the quality of the digitals I send to them. I've also had them print hard copy photographs, and I've had mixed success with those. Some are downright awful, and since the same digital that I then take to Costco to have printed is often just fine I'm not sure what to tell you. I've not tried having them create prints in part due to the uncertain satisfaction with the photographs.

Working with this type of service, you will get only what they see on your digital image. They won't be able to "fiddle" with the color because obviously they don't have the original artwork to look at. That is one reason they will be more reasonably priced than working with a local print maker. However, sometimes even though the print doesn't have the exact same colors as the original painting it is still a beautiful picture - I know one artist who liked the print colors of one pieice better than the original pastel work, and painted a pastel to match the print! :)

About all I can suggest is that you try having a small print made so you aren't out too much money should you be unsatisfied with the result. Send the best digital you can get. My daughter-in-law has an expensive digital camera that she uses for my slides, and the result is better than the less expensive digital camera I have. We use natural lighting - outside on a high overcast day seems to work the best for us. You might write to them to ask what type of paper they are printing on and how archival the inks they use in the process might be. I've written to them once on another matter, and they were very responsive.

I'll be interested to hear what you learn, and if you proceed how happy you are with the results.

Peggy

Paula Ford
11-19-2005, 02:43 PM
Thanks so much Peggy for your response. I'll order a small print today or tomorrow and when I receive it, will let you know.

Thanks again!!
Paula

Bringer
11-19-2005, 03:53 PM
Hi,

Why not make slides from slide films ?
It's cheaper and I guess that the quality is better.
Unless one has a zillion pixels camera I guess.
I make 24 slides for 6 Euro I guess. Already framed.
Unless one wants to manipulate the image digitally, that is before turning into slide.

Best regards,

Josť

PeggyB
11-19-2005, 05:45 PM
Well Jose, one of my reasons not to use slide film is I don't have a camera that takes good enough pictures or the proper lighting set up to do that! Among my many "lives" I worked for a short while in a photography print shop (before Costco forced the small business owner out of business, sad to say). I was allowed the use of the shop's cameras and lighting room, and learned all about bracketing, and lighting and how to use the "old fashioned" camera, but can't afford to buy all of that for myself, and in the meantime I've wasted a lot of slide film on images that aren't right and I won't use when I bracket or don't use the proper lighting when using someone elses camera at home. I'm really not that good of a photographer! :o LOL

Another reason of late is that finding a photography shop that will develope the slide film on site is just about impossible these days. The small shops are all going out of business or turning into digital reprint centers. There isn't a big enough demand for them to keep the equipment that developes the slide film, sorry to say, and I live in a very large metropolitain area (17 miles east of Seattle). For many years I've heard from others who live in not so large areas complain about needing slides to enter competitions because where they live has no available resources for getting slides. Now that it can be done digitally, and so many people have or know someone who has a good enough digital camera their problem is solved. In my area it is less expensive for me to get the digital slides (already framed) from iprintfromhome (including having to pay for shipping) than it is regular slide film, and there isn't any wasted slides for me to have to toss. Nor do I have to make that horrid trip into Seattle to get to a shop that will develope it. (rush "hour" here is about 24 hours long! :mad: ) I always allow 10 days for receiving them, but have yet to need that much time, and they come all the way from NY to WA.

As for manipulating the image digitally, well that would be a huge No-No if you are planning on entering the slide into a competition. Most prospectus have a statement that the painting must be represented correctly, and if it gets into the show and isn't the same as the slide they have the work will be disqualified.

I should have told everyone that the only time I need my d-in-l's camera is if the weather won't cooperate and I have to shoot the pictures inside under color corrected lighting. For some reason my little Monolta DiMage G600 (6.0 mega pixels) works well when outside, but not so well inside even with the corrected lighting.

So in a nutshell, there is absolutely nothing wrong with your method of getting slides, but for me it is easier and less expensive to use digital images.

Hope this explains everything.

Peggy

PeggyB
11-19-2005, 05:51 PM
PS I know there are other places that will do the same thing as iprintfromhome. I think Costco does, but haven't tried it yet. Since Issaquah is the "home office" of Costco and they have a huge store here, I really should check that out. The last time I was there at their photo center, they told me I could download digitals from home to send to them, and they would be ready for me to pick up within an hour. That was for hard prints. Slides would probably take longer if they do them at all. Then I'd save on the shipping fee. :)

Peggy

Bringer
11-19-2005, 06:22 PM
Hi Peggy,

Well, here it's more easy to find a house that reveals (dunno if this is the correct word) slide films than turning digital into slide. However these are also rare.
There are a couple here in Lisbon.
When I wanted to send my painting to Pastel 100, I bought a Fuji slides film (guess it was Sensia, well it's not the pro one) and took it to the house.
They gave it next day or the other, can't remember.
Here one pays per roll, not per image. So since I only had one image I had to pay as 24 i.e. more or less 6 Euro.
You talked about light conditions, but that applies to reflex as to digital cameras.
But of course that the future is digital.

Regards,

Josť

P.S. I have a Minolta 505 si 28-80 35mm reflex
and a Kodak CX7530 5 MP digital

PeggyB
11-20-2005, 01:27 AM
Hi Jose

[Quote] Here one pays per roll, not per image. So since I only had one image I had to pay as 24 i.e. more or less 6 Euro.
You talked about light conditions, but that applies to reflex as to digital cameras.
But of course that the future is digital.
P.S. I have a Minolta 505 si 28-80 35mm reflex
and a Kodak CX7530 5 MP digital [Quote]

Here too we have to pay by the roll, and not the image. I don't recall what I paid last time I had this done, but it seemed expensive when all I wanted was 3 slides. When I have digital images made into slides I pay by the slide. At iprintfromhome, they give me (and anyone else) credit of $1 everytime someone mentions that I referred their service, and then I get another $1 the first time that person makes an order. Therefore, I don't remember how much the per slide cost is because so far all I've paid is the shipping fee. :)

I understand the light applies to any camera, but as I said before, with my digitals the lighting doesn't seem to be as critical as with the reflex. I think I also mentioned I'm not a very good photographer - no patience when it comes to fiddling with the settings on the reflex or playing around with gray cards, etc. OK, I admit that's a lame excuse... :o Either of the cameras you have should take pictures good enough to have slides made - if the lighting is adequate.

You are correct about the future. I've talked to the camera shops and they all agree that reflex cameras will one day be obsolete accept for the professionals who have their own developing facilities. That is rather sad - like the end of an era.

Peggy

Doodlebug1967
11-21-2005, 02:56 PM
Wow guys! I went away for 3 days and didn't expect to see all this when I returned. It's all very helpful but seems much more complicated than I had imagined. I have a friend that is a professional photographer and has the capabilities to do prints. I have not checked into the quality of his printer yet but know someone who recommended him for art prints. I guess I'll check it out and try to make up my mind from here. Thanks everyone.