Meet the Artist Who Manages Giclee Printing at Jakprints
When searching for giclée printing services, it’s helpful to learn more about what type of equipment is used and the professionals who are running it.
A giclée is a museum-quality inkjet print created with archival pigment inks and top-quality materials. A giclée print on archival fine-art paper can last up to 200 years when properly handled, displayed, and stored.
Theoretically, anyone with a wide-format inkjet printer that uses pigment inks can make giclée prints.
In reality, giclée printing is a craft. It involves much more than loading the printer with fine art inkjet paper and hitting the “print” button. Close attention to detail is required during every step of the process.
One company that understands the special requirements of giclée printing is Jakprints, a Cleveland-based printing firm with deep roots in the local arts community. Two creative entrepreneurs started Jakprints in 1999 to make screen-printed T-shirts, stickers, posters, and flyers for fellow designers, musicians, and artists.
Over the years Jakprints has expanded to provide a wide range of offset and wide-format printing services to more than 100,000 individuals and businesses.
What makes Jakprints giclée printing department so special is its manager — artist Jennifer Young.
With her bachelor of fine arts degree in printmaking from Kent State University, Young understands the creative strengths and limitations of many traditional and modern printing techniques including intaglio, relief collagraphy, letterpress, screen printing, and giclée printing.
As an artist herself, Jennifer Young knows how much time goes into the creation of original art. She tells clients, “We’ll do whatever it takes to make sure your hard work is reflected in your giclée print.”
Why Giclée Printing is a Craft
A good giclée print can’t be created without a high-quality, color-accurate digital file. The file can be created by scanning the original art or photographing it with a high-resolution DSLR. When photographing art, the lighting must be carefully controlled to ensure that all of the colors, surface textures, and details of the original art can be accurately reproduced.
From file creation to printing, the colors must be properly managed to maintain the widest possible color gamut, accurate color reproduction, and the ability to print fine details. Color management is a quality-control process takes into account the specific color reproduction capabilities (gamut) of the wide-format inkjet printer and type paper or canvas that will be used.
A calibrated monitor is required to make sure that the colors you view on the screen will the same colors that the printer outputs on the desired paper.
Jennifer Young understands color management because she began her career at Jakprints doing file preparation for four-color offset printing and hard-copy proofing on Epson wide-format inkjet printers.
Giclée Printing Services at Jakprints
The giclée department at Jakprints currently uses a Canon EOS 5D MkIII DSLR camera, an Epson Expressions 11000 XL flatbed scanner, a 44-inch Epson Stylus Pro 9000 printer, and a 64-inch Epson Stylus Pro 11880 printer with 11 colors of UltraChrome aqueous pigment inks. The department uses Wasatch SoftRIP software for color control and workflow efficiency.
To avoid the need to create new color profiles for every possible paper on the market, Jennifer has selected three materials for the most popular types of giclée prints: a luster photo paper, a matte inkjet canvas, and a 100% cotton, archival fine art inkjet paper.
“For right now, these stocks perform best for most of what our clients want to do,” explains Jennifer. “One client wanted to print on a Japanese wood-cut paper. That’s not something we would keep in inventory, but we’re always willing to do special projects.”
The archival fine art paper Jakprints offers is Moab Somerset Museum Rag from Freedom Paper. This 19 mil inkjet fine art paper has a smooth, sensuous surface but is durable enough for handling and framing.
“Most people really like the Moab Somerset watercolor,” says Jennifer. “The color gamut is gorgeous.”
Young credits Duana Bullins at Freedom Paper for helping Jakprints find the paper at a good price.
Once, Jennifer accidentally left the Moab Somerset Museum Rag loaded on the printer when she printed a 36 x 36 inch photographic print with a solid black background. Although the client had requested that the job be printed on luster photo paper, she was blown away when she saw the giclée prints on the Moab Somerset Museum Rag. The client sold all the photo prints on the art paper and ordered more.
One thing Jennifer likes about her work is the variety of jobs she produces. She is also happy to guide newcomers to the giclée printing process.
A lot of confusion surrounds giclée printing, because the definition of the term has evolved as the inkjet printing technology advanced and gained popularity.
The term “giclée” originally referred to an inkjet-printed reproduction of art that was originally created as a painting, drawing, or mixed-media print. Today, a giclée can also be a high-quality inkjet print of digitally created photo compositions and illustrations.
Sometimes, a giclée print is used in combination with other media or printing processes. For example, one Jakprints giclée client had a basic design printed with inkjet inks, then screen printed the rest of image. The artist used puff screen-printing inks to add a level of dimensionality to the surface of the print.
Some artists supply their own digital files for the giclée print. If Jennifer isn’t sure whether the file has enough pixels to make a top-notch giclée print, she makes test prints. Sometimes she’ll print a 4 x 4 inch section of a 36 x 36 inch print. Or, she will print an entire strip at actual size to see if the print will have the desired level of detail.
If you want Jakprints to create the digital file from your original artwork, Jennifer is happy to do so. She uses the Epson flatbed photo scanner for art work up to 12 x 17 inches and the 22-megapixel Canon DSLR for larger works.
“Our giclée department is the white glove department at Jakprints,” says Jennifer. “I wear white gloves when I handle the paper and prints press. And we use interleaving tissue paper when cutting the prints. People appreciate that level of care.”
Why Make Giclée Prints?
Artists have many different reasons for making giclée prints. For example, you can:
- Sell a limited number of printed reproductions at lower price points than your original painting
- Keep an excellent reproduction of an original painting you have sold
- Set up an online gallery through which buyers can order giclée prints in the size they prefer
- Use the giclée as part of the medium for a mixed-media piece. Draw on it, paint on it, or rip it up and use it as part of a collage
When choosing a company to print your giclées, keep in mind that not all wide-format printers have the same color gamut. Copy shops that specialize in the fast turnaround of signs and graphics typically use printers with four or six colors of ink.
At Jakprints, Jennifer says, “We use up to 12 inks on some prints. These inks are archival for up to 150 to 200 years on archival art papers and offers rich, vibrant colors that aren’t available through traditional inkjet printers.”
If you want to reproduce your art on exhibition posters, T-shirts, fabrics, or other products, Jakprints can handle that too. And, if you want to sell your work through your own online gallery, the creative pros at Jakprints can help you set it up and print and fulfill the orders as they come in.
For more information about Jakprints’ services visit www.jakprints.com
For more information about Moab Somerset Museum Rag and the many other inkjet photo papers, art papers, and canvases available from Freedom Paper, please visit www.freedompaper.com or call our customer service team at 866-310-3335.