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I have many artist friends who sell their original pieces but also sell giclees and prints. I have my originals in a local gallery and I'm thrilled but sales are very slow and I am interested in feedback from artists who sell both. Some artists think it cheapens the original, others say not true. Any help here would be greatly appreciated.

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Dougie,

Thank you so much for the informative answer. Do you use a local printer to make your copies or have you found someone online to do it? Where do I start with that?

Again, thanks for the guidance!
Thanks again for the info. I love this site and have been grappling with these issues for a while. It's so nice to post something and have someone who's been there/done that help you out!
Chris I just went thru the process of figuring out how to do prints of my work. I know this isn't the best but it is what worked for me.

I wanted something inexpensive, to help make booth fees. At first I got caught up with high end giclee printers and types of paper. I know they would produce an excellent product, but the costs to get the image to them and then process it was high. It was at least $100 per image then I had to get at least 10 prints to make it somewhat affordable to print. I have a basic point and shoot camera, and none of the high end printers wanted to touch my images. Everyone was very nice and explained why so I did learn, but I wanted a product between $20-$50 retail.

So I got over myself and looked at other options. I have a Dick Blick near me. They had just sent me a coupon for 60% off prints. They don't do giclee printing or have minimums but they do do some nice things. I was able to bring them all my images and then we went to their computer to see what would work. We played around some and then did a test print on the paper I picked out. I had them do 15 different images and all but 3 were good. So then I had them print out multiples of the ones I liked. With the coupon it cost me $4.50 for an 11x14 print that I am very happy with.

At the same time I tried wink flash, www.winkflash.com. They do giclee printing for poster size. You can get 11x14 for under $5 and there is no minumum. There was nothing to loose so I tried it. Again I was very happy with the outcome. Not all turned out, but most did. Between the two sources I was able to get what I wanted and at the price I wanted. I also realized I didn't need a fancy camera to achieve what I wanted.

I know the product I have is not high quality, but I am not going after a customer who wants a canvas reproduction of my work. That is not a market I am interested in. I just wanted a decent looking print of some of my paintings to sell at a good price point to help supplement expenses at shows.

Hope this helps some.
While I can't add any input on the original painting versus print issue, I can add to the photograping and printing side of the issue.

On Photographing:

If your camera has a setting for RAW, it's best to shoot your images in that mode. A RAW file captures more color than a Jpeg, and if using proper software, can be modified without actually altering the original file (VERY helpful in my field!) However, if your camera only offers Jpeg and/or TIFF mode, I recommend using TIFF, or if you must use Jpeg, save a copy of the Jpeg as a TIFF before doing any modifications. A Jpeg will degrade with each save, so is not a good choice when making multiple modifications. A final copy can be saved as a Jpeg for uploading, etc.

On printing:

The biggest differences with printers, is whether they use dye based or pigment based inks. Many dye based inks have improved in their archival ability, but to truly have archival standard, it's best to use a pigment based inkjet printer. Epson uses pigment based inks. Canon has both. I have an all-in-one Canon printer that uses their ChromaLife 100 dyed based ink (supposed to have an archival life of 100yrs with Canon paper), and I have a Canon Pixma Pro 9500 Mark II which is a pigment based inkjet printer, and is considered Giclee. It will print up to a 13x19 borderless print. I purchased the printer for my photography business, so I probably have a much greater need for this high-end printer.

I use some Canon paper, but mostly I use Red River, as they have excellent quality archival paper at a reasonable cost.

My website (www.julieblichmannphotography.com) is setup through www.smugmug.com and I can select two different companies to print the photos for customers if I don't want to do it myself. I'm not sure what their fees are outside of SmugMug, but being a member of SmugMug, I can purchase prints at a very reasonable rate. They use EZ Prints out of Georgia and Bay Photo out of Santa Cruz, CA.

Regards,

Julie
Julie,

Thank you so much....very useful information!
Melanie,

Thank you! It's so hard trying to find good, inexpensive printing. Thanks for some guidance!
I noted your question about Originals vs Giclee and Prints. My experience is that people who offer giclees (in particular) as well as originals feel it is worthwhile for them to do so. But, unless you like the added responsibility for maintaining quality and proper representation of your originals it distracts from your creative time and adds to the cost of your work...if you are like me. First, I do not live close to a printer of the quality I would require and secondly I just like to know that there is one owner of my work (of course I never turn down a sale to be used for reproduction and have designed many in my graphics days). But, as you see, this is ME who is setting the limitations, not the business or the customer. I do not feel that archival quality giclees are inappropriate or cheap copies of your work and by now buyers definitely know the difference...if not, it makes for an interesting discussion at shows and good for your business. Hope this input and opinion helps. Kathleen Neff/Mixed Media Aqueous
Thanks Kathleen. That does help!
Chris, I do both giclees and laser prints.

Giclee is a french word for 'spray & squirt' and are ink jet prints......very large printers. They are costly. I only do these for large paintings.

I did some research and found that a lot of artists also offer laser prints. I use a local office supply business that has a high quality laser printer. I have them done on acid free heavy weight "bright whites" paper and package them in acid free materials as well. These are not expensive to do and sell extremely well. They are labeled simply as 'prints' or 'reproductions' of original work. I was mentored by a fellow artist who is successful with her shows and she told me 'every business needs a "gravy product" and this is mine. Low cost....good return. These pay my overhead because the giclees are pricey.
Terri,

Prints from inkjet printers using pigment ink (not dye based) are considered "Giclee". Epson uses pigment ink, and one of my Canons is a pigment ink printer. It will print a maximum size of 13x19 (borderless), and the average retail price is around $650-850. I managed to get mine (brand new) for about $550 on eBay. I suppose in many eyes, that would seem "costly", but since my medium is photography, it is well worth the expense at this time.

Do you have any information on the longevity of the laser prints? I know that typically, a laser print will outlast an inkjet print in terms of waterproofness, etc., but I haven't personally seen anything when it comes to artwork, so I have never checked with any local printer. I'm guessing that since your prints sell well, that the color rendition from the office supply business is to your specifications.
Julie,

Are you happy with your Epson printer? I was fascinated to see one recently and surprised at how large a print someone can make at home! Is it simple to use?
Hi Chris,

Actually I have a Canon Pixma Pro 9500 Mark II. It prints beautiful images, but the key is also making sure I use proper color profiles for the paper I'm using. Each paper manufacturer typically provides color profiles on their websites, and I just download them, and install them. I just have to make sure that when I select "print", that I have the correct profile selected for the paper I'm using. I haven't been disappointed with this printer at all. Well, except when I want to print 11x14 images! The quality is great, it's just that 11x14 is not a recognized size (at least not by Canon), so I have to select "custom", and I'm unable to do borderless when selecting "custom".

I know several people that swear by Epson printers, and I know the name definitely equates with quality. About the biggest drawback to owning one of these fine printers, is the cost of the ink! I can get Genuine Canon ink off of eBay (I NEVER use generic or 3rd party ink) for a little bit cheaper than retail, but for a 10pack of ink (it uses 10 cartridges!), it costs anywhere from $130-150. I've bought a few individual inks here and there as some colors are used up quicker than others. I would love to say that I have sold so many prints, that it's paid for itself....but I can't! :) I'm a newbie in the art fair world, so I haven't sold very many images...YET! :)

And yes, I would say they are simple to use!

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