Giclee (pronounced "gee-clay") is
French meaning "to spray" or "to squirt" which is how an
inkjet printer works. It describes a revolutionary process used to produce fine
art prints. This medium was originally developed in 1989 as a plate-less method
of fine art printing and is the result of a perfect blend of art and technology.
The Giclee process begins after a transparency is produced from the artist's
original painting, or the painting is scanned directly by a high end drum scanner.
This is the same initial procedure that occurs when producing offset limited
edition lithographs. It is at this point of color correction that the Giclee
process begins to differ from preparing an image for trade lithography. Special
software programs are used to manipulate the attributes of the digitized image
to achieve the artist's own desired requirements, whether it is for color, definition,
After numerous consultations with the artist to assure that the color, sizing,
definition, contrasts, and composition meet with approval, and archival acid-free
paper stock or canvas is selected, the printmaking process can begin. The approved
image is then output to a sophisticated device called an Iris printer while the
printmaker/technician verifies the color management elements. This is the stage
where the full magic of Giclee printmaking is achieved.
The Iris printer sprays microscopic droplets of ink onto the archival stock
at a rate of a million drops per seconds. Four nozzles, each representing Cyan,
Magenta, Yellow and Black, with openings one quarter the diameter of a human
hair are engaged resulting in four million droplets of ink being applied at the
same time, each droplet being about the size of a red blood cell.
To complete the process the printer applies waterproof and ultra-violet coatings
to protect the art from fading and moisture. The finished piece is then the most
accurately reproduced graphic in the art world today. Wilhelm Imaging Research
reports that Giclee inks are achieving unprecedented levels of permanence of
half a century or more.
The end result is virtually a continuous toned print rather than a screened
image that is required for lithographed prints. The original painting can be
duplicated very accurately with colors that are precise, intense and rich. A
Giclee print has a sharpness that no other reproduction prints can match. For
the artist's own high standards, this printmaking process ensures accuracy to
the original artwork.