What is a giclee? Basically it is a fine art print made on inkjet printers. The creator, Jack Duganne, wanted a name for the new type of prints that were beginning to be produced in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. The prints were made using a large format, high-resolution industrial inkjet printer that had been adapted for fine-art printing. Not wanting to use a word that had the negative connotations of “inkjet” or “computer generated” he settled on the word GICLEE, which is based on the French world Gicleur, which means nozzle (the verb gicler means to squirt or spray).
To get a better understanding, I asked my partner Joel Conison, a photographer who has been making prints for quite a while, to give me a brief explanation over dinner.
He told me that when digital files began being used, the giclee machines that were used were very expensive. Companies like Epson were not making personal printers that were that good. Over the years, this has changed and today you can make a good print on a personal ink jet printer. The only drawback is the size, most personal printers don’t make prints larger than 16×20 (his guess) you have to shop around for one that makes larger prints (I’m sure there are larger ones available, but you have to look for them).
The biggest mistake most people make is not taking the time to understand color management. The digital file must be passed from your computer to the printer. To do it correctly, not only should your computer monitor be calibrated to industry standards, but you need to create a profile for the paper you are using.
In his words, “color management is the one thing one needs to understand to get consistently good quality prints”.
I realize this is a simplified approach to giclee’s, so I plan on doing an in-depth interview with him, or have him write a guest post to take a little more of the mystery out of getting good prints of your work at home.