When referring to specifically to artwork, the word ‘print’ is used to describe both digitally reproduced and hand-printed work, however it is not always easy to tell which type of print it is. To try and distinguish hand-printed work from digitally reproduced work, prints may be further defined in the following ways:
An original artist's print is a term often used to mean hand-printed art that has been manually produced by the artist. These are signed by the artist and may be numbered as a limited edition, or an open edition (in which case there is no limit on how many are made).
A Giclee print or fine art print is a term often used to mean a digital reproduction of an original piece of work. They are printed using professional equipment with archival quality inks. They can also be signed and numbered if they are produced in a limited quantity.
Original Artist's Prints
Printmaking is an art, practiced by both old masters and contemporary printmakers. Some original prints from artists like Picasso and Warhol and have been known to sell at auction for hundreds of thousands. Of course, not all prints are so valuable and fortunately so, as collecting prints is an affordable way to build a collection of original art.
Examples of traditional print-making processes include linocut, woodcut, etching, screen-printing, monoprint and collograph. Creating an original print using one of these processes usually involves many hours in the studio, infinite patience and experience with an array of chemicals, plates and (often ancient) equipment.
Inks are mixed and rolled out by hand and the image is pressed onto paper by hand or passed through a hand-operated press. Each print, although it may be one of a numbered series (or edition) is a unique, original, hand-crafted piece of art.
Although the image is the same in an edition of hand-made prints, no two are exactly identical as each one has been individually inked and printed. Slight differences in the amount of ink applied and the pressure on the press make each print unique. On some kinds of hand made prints you may see an indentation of the plate on the back of the print.
Giclee & Fine Art Prints
Fine Art & Giclee prints are a way of making copies of a single piece of original art (e.g. paintings, watercolours or drawings) available at an affordable price and in a choice of different sizes.
They are very high quality reproductions of original pieces of artwork made using lightfast archival inks and fine art acid free paper.
Giclee prints (pronounced ‘jee-clay — from a French term meaning to spray or squirt) are a special kind of digital print using a professional, large format inkjet printer. When printed onto an archival quality substrate, these prints can last for many years without deteriorating or fading (exactly how many years depends on the quality of the printer, inks and substrate).
Art for digital prints can be created in many ways. For example, the image may have been designed and created digitally using illustration & design software or original art can be scanned at very high resolution to create a digital file.
I used digital fine art printing to create copies of my Quintessentially British hand lettered drawing and my Rhyme of Rescue Dog painting and collage.