What Is A Giclee?

I am often asked, “what are gickleese – how do you pronounce that?” I thought I would explain here.  “Giclee” is a French word which no one seems to know exactly how to pronounce; I pronounce it  like “shiclay”, with emphasis on second syllable.

Luckily it’s not as hard to explain what a giclee is as it is to pronounce it.  A giclee is a high resolution reproduction of an original, done on an expensive printer, using archival inks and acid-free paper.

Before I get an original reproduced, I need it transferred into a digital file, which I do by getting my images professionally scanned and also colour checked (the scan and colour check costs over $200) – the image ends up being a very high resolution with perfectly accurate colour.  In the end sometimes the only way to tell between a giclee and original is by looking at the price.

Giclees may be printed on paper or canvas.  The ones I have printed on paper are matted in black or white and I make sure they’re in standard sizes (eg. 8” x 10”; 11” x 14”) so they are less expensive to frame, (because you can find ready-made frames in those sizes at many stores).  The canvas ones are stretched over a frame and are ready to hang as is – they look like a painting.   I usually get one or two originals reproduced into giclees per year.  I limit the number of canvas prints I do of an image to 25, signed on the back, to make them feel more original.

I have to admit I was a bit squeamish about making giclee reproductions at first – they just seemed so “fake”.  However, I was really impressed with the quality of them and quickly realized that I simply cannot paint fast enough to be able to sell originals as my only income.  Considering how long it takes me to come up with an original painting, most people do not want to pay what it ends up costing to make.  By making giclees, more people are able to enjoy the images I create, still in a high quality, visually stunning, format.

Image:  Every City Needs One was recently made into a 18″ x 24″ canvas giclee (can see one at the Comox Valley Art Gallery Gift Shop on Duncan Ave, across from Courtenay Library).  Giclee is 275.00 and the original 4′ x 5′ painting is 3800.00


27. June 2013 by Tracy Kobus
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