Thursday, February 25, 2010

Artist's proofs

Koi Pool 
Artist's Proof   8 x 10

In the production of prints, the process varies as does the agreement between printer and artist, depending on production numbers, printing process used and terms of the contract.

Historically, artist's proofs were proofs pulled from production so the artist could check the quality of the print. Because they were pulled early in the production process, they often contained more vivid colors and lines and were considered more valuable.

Modern printing technology makes all prints equal in quality, so today's artists can be given 5 to 10 percent of the entire edition for their personal use, as part of their contract with the printer. Sometimes the printer is also allowed to keep some of the artist's proofs.

When I have prints created, I haven't negotiated any percentage of artist's proofs, but I usually have a few in each batch.  These vary in quality and quantity and in the instance of the Koi Pool prints I am creating some of my own artist's proofs to play around with intensity of colours, sharpness of the image, etc. before I bring the original to the printer.  Even though I know I will still have to proof colours at the printer before prints are produced, I like to have some options in my head and on paper before that.

I have used Epson Velvet Fine Art paper to print some options. This is a 100% cotton rag paper with an acid free base and bright white surface. My Artisan printer uses archival inks and the print quality is professional.   I will have about six or so of these artist's proofs available.  They will be marked with the letters AP for artist's proof, numbered and  signed by me.   The prints are on 8.5 x 11 sheets with a white border, the print size is 6 3/4 x 10 inches.  They may vary in size on the page, some may be cropped versions.

If anyone is interested in purchasing one of these unique artist's proofs, they are available for $40 plus $5 shipping worldwide  Please contact me at jeanette jobson at gmail dot com to confirm availability and to order. As numbers of artist proofs will be very limited, please act quickly to reserve your proof.

A limited edition of Koi Pool prints will be available within the next couple of weeks in 8 x 10 and 16 x 20 sizes.


Janet Davis said...

When I read your blog, I am always amazed by the quality and quantity of work you produce. I am a big fan.

I am very dissappointed, however, in your loose use of the term 'print' and questionable explaination of the history of the term 'artist proof'. Consider what you are doing to printmakers like myself who, when they sign and number their prints, are signing original pieces of artwork as opposed to the copies you are having made. Reserve signing and numbering prints by hand to Printmakers, and please don't add to the confusion out there.

There is nothing special about having high quality photocopies made, and I am insulted at your lack of repect for printmakers in making it seem otherwise.

Jeanette said...

Janet, thank you for your input. I appreciate your comments. Perhaps in my late night post I didn't articulate clearly enough not to risk misinterpretation of what I was trying to say.

I am not trying to intentionally confuse or mislead in the area of prints or artists proofs. What I wrote about in this specific post was very general and about my own artists proofs, before I send my work to a professional printer for limited edition giclee prints of my artwork.

Limited edition giclee prints are signed and numbered, in a similar manner to original printmaking. I am concerned if you consider giclees to be nothing more than 'high quality photocopies'. I hope I interpreted that incorrectly.

I fully support printmakers of original art and have produced original prints myself. Giclee prints are also a valid and common form of art, making art available to a wider audience at affordable prices.

I agree that there is a lot of confusion around the term 'print' and the average buyer is usually not aware of the differences. Education around all prints processes needs to be reinforced.

Gordon Pritchard said...

I have to second Janet's concerns. It's important to use these terms properly - I was also confused by your post and didn't realize that you were talking about inkjet prints (giclees)

Giclee prints are digital inkjet prints that typically use pigment inks rather than dyes since pigments will last longer that dyes when exposed to light. There is effectively no difference between a giclee print make using a cheap desktop inkjet proofer that uses pigment-based inks or one printed as some repro shop.
They can both be called "giclees" and as long as they meet the artist's standard for quality then they are equally acceptable for limited edition reproductions.

Offset lithographic reproductions would be typically be used for longer run editions.

BTW, You describe the paper as being "bright white." This may be the result of "optical brightening agents" in the paper. It's a good idea to purchase a small inexpensive (~$10) fluorescent "black light." You can use it to check the level of OBAs in the paper you are printing on. If the paper glows under black light then it has a large amount of OBAs and hence the paper will discolour over time when exposed to light.

BTW I am an ex Kodak print reproduction quality manager, and I enjoy your site very much.

Jeanette said...

Thanks for the explanations of print technology, its appreciated Gordon.

Obviously I shouldn't write posts late at night! :)

I'll have a look for a black light, it may be useful in the future.

Gordon Pritchard said...

Just one more small thing. A local gallery (I'm in Victoria BC) is currently running a show of Leonard Cohen's work (
). These are inkjet prints made from enlarged scans of pages from his sketch books. What's interesting is that they do not use the term Giclee for these prints (although that's what they are. Instead they describe them as "permanent pigment ink prints." I've not heard that term before so I don't know if this is part of some renaming trend. I'm not sure if they are trying to make them sound more impressive by not calling them giclees. Anyway, I thought you'd be interested.
Keep up the good work!

Jeanette said...

Interesting. Yes perhaps just another label to make them seem to be something more exotic and perhaps justify a higher price tag.

It seems to be a trend to re-label objects of all types and turn them into something presumed more desirable.

But if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck... :)

Janet Davis said...

Ask yourself why you are signing and numbering a thing that you have not produced. You sign an original painting, you sign an original print- there is no point in signing a reproduction unless you want people to think it's something your hands created.