With the advent of the Giclée, the skill of fine art printing has become even more precise than in the past. Because no screens are used, the prints have a higher apparent resolution than lithographs. The dynamic color range is similar to a serigraph. In the Giclée process, a fine stream of ink, more than four million droplets per second is sprayed onto archival art paper or canvas. The result is similar to an airbrush technique but much finer. Each piece of paper or canvas is carefully hand mounted onto a drum that rotates during printing. Exact calculations of hue, value, and density direct the ink of four nozzles. This method creates a combination of 512 chromatic changes "that is over 3 million possible colors of highly saturated, nontoxic water-based ink." The artists color approval and input is essential for creating the final custom setting for the edition.
The latest advancements in the Giclée process are the works of a sophisticated fine art production facility that utilizes the highest resolution digital printers. The adaptation of fine art reproduction is collaboration between the artist and a skilled printing craftsman. These printing facilities have extended the boundaries of current technology by customizing their equipment, designing new programs, and offering protective coatings to ensure quality standards for the collector. The Giclée print displays a full color spectrum and captures every fine distinction of the original painting whether it is watercolor, oil, or acrylic. The Giclée print has gained wide acceptance from artists such as "David Hockney" and "Robert Rauschenberg" and major institutions like the Chicago Art Institute and the L.ACountyMuseum.
As the industry for Fine Art Reproduction is very dynamic Eclipse Workshop has captured this sophisticated process in a way that is magnificent to the artist and the art world. The response by our clients who have chosen to work with this process has been pure excitement. Artists are finding that Giclées have much to offer. This extraordinary technique allows flexibility for our clients. For example, the digital file is your inventory control; we can enhance and manipulate colors by making them brighter or darker; we can reduce or enlarge the image size without getting a gritty look. At Eclipse Workshop we provide dependable and courteous service for our customers.
Serigraphy, ("Seri", the Latin word for silk, and the word "grapho", a Greek term meaning "to write or draw"). Serigraphy was first recognized as a fine art medium in the late 1930s. A squeegee is used to push ink through a screen onto a substrate by means of a color stencil. Each color requires a different stencil. Screen-printing is a versatile type of printing process, and is still widely used today in creating and producing high quality representations of original artwork. Serigraphy came into favor in the 1950s by those on the cutting edge of the Op Art movement. Jackson Pollack, Roy Lichtenstein also utilized serigraphy, and the process was the method of choice for Andy Warhol, whose preoccupation with it brought the medium to new levels of legitimacy. David Willardson uses serigraphy exclusively in all of his Pep Art limited editions.
The Etching process was developed over 300 years ago using copper plates and wax. Artists such as Pablo Picasso and Rembrandt worked extensively in etchings. Today etchings are printed individually by hand, just as they were originally, using zinc or magnesium plates.
The polished surface of the plate is coated with liquid asphaltum and allowed to dry. The drawing is scratched through the asphaltum with a needle exposing the metal, which is then immersed in a nitric acid solution which "etches" the scratched lines into the plate. The asphaltum is removed and printer's ink is rubbed onto the plate, leaving ink in the grooves and whatever ink is needed to create the desired tonal effects on the surface. The plate is then placed on the bed of the press and damp rag paper is placed over the plate. When the plate and paper are rolled between the steel rollers of the press under extreme pressure, the paper is embossed over the plate and the ink is transferred from the plate to the paper. The plate must be re-inked by hand and wiped for each etching printed.
After the paper is allowed to dry, the etching is inspected for flaws. If it meets the artist's approval, it will be signed and numbered by the artist.
When the edition is completed, the plate is "cancelled" by being defaced and is retired in the artist's archives.
True lithography is one of the finest traditions in the history of printmaking. Created in the 1790s by Alois Senefelder, the lithography process has attracted artists of renown for over two centuries. Masters such as Goya, Delacroix, Manet, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Picasso, Rauschenburg and Johns all have been captivated by this process of "stone writing".
The twentieth-century revival of lithography as an art form was first demonstrated in 1960 by June Wayne at the Tamarind Lithography Workshop, now known as the Tamarind Institute at the University of New Mexico. Several artists continue the tradition at workshops around the world, such as Mourlot in Paris, Tyler Graphics in New Jersey, PrintMakers Fine Art in Arizona, Segura Publishing in Arizona and the Atelier Ettinger in New York.
Lithography is based on the basic principle that oil and water don't mix. First, a drawing is created using an oily substance such as a grease pencil or tushe (a greasy liquid). The image is drawn directly on a stone, a plate, or an alternate surface such as Mylar or transfer paper, and then transferred to a stone or plate. The stone is then chemically treated to accept and retain water. Ink, being oil-based, is rolled over the surface. The ink will stick to the drawing but not the wet stone. Then, under extreme pressure, the ink image is transferred to a piece of paper and a print is created.
Most master lithographers today offer a wide variety of techniques and services to accommodate the expansive styles of modern artists. Some offer the artist an opportunity to work on Bavarian limestone, the finest aluminum plates or a custom-made Mylar surface on which to create their work. Some studios offer the services of a chromist, which is a kind of print color specialist. This endeavor requires great skill and collaboration, as the chromist must become an extension of the artist, but it also serves to free up the artist to focus more on the quality of the final print. Many artists feel this scenario allows them to better concentrate on the quality of the image created.
Lithography, serigraphy and etching all offer different characteristics that make each print unique. Exactly what method should be used depends on the nature of the art in question and what the artist hopes to create. The type of press used must ultimately coincide with what will best suit the artwork.