Thursday, June 23, 2011

Choosing The Right Fine Art Giclee Print Maker (Part I)

Perhaps you have met with several accountants to find the right one for your needs, or you have had to change dentists several times because your expectations were not met. Either way, you know that a poor choice in a trusted professional can lead to later regret. When it comes to choosing a fine art giclee printmaker, the stakes are just as high.

While there are numerous ways to reproduce fine art today, the giclee process is widely accepted. However, the quality of giclee printmaking varies as much as the art itself. Therein lies the challenge: How to make the right choice of fine art giclee printmakers? How do you know you are getting museum quality giclee prints at competitive pricing? It starts with determining the experience of the printmaker and establishing a level of trust before handing over your art.

First and foremost, the atelier you choose should handle the digitizing of your art in-house, offering specific expertise in techniques for lighting and capturing your original art properly. The accuracy of the process to digitize your art will determine 90% of the quality achieved in the final print. I doubt anyone in this industry would challenge the axiom that a superior capture will make a better reproduction on a low-end printer than an inferior capture can make on a high-end printer. As a result, for a printmaker not to handle this most essential step in-house is a red flag. Similarly, do not think that you can photograph the art yourself. This is the single biggest pitfall in replicating original art, as lack of image sharpness, inaccurate color, and loss of detail inevitably lead to failure in giclee printmaking.

Once you have established that you are dealing with a printmaker who will capture your art in-house, the next step is to ask the right questions to qualify the atelier’s claims to offer high quality giclee printmaking. What method do they employ to capture the artwork? Scanning Back cameras made by Betterlight and PhaseOne, as well as Cruse scanners, are the industry standard in their ability to capture art accurately. So, if you hear those terms, you are probably on the right track.

With regard to the megapixel issue, the more, the better. Scanning Back cameras have the ability to capture over 300 megapixels in a single shot!!! Quality work can be achieved with less on smaller works of art, but why not make the investment in a preservation-grade digital capture to ensure that the DNA of your art is retained in the digital image?

Next, ask about proofing policies. Make sure you have the final say on proofing and accept nothing less than a near perfect replication of the color, sharpness, texture and nuance detail of the original. It is imperative that you are able to view the proof with your original art in order to achieve a gallery acceptable print.

The next step is to ascertain the ink and media choices the printmaker offers, as these determine image permanence. You need to ensure that your prints will not shift or fade in color over time. (Ratings are published by independent experts like Henry Wilhelm.) In order to meet the high standards of the fine art market, make sure your printmaker can declare that they are utilizing industry-tested archival media and pigmented inks.

Please stop by next week as we discuss Part II in our series, “Choosing the Right Fine Art Giclee Printmaker.” In the meantime, below are the Top Ten Warning Signs of an Inferior Giclee Print.

Top Ten Warning Signs of an Inferior Giclee Print

· Blurred or soft image focus.

· Poor image delineation or sharpness.

· Overexposed highlight detail or underexposed shadow detail.

· Pixel artifacts; poor scan quality, pixel noise.

· “Halo” outlines or improper/excessive image sharpening.

· Poor color rendition or “fake” looking colors, flat or lifeless colors.

· Printer malfunctions; banding, streaking or other misprint patterns.

· No texture, detail, or nuance in the print.

· Lack of UV coating on canvas prints.

· Color cast, poor gray balance or odd tint

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just One Thing

(Brought to you by our friend, Robert Middleton, at Action Plan Marketing)

Every Monday I do just one thing in my business to move it forward. That's certainly not everything I do on Mondays, but for the past twelve years I've set this time aside to communicate with my clients.

What difference has this made? It's transformed my business to one that was struggling to meet the rent every month to one that is financially abundant. There has been no recession for Action Plan Marketing. And it's also made me a better career coach and consultant.

When we think of marketing, we think of all the thousands of things we could do. And yes, there are thousands. This is simply overwhelming. The good news is that you don't have to do thousands of things to market yourself. But, you need to do at least one thing religiously every single week (and sometimes every single day). This is what forms the foundation of effective marketing. What is one thing you'd be willing to do every single week, perhaps every single day to market yourself?

Not ten things or even five things; just one thing. Pick just one thing to do weekly in your marketing and make a commitment to do it for a whole year. If you do, I promise you'll transform your marketing and your business.

Reposted By:

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Pros & Cons of Using Kickstarter

Many of you have undoubtedly heard the buzz about Kickstarter. Kickstarter describes itself as "a new way to fund creative ideas and ambitious endeavors." It works like this:

1) You post a project description on Kickstarter. You make a pitch video. The video isn't a strict requirement, but almost all funded projects have a video. You come up with a set of "rewards" for different pledge levels on the site. You set a funding goal and a time frame for your project.

2) Kickstarter staff look at your proposed project and provide feedback. Hopefully, they approve your project and it's posted on the site.

3) Your project goes live.

4) If you don't hit your funding goal in the specified time frame, no one's cards get charged and you don't receive any of the funds.

Staff Filtering

As mentioned above, the Kickstarter staff review postings before they appear on the site. Kickstarter wants you to have a rich selection of rewards that provide a lot of value to pledgers. For instance, something that seems like it ought to be worth $50 should be priced as close to market value as possible in the reward selection. In the past, I almost gave up on using Kickstarter because the approval process appeared to be pushing me toward a reward selection that would really cut into my real, post-reward funds.

This raises another important point: Kickstarter staff want your project to succeed. Their filtering process helps Kickstarter ensure high quality, successful projects and also lets them push project creators to maximize their chances of success with well priced rewards. Kickstarter does have an ulterior motive here. With each successful project, Kickstarter gets a 5 percent cut of your funds.

The Kickstarter "Mold"

In order to launch a successful Kickstarter project, you have to do certain things to meet your funding goal:

1) Produce a video about why you want to raise money. This helps you focus your message into a couple minutes. This helps you fundraise.

2) Write about, and provide updates, why you want to raise money. Again, this forces you to focus your message.

3) Widely publicize your project. This is magnified by the next point ("All-or-nothing").

Your project will also be sitting alongside many other interesting projects, so just "hanging out" on Kickstarter may help your fundraising effort seem more legitimate. However, you may not get many pledges from traffic originating from -- this really depends on what type of project you have.

All or Nothing

Kickstarter pledge drives are "all or nothing," meaning that if the goal isn't met by the specified time then no one's credit cards are charged and the project doesn't get any of the pledged funds. Surprisingly, the all-or-nothing nature of Kickstarter is its greatest asset in ensuring projects hit their funding goal. Once a project has reached a certain threshold of funding, the project creators and pledgers feel an intense desire to "unlock" the money. In fact, word has it that something around 90% of projects that reach 25% of their funding goal are eventually fully funded!!!

Having projects be all-or-nothing was probably a decision made by Kickstarter to support projects that need to meet a concrete goal, such as printing the first major run of a new book. These are, by and large, the sort of projects Kickstarter excels at funding -- projects where, if a certain amount of money isn't raised, the project simply isn't possible, or isn't worth it.


It's not all milk and honey, though. There are some hidden drawbacks and costs to using Kickstarter. Here are a few to consider:


Kickstarter takes a 5% cut of your pledges and Amazon will take an additional amount (around 2%) on top of that. If your margins are slim, this could be significant.

It's hard to take Kickstarter fundraising offline

It’s extremely difficult to move offline funds back onto Kickstarter. You're not permitted to "pledge" toward your own project, which means you need to find a trustworthy third party to agree to pledge any offline funds. This also means the offline donors won't be noted on Kickstarter. For local community-based fundraising efforts this can be problematic.

The all-or-nothing system is a bit confusing

Unfortunately, the all-or-nothing pledge system can be a bit confusing. Many folks think they have already given or donated money before you even hit your funding deadline.

My fundraising period was 90 days -- the longest allowed by Kickstarter -- and so there were lots of people who'd simply forgotten they'd pledged by the time their cards were charged. Thankfully, Kickstarter is astonishingly good at collecting funds (they pester pledgers with an email every day for a week if their card is declined), and I only saw a few pledges that never came through.


Is Kickstarter for everyone? Obviously not, but it does provide an excellent and unique opportunity to raise funds for interesting and creative endeavors. To be honest, most artists I know personally have NOT had much success with Kickstarter. Kickstarter is not a golden hen. It will not magically make things happen for you. In order to be successful, it takes a lot of time and promotion. If you are willing, however, to promote, promote and promote then Kickstarter might be a great solution for you.

Adam Brown

Osio-Brown Editions Website

Giclee Printing FAQs