Ask the right questions
Given the confusion, even among professionals about print types, especially when digital/computer art is involved, it's important you can ask the right question(s) to ensure you know what you're getting for your money.
- “Is it possible for me to see the original artwork which this print is a copy of?”
- “Yes” you could see the original art = Machine made (Giclée or Offset-Lithographic print).
- “No” you cannot see the original art. If the answer is “No” then ask a second question…
- “Was the original artwork destroyed/lost, or was it done on a computer – is that why I can't see it?”
- “Yes” the art has been lost/destroyed or it was done on a computer = Machine made (Giclée or Lithograph).
- “No” …an original artwork has never existed ever, not on canvas, paper or a computer = Hand made (‘Original’ print)
So what does ‘hand made’ mean in this context? Put simply: it means that nothing involving a plug, batteries or on/off switch is involved in the process. Er, apart from the kettle that is, for a nice cuppa break! Oh and perhaps occasionally the radio/gramophone too.
Inks are rolled onto plates by the printmaker, the plates are positioned on the press and the paper carefully placed on top. The press is then wound by the printmaker. The paper is carefully removed and hung up to dry. Then the plate is picked up from the press and reinked to do it all over again. This is for just one colour. The whole process is repeated for the next colour.
Giclée prints are made by pressing a ‘print’ button.
It's not that machine made prints are bad things. I'm simply explaining the difference between the types of print on offer.