Although the vast majority of my work is producing original pencil and coloured pencil portraits on a commission basis, I have produced a selection of wildlife pencil portraits that I will make available as limited edition prints (note: I will never reproduce any commissions as prints – they’re 100% unique and bespoke to each customer).
Naturally, I want to be sure that the original is reproduced to the highest possible quality, so that the prints are almost indistinguishable from the original. For this process, I have turned to a specialist fine art reprographic house with more than 30 years in the business.
The first, and arguably most important step is to scan the original portrait with no loss of detail. This is done using a scanner which mounts onto a large-format camera. From there, the image is adjusted on a computer and proofed to ensure all the detail and colours have been reproduced faithfully.
Next, the printing… Giclée is a French term meaning ‘a spray, or a squirt of liquid’ – in this case, a light-fast archival pigment ink designed to maintain the original colour for longer – up to 75 years in normal conditions. The specially-calibrated Canon and Epson machines work in a similar way to a standard inkjet printer, but on a much larger scale and with greater accuracy – able to faithfully replicate bold, vibrant colours and delicate, subtle shades. This form of printing has become the standard in the art world thanks to both its quality and consistency – the first print will look the same as the last, even if they’re printed on separate occasions.
Choice of paper is also an important consideration – it needs to be museum-quality, and be suited to the Giclée printing process, rather than pencil drawing. I use a heavyweight 310gsm watercolour paper.