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All artists should consider quality capture for reproduction an essential part of their workflow.
Reproductions can be the difference between making a living at art or forever being a hobbyist. Obviously, you can only sell your original works once - and we all know how long good works take to make!
It's imperative to have good quality digital files prepared before you sell your original works.
It should become the final part of your process every time you make a new piece - the digital files you have prepared can then be used for endless things - but most notably marketing and selling reproduction prints. This can open whole new markets for your work - only a small percentage of the population ever buy expensive original works, but a vast number of people will pay a more modest sum for a high quality reproduction print from the artist.
You must definitely do this before you sell your original works - and you have every right to do so of course. It's almost impossible to convince clients to give back works for later reproduction though, so do make sure you bring your new works to us as you produce them.
Image Science can help you get your work in front of more people - thus opening up new markets and new income streams. This can make a substantial difference to your ability to earn a good living as a practicing artist - indeed it can make the difference between commercial success and failure. It is critical you master this process as early as possible in your artistic career and make it a fundamental part of your workflow.
The technical part of art reproduction process has 3 main steps:
In addition, of course, there is marketing and sales, editioning, possibly print embossing, etc.
We can help with all of these things - see our separate pages under the Art Reproduction menu above for more information on each of these stages.
This type of reproduction print is sometimes known as a 'Giclee Reproduction' (pronounced 'ghee-clay') - a better term is simply Archival Reproduction Print. (Giclee is a term that is losing popularity, thankfully, as 'giclee' is a French word used rather rudely in France itself!).
These prints are made using highly advanced inkjet printing techniques, using the finest quality pigment inks on beautiful, archival cotton rag papers.
Of course other print types are possible - such as offset or lithographic printing. But none offer close to the archival integrity and print quality of the 'Giclee' process. The other print types are generally used to produce lower quality poster type prints, which obviously can't command the same prices as authentic, high quality reproduction prints carefully prepared with the best archival materials.
You as the originating artist of an artwork hold the exclusive legal copyright to that work unless you explicitly sign that copyright over to someone else.
When someone buys an artwork from you, they are buying the physical object to own and enjoy - but copyright to the actual image/object remains with the original artist. You have the right to use the image for marketing purposes, and also for reproduction print sales purposes.
What can we do as artists to make this clear to buyers? Add a copyright notice to the back of the painting (© Year Name) and include the copyright information in your certificate of authenticity or sale.
However, if you have already sold your original works, it can be very difficult to convince the owners of the physical piece to grant access to that piece after the fact, especially if you tell them it is to produce reproductions - art buyers tend to be very possessive of the works they own! This is why it is critical to have high quality digital files made before you sell your originals. We can't emphasise this enough - even though it may seem expensive & time consuming to do this for every piece your produce, you will be doing your career an enormous disservice if you do not get high quality digital files produced as a matter of course.
And of course - Image Science entirely respects your copyright and all files remain copyright to you at all times. We will store your files only as long as you want us too, and when we produce work for you (e.g. scans or photographs) - you own it (once you've paid your bill of course!). We do NOT withhold your master files from you like many other services, and we will never make prints from your files without your express permission.
It's a common misconception that reproduction prints may reduce the value of the original works. Of course, this in entirely wrong - indeed the opposite is generally true - the more a work is reproduced (and thus the more a work is known in the art buying world) - the greater the value of the one true original.
In fact, some of the most valuable art pieces in the world - Van Gogh Starry Starry Night, Munch's The Scream, Ansel Adams 'Moonlight Over Hernandez' etc. - are some of the most heavily reproduced images of all time.
Reproductions are an excellent way of developing your market of buyers - they make your work more accessible to beginning collectors. People would love to own your originals, but the reality is many people simply can't afford them. If you only sell into this rarified market, you are not cultivating the future generations of collectors who will buy your works later in your career.
High quality art reproduction capture work is one of the most technically challenging tasks around - but done well it can make a huge difference in your potential as an artist to make a real living from your work.
Every art reproduction job is different and requires individual attention.
The best approach for art reproduction is actually high resolution photography - for most works, it's much more effective than direct scanning as the light can be controlled on a per-piece basis. Even the high end scanning systems (Cruse etc.) have fixed direction, fluorescent (!) light sources - definitely not the ideal lights for accurate detail and colour reproduction, these machines are about production speed more then they're about best quality. We regularly receive scanned work here from those machines, and it always requires a significant amount of correction work or sometimes even re-capture to get it right.
(You can read more about why scanning - even with high end machines like the Cruse - is a bad approach here including commentary from some real experts on the issue).
The very best museums in the world capture their artworks through high resolution photography - because it's the best way - modern digital camera sensors offer very sharp, colour accurate results and with individual lighting, you can deal with all the intricacies of art reproduction - you can, for example, side light to get more of the original texture (for impasto etc), or you can light more flatly to get accurate colour without the brushwork detail.
It is of course your choice exactly how you offer your work - and there are many possibilities. This is a business decision each artist must make for themselves, although we're happy to offer advice on this as well.
Here are a few options - you can use just one of these approaches, or a combination of approaches to effectively offer work to different market segments:
All of these have their merits - the one thing that is most important is to be clear and consistent about what you are offering - and do it with complete integrity. Do not, for example, start off with a too small limited edition and then suddenly change the edition limit when you realise you have a big seller. Buyers hate this and they WILL talk about it publicly if you do this, so make sure you stick to your promises no matter what!
The beauty of modern digital reproduction - apart from being simply the highest quality print making process available - is that you don't have to print whole edition runs in a single go - which can be massive risk mitigation and cost saving for an artist. You can essentially Print on Demand. We recommend you keep a small stock of your reproduction prints in hand (it's always easy to sell something you have available straight away!) - but you needn't print all 25 or all 100, or whatever your edition size is. You can simply print in small lots - even just singles if you like!
If you do choose to offer limited edition prints, note that we don't keep track of your editioning and numbers here - you will need to keep track of this - but that's very simple and you simply sign and number each print as you get it. We recommend you keep a database of all your sales - names, print number, and email addresses as an absolute minimum!