Monday, 30 January 2017

Is it right to paint over a giclée print?

In America they call them ‘enhanced prints’, but there is a growing interest in the UK for embellishing giclée prints of art or photography. This seems to have started with artists wanting to put back the metallic colours that the current Giglee Print machines can’t reproduce, and it has gone on from there. Before you try it you need to be aware of two things; 1) giclée inks are water-based and therefore will ‘run’ if they get wet, 2) the surface of giclée papers and canvas have a coating to take the inks and this can ‘lift’ if it gets wet. This coating can also be affected by other applications and treatments.

The answer is to seal the surface of the print with a protective layer before you start applying other materials. The type of protective layer depends on the what you intend to overpaint with. Whilst the protective layer can seal the water-based inks, it needs to be receptive to the overpaint materials. You also have to consider the effect you are looking for, different protective layers can be totally transparent, tinted, diffused, or textured. The best bet is to get a piece of printed material to experiment on to find the desired effect. A good reference source is a book called ‘Digital Art Studio’ ISBN 0-8230-1342-1, although its quite old now (2002), it does cover most things you might want to do to a giclée print.