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Becoming Successful 1 - Introduction to self publishing

Published on: 2007-03-25

Jay Daniel is president and principal photographer of Black Cat Studio. He
has been a photographer for over 25 years working for major publishers &
corporate clients. In 1998 he made a major transition adding digital
printing to his studio. Since then Black Cat Studio has been printing
giclées for artists and publishers and has over 3000 images currently in
print. He can be reached at :

Becoming Successful 1 -  Introduction to self publishing

Have you ever had 2 people want to buy the same piece?  Have you ever had
someone ask you if you had something smaller that came closer to their
budget? And just how did you deal with these situations?... did you offer to
paint another piece just like the first one? ...did you offer up another
piece at a discount , closer to their budget?

These are sure signs that you should be a good candidate to self publish.
With the advent of hi quality, archival inkjet printing technology, artists
can now afford to self publish. To self publish you dont need to spend a lot
of money out of pocket, and there is an excellent profit margin to be made.
I am talking about Giclée printing where you can order as few as 1 print at
a time, literally making prints to order. Without going into the actual
technology in making these archival inkjet prints, let us say that you can
have very high quality duplicates made, at bargain prices.

Giclée comes from a French word meaning "to spray" and replaced the earlier
phrase "Iris prints" when many different manufacturors started making
machines capable of these beautiful prints. Iris is the brand name of just
one of the earlier makers of inkjet printers. The term now  refers to the
museum  quality and permanance of the ink and substrate (paper or canvas)
rather than the resolution of the printer.

For the artists interested in making giclée prints of their originals, they
should always be ready to provide the original art for the best match. This
is sometimes not possible if the piece has been sold or is in a gallery. In
the absence of the original a 4x5 or 8x10 color transparency is desirable,
rarely is a digital photo or 35mm slide of acceptable quality to reproduce
the amount of detail in a large painting.

The artists should always be given several opportunities to view color
proofs of their images, to assure the best match. Be critical at this stage
and suggest as many improvements as you can. Do not expect an identical
duplicate, because giclée printing is still made of very small dots in Cyan,
Magenta, Yellow and Black, and not individually colored pigments as in
paint. But very close matches can be produced.

One the artist approves the final color balance, that is locked into the
computer file and  identical prints can be made by a phone call.

Expect the price of print to vary with the amount you order and the size,
but at my shop, an 18x24 print on rag paper can cost $40 each (when ordered
in 4's) or $50 each in singles. We find that artists who can demand $500 or
more for an original this size can get $150 - $200 each for their limited
edition giclées. Thats about a 3x - 4x mark up.