Pre – Ramble – I Mean Amble.
I’ve recorded here some of my research, thoughts and experiences, in the field of digital printing. Some of which I’ve already posted a little about. Sharing information about iPad art, and digital printing can only be a good thing; as it seems there’s (though it’s changing) a lot of misconceptions – often negative ones – about both these areas.
Following are points I look at
- Differences between iPad art “original” prints, and “reproduction“ prints.
- About giclee/inkjet printing – with links about “open” and “limited” print editions.
- About prints I make at home – updated January 2018. Some of my art prints are available here.
- Art for all
I’m learning as I go along; and as I’m no expert in these matters, I do recommend you read the links I’ve
sprinkled throughout this page, as they expand on some of the points I make. *I don’t necessarily, agree with all viewpoints on these linked websites.
I’ll keep this page updated with any info and links I find helpful; and hope it will also be a help to you.
I live in a small country town in Australia, and my website/blog is a great way to share my art and words – and also be inspired by others! Thank you ahead of time, for ploughing through this rather long page.
*A link, to one of my posts with a downloadable “iPad Art Info pdf”.
Over the years, I’ve often used a colour copier/printer to scan and make “reproduction” prints of my watercolours, ink pen, and pencil works. These were mostly used to illustrate my poems, for my hand made books.
I generally worked in a small size, A4 and under. This was a good size for printing, and my art and writing projects could fit nicely on a “stable” table, which was also my studio. It perched easily on my lap – that’s if a child wasn’t there already, and I could also quickly put my work up high, away from small hands when necessary – which was often! Though I always made sure they had their own art and writing materials to use.
Sometimes, I’d play about with a print: adding a top coat of an acrylic gel medium, some times I’d add a tint to the gel, and when it dried, I’d add a little more watercolour and so on..
These days I have a bit more time and space for my art and words. Primarily I still work smallish – with some larger, usually canvas works thrown in occasionally. The size of an iPad screen quite suits my purposes.
I began with an iPad mini, moved on to an iPad Air 2, and now use an iPad Pro 10.5 – an excellent iPad; though all of them have been great to use. I always have a keyboard attached, which makes things even easier. A fellow blogger, Paul Longo, certainly does some great work on his iPad Pro, you can see some of it at his blog, “portfoliolongo”.
I still frequently use my “stable” table, and I still like to print some of my traditional artwork. To do this I use an excellent app called, “Scanner Pro” to scan in my works, (sometimes I just take a photo with the iPad camera) on paper or canvas. After a tidy up around the edges, and perhaps a touch of work added in an art app, usually “Procreate”, I can make a good quality “reproductive” print.
Often I need to make further adjustments to the overall saturation of colours of a scan, so the print better matches the original – the paper I choose to print on directly impacts on these decisions. *More about the paper I print on further along. I use the iPad for any editing or adjustments needed for printing purposes.
Sometimes, a scanned in artwork becomes the catylyst for a work very different to the original…
All my art for printing is sent via my iPad, to my home printer – or sometimes to various online printing options.
A print is the only way to give my iPad art a physical home. In this way, it’s akin to a photographic image.
The iPad (with an attached keyboard) has become an invaluable tool for these creative ventures. I also built this website on it – I rarely use a computer for anything!
1/ Differences Between iPad art “Original” Prints, and “Reproduction” Prints
I’ve continually printed, in one way or another, some of my iPad artworks, since starting out on this adventure.
Each of my iPad art prints is an “original print”, not a “reproduction” print of a work in another medium. Not that each print is a unique, one of a kind, as in a “mono print”. But that each iPad artwork I choose to print, is only fully realised as a finished work, when it takes it’s home in print form.
Sometimes my iPad art has a “reproductive” component, where I scan in the beginnings of a drawing or painting on paper or canvas; then hand draw on it further in an art app, before printing it. The “Scanner Pro” app, continues to be a great app to use for this purpose. At times, I also add traditional media to my iPad art prints – a little more on this, further along in: “About prints I make at home”.*Some examples here, of where I’ve used the “Scanner Pro” app.
Little Gallery Carousel, What is an ‘Original Print’ ?
In traditional hand pulled prints, “proof prints” are made, and the “plate” or “matrix” – whether it’s a linocut, a lithographic stone, an etching plate.. – is adjusted accordingly, to get the final print result the artist wants. Below is a link to a print glossary of traditional (and some more modern) printmaking terms. “International Fine Print Dealers Association” – Print Glossary.
I see the iPad artwork, within whatever art app I’m drawing or painting, as a “pixel plate”.
When I print one of my iPad artworks, I need to do “proof prints” and make any necessary changes (with my finger, which I prefer, rather than use a stylus) to the drawing or painting – the “pixel” plate – to get the print I want.
This I can do immediately when using an inkjet printer at home. With laser printing (which I initially used quite often) I emailed my images as pdfs, to my local “Office Choice” store. Then after picking them up, I could see where I may have to rework them, before resending them again…
At one stage I laser printed a swatch of colours from one of my favourite art apps, “Art Set Pro” as a guide. Didn’t take me long to fairly know how my art on the screen would look printed. Now that I do most of my own art printing, I rarely use laser printing, and find pigment ink on matt paper has the quality and look I prefer.
Although iPad art is a digital art form, and I’m essentially working with pixels,I don’t know anything about computer digital art, or photoshop. I rarely use a computer – for anything. Fortunately for iPad art I don’t need to have any of those skills. Drawing on my iPad feels like I’m just swapping a piece of paper, for another kind of another paper!
2/ About Inkjet/Giclee Printing – with links about open and limited print editions.
I’ve spent some time researching, what in particular is required to make a good quality inkjet or giclee print – a term commonly used – which is fundamentally an inkjet print. Like other artists painting with pixels, I want to offer a good quality home for my digital artworks.
The term “Giclee” print is used to indicate a fine art quality print, printed on an inkjet printer, with:
- fade resistant pigment inks;
- with often six, eight or more colours,
- on archival quality paper.
It was a term coined to differentiate these better quality prints, from earlier inkjet prints; which were of a poorer quality: in colour, paper, and inks – and usually prone to fading.
This Wikipedia link and those below, give thorough explanations of the origins and meaning, of the term.
The Art Of Hymn: Frequently asked Questions about Fine Art Prints
Colin Bailey Artist and Printmaker (Ryegrass.com) Limited Edition Prints Explained What is a Fine Art Giclee print
Epic Edits A closer look at limited editions
Briefly – quick out with the editor’s pen – some points about “open” and “limited” edition prints – (more info in the links above). In digital printing, an artwork can be made available in an unlimited number of prints, these are commonly referred to as “open” edition prints.
A “limited” edition, is as per the title,a limited print series of an artwork, often a digital “reproduction” print of a work in another medium. But also a structure used for “original” artworks/prints by some photographers, digital artists; and for hand drawn artworks/prints on an iPad. This limitation allows for a series of prints of a specified number: ten (or less), twenty or more.. numbered, usually signed, and often sold with a certificate of authenticity. More info on these certificates in this article: How to make a certificate of Authenticity for artwork. This purposely imposed limitation, can make it more of a collectable, unique artwork.
In a hand pulled print edition, a limited edition is the usual course of things, as the “plate” will eventually wear out.
An “open” edition digital print, whether a “reproduction” or “original” print” is usually sold for a lower price than a “limited” edition print.
FIDELIS ART PRINTS What is a Giclee Print? Describing Your Inkjet Printed Art “A prickly topic between artists, printmakers, dealers and art galleries”.
This article above, is a good overview of the recent history in the use of the term “giclee” and the need to clearly describe and define the various types of prints available through these newer print technologies. The confusion of which, has lead to (though not always deliberately) misinformation about a print: by art dealers and artists; and sometimes used for financial gain – not an uncommon practice in any field! A good point, as quoted below, made at the end of the article.
“And finally (this really isn’t a tip), your art is not worth more or less because it was printed digitally. Price your pieces fairly and always act with integrity in your business dealings. Ultimately, your art will sell because someone loves it—not how it was printed.” ~ Fidelis Art Prints
These relatively new technologies in digital printing are certainly a cost effective, and easy way for digital, traditional and iPad artists (and photographers) to print, and sell their “original” digital artwork, and also “reproductions” of any works on paper or canvas.
3/ About Prints I Make at Home – updated January 2018
I now do much of my iPad art printing myself – steps of this further along. Though I still have some of it printed in the various ways as I’ve previously mentioned – : laser – via a pdf of an image sent to my local office supply shop (which I use sparingly); and very occasionally through other printing services, one of which is an excellent printing company: Code Ice Prints. When I outsource my iPad art for printing I still keep a close eye on the overall quality of the prints. I don’t feel it detracts from the intrinsic value of my artwork (though others may dispute that). It was not an uncommon practice over the centuries, for artists to work closely with a professional Printer.
The Met Museum – The printed image in the West: History and Techniques
Before purchasing an inkjet printer, I again considered what makes a good quality art print. Some of which I’ve already mentioned.
- Good image quality: colour, tone, contrast; which of course also has a lot to do with the artwork itself.
- Usually produced on a printer, with six, eight or more inks.
- Fade resistant pigment inks – though dye inks are improving all the time. I initially had a dye based printer.
- Archival paper – the quality of the paper, I’ve discovered, can make all the difference to the colour and tonal qualities of the print.
You can find a lot of information on these factors at Wilhelm Imaging Research
Importantly, it uses pigment ink. I also use a variety of beautiful inkjet papers: Bockingford inkjet watercolour, Canson Rag Photographique, Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, Washi – a bamboo paper: each one, has it’s own particular beauty, in how it brings out the colour and tones in an image. I’m also experimenting with using some non-inkjet watercolour papers and brown Kraft paper with pleasing results. These papers better handle traditional media, if I want to add it to a print.
The largest print available on this printer is A4, which suits me fine. For the few occaisions I may want a larger size, I can outsource my art to various places for a good quality print. There is a model in this series which prints up to A3; perhaps an option at some future date.
To enable an even larger than an A3 size print you can use an app called “Big Photo”. It resamples and increases the overall image pixel size of an image, without losing any image quality in the print. More about “Big Photo” and other apps I use, on my page, “About Some Art apps, Other apps, and My Books”.
Although this printer has only four inks, I don’t let that stop me getting the image print quality I want. To do this, I make any neccesary colour and tonal adjustments (with my finger) on my iPad drawing or painting, (and sometimes I use a little art app media on scanned in artworks for “reproductive” printing) during the proof printing stages. I also use the editing tools in the iPhoto section on the iPad. *It’s a common for an image to need some editing to get a good quality print.
When comparing one of my print images, with the same image from a more expensive outsourced print, it’s very difficult to discern any difference. I’m quite pleased with the excellent results! Another very good Epson printer I used previous to this one is the Ex – 420 – this also uses pigment ink. A less expensive option you may want to experiment with first – though a very faint roller mark can show on matt papers over 200gsm, and not really suitable for 300gsm matt paper.
Steps I take to print an image at home
I send my art to my Epson printer, via my iPad. Firstly, I like to centre an image on a page, and leave a white border around it before printing it.
- I place my image from my iPhotos section on the iPad, (having first saved it to there from an app), onto a page in “Book Creator”;
- where I position the image to allow for border space around it.
- Then I save the image from there back to my photo section.
- From there I send it to my Epson Printer.
I use the LCD panel on the printer to put in my settings, which are usually for: matt paper, borderless, highest ink saturation, and A4 or whatever size I want. I’ve had no trouble getting an excellent print with these settings.
I don’t like the quality of the print sent from the “Epson iPrint” app, so I just use it to check the ink levels, and I order ink through there. So far I’m very impressed with how long the inks last – I print regularly, and it’s months before I have to order any.
I offer my iPad art prints for sale at present, only locally. With plans to have some available for sale via my “Shop” page, along with a selection of my traditional art. For my local area I have prints in simple, attractive frames, and also display some in clear biodegradable cellophane sleeves. Some of the info below is may also be offered.
I print my iPad art with Epson archival pigment ink, onto fine art quality matt paper, with an inkjet printer. The materials used for this print give it a permanence of approx: 100yrs behind glass, as stated by wilhelm-research.com – Epson DURAbrite ultra ink on Epson matte paper heavy weight paper. On other papers without glass, as per this article: RedRiverPaper Premium Photo Inkjet Papers a series of test to simulate 51+ years of exposure,without glass
The specifics may vary – I don’t generally have all that detail, but I do like to make it clear, (mainly because of the previously poor longevity qualities of many inkjet prints) that my prints are made with excellent fade resistant media. I much agree with the quote a few paragraphs back, from “Fidelis Art Prints”.
Some traditional media I like to use on my prints (and on their own as well):
- coloured pencil (Polychromos);
- watercolour (Windsor and Newton, and Sennelier ) – water doesn’t make the pigment ink print run.
- Acrylics and gouache.
- Sometimes I begin a work on canvas or paper, scan it in, add more to it in an art app, then print it – endless……
- As I mentioned, I’m also using (non-inkjet) watercolour paper in the printer; both 180gsm and 300gsm – with great results! If I saturate the colour and adjust contrasts, etc… in “iPhotos” on the iPad, the print looks equivalent in quality to the prints on inkjet paper. Also, there is a pleasing effect of seeing the grain of the paper showing through.
- Sometimes, I print onto to various drawing and watercolour papers for the specific purpose of working further on them in traditional media, and therefore I’m not too fussed with getting the perfect print. I enjoy doing a small series of prints, and varying the way I use traditional media on them. These are called, a Variable Edition “VE” or Edition Variable “EV”. With watercolour paper it’s much easier to work on a print; as there’s no inkjet finish to impede the flow of the paint or the effectiveness of graphite of ccoloured pencil…
I look for good lightfastness, and archival qualities in all the art media I use.
4/ Art for All.
And finally, a link to this interesting article below, an offer of more “food for thought” – I found it a tantalising and agreeable piece.
Democratizing art “(The following piece was inspired by a provocative essay written by the late Edward C. Banfield in the April 1982 issue of Harper’s Magazine, “Art Versus Collectibles – Why Museums Should be Filled with Fakes.” Banfield was a professor at Harvard, not of art, but of government. The art world hated his proposals.)”
Thankful to God, for all my creative opportunities.
Thanks for visiting!
All images and text © 2016 -2018 Janette Leeds.
The various apps and products I share about, as well as any links listed, are to offer you information – which I hope you’d find helpful, and explore further. I’m not affiliated in any monetary way (would make it clear if this was the case) with the product developers or companies, nor do I neccessarily endorse all their products or practices – just saying.
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