FAQs: Advice and Tips
On this page you will find tips and advice about choosing and caring for your art. This is general guidance, please consult an expert if you have issues with delicate or expensive/precious artwork
Q: Are All Art Prints the Same?
Giclée print process gives high quality reproduction and long lasting prints
Unless you are an artist or you're an experienced collector, it's easy to get muddled up between the different types of art print available to buy at very different prices.
To start off with, there is the distinction between handmade traditional printing processes, professionally printed offset litho, and new digital technologies.
Particularly if you're buying online there is a huge array of "art print". Recently technology has allowed for very high quality digital printing, but, for example, if you buy an art print that has been produced on somebody's home computer printer, this is unlikely to last for any length of time. And that is fine if you are looking for something cheap and cheerful, it's just important to know what you are getting.
Q:What Is A Giclée Print?
So what’s so special about a giclée print? Basically it’s the quality and longevity of the inks and paper used in the process. This type of print is often referred to as “gallery” or “museum” quality print.
They are digital prints made on a very good quality inkjet printer, as distinct from other traditional ways of printing (handmade or offset litho). The name giclée comes from the French verb meaning spray, spout, squirt. The giclée printing process combines archival inks with archival paper to produce a print which is of very high quality and long lasting.
Digital artwork printed using the giclée process and framed
Delivering a large giclée print for an apartment block foyer
Q: How do you make your prints on metal?
There are 2 different processes that can be used to transfer an image onto metal to create a wall art. In both cases they are carried out by highly-skilled specialist printers. I work with carefully-selected companies to create my metal artworks.
Printing onto Metal Using the Dibond Process
In this process, the image is printed onto a very thin sheet of aluminium. The wall art is created from 2 thin sheets of aluminium with a black polyurethane core sandwiched between them. If you look at the side of the artwork you can see that it’s a sort of sandwich.
These prints are distinctive. I use a non-reflecting finish. The metal has a soft sheen. They are unusual, contemporary, and robust..
Infusing the Image onto an Aluminium Panel
In this process the wall art is created using the latest in high definition metal print technology onto a thin aluminium panel. The material may is called Chromaluxe or Alumini – depending on the printer. But, basically it’s using an aluminium panel of about 1 mm in thickness. Heat and pressure are applied to special inks in a process called dye sublimation which results in the image being infused into the metal rather than printed onto its surface.
These prints are scratch resistant, durable and robust. They can be used in environments where ordinary artwork is not suitable, such as a kitchen or bathroom.
The special process gives the image a vibrant sharp appearance and there is a tremendous sense of depth.
You can clean this artwork with a microfibre cloth, but make sure it hasn't got any cleaning product on it or bits of dirt which could potentially lead to minor scratches on the surface of the aluminium.
Using the Chromaluxe/Alumini method produces is a premium product which perfectly complements my iPad artwork.
Q: What is a limited edition print?
Open edition is a term that is used when there is no limit on the number of prints that an artist can make from an individual image.
Unlike open edition prints, limited editions (like the name says) are strictly limited. The number of prints in a limited edition is up to the artist. The artist can’t change the number of prints available for sale in the edition, no matter how quickly they sell or even if people want to buy more. Each print will be numbered and authenticated by the artist.
Artists sometimes create a few different limited editions for the same artwork, for example using different sizes or materials.
Typically you will see the artist signing the print on the front and giving it a little fraction-like number, for example, 10/30, this would mean the print was number 10 out of a print run of 30 in total.
Limited editions can be produced using a number of different techniques, but let us restrict ourselves to what I am doing which is iPad artwork. Like photographs, limited edition prints of iPad artwork, are usually produced on high quality paper using a process called "giclée".
Q:What is an artists or studio proof ?
Currently I am trying out various designs using different processes to see which ones work best. Watch out for artists proofs – these are experimental test pieces.
Traditionally, a studio proof proofs is produced at the same time as a limited edition print run. They are generally more expensive and exclusive than a limited-edition. They are separate from the edition.
My artist's proofs are test prints to see how an image looks at a particular size or on a particular material.
Q:How can I stop artwork fading?
Have you noticed how if you leave a magazine or other piece of printed material in direct sunlight from a window, pretty soon the paper will discolour and the print will fade. Of course, it's not meant for long term use but the principle is the same – no art likes being in direct sunlight.
avoid positions opposite large windows, glass doors, mirrors
Be careful when choosing art for your hallway.
Think about using a special UV protecting glass in the frame.
Q: Where shouldn't I put artwork?
Avoid placing your artwork directly above a radiator, or to near a fire
Avoid smoky dusty environments,
Unless your work especially designed for it, don't use in a bathroom or a damp steamy area. Humidity will damage most artworks.
Q: How should I clean my artwork?
To keep art looking its best please use the right cleaning methods. If your artwork is in a glass fronted frame, you can use specialist glass cleaner
Please don't use glass cleaning products on an aluminium or acrylic print. Wipe it gently with a soft dry lint free cloth like a microfibre cloth.
If it's painted on canvas using acrylic paint, framed or unframed, be super careful when dusting. Don't use any cleaning products, I flick away the dust with a soft cloth or duster. (Make sure it's clean and doesn't have any product on it.)
Q: How Can I Find A Frame?
Before I started making art I had no idea how important choosing the right frame was both in terms of presenting the work but also in terms of making sure that it is well cared for.
My top tip for choosing a frame is to ask a professional framer! That doesn't need to be a expensive option but you will get really good advice.
Look out for
the Fine Art Trade Guild, that is the industry's trade body. You can find more information at: www.fineart.co.uk
Mostly people think about the aesthetic qualities of the frame itself, but the glass at the front is really important. Normal glass gives a reflection but you can get nonreflective glass, and also glass which has higher UV protection for your art. If it's a special piece for you, whether an expensive artwork or a child's drawing you want to treasure, it's worth considering these options.
Q: How Do I Frame My Artwork on Paper?
* Original paintings and prints on paper are designed to be used with a frame.
* Ideally, use a mount or mat. Not only does it make the picture look nice, it prevents the front of the art touching against the the glass or the acrylic of the frame.
* If it's a picture which has a lot of texture, the mount is especially important to make sure the texture doesn't rub against the front of the frame.
* Work on canvas doesn't need a frame but you might want to use one for aesthetic reasons.
As an artist I love painting on canvas. I think that canvasses look nice when presented directly on the wall and that they don't always need to be framed. But, a frame which compliments the picture, can enhance its impact.
Canvas and canvas board work is usually framed in what's called a "float" frame which goes around the artwork, leaving it plenty of opportunity to breathe.
The frame is usually close to the edge of the painting but you can be innovative and individual about your framing choices.
Q: How Should I Store My Pictures?
Check occasionally that the strings or wires that hold your pictures haven't become frayed or damaged – particularly important when pictures have been hanging in the same place for a long time.
When storing pictures, stack them vertically and stand them glass to glass facing so that the hangers don't scratch the frames.
Q: What Is a D Ring?
Sometimes you need to put a hanging attachment on the back of your painting. The most common way to do this is with D Rings. You can get them from most hardware stores or online.
Measure about one third down from the top of the frame, on both sides, then screw the D ring into each side. It's best to use a strong cord (ideally framing cord) or wire.
Make sure that you use a strong enough hanging attachment for your frame, D rings come in a variety of sizes, some with 1 and some with 2 screws.
Q: How Do I Create a Gallery Wall?
I was surprised to discover how much measuring and maths is involved in creating for example an exhibition display, but it applies equally to a gallery wall at home. It’s something I’m not particularly good at and have to work very hard to achieve. Here are some guidelines I have created for myself.
When planning your display, bear in mind that natural eye level for most people is 152-168 cm from the floor.
*Don’t put anything below 40 cm.
*Don’t put anything above 200 cm.
*Ensure that the spacing between artworks is consistent so you create a pleasing grid of images.
*Allow 8 cm of blank wall space around each image.
A good tip is to layout your pictures on the floor as if they were on the wall, and then you can see how they look in terms subject, and colour tones.
All this is very personal, of course, and depends on what impression you are trying to achieve but let me pass on some interesting advice I saw on Kate Bryan’s Instagram account. Kate is a well-known curator as well as judge on Sky’s Landscape Artist of the Year. She said curating pictures in an exhibition is like being a film director – you need to be a good editor and think about how they work together in terms of aesthetics and conceptually. Make sure you leave out anything that jars.
When you begin hanging your pictures, start in the middle and work outwards.