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Limited Edition Giclees and Lithographs

Limited edition prints, also known as LE’s, have been standard in printmaking since the nineteenth century. Today limited editions can be found in quantities as many as two or 1,000. Limited edition archival inkjet prints are more commonly below 250 per edition, while Limited Edition Lithographs are usually 500 to 1,000 prints. Given today’s art market, smaller editions are more common, as it is assumed the lower the  number in the edition, the more valuable and collectible the limited editions are likely to be. LE’s are carefully produced directly from the original work and printed under the artist’s supervision.

A limited edition is normally hand signed and numbered by the artist (e.g. 19/125) with exception that the artist is deceased or lives a great distance from the printmaker. In this case, the LE often includes a Certificate of Authenticity, signed by the artist, their estate, and/or the Master Printmaker.


How to sell your Limited Edition Art & Photography

Suggestions to consider when marketing your limited editions: First, plan on signing and numbering your art, giclees, and photographs so the buyer will appreciate a higher value-limited edition, plus enjoying your art and getting to know you. Prepare a printed card to introduce yourself and your work.  Bookstores, potteries, and frame galleries will help you market by allowing you to display cards on their counter. Have the cards attractively printed  5.5" x 8.5" on a 100 lb. dull coated cover like Hanno Art, for example. Also, mail the cards to previous purchasers or interested parties, and hand them out as you would a business cards.

Your second goal will be to help others raise money through your art which in return helps you sell your work. Banks, botanical gardens, charitable foundations, churches, country clubs, Rotary Clubs, city planners, magazines, trade shows, art galleries, schools, special events, etc., all need ways to attract new customers and welcome opportunities to raise money and or new customers.

Once you start thinking creative selling, many opportunities begin taking shape. Share your art at special events, auctions, and heavy traffic areas.

And we're always ready to assist with creative suggestions toward helping you market your work, as well as offering our expertise to assist in obtaining a return on your investment.

Number of Prints in the Edition

There’s no standard amount of prints. The Edition may include as few as 1 or 3, or as many as 1,000 or more. The artist should reflect on how the volume will affect the sale of your original works and consider that the smaller the edition, the higher price you can ask per print. Determine how many you think you can sell.

The Next Step - Artist’s Proof

The process of making an Artist’s Proof (a Printer’s Proof may also be made). This requires artwork to be scanned digitally. In the case of digitally created artwork provided by the artist, a high-resolution file (300 dpi at the intended print size) should be provided.

Once the Artist’s Proof is approved, a Production File is created for the Edition. This file has locked-in data pertaining to the color and density adjustments made during the proofing process. It also sets the print size, type, title, copyright and defines the border – the amount of white space – around the image. The Production File may also be tagged with additional information such as type of paper used and any special finishing options. Tight controls on the process to limit or eliminate variation in quality have become the norm.


A remarque is a small original sketch done by the artist, often outside the actual image of the print. It may be in pencil, watercolor, or pen and ink. A remarqued print is more desirable to many serious art collectors. A remarque adds value to a print in that it then becomes one of a kind with the addition of the original artwork by the artist.

Signing Giclee Fine Art

Where you sign your Giclee prints is up to you. Traditionally a signature is put towards one of the bottom corners. The signature should flow as part of the painting/printing and not detract from it. The signature should be towards the bottom, but not too far down so that framing or matting hides it. Signing your work is a simple thing, but you should be consistent and careful in how and where you sign.


Artists recognize the value of limiting the size of an edition and including the volume of the edition in the print number.  A numbered print is designed to show the limit or size of a print edition. The number is generally placed over the size of the edition. For example, 12/500 indicates that the print is number twelve out of an edition of 500. Lower numbers used to mean a sharper image, but with modern printing, the last print should be as sharp as the first.

The conventions for numbering prints are well-established, but other marks may indicate that a print has been made in addition to the numbered prints of an edition. Artist's proofs are marked "A. P." or "P/A", sometimes E. A. or E. d'A. (épreuve d'artiste); uniquely hand-altered prints are marked "unique"; prints that are given to someone or are for some reason unsuitable for sale are marked "H. C." or "H/C," meaning "hors de commerce," not for sale. These are usually prints reserved for the publisher, like Artist's Proofs. The printer is also often allowed to retain some proof impressions; these are marked "P. P." Finally, a master image may be printed against which the members of the edition are compared for quality: these are marked as "bon à tirer" or "BAT" ("good to print" in French).


Each and every Giclee fine art print is personally inspected by the Print Maker as well as the inspection department prior to packaging and handing off to the artist.

Handling of the Giclee Fine Art

Don’t fold or crease the art print; permanent damage will occur. Don’t cut the prints. Don’t laminate the art. Handle the art only by its edges as moisture and oils from your skin can adversely affect the art print. To prevent discoloration, store Giclees in a cool, dark place. Keep prints away from high temperatures, high humidity, and direct sunlight. Giclees are created and designed for indoor use only. Don’t display art prints outdoors because the paper will be damaged by exposure to sunlight and atmospheric contaminants. If you need to transport the art prints, place them on a flat surface to prevent curling or warping, and avoid rubbing the printed area.


For maximum print longevity, we recommend displaying Giclees mounted under glass. This protects them from discoloration caused by exposure to air and extends the life of the paper and its inks. Use only 100% archival materials and UV plexi-glass or glass. Framing is a key element in displaying a work of art.

Our Giclees Are Printed on Professional Art Paper, Somerset Velvet

We select the highest quality 100% cotton for long term durability, acid free, mold-made paper, with a thickness of 19 mil, 255g/m paper. With a velvet surface for rich detail and accurate reproduction, Somerset® has always been the first paper choice among serious artists and printmakers.

Eight Color Archival Inks are Selected for all of our Giclees

Epson UltraChrome K3™ ink technology represents a turning point in the history of inkjet printing. Inspired by our past generations of pigmented ink technology, Epson's all new 8-color ink set incorporates three unique levels of black, which along with new color pigment technology, dramatically improves both color and black and white prints. Producing archival prints with amazing color fidelity, gloss level, and scratch resistance, while providing stable colors from the moment prints exit the printer.

Epson UltraChrome K3 ink has improved print permanence* characteristics that provide light-fastness ratings of up to 108 years for color and over 200 years for black and white under rigorous industry accepted display conditions. Epson UltraChrome K3 ink and Epson Genuine Media perform as a perfectly matched system that provides the best combination of quality output and longevity enabling the display and sale of prints to the most demanding clients.

*Print permanence ratings based on accelerated testing of prints on specialty media, displayed indoors, under glass. Actual print stability will vary according to printer, media, printed image, display conditions, light intensity, humidity, and atmospheric conditions. GicleeLtd and Epson does not guarantee longevity of prints. For maximum print life, display all prints under glass or properly stored.

Keeping Track of the Edition

As prints are sold against the Edition, it is the artist/publisher’s responsibility to log print sales and monitor the balance of the Edition still available. Determine how you will control the edition: you will need to keep track of each print number (e.g. “6 of 50″) as it is sold, and ideally the buyer’s details. In all cases, when an Edition is sold out, the Production File and all proofing files for that print are destroyed to ensure the integrity of the Edition.

The Master Printmaker destroys all working files and proofs used in the production of the Fine Art Giclee and submits a signed statement stating the number of prints and sizes produced for and delivered to the artist/publisher.

Our best to you,

Henry O’Pry

Master Printmaker

Copyright ® 2015 Giclee  | Division of SoutheasternColor Lithographers, Inc. All rights reserved

Printing, Proofing, Numbering