§ At the FLOG blog, Jacob Covey goes on at some length to discuss his dislike of giclée (digital) prints, as opposed to old school hand printmaking:

Meanwhile there is a mind-boggling craft involved in all traditional print-making that makes any hand-crafted print far more valuable than any digital print. Perhaps it sounds snobbish to make these distinctions but the truth is that giving something a French name in order to sell it is far more snooty than my position which is as an advocate for the value of Art in this Age of Mechanical Reproduction. Aside from the fact that giclée prints are far more expensive per-unit than most any other process, I simply find it consumerist and soulless to actively convince people that a digital print has any value beyond decoration or as reference material. It is, as a kind of Platonic thing, not capable of being Art. For example, screenprinting is perhaps the most common and well-known non-printing-press, print-making technique [entertaining Aesthetic Apparatus instructional video here]. It’s potentially cheap and easy if also messy. It can be as simple as one-color screened on paper or something complex and nuanced like this 24-layer Gary Baseman print from Decoder Ring. But it has SOUL that resonates back through generations of our ancestors who developed hands-on methods for spreading information and art.

§ John K. piles it on again with his ideas of the two most important tools of the cartoonist but sweetens the medicine with pictures of cool old comic strips.

You can’t learn the basics faster than by copying the drawings from classic model sheets. Save yourself 4 years of debt piled up at a cheesy animation school that doesn’t teach you anything. If you combine these two broad concepts: 1) strong drawing principles with 2) fun wacky cartooniness and creativity, you get the best kind of cartoons – like the WB and Tex Avery cartoons. Lots of control, without losing the idea that cartoons are supposed to be magic, ridiculous and fun.


  1. Thank God for Jacob Covey. The man is a brilliant designer, a wonderful artist, and a font of wisdom. His post was definitely the best thing I’ve read online all year.

  2. There’s nothing wrong with Giclee, the technology now can sustain archival quality, the inks and papers are capable of achieving museum quality. I agree it is less– shall we say– heroic than printing by hand. It is certainly easier, which is one of its main attractions. Screenprinting is expensive, time consuming, and complicated. I would fall to screenprinting if I had to choose one over the other but I have no problem with Giclee myself. I would agree on the assessment that it is less “soulful” than printing by hand but I don’t see why we need to drag Plato into this.

    Incidentally, Giclee is a French slang term for ejaculation– it means “spray”. Fancy French name for something which, as far as I can gather, was invited in California as a direct result of the silicon boom. There are a number of people who claim to have invented the process. At any rate, it is pushing against a rope to resist digital technology– it is surely not going away, short of WW4.

    I wholeheartedly agree with John K. on copying the drawings of masters. I learned this from no one less that Steve Rude himself. If anyone has seen his glorious sketchbooks, you’ll know they are full of swipes and studies done expressly for self-improvement and edification.

  3. Printmaking is an art, a giclee is a reproduction. That doesn’t say anything about the skill necessary to create an image (and it does make sense for creating a tangible product for digital artists), but the process of actually doing the printing isn’t comparable. For anyone’s who’s actually spent a full day in a print studio trying to get a dozen usable prints, calling a giclee a “print” is an insult. “Print-out” is fine, though.

  4. It takes just as much talent to make a good giclee as it does to make a good silkscreen print. Just because someone doesn’t understand the process and has a bug up their ass, doesn’t mean their opinion has one bit of validity. It’s snobbishness pure and simple.