Embellishing Prints

Inset is painter Craig Forrest's 10-10-10, which he prints as limited-edition giclées on his Epson 7600. His hand numbering shows that this is the 35th print in an edition of 400.

© 2001 Craig Forrest. Courtesy of Craig Forrest www.sieepyhoiiowstudio.com

Embellishing means taking a digital print and adding hand brush strokes, glitter, textures, or other artistic flourishes and enhancements to give the print a more custom look. This is also a form of "digital mixed media," and it's very popular among certain artists printing giclée reproductions since selling prices can be much higher than with non-embellished prints.

One important question about embellishing is: do you need to seal the print, and what sort of embellishing media can you use? Some experimentation may be required. For example, Toronto printmaker John Toles at Dragonfly Imaging & Printing works with artists who embellish their PremierArt WR Glossy Canvas prints (Epson UltraChrome inks) by (1) allowing the prints to dry at least 24 hours, (2) using two light coats of Print Shield protective spray coating to seal the prints, and finally (3) applying acrylic paints (not oils) by hand with a brush. In fact, some artists, like Dorene Macaulay, do much more! (See next image.)

Artist Karin Schminke advises that the type of medium and coating will determine how and if sealing is required and which materials work best. "If you are using a gelatin-based, pre-coated paper or canvas (often gloss or semigloss surfaces), they will dissolve when moistened and therefore need to be sealed before adding other media." (For more about using custom pre-coats and even more about digital mixed media printmaking, see Chapter 11.)

Other artists report success after spraying paper prints with an acrylic sealer like Krylon brand clear spray and then painting over that with acrylic medium.

Talk about embellishing! Canadian artist Dorene Macaulay embellishes her canvas prints by painting on colored, melted wax, using a blow torch, and finally gouging the surface.

Courtesy of Maureen Toleslwww.dragonflyprinting.com

Coating Prints

The decision of whether or not to coat a digital print is dependent on how the print is made and what problems need solving. Some newer printers, such as Epson's R800, are starting to incorporate a form of gloss coating as a print device option, but the applications (so far) are limited, and many imagemakers are experimenting with coating their prints.

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