Official Art, Apparel, and Jewelry Gallery of Trail of Painted Ponies™ Artist, Lynn Bean



The differences between Giclée and Laser or offset Litho reproduction deserve explanation. To recent history, offset Litho proved superior to comparable digital methods, and consequently enjoyed credibility as the ultimate medium for reproducing watercolor, pen and pencil work. Current technological developments in high-end Giclée and Laser digital technology however now surpass the former superiority of Lithography.


As is digital scanning and reproduction, Lithography is an art unto itself. Offset lithographs are comprised of basic color separations. Typically, four different colors are laid down in a pattern of dots — themselves, much like the pixels or DPI of computer-generated images. The dots of offset Litho however, are substantially coarser than those produced in state-of-the-art digital processes. In fact, the individual dots of offset Litho are substantially discernible to the naked eye.

Nevertheless, good offset Litho output is somewhat spectacular in itself. The natural relationships of the relatively basic (limited) number of colors used to reproduce the original image produces an effect somewhat like the use of complimentary colors: Good lithos are bright and lively in appearance while yet reproducing the overall color of the original accurately; and the artistry inherent to the method itself is somewhat fascinating to examination.

Magnified area of offset litho reproduction.

Magnified area of offset Litho shows coarse dot matrix and minimal, conglomerate palette of Litho method. Nevertheless, the color separation techniques are almost undetectable to unaided vision (inset.)


Modern Giclée (pronounced zhee-clay), Laser and digital technological developments introduce many impressive achievements, including sophisticated, integral software and hardware capabilities which far exceed the former capacities of Lithography. These new milestones offer truly dramatic improvements to art reproduction.

Among the advantages of digital reproduction are much finer resolution in terms of physical units of depiction; far more permanent pigmentation by archival inks; extremely accurate replication of color; and the ability to print onto papers and even canvas as used in the original work. The result, quite in contrast to offset Litho output, is a reproduction which is virtually indistinguishable from the very original.

As the permanence of archival Giclée and Laser inks is unrivaled, we use the best available archival inks and materials in all my current reproductions, while earlier lithos published by Gem´┐Ż Art, Incorporated are so marked. Our top quality archival reproductions are produced by ProShot Imaging.

At the opposing extreme of permanence, earlier non-archival Giclée reproductions were prone to color deterioration in only a few days of exposure to direct sunlight. Under proper care/conditions new archival Giclée and Laser pigments now provide life expectancies in excess of 100 years without discernible deterioration.

Artists strive to preserve their originals by working on acid-free cotton materials. The ability to use such papers in Giclée and Laser processes further extends the life of Giclée and Laser output, while producing reproductions which are like the original in every detail.

The higher resolution (finer units of representation) of Giclée and Laser output further lends to outstanding, exacting replication. Giclée and Laser pigments fix themselves to artist papers in a manner very much like the distribution of color in the original. Even examination under substantial magnification shows striking replication of the original distribution of color.


With the extremely fine resolution we utilize for Giclée, a now minor distinguishing virtue of Laser output is its square, abutted pixellation. The fine (usually 400 DPI) square, abutted pixels of Laser output show continuous tones even under magnification, virtually uninterrupted by underlying unprinted regions of paper. The extremely fine resolution of Giclée technology however now produces virtually the same effect, even as the units of Giclée are round.

Magnified area of offset litho reproduction.

Magnified area of laser reproduction shows continuous tones and exacting replication characteristic to state-of-the-art laser methods. In high-end Giclées, delineation between printing units may even be virtually indiscernible.


While the appearance of quality offset Litho will remain a fascinating and extremely handsome medium for reproduction, high-end archival Giclée, Laser and digital methodology now emerge as the most exacting and permanent reproduction method for original watercolor, pen, and pencil work. High-end Giclée and Laser reproductions will be virtually indistinguishable from the original itself.

Lynn Bean.