Saturday, October 15, 2011

How to sign an art print

This month the Making A Mark Poll is about signing artwork.  I've also created a new resources for artists website - How to sign a painting and other fine art - which is providing to be very popular.  This morning I added a new section to it relating to How to sign a fine art print.
An artist's name on a print can increase the price by two or more times, and creators generally view signing and numbering works as a valuable source of income for themselves.What's the value of a signature on an art print - Daniel Grant - Huffington Post
The Do's and Don'ts of Signatures for Printmakers

Here's a summary of the conventions - and a few tips about what NOT to do

Printmakers should do these
  • DO sign using a sharp pencil
  • DO only sign the fine art print if you are happy with the quality of it - the artist's signature is the mark of "approval" and also attests to its authenticity
  • DO sign a limited edition print near the bottom edge of the print - on the bottom right hand side
  • DO mark the edition number and the edition size at the same time - on the bottom left hand side (eg #4 /25 indicates this is the fourth print of a limited edition of 25 and that no more prints will be made)
  • DO add a title if appropriate - in between the signature and the edition number
  • DO sign any artwork which is to be reproduced as a giclee within the image to be reproduced (ie it's best to avoid being accused of trying to imitate limited edition prints.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with giclee prints but they're not the same as fine art prints which are hand-pulled)
  • DO use a monogram if you want to be traditional.  The practice of signing prints with names is relatively recent.
Albrecht Durer's monogram - used on his etchings

It's best to avoid doing these
  • DO NOT sign using a pen.  Convention dictates this is inappropriate and oddly it might make it more vulnerable to fraud as signatures can be printed - but pencil can't!
  • DO NOT sign if you are unhappy with the print - you should deface or destroy it to stop it being sold if you want to maintain the status of your work
  • DO NOT sign prints which are not hand-pulled and/or are unlimited editions of a reproduction in the same way as a limited edition fine art print.  The convention to maintain the distinction between these two different sorts of prints is that 
    • limited edition fine art prints are signed and 
    • unlimited reproduction prints are NOT signed outside the image in a way which mimics the limited edition print
  • DO NOT sign blank sheets of paper
Signing blank pieces of paper occurs when the economic value of the print lies in the signature.  Certain artists (eg Dali) are well known for having done this in the past and this has now undermined the secondary market for their prints.

You can contribute to the opinion poll about signing your artwork - you will find this in the right hand column

I did my best to research this topic thoroughly - but I'd love to hear any views or tips from printmakers on this topic.

It seems to me that achieving a sensible distinction between limited editions of giclee prints and a hand-pulled fine art limited edition print is easier said than done.


  1. Thanks! That is a really good point about the pen vs pencil signatures.

  2. I do mosaic art right now so I am not sure how to sign them lol. I am going to leave my link just trying to build blog relations. What does nofollow mean? I just started a blog on mosaic art

  3. I've seen mosaic art signed in the media that the mosaics are pressed into. I think this a monogram mosaic would work great though!

    "Nofollow" means That Blogger automatically codes all links left in comments so that they don't count for the purposes of building links to websites or blogs. Basically that means leaving a link to your blog on a Blogger blog doesn't help it at all.

  4. Great post Katherine.

    "It seems to me that achieving a sensible distinction between limited editions of giclee prints and a hand-pulled fine art limited edition print is easier said than done." I agree as my recent prints are giclee but there is not anywhere within the image area to sign. I am however, telling everyone they are giclee.

  5. Great clear guidelines, sounds good to me. Have you got any advice on Artist's proofs, test proofs, variable proofs and the use of AP, TP, VP etc? I'm just getting into printmaking and any advice would be helpful. Thanks, Cecca :-)

  6. I've seen renowned artists signed artist's proofs and they've either had AP or Artist's proof after the signature. They are NOT numbered.

    Tear up test proofs? Aren't these normally annotated with what needs to happen next to make them work as a proper proof? I've also seen these crossed through after they've been actioned so they can't be sold.

    I guess they could be made part of the edition if they "work" to the required standard and then signed in the normal way.

    I'm not sure what you mean by variable proofs - ones that didn't quite work?

  7. Thank you for your information.

  8. I have a really goofy question. Say you have a monotype. It's an edition of one print--but it is a print-- do you label that? 1/1? I've seen 'AP' for 'artist proof', etc., is there a shorthand for 'unique print'?

  9. Now that is a good question. I guess you'd sign it the same way you'd sign any other unique artwork - and then take a good quality photograph of it and file it!

  10. ...I'm really sorry, I don't know what that 'same way' is (unless you mean, just sign it, but I mean the edition number on the lower left of a print, opposite the signature, that can have additional letters designating if it's a proof or whatnot). Is there an accepted notation for monotypes that denotes them as single-print editions? Or do you just write 1/1 and assume that the certificate (which of course also states that there is no master extant) is enough? I've been searching for over a month and gotten lots on everything but monotypes. For monoprints you apparently do "varied edition" or "EV #/total" to distinguish them from identical multiples), but there's nothing out there on how to label the print category if a print is unique. Sorry if this is irrelevant, it's just, everything else has such a concrete convention for how it's done, so it seems odd for there to be no accepted way for this.

  11. Great post but I have a problem regarding the use of a pencil and not a pen. I have Giclee prints taken from a painting to sell as a limited edition of 85. The trouble is that because they are on semimatte paper a pencil will not make a mark. I have an o.h.p. fine line pen but am afraid to do the wrong thing. What do you suggest ?...

  12. Don't use semi-matte paper - and always make sure you can sign a paper before placing an order?

  13. Great article. I have some questions:

    1) Say you have an original painting, and you are making limited edition prints. How uniform do the prints have to be? Do they all have to be the same size? Do they have to be framed the same? Do they have to be printed on the same media? Do they have to be signed in the same place? Do they have to be signed with the same color?

    2) Should you have consistency in the number of limited edition prints you have per piece? In other words, if I have 3 paintings, is it okay to limit one to 10 prints, another to 50 and another to 250?

    3) Say you're making a limited edition of 100. You don't have to print all at once, right? You can basically do it on demand? Do you have to start with #1, and then #2, etc? Or can you go out of order?

    4) What is to stop someone from buying a limited edition print, and reproducing it, essentially meaning there are more copies then you are stating?

  14. I think the source of your confusion is that that you are talking about reproductions and I am talking about fine art printmaking. A lot of people get confused about this.

    Here's the answers to your questions

    1) Say you have an original painting, and you are making limited edition prints. How uniform do the prints have to be? Do they all have to be the same size? Do they have to be framed the same? Do they have to be printed on the same media? Do they have to be signed in the same place? Do they have to be signed with the same color?

    You can't make a limited edition print of an original painting - because it is a painting, not a support for creating hand-pulled fine art prints.

    You can create giclee print reproductions of a painting and you can do these any size you like but you should NOT confuse these with a proper limited edition fine art print.

    When you sell a fine art print, you sell the print - it's up to the owner to decide how they are framed.

    Read the website for more information about how to sign them

    2) Should you have consistency in the number of limited edition prints you have per piece? In other words, if I have 3 paintings, is it okay to limit one to 10 prints, another to 50 and another to 250?

    Like I said you're not creating limited edition prints in the conventional sense, you are creating giclee print reproductions. You can have as many as you like anytime any size. A limited edition in the true sense of the word is done once only in one size.

    3) Say you're making a limited edition of 100. You don't have to print all at once, right? You can basically do it on demand? Do you have to start with #1, and then #2, etc? Or can you go out of order?

    Let's say you are not going to make more than 100 reproduction prints of one painting - which is what you seem to be suggesting you want to do.

    If you're creating giclee prints you can print as you go and many people do - however they are also very careful to call it a giclee print reproduction.

    4) What is to stop someone from buying a limited edition print, and reproducing it, essentially meaning there are more copies then you are stating?

    When making a fine art print, the convention is to break the plate at the end of the print run. That would mean no more prints could be made.

    Anybody anytime anywhere can make a reproduction of the image if they can get hold of a decent size image - or even a halfway decent image. A giclee print can be plagiarised very easily whereas it's much more difficult to plagiarise a strictly limited edition fine art print eg an etching, lithograph, linocut etc etc etc

    1. How do you number prints in when you are producing them in two different sizes?

  15. Thank you Katherine. You're right, that is the source of my confusion. A fine art print that is actually unique, vs a reproduction which a modern printer can make exact copies. I was ignorant to this distinction before

    For example, there is a local art show once a week here. The funny things is, if you make a painting, you are only allowed to sell the original; no reproductions at all.

    But then you have the photographers. All digital photographers. Because their work is all digital, and there is no "original," they are actually allowed to sell as many of the same piece as they want. Because they aren't considered "reproductions," because there is no original.

    That doesn't seem fair does it?

    But they might technically have to make them limited editions. But I see them selling #1/1000.. it's basically unlimited for all intents and purposes because they probably won't sell 1,000 (is there even value in that?) Or maybe they don't even have to limit their editions. They might be allowed to truly sell unlimited reproductions. I'm not sure.

    So what are the guidelines for those folks? They are just using a printer to make exact reproductions of their original digital image. What are your thoughts on my original 4 questions as it relates to those folks doing digital photography?

  16. Painters are painters and photographers are photographers - and they're different

    The point is fine art prints are different as well - and they are the ONLY media which can genuinely state that they produce a limited edition ie if they destroy the plate or whatever the print is produced from at the end

    Everything else is down to an artist's or painter's integrity.

  17. Hello all,
    I wondered if I could ask some advice regarding repro prints? Apologies in advance for my vagueness!
    I'm not familiar with the practice/protocols of selling reproduction prints.
    Currently I am working on a series of quality hand painted works on wood panels which are reasonably unique to my skill-set.
    As well as selling the originals I'm a bit confused about what road I should take with selling reproductions, ie Signed limited editions, and/or through a repro site such as

    My material options are:
    1. Digitally Printed Stretched Canvas, 2. Digitally Printed Paper. 3. Screen Printed Paper. 4 Digitally Printed Hardboard (to capture the wooden feel of my work).

    My queries are:
    1: Signed Limited Prints:
    -Are any of the above materials not considered appropriate for a signed limited edition print?
    -Is it acceptable to offer Ltd Ed's on more than one material?
    -With my work being full/multi colored is a fine art hand print possible or viable?

    2: Selling Online:
    -Is it considered poor form for an artist to sell both Limited editions as well as online repros through a Crated type site? (Assuming the limiteds are priced higher than the online repros)
    -Would selling through a Crated be detrimental to my work's "Value"?
    -What's your opinion on selling Limited Signed Prints vs Online repros?

    Many thanks everyone, and again sorry for my question bombardment!

    Cheers :-)

  18. Well first of all a Limited Edition of something that isn't a proper fine art print is a debateable asset - for the very reason you outlined

    It simply isn't a limited edition if you are going to make any other sort of copies in other ways at other times.

    So first of all I'd forget about calling anything a limited edition if you contemplate multiple methods of sale.

    Next there are any number of sites that do exactly the same thing as the one you mention which is basically printing images from a digital image that you upload

    You don't ever see the product sent to the customer let alone get to sign it!

    Frankly I'd worry less about what you are going to produce and worry more about how you are going to get people interested.

    The simple fact is that sites like the one you mention rarely bring any traffic. Those that do well are those that have already developed a following elsewhere and are just using the site for creating prints in one form or another.

    Bottomline, creating prints - in whatever way you choose to do - does not mean you will sell them.

  19. Would it not be proper to create a limited edition of, say, an abstract digital print if the original file is deleted upon creation of the desired number of prints? Would a certificate help support that? I'm assuming a personal print service would be used, not a "sales site."

  20. The question with digital prints and limited editions is essentially whether the buyer trusts the artist. I don't think a certificate would make much difference.

  21. I am still unsure as to what type of print I am creating, and how to sign it.

    I'm a watercolour artist.
    I use an artisan photographic inkjet printer to create prints of my work, which I sell.

    I print each one individually on a fine setting. I use high quality paper and high definition dye ink, a combo that gives the print a 200 year lifetime (given archival conditions). I reject the ones I am not happy with. These are not limited edition prints.

    Since I print each one myself, and then dry and cut them myself, what type of print is this?

    Also, do I sign the front? I have only been initialing the back of the prints (as a form of approval), and often the front has my initials and date (signature) from the scan of the original watercolour, but not always since I need to sometimes crop the image to fit a print format. Should I have both the original signature (from the painting scan), as well as a print signature on the front, or just one signature, or none?

    I have tried to find this information online, and this is the best post I have come across about it, however I am still unsure how and if I should be signing the front. I also struggle with the wording for this type of print.

    Any suggestions would be well appreciated!

  22. You are creating a reproduction - albeit with a little more care than some who create reproductions do.

    If you signature on the painting is visible another signature on the reproduction would seem to me to be just duplication as you are not indicating any additional information - such as edition number

    I'd sign on the back and also provide them with a printed card for the back of the frame with information about yourself, your website address and how to contact you. That way if they want to buy more of your work or have somebody who admires it they have your details readily to hand!

  23. Thank you, Katherine! Great suggestions.

    Sometimes my "prints" are not exact replicas of my paintings. If I digitally, or physically enhance, adapt, or change the painting, do I still refer to it as a "reproduction"?

    For example, I have a few pieces where I've digitally removed the entire background and replaced it with wood grain. These ones are popular. I sell "copies" of these, they are not one of a kind.

    Also, for one shop, I physically mount my "prints" onto real wood, sand them off, and then use mixed media to highlight some of the details (eg acrylic paint for a new textured background), then varnish. I have been referring to these as "Art Blocks", since they are one of a kind (but based off of a reproduction). I have noticed at some of the markets there are artists selling cheaply made "art blocks" that have been mounted by machine: I am hesitant to continue calling my wood-block-reproductions-enhancements-moslty-made-by-hand "art blocks" since they are not cheap reproductions, and take me a considerable amount of time to create.

    I must admit, I am confused by what to call my "reproduced" and "partially reproduced" work.

    I'd like to avoid suggesting that my "prints/reproductions" are something they are not, but at the same time I'd like to use the proper terminology to describe them for what they are, and be able to market them correctly. I spent many dedicated days a week making these "prints" and it is a large part of my business. I am able to explain the whole story about how I make them if I sell in person, however most of my selling is online or at a shop, and I'd like to properly, and concisely, convey what my "reproductions/prints/copies/adaptations" are in written form.

    Thanks for your insight!

  24. Hi Tam - I'm sorry, I don't have any recommendations for you.

    I think so long as you describe them honestly then you should be fine.

    The difficulties arise for artists who create reproductions and then add some detailing on top in paint - and then call them 'originals'. I seem to recall that quite a few of the Thomas Kinkade works made in this way led to a major dent in his reputation.

  25. This is very helpful information, BUT, often when you do a monotype, there's enough to make one more (ghost image). Depending on the quality, this is a nice print too (maybe). So how do you go about signing each?
    Is is correct to say monotype, 1/2? and 2/2?
    What if instead of signing the second print, you decide to perhaps go back and enhance/redefine/repaint/etc? That truly makes it a new artwork. Is the first pull then 1/1 and the second is monotype/mixed media?
    Do you see my conundrum?
    Thank for your help.

  26. I do indeed and I'm not sure what the answer is. My feeling is that a ghost print which is then reinforced is an independent work of art rather than a print.

  27. OK so 2 unenhanced mono prints would be 1/2 & 2/2
    But if you enhance then there is no need to consider it part of the series.
    Got it.

  28. I'm also making a series of monotypes. They are small (10cm x 10cm) and I have decided not to clutter up the clean space with a title (also my handwriting is not pretty) so I am just signing in the bottom right. I feel I should write 1/1 in the left hand but I hate the way it looks in my writing and would prefer to leave it out as a monotype is a one off by definition but should I really anyway? Or does it just not matter much? I wouldnt sign them either if I could get away with it but I realise its important and I want people to know its my work.

  29. I can't find a clear answer as to how to sign a monoprint. I suspect there are a number of practices.

    So far as a monotype is concerned, essentially they are just like any other artwork. There's only one of them and we don't go around labelling unique paintings and drawings with 1/1.

    If the ghost of a monotype is used to create another monoprint, then a decision needs to be made about whether you have two very similar prints which could be confused or one unique work and another 'underprint' for another different work e.g. if colour or something else is added on top.

    So not so much one simple answer as an "it all depends" and "use your own judgement" as to the purpose behind indicating a series.

  30. I'm looking for help in adding titles to reproduction prints. I am producing prints of individual paintings and compound prints of series paintings (6 individual originals brought together in one print).

    I've noticed on some prints that there is text which can be framed in or matted out should the purchaser wish to do so.

    I am also adding a copyright statement.

    Do you have any insight?

    For Example.
    three originals called "Circle Trio" painted in 2014 Acrylic on Canvas.

    I was thinking something like this:

    CIRCLE TRIO by Cassandra Knight
    Original Work: Acrylic on Canvas

    © 2014 Cassandra Knight All Rights Reserved

  31. Hi, this is something I haven't been able to find an answer for anywhere online and I'm hoping you can help?
    I'm currently producing a limited edition artists book of hand pulled screenprints and I'm not sure how to edition them. They're all in a series under the one title, but each image (11 in total) is different, and there will be 7 editions, 1 AP and 1 TP.
    Should I sign each print in one book with the same #/7 (title) (signature), or just sign the first page in the book, or is there a completely different method for a book of prints? Thanks!

  32. Goodness - that's a difficult one.

    I'm guessing this is going to need to be determined by how likely it is people will take the book apart so as to frame and/or sell prints separately.

    I'm thinking given the numbers it wouldn't be such a big deal to sign all the prints.

  33. @Cassie - What you're suggesting seems fine to me - so long as it can be matted out of the picture if that's what the purchase requires.

    Only the title and name of the artist deserve to be seen.

    You might want to give some thought to font style and size. Is this a "for the record" title or an "it looks attractive and you could let people see it".

  34. Tam, in answer to your question, adding extra embellishments, paint, whathaveyou can be called an "Enhanced Reproduction", "Mixed Media", or even "Original" (if the original work from the print was yours, not someone else's) depending on how much you are adding in the modification process. At least, that's the process here in America...

    Katherine, I don't agree with your opinion about "Fine Art Prints" versus "Giclees". I am BOTH a Graphic/Digital Artist AS WELL as a classically trained Artist & Painter. People are getting confused with what you wrote because the term "Fine Art Print" is typically used interchangeably with "Giclee" in the industry, when it fact one usually only uses the plating method of a Fine Art Print when one has created a DIGITAL painting or a straight-up original, physical print with plates from scratch, and there IS no "original" to base it off of. Just because a plate can be destroyed doesn't mean a digital file is necessarily destroyed (if there was one: Digital Paintings and Photography, anyone?) unless the artist intentionally destroys it after the run is complete; the same goes for a digital file of a traditional piece made with classical materials.... and "Fine Art Prints", due to their very nature, are different on each one anyway, so who really cares if a plate gets destroyed or misplaced? I don't. They're inconsistent as it is, and personally annoy the crap out of me.

    I have used both plate systems and archival print spray systems for giclee, and HANDS DOWN prefer archival print giclees over a plated run. When I am making a LE print for ANY of my pieces, digital or not, as I have the UTMOST concern with consistency. I want EVERY. SINGLE. PIECE. to be a TRUE REPRESENTATION of my original. Giclees are archival and lightfast. Great care is taken to ensure color fidelity if you're using a legitimate foundry. There are no crappy halftone issues. There is better clarity and crispness. A variety of materials can be used to print on, so I can also match the integrity of tooth. Are they easier (not necessarily *EASY* - There is still time involved. Have you ever spent time in a light booth, color correcting? No, I doubt it.) to produce than the often hazardous, time intensive, toxic, expensive (because of all the other reasons) old school printing methods? Of course. It doesn't mean they're worse. And when an artist like myself spends months on a particular painting, I'm not interested in waiting even longer for something that might not even represent the original integrity of the piece as expected. Giclees are NOT the same as plugging your file into a shitty home printer and going to town, as you made it sound.

    So. It's all a matter of opinion. Old school methods for old school minds. I guarantee you if the technology had been around a few hundred years ago, many artists would have chosen more accurate, less time consuming methods.

  35. I think you're imputing quite a few opinions to me which I've not stated. Maybe you'd like to reread what I actually did say?

    Also it is necessary to recognise that the same term 'giclee prints' is used for everything from the professionally produced quality mastered prints to those produced by amateurs using a home printer. That is unfortunate.

    I'm not suggesting that there aren't people who produce a great print through a very professional process. However I do also recognise that the same level of attention to quality and control is not always evident in every giclee print ever produced.

    I'd also make a case for saying that sometimes it's the subtle differences between prints made through the plate method which are very attractive to the collector who does not appreciate artwork where everything is mechanically engineered to the same level of precise sameness.

    I'm very happy with the notion that different people like different things.

  36. You don't need to Joel - you're not producing a limited edition. The limited edition would be the same size as the original.

  37. Hello, I'm relatively new to printing but have arrived at the point of framing work. I've been using Lino plate reduction and have been playing around using different colours so none of my prints are the same. I know I can use the term E.V. ( Edition varied ) but do I still also put down the total number and write, for example if I've made a total number of 10 prints, write E.V. 1/10 , 2/10 etc

  38. An interesting question.

    I did a little bit of research and you might the following of help:
    * which comments on numbering of varied editions
    * this blog post which comments on the issue
    * a 12 year old forum post which also discusses the same issue

    Essentially the advice seems to be decide on the number of prints in the edition, number as per usual but make sure that you use one of the recognised acronyms either EV or Ed.V or VE to indicate a varied edition.

  39. I appreciate your valuable information. My question is: If I make prints on different medias such as acrylic, metal, canvas other than paper how sould I sign them ? Since you suggest to sign with pencil but for these kind of medias it is not possible?

  40. I'm unclear as to the intent behind your question. It doesn't sound to me like you're creating a print so much as an original artwork.

    How do these prints on other media work? What are you printing from and how big is the edition?

  41. I create digital artwork. And I want to make limited edition prints of them. Either on paper or other mediums (metal prints for example) . Of course as you indicate I need to decide on number of edition and the size of the prints previously. You asked for the size, for example if I decide on 60*80cm size. Why I would like to choose metal print instead of paper because in some of my works metal print works better to show up the design itself. If I am clear about my intention now I would like to repeat my question; how should I sign them ? Do you have any suggesstion ? My best

  42. Sign it in the digital artwork. What you can't do on metal is create an edition number - unless you make provision to add it afterwards

  43. Thanks for this post-- it clarified a lot of things for me. I'm new to printmaking. I make primarily screen prints on paper and fabric-- the fabric then gets sewn into different kinds of bags, the paper prints get matted. I re-use my screens, using different color inks and substrates with the same design. I currently sell my work at a local farmer's market where no one cares if it's numbered or not, but I would like to apply to some juried art shows. I'm curious how you would classify my various "products".

    Would the same screen printed on fabric and paper be considered one edition, or two? If I reuse a screen, but with a different color ink than the previous printing, is that a new edition or an extension of the first? To call it a "limited edition", do I need to reclaim my screen after printing?

  44. My brother and I collaborated on an art series a few years ago, consisting of five digital creations. At the time we decided we would market these as giclee prints but due to some technical difficulties on my website (long story) the only thing we have printed are what I would consider Artist Proofs, one giclee print of each.

    We are now ready to get series about marketing the work. I need some advice: Since reading information that Giclee prints are typically reproductions of originals (oil paintings, watercolor, etc) I am a bit confused as to how I go about communicating my Giclee prints as original digital work. My brother, who I hired to do the work signed his name within the print, and I have copyright within the print as well. We have discussed making the series a limited edition which I understand these would have an edition and the artist signature underneath the image. Since we have only printed the artist proof, how do we go about making these a limited edition, and should we remove the signature and copyright from the digital work before printing??

    Also, one more thing, would the limited edition be devalued if there are other versions of this work such as notecards, posters, etc.

    I appreciate any advice you can provide. Thank you.

  45. To be honest Mona I don't think there are simple answers.

    Digital prints (i.e. original digital creations) are themselves a complex animal to sign.

    The delay between the artist's proof and the new edition makes life even more complicated.

  46. Thanks for hanging in with this Katherine - it's a sticky area isn't it?

    Mona if you're still contemplating this, I have some suggestions. I'm a digital artist grappling with the whole giclee/ fine art print nomenclature. I've taken to calling my prints archival pigment prints, as preferred by some photographers. Giclee seems to have a bit of a whiff about it (not least because of its slang connotations in France!). Interested to know how others feel about 'archival pigment print'.

    I don't sign my work on the digital artwork. I sign and title in pencil underneath the image (and format with a 1-2cm reveal around the image to allow for a signature when matted and framed). Until recently I haven't limited my editions (though I sell so few they might as well be!). But I'm toying with limited editions, and plan to number them on the print near the title as you would an etching or similar: 1/20 etc.

    I don't believe you devalue the print by using the image in cards and other products. The print is its own thing.

    My conundrum is about producing one-off prints, which I want to do for an exhibition. I don't really want to label them 1/1. I'd rather just title and sign them. In the catalogue or on a label I'd include 'Edition: 1.' So people understand why I'm charging more!

    My understanding is that any limited edition refers to the particular dimensions of the print. Printing at a different size is a whole different edition. That being the case, I could print an edition (limited or otherwise) of my one-off prints at a smaller size, and still be abiding by convention. It just feels a bit wrong. Is it??

  47. I am in the process of printing my work for sale and my question is... if I print an 11x14 and then a 5x7 (as requested) do they number 1/200 and then 2/200 even if the sizes differ?

    Thank you for your attention!


  48. A fine art print edition of xyz copies is ALWAYS of precisely the same print - same size, same method of production, same paper, same everything.

    If you're talking about giclee print reproductions it's something of an academic question because the reality is you could produce an infinite number in any number of different ways.

    However by creating a limited edition you are voluntarily saying there is a limit to the number produced.

    In principle, the same principles should apply - every edition should be precisely the same across the run

    By creating two prints at different sizes you are creating TWO LIMITED EDITIONS. Not uncommon - but they each need their own individual sequencing numbers.

  49. Thank you for that clarification! Makes sense!

  50. Hello,

    One of my questions was already answered in the comments above.
    e.g. signing a print that also has your original signature in the reproduction print.

    But say I'd want to sign each reproduction/limited edition along with a print number(75 of 100), do I just sign the original on the back or sign the original on the front (to sell) after all the limited Editions have been printed?

    I have one more question...
    I am new to this (reproduction of original art). I do pencil drawings and have drawn a few works that people are tell me to make reproductions and numbering them to sell. Being new to this, my question is, what form of reproduction of my pencil drawings is best...?
    1. Digital print
    2. Lithograph
    3. Glicee
    Or maybe another form of reproduction?

    Which method produces better quality reproductions. Which tends to be more valuable in the long run, which are more popular with the most successful artist.

    What I'm looking for also is are copies that look as good as the original drawing, if not better...?

  51. The edition number is usually in pencil in the margin. If you're going to sign all the prints in an edition why not just sign them all on the front - when you're including the edition number?

    Roger - this post is just about signatures and the questions you ask about reproductions are outside its scope

    You need to more studying of processes e.g.
    1) a digital print is often required to produce a Giclée print - however a drawing can also be produced using software for digital drawing and this can be used to produce a digital image
    2) a lithograph print of a drawing is produced using a lithograph pencil
    3) Giclée not Glicee - see Wikipedia for an explanation

  52. Katherine, I am totally new at this sort of thing, so I'd like to run what I plan to day by you to see if it is appropriate or not. I have found a beautiful 5/7 white embossed watercolor cards that are used for photo prints. I have really lovely 4x6 photos which I want to use on limited editions of photo cards. I have a logo on the bottom of the back side of the card. I would like to pencil my initial on the right front corner of the card below the photo and list the number, i.e., 1/25 on the left side. These will be sold individually in small galleries in my area. So, is it or is it not appropriate to sign and number these photo cards?

    Thanks very much,

  53. I'm not quite sure I'm understand what you mean by

    "I have really lovely 4x6 photos which I want to use on limited editions of photo cards"

    Are you making cards out of photos or cards out of artwork which has been digitally printed onto photo paper?

  54. I'm making cards out of photos.

  55. I'm making cards out of photos. I plan to make only 25 cards of a particular photo.

  56. The only time I ever see signatures in relation to photos is when they are large format prints - often taken with expensive cameras or lenses.

    I think you need to tailor how you present your work to where you intend to market. If you're not an exhibiting photographer - or planning to be in the future - I really don't think you need to do limited edition prints or sign them.

  57. Also - if all 25 photos sell out fast - are you telling me that you seriously would not print any more?

    What price are you selling them for?

  58. I've not seen anyone signing printed photographic greeting cards. Usually they are simply printed with your name and contact info on the back. They can be printed as giclees like other fine art. Websites such as Fine Art America or Zazzle can print on demand in which case people can order as they wish directly from the site, and you never see them.

    I think the original gist of this thread was discussing signing, for lack of a better term "Printmaking" prints and editions such as monotypes, etchings, lithos, etc.,

  59. Exactly - spot on Susan!

    I will say that one neat way of getting your name and contact details distributed with any cards is to use a very small sticky label on the back. Not every gallery is happy about people who do this though.

  60. Super helpful! I'm fairly new to prints, and really appreciate the thorough article! Definitely bookmarking it. :)
    Thank you!

  61. Great info and a very tricky situation in this day and age with modern ways of reproducing art.
    I am just presenting my art Print after ordering a print online. Realised that it is called reproduction after reading through here.
    Q is how do I personalise it? Sign it at Back and say a reproduction or say a Print or just sign it or not?


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