Using Your Art Images for Lower Cost Gifts

The Rickie Report receives numerous emails and phone calls from readers asking a variety of questions. We’ve invited Caren Hackman, author of “Graphic Design Exposed”, to be a guest columnist to answer some of them.  Today’s topic is how to use your original images to create lower cost gifts.



Using Your Images to Create Lower Cost Items



Question:     I am an artist.  I’d like to give a personal gift that shows my work without giving away a high cost original. I’d also like to offer lower cost gift items, with my art images, that can be purchase during the holiday season.


Caren Hackman's "Water Lillies"

Caren Hackman’s “Water Lillies”



Every holiday season I print notecards and package them for friends, family, and clients. The cards offer me an opportunity to share a favorite image with others.




Deborah Bigeleisen ( an artist who creates large scale paintings on canvas and Nina Fusco, ( an artist who creates three dimensional sculptures with paper, shared their methods for offering artwork as gifts.



Deborah Bigeleisen's "Magic"

Deborah Bigeleisen’s “Magic”



Several years ago Deborah Bigeleisen began sharing her work printed on note-cards, using a fine linen stock with matching envelopes, and elegantly packaged. In addition, Bigeleisen offers archival pigment prints on museum quality paper in sizes up to 13” x 19” priced from $25 to $95. Because her original paintings are large, ranging from 40” x 40” to triptychs that easily exceed 80” wide, and are priced from the mid-$7000s to the mid-$20,000s, the prints and cards are a terrific way to own Deborah’s work at fabulous prices.


Nina Fusco explained, “To make my work more affordable, I started photographing it and making notecards. Original work such as “Reach” which is 38” x 26”, sells for $1,000. Signed 5” x 7” cards with deckle edge envelope in a cello bag sell for $5.00 at crafts shows. I never knew what designs would be popular that day. I decided that I didn’t  want to be a card printer and carry inventory. A fellow artist and great painter, Betty Laur, introduced me to This is a wonderful venue for artists to upload their artwork and have it printed on notecards, t-shirts, hats, bags, magnets, and even stamps. Zazzle does most of the work to get my artwork out to the public, giving me more time to create.”




Nina Fusco's "Reach"

Nina Fusco’s “Reach”

At no charge to the artist, Zazzle maintains the artists’ stores, takes the orders, and ships the product. All of the products can be personalized by the purchaser. The artists get a small percentage, 10-15% is common. Online vendors such as Shutterfly ( and Zazzle are expanding the possibilities for artist. My research turned up many online vendors that will create gifts with art images, however Zazzle was the only one that operated robust marketplace for artist.



As artists, we should ask ourselves if the quality of the gift item is compares favorably with the original.  Each artist must decide if it is preferable to order the items ourselves to gift or sell, or if we prefer to have an online vendor handle the the store for us.



Please send your questions, no more than 250 words to:




Caren Hackman is a graphic designer and fine artist living in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. and author of  a book about Graphic Design and Good Business practice.  Be sure to check out Caren’s wonderful artwork –  Caren is a talented artist in her own right!  She is a founding member of the Artists of Palm Beach County.


For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420


What is a Giclee? By Guest Writer, Trina Slade-Burks

The Rickie Report often receives questions about art mediums and terms.  We asked Trina Burks of A.T.B. Fine Artists & Designers LLC to be a contributing writer for this article.  What is a giclee (gee-clay)?

“Tunnels” by Trina Slade-Burks; Graphite & Colored Pencil. In the Alexi Figueroa Collection


A.T.B. Fine Artists & Designers LLC (originally A.T.B.Burks; Graphic Designer) was founded by the husband & wife artist team of Anthony & Trina Burks in April 1992.  The company primarily created corporate identities and fine art.  Over the last 20 years , A.T.B has provided a wider range of art services including design work in layout & signage, private art projects, managing art and music careers, teaching arts in education and hosting art shows.


“Rinsing Off” Giclee, Artist Unknown

Now, fine art printers can be added to their repertoire!  With 23 years of signage & design experience plus 10 years of digital experience, it only made sense for this team to provide a service to artists by artists in this somewhat competitive arena of the printing and art world: Giclee printing.


Lithograph “Hand Reflecting Sphere” by M.C. Escher

Is a giclee the same as a lithograph?  

Many have asked  this question over the years.  The answer to that is they are very different.  A lithograph is a fine art print that is an older process using a series of plates with four colors. The first print will be more accurate to the original art work than the last image. This is because often the yellow ink will fade sooner because of this continuous printing process.   This is only cost effective when producing 100 or more prints.  Physical storage of the plates is also necessary.  Salvador Dali, Marc Chagall, and Andy Warhol not only created lithographs but then hand colored them, adding to their value.
Giclees are also fine art prints that are produced on IRIS printers which were invented in the late 1980’s. The word “giclee” is based on the French word “gicler” which means “to spray”.  The prints are now produced by inkjet printers and do require a little more print time to produce, however the quality to the original work is much more likely to be exact.  To increase the value of a digital print, many artists go back and add touches of paint or pencil.  Dating and signing a giclee adds distinction and selling a limited edition with documentation adds to its worth.


“Florida Panther” by Tony Burks from The Endangered Species Exhibit 2012, Mixed media


Most times those who produce giclees can print on an as-needed basis for clients because no plates are produced or stored and the images are stored to the accurate tones needed.  A.T.B can also stay competitive because they are a home based business, so there is little over head.  This is a great opportunity for an artist-based company to provide a service to other fellow artists and fully understand the need they are fulfilling.



For coverage of your events, to place an advertisement, or speak to Rickie about appearing in The Rickie Report, contact The Rickie Report at:

Rickie Leiter, Publisher

The Rickie Report

P.O.Box 33423

Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33420