How to sign limited edition Giclee prints the right way

Are you an artist who wants to make limited edition giclee prints? Signing your prints is a great way to add authentication and value but are you doing it the right way using inks that will last?

In case you did not know, Giclee prints are high-quality reproductions of an original piece of art. Limited edition Giclee prints are often hand-signed and numbered by the artist using pens or markers with archival ink to increase their value. There are several ways to sign a giclee print, each with its own benefits.

The most common way to sign a giclee print is with a pen or marker

The most common way to sign a giclee print is with a pen or marker. This is a quick and easy way to sign your prints, and it’s also relatively inexpensive. However, you’ll need to be careful not to smudge or fade your signature over time. One way to protect your signature is to use a sealant. This will help to keep your signature looking crisp and clear for years to come.

How to sign limited edition Giclee prints

When signing limited edition prints you must ensure they are signed by you, the artist, and nobody else. This adds both value and authenticity. Your customer will know that they are receiving an original piece of artwork from you.

When signing your limited edition giclee prints pay close attention to how you sign them. Take your time and make sure that each print is signed in the same place and in the same way. This will ensure that each one looks uniform and professional.

When signing a limited edition giclee print (or any print), your signature typically will be at the bottom right of the print below the image area. The number of the print in the series will be on the left side and will appear over a total number for the series. Have a look at some of these examples below.

how to sign limited edition giclee prints
How to sign a limited edition Giclee print example 1
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How to sign a limited edition Giclee print example 1
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How to sign a limited edition Giclee print example 1

I have also toyed with the idea of getting a Japanese Hanko stamp made just for me and using this as my signature for limited edition prints. They are fairly inexpensive and can save you time and look quite professional and unique to most westerners. You do not even need to use Japanese characters, many sellers on Etsy will make a Hanko stamp to your specifications. Here are a few I found below.


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Should I sign a print if it was printed with my signature?

Now think hard about this one. Should your print have a printed copy of your signature and then a hand-written signature for the print edition? This may end up looking quite strange on the finished product.

What I suggest and what many printers may ask is that you have the signature that you put on the original artwork, digitally removed when you have the giclee print digital image created.

This will allow your limited edition giclee prints to have only one signature and it will look less distracting or odd.

The final decision is yours but have a think about how it will look.

What should I use to sign my limited edition giclee print?


The type of pen or marker you use is entirely up to you. However, we recommend using a fine-point pen or marker for best results. My personal preference is the Sakura Pigma Micron pens with their archival ink.

This will help to ensure that your signature is crisp, clear, and resistant to fading over time. When using Sakura Pigma Micron pens to sign your limited edition giclee prints, you will not need to seal the signature.

Alcohol markers

If you are using an everyday alcohol marker to sign your prints then a sealant is suggested as alcohol markers will fade over time if not protected or exposed to sunlight over some time.

Note that alcohol markers may not work well on some types of canvas.

My brand of choice for alcohol markers are Copic.

Copic Marker Classic Set
Copic Classic Marker Set

Paint markers

Some artists like to sign and number their prints using paint markers such as Posca markers (with their acrylic paint) or pigmented Sakura Permapaque® markers.

Posca markers

Sakura Permapaque marker technology lets you paint with a pen, without the mess or pumping required of a traditional paint marker.

Sakura Permapaque markers

These only need to be sealed if you are writing on a non-porous surface – giclee prints are almost always on porous surfaces so there is no need to seal these markers.


If you are going to use graphite pencils to sign your limited edition Giclee prints then I recommend using a fine lead such as a 3H or 4H. Graphite pencils are usually lightfast so it will not fade over time.

If you are using colored pencils then you will want to use a sealant with colored pencils as they may not be lightfast and will fade over time.

Do I need to manually number my limited edition giclee print?

If you’re looking to add value and authenticity to your print, then we recommend manually numbering your prints using the same method that you signed them with.

This will let potential buyers know that your print is part of a limited edition run and will ensure that if your giclee prints are ever examined closely, the same ink was used to sign and number the giclee print.

When should I sign my limited edition giclee print?

Ideally, you should sign and number your limited edition giclee print after it’s been printed and before it’s framed or mounted. This will help to protect your signature from damage.

How do I seal my signature on a giclee print?

If you’re using an alcohol pen or marker to sign your giclee print, we recommend using an archival sealant such as Krylon Kamar® Varnish to protect your signature from fading or smudging. Simply apply the sealant over your signature once it’s dry.

how to seal pencil drawings
Use a sealant like Krylon

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