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screenprinting class: part 5

December 26th, 2009 | 12 Comments

This is a little late. But better that than the never other, right?
Screen printing class wrapped up back on December 8. For my last project I printed a four-color race car inspired by the collages I made back last January. I’d been working on the art for this for a while and knew it was going to be a real bear of a project. The bat-boy and the robots were just sitting there in my head and were really easy to conceive and make. The race car was going to be more difficult and more complicated.
I’m just going to post a bunch of pictures here of sketches and stopped starts, and then the final print, with captions explaining what’s going on.

This is the line-drawing I made as the basis for the digital separations. It gets down the basic shape of the car. Even though I know that the final printed version will look quite different from what I'm drawing, it's for some reason important to me to have an actual finished drawing rather than merely a series of pieces that I'll put together digitally. Typically there are little details in the drawing that I would not have planned for otherwise.

I played around with channels in Photoshop, just to begin wrapping my head around four colors and how they would interact with each other. The screen print would be made with four colors, but when one color overlaps another color a new color is made. For instance, when the red overlaps the blue you get purple...

Using a pencil sketch I made earlier, I added colors hoping to get an idea of where I was going with this. Sometimes I know exactly what I want something I'm making to look like, and sometimes it's more of an adventure. When I'm working with a process or medium I'm less familiar with, adventure reigns supreme.

Using the line drawing I created a version in Photoshop that looked more suitable for printing. Few, if any, outlines, flat colors... I didn't like the way the driver in the line drawing looked so I made a new one. I knew I wanted to make this car with some kind of French theme. Each of my drivers has his or her own back-story, and I thought a French Nascar racer would have a funny one. The name of the driver on the door comes from the fact that the New Year's Eve is St Sylvestre's day in France.

This is another version of the above image. The first one I made to look a lot like the collages I made earlier in the year. This one I used a solid yellow background which I think works much better for this print. I planned to have that big voice balloon but abandoned it later

I was still having trouble getting the details of this car right the week I had to start printing it. I'd been creating all my comps in Photoshop, but wasn't happy with where a lot of it was going. I tried opening up Illustrator, which I almost never use in my normal illustration work, and began putting colors and shapes down. The big benefit here was getting the numerals and the shape of the flame decal down.

To explain the idea of separations and the print process a little more, this is the above image in Illustrator split into two. The one on the left represents the yellow and green colors, the one on the right represents the reddish-orange and the blue. You can see where the reddish-orange and the blue overlap a darker color is produced.

This is the final color comp for the print. It was from this high-resolution Photoshop file that I printed my four separations on transparent film using my ink-jet printer, then used those to burn the screens.

This is the print after two colors are down.

Race Car screenprint
The final cut print.
Race Car screenprint detail
Race Car screenprint detail
Race Car screenprint detail

I’m selling the print on Etsy for $30.

Since the class ended, I’ve built a table-top with clamps and taken delivery on a bunch of other pieces of equipment necessary for printing in my own studio. I plan to print up cards and posters, for starters. That being said, if you’ve got something like a band or a festival or a show of some kind and you want a poster to promote it, get in touch. Here are some pictures of the studio and the holiday cards I printed therein.
screenprinting in the studio
screenprinting in the studio
fa la la


  1. awesome!! Maybe if you keep working this hard, you’ll be a real-live artist! 🙂

  2. Greg says:

    Looks great Brian. We’ll have to print at your shop sometime, get that exposure unit working right

  3. Brian Barber says:

    Whoo hooo, nice job. Your work translates really well to screenprinting.

  4. Kristine B says:

    Neat! Screen printing looks soo cool. I like your design.

  5. grubedoo says:

    That poster is absolutely beautiful.

  6. Erica says:

    Thanks for sharing your process! It’s very inspiring!

  7. Tim Gough says:

    The set up looks sharp, I owe you some beers.

  8. bnito says:

    Hey it’s beautiful ! As a french guy, I found it a little bit cliché :p but it’s still a great illustration ! I was wondering what kind of black pen you were using to do your illustration (I still haven’t found the perfect pen for me so I ask collegues about their favorite :)) Keep the good work !

  9. Brian says:

    Hi bnito. The cliché bits are on purpose. It’s like if I did a “Texas” driver he’d have longhorns on the car and wear a cowboy hat…
    As for the black pen, I use a brush dipped in ink to draw my lines. You can take a look-see here:


  10. Jason Large says:

    Very nice! Great to see your process. I’ve made a lot of DIY stuff for my shop. Let me know if you want any ideas.

  11. It’s amazing to see these, especially because your work was already reminiscent of screen printing. Looks like you’re enjoying the process! These came out beautifully (love the screen tone texture). And, as always, purty linework ^^

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