Archive for the ‘screenprint’ Category



Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Week three of my screenprinting class at The University of the Arts was last night and I was thrilled to get some ink down. Last week I had the first separation burned and ready. Last night was printing night. Class started out by viewing and admiring a selection of posters by Seripop, the MontrĂ©al-based poster-design duo of Yannick Desranleau and Chloe Lum. I’m familiar with Seripop and while I’m always happy to look at interesting posters, I was pretty single-minded, wanting to get right to mixing ink.
I bought a pretty standard Speedball green last week, but it was way too ugly for me to use for my vampire. Nuclear pukey green is more like what I was wanting. So I found a near-empty jar of bright bright yellow Speedball fabric ink, added quite a lot of white, and then dripped in my ugly green until it was perfect. I was surprised how little of my green I needed to get the color I wanted from that yellow. But when you see the color, I suppose it’s really more yellow than green.
Can I say again how good it is to be making something analog, away from the computer? It is.
Greg and his assistant Annie were busy helping the other students so I was trying to go through all the steps that we’d been shown. Of course, until I actually do it I don’t remember it. So I had to be reminded to tape the edges of my screen, put some cardboard bumpers on the bottom corners of my screen, correctly line up a sheet of mylar/acetate to set up positioning on my paper, cut five strips of tape to have ready for making my registration jig, etc. Thanks to Greg and Annie.
screenprinting class week 3: printing

screenprinting class week 3: green

Finally it was time to print. The plan was to get at least twenty-five prints. I decided to just pull until I ran out of ink. There were some glitches as I went along, of course. Now and then I’d lose the right ear of the vampire kid, or some ink would glop in a place I didn’t want it to. In my art-life, I have a weird habit of misusing materials. I’ve never been very fastidious with tools. I spill ink, I break knives, etc. So the computer has been good to me as I can just get to the image-making without the clean-up and my own clumsiness ruining the process. Of course, staring at a giant monitor has its own issues. Making the race-car collages earlier this year really opened up a new world of analog art to me, and solidified my need to have a tactile experience in making stuff. That all being said, imagine my surprise that I pulled forty good prints out of fifty. In my head I started planning out my silkscreen set-up here in my studio.

screenprinting class week 3: prints drying

screenprinting class week 3: screen two waiting its turn

So my fifty prints were done and drying on the rack. I washed out my screen and squeegee and cleaned up while the screen was drying. Originally I was hoping to get both colors down tonight but seeing as how it was 9pm already, I realized that this wasn’t going to happen. I was able to recoat the screen with emulsion and burn the second image, but will have to make it over to the university on either Sunday afternoon or Tuesday before class to print the violet. Stay tuned for all that.

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

For a couple of years now I’ve been considering making and selling posters and other prints. You may have seen my Etsy store where I have prints made on my nice digital printer. But I’ve been wanting to make some screenprints. I’ve vacillated back and forth between setting up my own small shop here and outsourcing the printing work to someone who actually knows how to do it. When I moved into this studio last Sprint, I read and absorbed as much as I could, spent hours and hours on gigposters.com looking at posters, and nearly dropped some large cash on an exposure unit, some screens, emulsion and the other junk one needs. (I actually bought a power-washer when I saw it on sale at Lowe’s.)
However, when The Events of This Summer took place and I was removed from my studio for a month in Arkansas, the interruption led me to look at other options. The other options dropped themselves in my lap in the form of a continuing education catalog from the university where I once taught, The University of the Arts. They were offering a class called The Screen Printed Poster taught by Greg Pizzoli. Once I read the description of the class and Mr. Pizzoli’s bio I knew this was what I was gonna do.
Class began last week, Sept 29. Our first assignment is to make a poster using two colors where the colors overlap in a meaningful way to create a third color. The other restrictions are that it must use type in some way, and the separations need to be made using cut paper rather than going through the computer or anything fancy such as that. I was planning to beg out of that last rule, as I have about 800 designs that I want to print, and none simple enough to just cut out of paper. However, on second thought I decided to keep it simple and see what I could do with this. Maybe I’ll learn something.
I ordered a screen from Victory Factory (23×31, aluminum frame, 195 mesh, $25.25), some paper from French’s (Construction Recycled White, 110lb, 12.5×19, $46) and started drawing. I quickly decided that this was going to be a halloween poster. I love making halloween drawings (if you have spent any time at all looking at my illustrations you already know this) and I used to give an assignment at UArts to illustration majors to create a two-color halloween poster. So I decided to try it myself.
I spent the next morning with Sacha at the coffee shop working on sketches.

screenprinting class week 1: sketches

screenprinting class week 1: sketches

I found myself leaning toward a crazy little vampire kid yelling BOO! and a monster with its skeleton showing. I thought I’d try the two ideas out in Photoshop using two colors, multiplying the layers. I did these two sketches to see how the colors would look.


After consulting with the instructor I went with the vampire kid. I don’t have any ideas for words or type with the monster yet, and he’ll work better as one half of a series with a robot later anyway.

Week 2:
Last night was the second class. I got to work and cut out my stencils to create the color separations. The construction paper pieces were taped to acetate, and I registered the two separations by just placing one over the other and matching them up as closely as possible. The areas of concern are the teeth, mainly. It won’t be perfect but I like the off-register look anyway.

This is laying out the main three shapes to make sure they fit on the paper.
screenprinting class week 2: the stencil

Here are the two separations. The green is on the left and the violet on the right.
screenprinting class week 2: the separations

Greg suggested printing the green layer first, as it would be more opaque than the violet. After the emulsion was dry on my screen, I burned the green separation, washed it out and let it dry.
The green on the photo here is just the unexposed emulsion.
screenprinting class week 2: the burned screen

Here is my screen drying happily with the other screens after washing out.
screenprinting class week 2: drying

At this point it was 10:30pm and I was in a hurry to get the late bus back home. Next week I print. Stay tuned.