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screenprinting class: part 1

October 7th, 2009 | 6 Comments

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.

6 Comments

  1. Adam says:

    I'm really happy to see you doing this.

  2. good for you for not begging out of the paper part… play nice with the other kids. Don't run with your scissors.

  3. keri says:

    Can't wait to see what it looks like. Are you going to sell these ones? I want one.
    k

  4. Brian says:

    Thanks Keri. Don't know about selling them. First let's just see if they make it. I mean, it's my first. If they look ok I plan to give some away at my studio halloween party. I'll save one for you.

  5. Fantastic! I can't wait to see how the print(s) turn out. Screen printing is so much fun – ADDICTIVE as heck! Plus – gifties for the HOWL-iday! xm

  6. greg pizzoli says:

    Lookin' good Mr B!

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