A screen printing lesson.

Here are some screen-printing basics, just so we’re all on the same page here.  It’s not meant to be a tutorial, but there are some great sites out there on the internet that can show you detailed instructions.  This is just my process.

First I draw an image in pencil and then I go over my lines in a dark pen, being a clean and precise as possible with my lines.  Then I scan it with my printer.  In photoshop, I blacken areas I want to be colored and make a different layer for each color.  When I print them, each color is literally a layer.  I print each of these layers out on a sheet of transparency paper, as seen below:

At this point, my screen is coated with green “photo-emulsion” which is a light senstive substance.  When exposed to light, it hardens.  The black lines on my transparency protect the screen from the light, after the rest of the screen is exposed (and hardened) with a photo flood bulb (see below) I am able to wash the screen clean where the black lines were.  This basically creates a very precise stencil.

This is the resulting screen:

Previously, with a different screen containing my “color layer” I printed the marigold color on my paper:

I let that dry, and now I’m ready to print the lines.  I line up the color image below the screen with the lines, and I scoop out some paint and lay it across the top of the image:

I then take my squeegee:

And I scrape the paint across the image, pushing it through the screen to the paper below.

The result:


The little imperfections are what make this art.  As my screen-printing teaching in college said “You are not an Epson.  If people want perfection, they should use a printer.”

And as we all know, perfection is boring.

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