how screen printing works

In January I did a screen printing workshop at Sheffield Print Club and since then I have been going screen printing as much as possible so I can start getting good at it. I can’t write about how to be very good yet, but I can write about how the process works, which is cool.

All printing techniques involve putting one or more layers of ink down on top of each other on a substrate, typically paper. The different layers are different colours. All printing techniques allow the creation of multiple copies of the same print from a master version of the design. In screen printing the master version is held on screens. A screen is a fine mesh, that ink can be pushed through, stretched across a frame.

I’ve been making prints from ink drawings. Here’s two ink drawings that are the designs for the 2 layers of a 2 layer print:

Screen 1

I’ve soaked them in oil to make the paper translucent. Now you can see how the two layers align on top of each other. I assume most professional screen printers will work on their designs digitally in some fashion. Designing digitally means you can diddle with the shapes and colours of the layers until you’re happy that it’ll all work together just as you like.

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making cloth and other things

It’s been a busy few weeks since moving house. From an art point of view I’ve been trying to get things done for the Lake District International Comic Arts Festival where I have half a table to fill with my printed knick-knacks. The main thing to get done is a special tablecloth / banner that I can use at all future such events. I’ve had the cloth and design for a while but was putting off doing anything with it by waiting to move.
cloth-1I did, however, make a tie with the fabrics to do a little practice sewing and because there was a wedding to go to.

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pixel art character drawing process

My current project, which is a story set within a computer game (see intro to it here), involves creating pixel characters. I’ve not made any pixel art before and it’s turning out to be a pretty fun way of drawing. I presumed that there would be technical, computer design type fundamentals to it but I was glad to discover that it is basically exactly the same as drawing with pencil and paper in that you start broadly and then refine until you’re happy. The only difference is that you’re working with a predetermined amount of squares. I expect I’d need to employ more graphic design tools if I was creating complex pieces but as I only need static individual objects it’s super basic. Here is process:

Firstly I’ve been sketching the character on graph paper, which has been helpful way to begin converting lines to squares. This isn’t a very good example, there are a couple of better ones at bottom of this post.

character sketch

Then I grab the area that the character needs to fit into from my backdrops, which are scanned paintings, and begin sketching as you would with a pencil.

pixel art 1

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done a painting

I don’t really have much of an idea of how to paint and yet I have come up with a story idea that involves doing about 20 paintings. I have done the first one and it has turned out okay so I will now continue and begin the next. In a very long time something may be achieved. Below are some photos that I took during the painting. I won’t call this post a “process” post (because the way I did it isn’t a way that I would want to promote e.g. probably not a good idea to start centre foreground) but I’m hopeful that in a few more painting’s time I will be in a position to do a process post.

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