What is a Screenprint?

 

Screenprinting is the process of printing an image by pulling ink through a mesh screen. This allows the artist to produce a number of the same image each of which is an original artwork.

For my screenprints I begin by deciding on the image I want to use. I then divide the image into layers in my head deciding on areas/colours that will be printed over each other.

I begin each of these layers on a material called mark resist. This is similar to tracing paper but a little bit thicker with more of a plastic coating. After degreasing the mark resist with washing up liquid I paint onto it using powder pigment and gouache and draw onto it with pencil..

mesh screen

 

Ultraviolet Lightbox

Once the layers are finished I am ready to put them on my screen. To do this I coat the screen with a liquid called photoemulsion. Any marks made on the mark resist will block the ultra violet light on the screen forming a 'hole' which works like a stencil. Once this is dry I place the drawn layers on a light box and place the screen on top. This is then covered on the light box and exposed to ultra violet light for a short time. I then rinse the screen with water which develops the images. Once the images are fully revealed the screen can be left to dry ready for printing.

 

Before printing I mix up my ink. This involves mixing acrylic paint with screenprinting paste and a little water. This slows the drying of the acrylic paint and extends it so that it is the right consistency to be used for printing. The more screenprinting paste I add the more transparent the colour becomes. Varnish and medium can also be added to the mixture. This allows for different strengths of colour meaning I am able to layer colours to create different effects.

Printing Press

Once you are ready to print you then set up your screen on the printing press.

I place a line of ink in the desired colour at the edge of the image furthest from me and using a squeegy I pull the ink towards me to the edge of the image nearest me. To register each layer you first print onto a layer of pvc which is taped to the printing press. The paper is then placed under the pvc and you move it to the desired position before removing the pvc and printing on the paper. This prints the colour on the paper underneath the screen. This printing process is repeated for each colour and layer until the image is finished.

Printing

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