I’ve been wondering for a while if some of my images would be easier to achieve as screen prints so I’ve been planning to learn to do it for a while now.
A couple of months ago I finally got the chance to do a screen printing course at City Lit. In the interests of transparency I should say that I am a member of staff there, but I can really recommend the course.
Our teacher, Ben Rider was really enthusiastic and knowledgeable and I achieved some good prints quite quickly.
After an introductory session in which we learned to create simple backgrounds, we moved on to paper stencils. Ben stressed that good preparation was the key to good prints so I spent a bit of time working out some stencil ideas.
I made the above designs using paper collage and cut outs to test stencil ideas. One of the main difficulties for me was that in screen printing the ‘cut-out’ areas are the ones that will print, which is the reverse of lino-cutting. It took me a few versions to start getting my head around it and I still had to take some mock-ups to the class as a reminder…
Cutting the stencil requires patience and care as you have to use news print, which is very thin. If your knife is blunt or you’re careless, it’s easy to rip the paper. I’d show you the stencil but it gets destroyed during the printing process!
Here’s the final print—