As a Christmas gift to myself and as a means to gauge if I wanted to embark on an arty side hustle this year I bought myself an introduction to Silk Screen Printing course run by the Leeds Print Workshop.
The course ran for 5 weeks and covered:
- How to prepare a screen for printing
- How to flood and pull in order to print with a screen
- How to use registration acetate and create registration stops
- How to use paper stencils to create silk screen prints
- How to use Photo Emulsion and an exposure unit to create silk screen prints
- Loads of silk screen printing!
- Cleaning screens and removing the emulsion from screens
So for just over a month I’d leave work a little early on Mondays and spend two and half hours learning about the best type of parcel tape to use, how to mix ink and experimenting with all kinds of split fountain gradients.
It was really fun and if you’re interested in printing and live in Yorkshire check out http://leedsprintworkshop.org/workshops-shortcourses/
King of the Monsters
In the last couple of sessions we worked towards creating an edition of prints, using all the skills and techniques we’d picked up previously.
For this I decided to use this amazing Godzilla image my girlfriend drew for me for my birthday.
She drew me that picture because a couple of months before we were walking through Leeds city centre and I happened to see an amazing A3 black and white poster of a Godzilla in Hell cover but unfortunately they weren’t able to sell it to me.
So my girlfriend decided to draw it instead so I at least had one of my own.
I was taken aback by how good the drawing was and when I learned that the emulsion method allowed for fine detail on the prints I knew I had to use that image.
The image is black and white but I thought it would be great to add some colour (mostly so I had an excuse to do more split fountains!) so I drew some colour blocks over the lines for this.
The line drawing was photocopied onto Acetate and the colour blocks were then drawn on separate sheets of Acetate, these were then put under the exposure unit in order to block out the light, which essentially etches those lines into the emulsion.
After the screens were ready to go I then had to block off various parts of the design so it would only allow the ink to go through the remaining parts.
I then did 4 separate colour gradients for:
- The rocks in the foreground
- Godzilla’s body
- The flames
- Godzilla’s dorsal fins and the flies around him
I was really happy with how the dorsal fin gradient came out as I decided to do a diagonal split fountain (something that confused some people) but it was necessary in order to ensure that the dorsal fins were electric blue.
After the colours were laid down I then printed the line drawing on top. I had some issues with alignment on some of the editions as although I had registered the print with the registration acetate I think I moved the screen down too fast which moved the paper.
I’d say of 15 editions only 8 were actually aligned properly, an important lesson for me to learn about taking time and not rushing.
While waiting for the colour blocks to dry I decided to pull a gradient print of the line drawing in magenta and electric pink which came out really well.
When pulling the black lines I decided to overlay the black over the gradient as I found it really cool and almost like anaglyphic 3D.
The final edition
I’m really happy with the final outcome of the prints and it was a nice way to wrap up a fun course.
I’ve given out a number to friends as they really enjoyed them too and I’m hoping to do another run in a couple of months time when I have time to create that side hustle!