Tuesday, April 3, 2012
I had a student last night making posters for a fundraiser to benefit the KUSF Radio Station. If you want to learn more you can visit savekusf.org
His posters are awesome design wise, and it is neat to see how paper and ink color change the feel.
His posters are awesome design wise, and it is neat to see how paper and ink color change the feel.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Monday, February 20, 2012
One day I will buy my own letterpress.....but in the meanwhile I will simply imagine all the cool stuff I would make everyday if I had my own press.
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Hey everyone! This coming Monday I will be teaching my regular drop in screen printing class at Mission Grafica. The theme for this class is VALENTINES DAY! I will be coming equipped with some Valentine's day stencils so you can customize your own special V-day card(s) for your loved ones.
We shall see you there :)
I came across this awesome 'Chromolithographs' (fancy term for color lithography) on Etsy and thought they deserved POD (print of the day) status. It seems that they are all from the 1939, printed by Lepage-Medvey in Belgium, and of traditional Austrian garb.
Here is the Etsy Store if any one fancies their own. If I wasn't so poor I would buy a few, they are beauties!
Tuesday, January 17, 2012
image from Cranky Pressman
For those of us who are not 'printmaking' inclined, it is tough to justify spending the extra cash to have an invitation or business card letterpressed vs. having it digitally printed. It is certainly a tough call to make especially when budget is a concern.
If it a special occasion or your goal is to create an impression (pun intended) then letterpress it.
Here are the reasons why:
You just can't make a digital print look hand made. Having a slight variation in inks, tonality, embossment, and hand torn edges can be emulated, but not replicated digitally.
Most people print things digitally. It is cheap and quick. But is that what you want people to think of your wedding invites? your business cards? your dinner menus? Taking pride in what you are 'selling' with your paper good will translate over to the consumer. The more seriously you take your method of printing, the bigger the impact will be.
2. Investment vs Return
While you might pay more to have things hand printed on a letterpress, you will get what you paid for. Whether it be a business card or save the date, your paper product will leave a memorable impression. People who receive your paper good won't want to throw it out because it is a piece of art in itself. While you pay more, your return is higher. Think about it.
Design. Design. Design. Half the fun of letterpress is how involved you can be in the process of creating an image to print. You can find a printer who will design for you, or who will allow you to modify a design they have. You can change colors, create blind embossments, paint the edges, change the shape, etc. The letterpress is your oyster!
I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! Mine was unfortunately plagued by an ear infection. So, I decided to pick a print that would reflect how I would rather have been feeling this past weekend.
This beauty is titled 'On becoming the wall' by Amy Jo Toucey. This piece is CRAZY when you think about it as a reduction linocut-- AKA-- a suicide print. This is not an easy print to make!
You can check out more of her prints for sale over on Etsy: Amy's Shop
Friday, January 13, 2012
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
How to pick out and buy a screen
TRUST ME.... it sucks when you use the wrong screen... almost as much as it sucks when you find out your stencil is shitty.
So, here are some things to evaluate before you buy a screen along with their pro's and con's
Wood frames are less expensive, yet are heavier and have the potential to warp if not properly cared for. For some, the weight of the screen is appealing while others dislike it. If you are not going to be doing commercial printing, or are just going to be printing occasionally, then a wood screen is a good inexpensive option.
The benefit of an aluminum frame is its light weight and longevity. With both wood and aluminum frames you can re-stretch the screen if it ever becomes damaged or needs to be replaced, though, the aluminum frame will hold up over time much better. If you are going to take printing more seriously (i.e. doing large editions, commercial work, etc) get aluminum. You do not have to tape up the edges of an aluminum frame, but for the sake of just being safe, you should tape around the edges where the mesh is glued on.
Mesh Count is how many threads cross per square inch
Why does mesh count matter? Well, the higher the mesh count, the higher amount of detail you can achieve. This is especially important if you are going to print some CMYK shit. If your dot pattern is smaller then then the space between the threads, then it is NOT going to print well...... Likewise, if you are printing on fabric, fabric screen printing ink has much larger pigments then regular screen printing ink, and doesn't actually FIT through some of the higher mesh counts.
Standard mesh sizes and their benefits as follows:
40-86- really only use screens of this mesh count if you are printing with glitter or something wacky like that.
110- good for getting lots of ink on the paper/fabric. Think bold designs and lettering when using this size mesh. Make sure your ink isn't too runny!
156- you can still get some thick ink out of this screen, but you've got a bit more flexibility with adding finer detail. Your ink can also be a littler looser when using this count.
200/230- you've got your self a fancy screen! You can print pretty tiny detail with this mesh, and its good for CMYK halftone patterns. Your ink will need to be pretty loose to pass through, and your layer of ink will be much thinner.
any mesh count higher than 230 should only be used if you are trying to print SUPER detail or SUPER photographically. My opinion is to not bother screen printing at all if its not going to look hand made......
How big do you want to print?
Understanding the 'usable' space on my screen took me the longest time to get. I was dumb.
It is safe to say that you need to subtract 3 inches from the length of each edge of your screen to get the dimensions of your true 'printable' area.
For example, if your screen is 20x18, the largest image you can print is 17x15. DON'T TRY AND GET AWAY WITH PRINTING A LARGER IMAGE. It sucks. You make a mess, the image won't print easily, you'll waste a lot of paper and ink, and you'll just have to make a new stencil or find a bigger screen. It is a waste of time.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
Monday, January 9, 2012
It really is a shame that they don't make things like they used to...... Someone has to keep up the tradition of making things by hand, and I find that my favorite place to find inspiration for my own work is Etsy. It is like a visual encyclopedia of all things hand made and vintage! The wealth of images is unbelievable, and often the shop owners take good quality pictures. Here are some awesome vintage finds that were all screen printed:
Well, if I am going to teach a 'drop in' style course, I figure I should create a resource so that my students can make the most of the time they have in studio.
My first post lets you know what to bring to come to class ready to print!
What you absolutely need to bring:
1. a screen
2. water soluble ink
3. ink retarder
4. something to print on (paper, clothing, textiles, you name it...)
5. Blue painters tape
6. Cheap packing tape (no name brand stuff, you want the cheap stuff with the weak
adhesive, check out the dollar store)
7. An exacto-knife with a good blade
8. Tupperware to store mixed ink (as many as colors you intend to use)
9. Spatulas for mixing inks
10. A sheet of acetate that is at least the same size as the screen you are using.
11. A photo positive opaque stencil of your image
If you do not know how to make a photo positive stencil, don't worry, as we can go over it in class. You will need the following additional materials:
- acetate or vellum (in addition to the acetate listed above)
- opaque black paint pen(s) or black acrylic paint and a paint brush.
Recommended but not required:
1. Spray mount to help register your prints (not really a health conscious item)
2. A spray bottle filled with water
3. Paper towels or clean reusable rags
Mission Grafica does provide reclaimer, degreaser, and squeegees. They do not provide emulsion but it can be purchased for a small fee from me depending on the size of your screen (between $3-$8)
If you want to try out the film for ink jet printers, but do not want to invest in buying 25+ sheets, you are also welcome to buy 11x17 sheets from me for $2 each.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Stencils are basically the most important aspect of screen printing. Without a good stencil you will not get a good printed image. There are a few different ways to make stencils, and they all have pro's and con's.
It is most important to understand that you must first use a photo POSITIVE stencil (the positive should be dark anywhere you want the ink to be printed and transparent everywhere else) In order to make your stencil work correctly, you need to make your stencil as OPAQUE ( meaning that no light can pass through the image) as possible. There is no wiggling around these rules. If you try and force any stencil to work that isn't properly prepared, you are basically going to make your experience a nightmare.
Decide on what kind of stencil is right for your project
1. Hand drawn stencil
While these seem like the easiest to create, it is very difficult to make a stencil by hand that is opaque. You will need some sort of translucent film like vellum or acetate and a very opaque drawing medium. (Do not use mylar as it reacts to heat and moisture and can create major issues in printing.)
SHARPIE'S ARE NOT OPAQUE AND DO NOT USE THEM
Good things to use to create your stencils are black acrylic paint, black paint pens, and black micron pens for fine detail. I emphasize buying BLACK because while other colors may work, the majority of the time they usually tend to let light pass... it is not worth the pain it might cause so just buy BLACK.
I prefer to work using hand drawn stencils because I want my work to read clearly as being hand made. For some projects, especially those using text, people prefer a very precise line, in which I recommend making a digital stencil:
2. Digital stencils
Computers are neat. Between Illustrator and Indesign, you can create complicated images for screen printing easily, and get a very accurate stencil printed.
If you are going to go this route, I would advise finding a local digital printer that can print film for you (if in SF check LOGOS Graphics ) as they can guarantee that your printed image will be opaque.
If you are printing on acetate at home, most ink jet printers do not print black opaquely, unless you have the appropriate film. If you think this is the route you'll end up printing, I suggest getting film from VICTORY Factory that can turn any inkjet ink opaque.
Printing out digital stencils professional can get quite expensive, so determine first if it is financially worth it!
check out THIS awesome article for an in-depth 'how to' on digital file preparation in Adobe.
3. Hand cut stencils
Hand cut stencils are great if you want to print large flats of color or images that are not too complicated. For instance, if you want a background color behind your entire printed image, all you would need to do is find or cut a sheet of construction paper to size and shape, then expose it to the screen. Quick and easy! If you want to make a more complicated image, it is still possible and especially easy if you use Rubylith, which is translucent and opaque (hard to image... but it works)
Once you determine the type of stencil that is best for your project, determine how many colors you are going to be printing. If you are new to screen printing, I recommend that you make each color a separate stencil layer. Make sure to 'trap' your stencil layers about a 1/4 inch all around. (Trapping in this sense means overlapping the edges of each stencil so that no white space will print, this will help with registration)
(this image is from that Smashing Magazine article I posted above)
I would make sure to regularly align the stencils to make sure that everything matches.
Double check all stencils on a light table if possible. Even if it SEEMS opaque, it might not be... and its better to be safe then sorry, right?