Today I decided to try screen print something proper with my set up. I was introduced to screen printing at Uni this year and for some reason I loved it, I'd only done it a couple of times but I seem to have really taken a liking to it... so much so that I bought my own home printing kit and its just recently expanded a little.
the image: This is a drawing I originally made for a band t-shirt (Hail Brethren, Manchester) but unfortunately they split up soon after. I drew the fox and the pheasant to fit in with the popular trend at the moment of illustrating wildlife, in hopes that both the band and myself could lightly dip into a mainstream vein and gain a bit of popularity with it. I couldnt find a reference image so I merged two seperate ones together, printed it out and then traced over the top of it. Thats right I used tracing paper, I found it hard to come to terms with this but really I'm not copying a photograph, I am instead interpreting the lines as I see them ro think they should be... in other words I've not drawn it completely accurate to the reference i made.
the prints: I made a few mistakes both in the exposing stage and the printing stage but overal I'm fairly happy with my first proper screen printing experience at home whilst using photo emulsion. For some reason I keep getting strange bubble like areas in my emulsion once its dried. It's almost like as it dries, trapped air bubbles pop and little areas of my screen are no longer covered fully, meaning a weaker overal coverage. I had asked for advice on tshirtforums.com and most suggested that I expose my screen for a couple mins extra to what my test result suggested and in doing so my stencil proved VERY diffcult to wash out and the little air bubble things ended up washing out in places too, thus ruining my stencil. I also miss placed the design during exposure resulting in the top of the fox's ear being too close to the edge where there was no emulsion hence the large smudges... but as I said, this was a proper test of what I could do with my hobbyist kit and home made light rig, so not that bad considering I got a fair ammount of fine detail out of it.
what's next?: Well now I think I need to work buy an extra screen or 2 so I can print more than just a black outline and maybe work on adding halftone patterns into some designs to suggest tonal areas. I'm not really working for a purpose at the moment, I'm just enjoying using the technique and seeing what I can do with it using my own images. Bit of research is in order I think...
I also wanted to print myself a "Pieface" t-shirt today, but the problems with washing out the stencil resulted in my outline stencil breaking down, but so as not to waste it I printed on paper to see if my idea would at least work. The colours are due to my limited paint supplies at the moment (only got basic black,white,blue,red and yellow) and I hadn't tested the inks on paper yet. Before anyone asks and without going into too much detail, Pieface was a nickname I got at high school (it's not actually a funny story, believe it or not), and it's sort of stuck with me but I also used to use the name as a way of keeping my professional/commissioned work seperate
from my own personal work... although recently the two have begun to merge back together.