Author Topic: Artwork - The basics of screen printing. How to screen print series.  (Read 2968 times)


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Artwork. The basics of screen printing.  How to screen print series.

[justify]It should be needless to say that without artwork of some kind, you have nothing to print on the shirt so you might as well turn the lights off and go home.  Artwork is the one thing that you cannot do without, or substitute with some other kind of workaround.  You must have artwork.  Stop and think about it, you decided to learn how to screen print T-shirts so you must have some idea or of the types of things you want to print on the shirts.  Whatever it is you're going to print on the T-shirts, however it is derived, no matter where it comes from, it is artwork.[/justify]
[justify]So now that we realize that we must have some type of artwork the next question is most newbies to screen printing tribe figure out is where does the artwork come from.  Where do you find it, how do you get it, and what does it have to be.  The artwork can be anything from a hand sketched drawing on a napkin to sophisticated artwork created by professional artists.  When you first start out it is safe to say that your artwork needs to be very simple.  It will probably consist of solid letters, numbers, and/or simple clipart graphics.  When you're first learning a screen printing, you're going to need to take baby steps as you learn the techniques and the process of screen printing, so it is suffice to say that the first artwork you deal with should be simple.[/justify]

[justify]With the exception of a few gun ho and very lucky people that make a lot more complex art work printing straight out of the gate.  It is safe to say most newbies need to take baby steps.  Although most will want to start off printing the visions they have in their heads.  My advice has and always will be start off simple.[/justify]

[justify]I tend to classify the types of artwork differently than most people and I do this for a reason.  It may only make sense to me but hopefully you'll follow along and understand how I classify artwork.
Spot color.  Spot color artwork for most people seems to mean solid open areas that you print stock colors of ink through.  To me, spot color printing can mean more than that.  Yes that would include the solid open areas, but it can also include halftones.  Get a newspaper and look at a photograph with a magnifying glass. You see all those little dots?  Those are halftones.  When you graduate from basic spot color printing and start to include halftones, this is still spot color printing.

I will cover more on artwork types in the next post.[/justify]


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Re: Artwork - The basics of screen printing. How to screen print series.
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2013, 06:57:42 AM »
Great Post P

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Re: Artwork - The basics of screen printing. How to screen print series.
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2013, 09:46:20 PM »
Previously I mentioned Spot Color as one of the types I classify artwork as. Spot color can be just solid areas of ink printed for the design or it can also include halftones. With spot color we are just printing colors of the artwork and we may use halftones to create a fade affect, the appearance of a different shade of a color or we might use them to create a blend from one color to another such as using yellow and red to create a flame look that goes from yellow to orange to red. But it still all spot colors. You can do a lot with spot colors if you put your mind to it.

The next type of artwork I want to bring up is;
4 Color Process

[justify]As I mentioned before, when you are first starting off in screen printing you want to stay simple until you get the feel for printing. Play with the simple spot color designs, add a little halftones and just get the feel of pushing the squeegee. It takes time to get that feel but it will come to you faster then you think.[/justify]

[float=left][/float][justify]The next type of artwork I would suggest you tackle is 4 color process. You heard me, "4 COLOR PROCESS". One of the biggest myths in screen printing is that 4 color process is hard. The other part of that myth is you cannot print it constantly on a manual press.

First off 4 color process is very easy to do. There are really only a few things you need to pull off some fantastic 4 color process prints. The first thing you need is artwork that is suited for 4 color process printing like the artwork to the left. This was created in Corel Draw using a spot color pallet and the RGB pallet. It was then exported as a Photoshop PSD file with a transparent background. The actual separations for 4 color process where done in Photoshop and not in Corel. Two reasons for this. First is that in my opinion Corel just does not give you the control over the intensity of each color plate that you need. Second is that the UltraSeps add in utility for Photoshop makes dealing with all of that and creating the separation so easy that a 3 year old could do it if they can click a mouse button.[/justify][float=right][/float][justify]

The next thing you need are some high mesh screens with a decent tension. I prefer 305 mesh but you could get away with 230 mesh if that is all you have. You will also need a decent exposure unit with a vacuum top. If you do not have a vacuum on you exposure unit the use a Space Bag. Put a peace of foam inside the screen on the ink side, tape the film to the shirt side, stick it all in a Space Bag and suck a vacuum on it with a shop vac. This is way better then any thing you can do with weights. Another thing you will need is a RIP so you can create dense halftone dots on your film. In my opinion the best RIP for the money is FilmMaker by CadLink.

There are a few other things you should have but right now I am just covering the types of artwork and not so much detail about how to print them. I will cover separating and printing some of the types of artwork in other threads. For now I just want to go over some of the basic differences between the artwork types.

Next time I will talk about Index and how it can be used with some artwork.[/justify]

White Base Plate created with UltraSeps


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Re: Artwork - The basics of screen printing. How to screen print series.
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2013, 09:55:06 PM »
Index is my buddy. We are good friends. Very nice post.
We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.

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