Adventures In Screenprinting Pt.3
Some friends of mine run a local club called STG Fixed (Follow them on Instagram). They have a strong DIY sensibility. One of the main things they do is organize events in the local community getting people together to ride. I can really appreciate those traits, so I have collaborated with them on a couple of different projects including creating their logo.
Every month they put on an Alleycat race with checkpoints sometimes including local businesses. Traditionally, Alleycats are meant for just fixed bikes but they invite everyone out to participate.
The upcoming Alleycat is March 4th and I wanted to design and print a small poster for the event. Since I got the one color print out of the way, I wanted to make this one a bit more difficult. So my goal was to create a 3 color print for the event. Multi-color prints on paper can be really difficult because , I don't have a ton of experience with registering stock during the printing process, so I thought this would be a good project.
Between now and the last print session, I got a bunch of random gear to help the prints be pulled easer. Some of the the stuff includes, spray bottles, tape, 409 cleaner and containers for ink.
Before approaching this print, I consulted Andy McDougalls "ScreenPrinting Today: The Basics. A passage really helped me to understand what I needed to do to keep the waterbase ink from drying into the screen:
"Starting The Run: Prepare two mixtures. One is mixed 50% water and other is 20%cleaner and 80%water. Put them in two spray bottles, mark the mix on the side and get a few medium soft sponges. (Can use 409 Fantastic cleaner, or dish soap-No ammonia) Once ready to start, spray some 20% solution on the sponge and cover the entire print surface with an even coating. Not dripping, but no dry spots either. This acts as lube and stops the ink from freezing in the dry screen when you pull your first print. When you start to print, it will be runny—quickly pull prints on clean scrap newsprint and watch the print to make sure all detail is printing. You may want to skip a flood stroke if the ink is really blurred. The print will quickly clean up the color density will return to normal. Once this happens, feed in your good paper. Adjust your register at this point, and always remember to keep the printing going-if you stop to admire your work too long, it will dry."
With this in mind, I got to the printing:
Honestly, I wasn't feeling the design that I mocked up for the club. A lot of the time, after I create something, I have some sort of feeling of "This is finished and ready." But I didn't quite feel this for my design on this print. I showed it to the STGFixed guys and they really liked it. I then had a hunch that the printed version would look better than the digital version, so I went forward with it.
Luckily, the hunch wasn't wrong.
The printing process went really well and actually really quick. I had some issues with getting a good screen for the black plate, but I figured out I was just under exposing the screen. Despite that, everything went way more smooth than my first print.
One of the things I'm pretty happy with is the registration. Not necessarily because it was perfect, but because I see what I need to do more studying on. As you can see with my regi marks, some of my prints were pretty close to registration while others are way off. This could be me rushing through prints and trying to get it done, or I just need to rethink my process. So this week I'll be looking into that.
Despite the regis being off, it still turned out to look pretty awesome!
Overall, I'm super happy with this project and I'm excited for future projects.