This post may be a little distant from my regular theme, but as it is part of my artistic exploration I will give it a go; furthermore, it’s all part of a learning process of techniques I’m looking to incorporate into my sketching.
Three weeks ago I started taking serigraphy classes, also known as silkscreen or screen printing. I think it is a cool (although laborious) way to reproduce my artwork, without losing the handmade feel.
The technique I’ve been learning feels somewhat limiting, me being a loose, fast sketcher, having to carefully cut the film with a swivel knife to use as a stencil for each color I use. Probably I’m not gonna be doing that many prints this way, as the X-acto knife has never been among my favorite tools. My professor is an accomplished veteran artist who saw some of my sketches and told me we could try blocking the silkscreen in other ways, as using wax crayons or tempera with a brush and I could achieve effects similar to what I do with the watercolors. And this really caught my attention. Still, I don’t wanna get ahead of myself, I want to learn the rules now so I can bend them later…
We were asked to produce a simple graphic with four or five colors, to learn color separation, registration marks, blocking, printing and cleaning. He asked us to do nothing complicated, so we could learn the basics. Here’s the sketch I’m doing:
Yesterday I printed my first color. And what a mess! Mesa clumsy! When in middle school, I took aptitude tests and the results showed I wasn’t too good with repetitive routines. Evidently that is still true. I had to clean the squeegee twice in middle of a print, as somehow I dropped it onto the screen with paint, and that red kept appearing all over where it wasn’t supposed to… The paper, my hands, the frame, the table, my pants. In the end I think I got it, although probably less than half the prints are good.
I ended exhausted! I liked the process though in the future I want to try less “perfect” graphics. When I learn to block with tempera and crayons probably will enjoy it even more. Working with the exactitude of a knife is not my thing. There must be a way to be loose with the brush on silkscreen, so will update soon.