Screenprinting Inspiration

History

Stencilling to create visual images dates back to representations of hands on Paleolothic cave walls.

Screen printing using silk mesh first appeared in a recognizable form in China during the Song Dynasty (960–1279 AD). It was then adapted by other Asian countries like Japan, and was furthered by creating newer methods.

Screen printing was largely introduced to Western Europe from Asia sometime in the late 18th century, but did not gain large acceptance or use in Europe until silk mesh was more available for trade from the east and a profitable outlet for the medium discovered.

Photoscreen processes started to be developed in the 1910s introducing photo-imaged stencils for commercial printing. Several printers experimenting with photo-reactive chemicals used the well-known actinic light–activated cross linking or hardening traits of potassium, sodium or ammonium chromate and dichromate chemicals with glues and gelatin compounds. Roy Beck, Charles Peter and Edward Owens studied and experimented with chromic acid salt sensitized emulsions for photo-reactive stencils. Commercial screen printing now uses sensitizers far safer and less toxic than bichromates. Currently there are large selections of pre-sensitized and “user mixed” sensitized emulsion chemicals for creating photo-reactive stencils.

A group of artists who later formed the National Serigraphic Society, including WPA artist Anthony Velonis, coined the word Serigraphy in the 1930s to differentiate the artistic application of screen printing from the industrial use of the process.”Serigraphy” is a compound word formed from Latin “sēricum” (silk) and Greek “graphein” (to write or draw).

The Printers’ National Environmental Assistance Center says “Screenprinting is arguably the most versatile of all printing processes. Since rudimentary screenprinting materials are so affordable and readily available, it has been used frequently in underground settings and subcultures, and the non-professional look of such DIY culture screenprints have become a significant cultural aesthetic seen on movie posters, record album covers, flyers, shirts, commercial fonts in advertising, in artwork and elsewhere.

1960s to present

Andy Warhol

Sister Mary Corita Kent, gained international fame for her vibrant serigraphs during the 1960s and 1970s. Her works were rainbow colored, contained words that were both political and fostered peace and love and caring.

American entrepreneur, artist and inventor Michael Vasilantone started to use, develop, and sell a rotatable multicolour garment screen printing machine in 1960.[4] Vasilantone later filed for patent[5] on his invention in 1967 granted number 3,427,964 on February 18, 1969.[5] The original machine was manufactured to print logos and team information on bowling garments but soon directed to the new fad of printing on T-shirts. The Vasilantone patent was licensed by multiple manufacturers, the resulting production and boom in printed T-shirts made this garment screen printing machine popular. Screen printing on garments currently accounts for over half of the screen printing activity in the United States.[6]

Graphic screenprinting is widely used today to create mass or large batch produced graphics, such as posters or display stands. Full colour prints can be created by printing in CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black (‘key’)).

Screen printing lends itself well to printing on canvas. Andy Warhol, Arthur Okamura, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Harry Gottlieb and many other artists have used screen printing as an expression of creativity and artistic vision.

Charles Shearer

Charles Shearer is an artist printmaker and teacher from Orkney, currently based in London. He also creates paintings and drawings of scenes inspired from his extensive travels both in the UK and overseas.

Google links to his images 

Many of his prints are single or multiplate collagraphs made from cutting, drawing and sculpting into display board. The plates are then printed using stencils and roller techniques to produce complex and multicoloured prints. This is the technique I started to explore in Assignment 5 The Dreaming.

His subjects are often ‘creative interpretations’ from his own travel sketchbooks, mostly from Wales, Ireland and his travels between London and Orkney. A key underlying theme is ‘man’s [sic] order within nature’. ‘Of particular interest are deserted buildings and the landscapes surrounding them as he describes “in a landscape stands a grand Irish ruin all in glorious decay, to contrast with a desolate and rutted land beyond the industrial estate”.

There are often fun images in his work too such as his large monoprints of King Flamingo or Night Prowl. He experiments too with texture and materials such as in Bubblewrap Joe.

In addition to making his own work he teaches printmaking at numerous art schools and runs creative print workshops. For experimental prints I produced from a workshop on ‘Cardboard Cuts’ see Collagraph techniques

For more about Charles Shearer see:

Emma Mason Arts

Exhibition at St Judes Prints

Exhibition at Southampton Solent University’s Andrews Concourse Gallery 2014- 2015.

Rembrandt van Rijn

Rembrandt’s technique influenced:

Project 1.2 Urban landscapes etchings and drypoint

Assignment 3 Chiaroscuro

Project 4.2 Self Portraits

Sources and references

Bikker, J. and G. J. M. Weber (2015). Rembrandt: The Late Works. London, National Gallery.
Royalton-Kisch, M. (2006). Rembrandt as Printmaker. London, Hayward Gallery Touring.

Etchings

Christie’s exhibition

Rembrandt (1606-1669) was a Dutch  painter, draughtsman and printmaker. His works cover a wide range of style and subject matter, from portraits and self-portraits to landscapes, genre scenes, allegorical and historical scenes, biblical and mythological themes as well as animal studies.

Rembrandt’s fame while he lived was greater as an etcher than as a painter (he did no engravings or woodcuts). He experimented with different etching and drypoint techniques. He used different mark-making tools to create different types of line – in contrast to the much more mechanical engraving techniques. Rembrandt sometimes employed even the V-shaped engraver’s burin in his etchings, combining it with the fine etching needle and thicker dry point needle, as in the work opposite, for richer pictorial effects.

Rembrandt Old Bearded Man
Rembrandt Old Bearded Man
Rembrandt with Saskia etching
Rembrandt with Saskia etching
Rembrandt Mother in Widow's Dress and Black Gloves
Rembrandt Mother in Widow’s Dress and Black Gloves
Rembrandt The Three Trees Etching and Drypoint
Rembrandt The Three Trees Etching and Drypoint

He also experimented with different inking variations for chiaroscuro, producing very different interpretations of the same plate. Etching allows a lot of correction and burnishing to change the image. In some instances his etching were explorations of light and shade that he then transferred into his paintings.

Rembrandt The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634, etching, engraving and drypoint printed in black ink on cream paper.
Rembrandt The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1634, etching, engraving and drypoint printed in black ink on cream paper.

Goldmark exhibition (has a loupe to see the detail of markmaking)

Detailed discussion of Rembrandt’s techniques and the background to his etchings.

Rembrandt’s technique

Rembrandt’s self portraits

Rembrandt The Late Works

Hiroshige and Hokusai: Japanese woodblock prints

The woodblock prints of Hiroshige and Hokusai were the source for my work in Project 2.1: Formal Abstracts: Japanese landscape.

Ukiyo-e

In-depth video on history and development of techniques of Japanese woodcut from monochrome through painted monochrome prints to multiblock printing. It looks at its influence on Western artists like Van Gogh and Monet following the exhibition of Japanese art for the first time at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. It also looks at the modern day revival of ukiyo-e prints as paintings on shops in Tokyo regeneration.

Japanese woodblock prints with Paul Binnie

Lecture on background and underlying ideas in Japanese printing techniques.

Japanese woodblock printing History Ukiyo-e Jose Ortega

History of Japanese printing and way it spread and related to earlier Chinese and Buddhist prints.

Technique (from Wikipedia)

The technique for printing texts and images was generally similar. The obvious differences were the volume produced when working with texts (many pages for a single work), and the complexity of multiple colours in some images. Images in books were almost always in monochrome (black ink only), and for a time art prints were likewise monochrome or done in only two or three colours.

The text or image was first drawn onto washi (Japanese paper), then glued face-down onto a plank of wood, usually cherry. Wood was then cut away, based on the drawing outlines. A small wooden hard object called a baren was used to press or burnish the paper against the inked woodblock to apply the ink to the paper. Although this may have been done purely by hand at first, complex wooden mechanisms were soon invented and adopted to help hold the woodblock perfectly still and apply proper pressure in the printing process. This was especially helpful with the introduction of multiple colours that had to be applied with precision over previous ink layers.

While, again, text was nearly always monochrome, as were images in books, the growth of the popularity of ukiyo-e brought with it demand for ever increasing numbers of colors and complexity of techniques. The stages of this development follow:

  • Sumizuri-e (墨摺り絵?, “ink printed pictures”)—monochrome printing using only black ink
  • Benizuri-e (紅摺り絵?, “crimson printed pictures”)—red ink details or highlights added by hand after the printing process;green was sometimes used as well
  • Tan-e (丹絵?)—orange highlights using a red pigment called tan
  • Aizuri-e (藍摺り絵?, “indigo printed pictures”), Murasaki-e (紫絵?, “purple pictures”), and other styles in which a single color was used in addition to, or instead of, black ink
  • Urushi-e (漆絵?)—a method that thickened the ink with glue, emboldening the image. Printers often used gold, mica, and other substances to enhance the image further. Urushi-e can also refer to paintings using lacquer instead of paint. Lacquer was rarely, if ever, used on prints.
  • Nishiki-e (錦絵?, “brocade pictures”)—a method of using multiple blocks for separate portions of the image, using a number of colors to achieve complex and detailed images. A separate block was carved to apply only the part of the image designated for a single color. Registration marks called kentō (見当) were used to ensure correspondence between the application of each block.

Contemporary Japanese woodblock

Katsutoshi Yuasa

Keizaburo Matsuzaki

Ross Loveday

website: http://www.rossloveday.com/prints.html

‘The fine line which separates figuration and abstraction interests me; time, place , weather and light alongside gesture, glimpse and memory.

The subjects are only the starting points- sometimes small insignificant details or texture triggers a complete piece.’

Drpoint and Carborundum
Lifelines. Monoprint and Drypoint
North Bank Monoprint and drypoint

Working process

He uses drypoint with monoprint and/or carborundum on a metal plate.

 

Foamboard

Lilly Lake Series 1

From these I did a first series of prints using mostly foamboard. I found that when I tried to combine foamboard and softfoam it was difficult to register the image because softfoam changes size quite dramatically when it goes under the press. It is also difficult to draw on first because it is so soft so the slightest mark will show. The main technique that is possible is to start with softfoam and then do a print onto the foamboard. Then work with the foamboard making marks where needed from the impression. Then clean the ink off before re-inking. But it still only works if you do hand printing, if you want to use the softfoam again. It also only really works with water-based inks that dry quickly and rather unpredictably.

I also found using too many colours made things very messy – as this was a colour project, I decided to simplify things and use only softfoam. I found that when I cropped the prints below, some of them made more effective images – inspiration for further prints later. It would have been difficult to predict the effect through thumbnails because so much depended on the precise effects of the ink. It is very difficult to see where the ink is drying more quickly and so what prints and what does not – part of the joy but also frustration of the medium. These were the prints I sent to my tutor. But I was not very happy with them – more a work in progress to continue later than anything finished.

Stepping Stones

So I started again with a different set of sketches, again based on a photo. I used only foamboard and a limited palette, building up the tonal colours. I continued to use Caligo water-based ink but I chose to work with thin Hosho paper to increase the misty effect and also to make sensitive hand-printing easier.

Because this was a series and I was using only one plate, I chose my colours and sequencing very carefully – starting with yellow ochre and brown, then going to blue. I was also able to alter my wiping out and some of the details as I progressed. But how much the ink was drying and where as I worked remained a bit upredictable.

Softfoam

Willows ice moonlight draft

(further experiments and details planned)

Softfoam is a very cheap soft material that is used for children’s crafts. (click here for pictures and types).

I first used it for the Japanese landscape series ‘Stepping Stones’ in Printmaking 1. I really like the hazy effects.I used one softfoam plate inking several sheets with the same layer, but re-inking with different shades of a similar colour – starting with yellows then going to browns and then blues to produce a range of different prints. Although using softfoam in this way limits the amount of colour contrast that is possible, it does build up beautiful subtle tone and colour variation.

The focus of the assignment was on contrasting markmaking – I combined wiping out for the stones, scratching out with a screwdriver for the bamboos. I also used a drypoint tool on its side and with its point to get a range of different marks. A key issue though was how to make the stones recede into the background through making the outlines and contrast reduce in sharpness towards the back. I managed to achieve a range of dramatic contrasts in the marks from soft edged stones to very fine lines and bold sweeping lines.

I then used softfoam with Schminke water-based inks in Assignment 1: Willows.

I started with experimenting with different markmaking. The ink was quite clumpy at the beginning, but this gave interesting misty effects.