A Crash Course in Screen Printing

On the blog, I have been expanding a great deal about the business of art, without really diving into what Screen Printing is.

So using Andy Warhol as a visual aid, I will walk step-by-step through this process.

Create the Design. Preferably one you like because you will be looking at it a great deal.

Transferring the Design.  After designing the work, one must transfer it to a silkscreen. The silkscreen is essentially a window frame screened with a silk sheet. This screening is fabric but it is porous enough to let ink through. First, the screen is coated with light-sensitive photo emulsion, then the design is exposed onto the screen.

Printing. Once the image has been exposed, you are left with a negative image on a screen. Using the help of a friend, mom or print mechanism – think Ben Franklin and a news press –  you can drag ink over the negative, leaving you with the original design on whatever you happen to be printing on.

Below I have included some of Warhol’s more famous prints. They are so widely popular, you have most likely seen them all, but never realized the creative processes behind them.

And then this is one of my favorite photos of all time! This is Andy Warhol in his studio with Bob Dylan, inspecting a print of Elvis.



NYC: A Creative Community

To say my creative community was limited in high school would be an understatement. It consisted of a few members from the marching band’s horn section with excellent tastes in movies.

Now in school, creatives are coming out of the woodwork and it is both a blessing and inspiration to be surrounded by them.

They keep you sharp, they keep you inspired and they hold you accountable.

Meet Jonathan!

He is a New York-based cinematographer who has gained experience the past two years working alongside creatives in New York. He is currently starting a film production company with one of his brothers.

He is also my friend.

Jonathan working on a short fashion film project.

Where my blog touches on the commercialization of an art form, Jonathan writes on the creative processes he uses to create his content.

Breaking into a creative marketplace can be daunting, to say the least. Especially in a city as large as New York. A city in which it seems that most new ideas are old and everyone is the best at everything.

Through his blog, Jonathan is working to make this transition into the industry a little easier. He has a “how to” post that is complementary of my blog.  Whether it is screen printing fabrics or creating short films, it is so helpful to know that other creatives have paved a way.



Feeling burned out? You’re not the only one!

So with all my planning and all my work,  I was ready to begin printing.

Ready to start. Everything I had worked for, leading up to this moment.

And I am stuck.

I have never experienced a loss in steam such as this. All of my passion for this project and the building up to finally doing it have left me without any motivation or will to continue.  But I have friends who believe in me so much that they donated to this project.  And therefore, I will see it though.

I wanted to get to the root of this apathy so I went to the internet.  According to one article, the source of my lethargy could be anything from fearing failure to having an aversion to risk. This article is actually quite informative on why anyone has a loss of steam. I would aboslutely reccomend checking it out.

I knew I was burned out, but knowing why made all the difference. But what was even more encouraging is to know that I am not alone. After typing in a few different key words – losing steam, how to regain motivation, how to not burn out on projects –  an entire community oppened to me. And even better, it is a community of creatives.

It is unknown why creatives burn out so easily. The most tangible example of this being ‘writer’s block.’ But whatever the cause of this, it is so encouraging to know that it is a consistent problem in the creative marketplace, and I am not alone. One specific blog post emphasizes the importance of flexing other creative muscles to bring new life to projects. This exercise has proven to be extremely helpful for me and my project.

And an exciting update: I begin printing THIS WEEK!

Keep a lookout for whats to come!!



Asking people for money: What worked for me and what didn’t!

Picture any type of fundraising forum that the past few years has produced. Do you have it in your mind?


Well whatever, Go Fund Me, or Kickstarter you have in your head, I attempted to use it. And finding funding to initially kick off this project was about how you might imagine it.


I sat down with a friend and crafted a strategically unbothersome few paragraphs about my project and why I needed financial help. Then with my little spiel in hand, I hit the internet. And began my journey for a donor funded launch of my senior project.


I used Kickstarter, Go Fund Me, and Venmo in order to raise money.


These forums are convenient and easy to market via social media. They are especially good for marketing to other generations, like friends of your parents, to donate through Facebook.


That being said, I did not have the best experience using these types of fundraising services. My first attempt was with Kickstarter, who never fully completed my verification process. It has been about two months since signing up, and I am still unable to use it.


I had a lot of success with Go Fund Me, once plan a was ruled difficult and unusable. It is an easy set up process and the website itself works with you to help boost engagement with your fundraiser. They keep a record of donations and send you reminders when there is a lull in engagement (so that you might promote more intentionally.)


It was only when I went to withdraw money that I rendered Go Fund Me problematic.


There is no real issue only the annoyance of waiting for funds to be transferred – taking around 2 weeks. And then that pesky service fee they take from your donations. It was good for getting the job done, but not as efficient and kind as VENMO.


I could talk for days about Venmo! I am such a big fan! And for this purpose specifically, it was an extremely helpful tool. My friends were able to donate to me directly and I could transfer funds immediately to my bank account with a mild service fee of $0.25. These donations were actually what I have been running my project off of to this point.


So if I had to impart any advice from this experience. I would urge everyone to stick to a forum you know (Venmo) and give yourself plenty of time as to not find yourself in a pickle.



Building the Brand

It is no secret that branding has become necessary for businesses and people alike to do anything in this world. You have to have a brand in order to, get a job, run a business or even sell health insurance.

And I hate it.

The idea that a business or entity decides how the world can perceive them through a social media strategy can be very empowering. Empowering for those who are confident in their well-developed abilities.

And for those who aren’t as well versed in the matter, branding and self-promotion can prove to be a daunting and task.

Diving head-first into the project was so exciting for me because it was something I was passionate about pursuing. The counterpart of this endeavor that I was not anticipating was the need to build not only a business but also a brand.

Definitely keep up with my attempts through the Instagram link below! But also, look into what more established people have to say. I have also linked below an article from Duct Tape Marketing, a marketing firm that I have found helpful in my attempt to succeed on social media.






How To Get Started

I have wanted to screen-print for the past 3 or 4 years. I had name picked, I knew the product I wanted to make, I knew the customer base I wanted to attract. Then I hated the name and change it 7 times. And I was left to wait with all my ideas until given the opportunity to try it out, rather than pulling the trigger. So when I was presented with an opportunity to complete a senior project of my own design I figured it was the perfect opportunity. Then I was assigned to write a blog as a project for marketing. What better to write about than this experience, and what it took for me to get here.

So I wanted to discuss how to get started-more specifically, how I got started. The hardest part in all of this has been finding the motivation to do the work. It should not be surprising because I the way I avoided this up until this point. The lack of motivation does not come from a lack of passion. I find I have too much of it. But rather I find it stems from a fear of failure. What if no one will buy this product? What if no one will read this blog? Or what’s even worse, what if I’m just actually bad at this thing I love?

I can’t answer these questions, for I am in the trenches with them even now. But below I have linked articles I have found helpful for overcoming these anxieties, as well as an article from Forbes on how to get your business off the ground. (It is sometimes best in a time of crisis to have someone help you line out a road map.)

And now a quote from Meg Cabot, author of one of my favorite screen plays you might have heard of, The Princess Diaries: “Courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something is more important than fear; The brave may not live forever but the cautious do not live at all.”




Looking Forward

  1. The idea
  2. Branding
  3. Funding
  4. Prototyping
  5. The loss of steam
  6. The Process
  7. Supply chain and Production
  8. Distributing and Retail
  9. Marketing
  10. Repeat