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.