Wednesday, 17 March 2010

this is how i do it...

a few weeks ago there was a big influx of 'how-to' posts from some of my favourite online friends, including jezze and host of others (forgive me for not listing the links to them all here, but for some reason blogger won't let me cut & paste lately, and if i have to input every link i might keel over and die from the effort - but if you click on jezze's link, she's got them all there...or if you click over to nicole's fabulous 'creative process' blog, there's a TON of interesting articles there)

so...this is my *very* lo-tech approach to design, there are no bells, no whistles, and no computers involved, just paper, a pencil and a black pen. oh, and a ruler and an eraser is useful too. disclaimer: this is how *i* do things. it's probably not the best way, or the quickest, or the most sophisticated, but it's the way that works for me.

i'm going to show you how my new design 'town' came about - i really wanted an update on my 'avenue' design, incorporating shops, building and vehicles and with a little more detail. the first image is of the scribbles i made during a trip to our local 'biggish' town (ie, one with a pizza express!) as we couldn't park in our usual places, we parked down a side street...the shops in my design are very much inspired by that little side street, a higgledy piggledy row of cuteness! i don't carry a sketchbook (though this is the very reason why i should!) so i used a couple of crumpled sheets of paper i found in the glove box . luckily i did have my trusty faber castell pit pen (size f) on me, so while sam was getting a ticket from the parking meter, i very quickly sketched the shops...



...i added to this theme whilst waiting for our pizza, sketching little lorries, trucks, cars, tower blocks and the like. the next stage was drawing out a more constructed design onto paper - i always draw the exact size the silkscreen allows, which in this case is 14" tall by 10" wide. i usually design in 1" increments - it makes it much easier working out measurements (i'm not good at maths) but this time i decided i wanted my buildings 2 inches tall and the vehicles 1 inch high. i draw on a nice creamy thick paper by daler rowney that's a touch under 10 inches wide which is perfect. (please excuse the pic, it's very hard to photograph pale pencil marks!)

so...after drawing in my design in pencil, i fill the design in with black pen - you don't want to make a mistake doing this bit, so it takes some time. mistakes can be disguised by drawing slightly thicker lines which has the added bonus of adding a bit of charm! one thing to note is that i don't design in repeat - these are single, stand alone designs, i think of them as panels rather than allover designs. this will change as i have learnt recently how to easily put my drawings in repeat using photoshop (i only have photoshop elements - i told you i was all about the lo-tech approach!)


once the design is completely filled in and i'm happy with it, it gets photocopied and sent to my little screen-making fairy (uk-ers check out committed to cloth's resources list to find your own screen-making fairy) and it comes back with the design burnt on to the screen like this...

...all ready to use! this is the first print i made with it...


i use water based ink by permaset - it's easy to clean up, it's environmentally friendly and it's virtually odourless. it also comes in a great range of colours, and they're all intermixable. after ironing on a highish setting for a few minutes, it's heatset.

for those of you who are interested in screen printing, i would recommend reading as much as you can about the subject - books i have found invaluable are:

dying and screen printing on textiles by joanna kinnersly-taylor
complex cloth by jane dunnewold
screen printing: layering textiles with colour, texture & imagery by leslie morgan and claire benn

17 comments:

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TheMadHouse said...

Thank you very much for that. I am amazed that you dont carry about one of your books about with you, I bet it would be wonderful filled with lots of little doodles.

Jesse said...

Nice to see the first rough sketches, and what they become! Paper and pen is what I usually do too - can't seem to think any other way.

Thanks for the link to the 'Creative Process' blog, it's amazing.

daisy janie said...

So wonderful to see/read about your process! I admire your purist, hands-on method. I often find increasing the weight of a line to cover a maddening mistake ends up making the design better or it gives me another idea. But I can def see how that's not desirable again and again in your meticulous yet freeformish sketches. Keep up the great work!(Please include higgledy piggledy in all your posts from here on out.)

Ditsy Bird Designs said...

brilliant! I have been pondering your process for a while now! I didn't know you could have your designs burned into a screen - and couldn't work out how you could possibly cut out your intricate patterns by hand so perfectly...I'm not exacly 'up' on screen printing - can you tell?! :)
Eee you're a clever little sausage aren't you - and talented to boot!
Sarah
x

Kristy said...

I love seeing the 'process' almost as much as the finished goods.Very interesting so thanks for sharing.

caralaw said...

What a great post. Screen printing is something I've often wanted to try and had never considered there might be helpful fairies in the world. Love the fact that the screen started life being drawn on some rummaged paper and whilst waiting for pizza. Gives the finished print a real sense of life.

ambette said...

Thanks Lu!
I love these posts about creative processes. It's really interesting to see how other people do their thing.

I did a screenprinting course a while ago, so I'm really interested in all things screenprinting. Can't wait to get started doing some of my own fabrics and using them for my bags!

Michelle Engel Bencsko said...

You make it look so easy!!!n I used to screen print in my college days- such fun. Wish I had time/energy/space/resources to do it again. Maybe in my next life: the retired one. Perhaps somewhere near a US base in the UK? Could happen.

Thanks so much for sharing your work! Awesome stuff.

sarah spooner said...

Ahh. i really like this design, even more so now I know how it came about as it makes it more personal. I think this should be a poster in my new Kitchen. Not sure if I should colour it, or just have it brown/cream colours. You'll know! Love u.XX

Petal Textiles said...

I found that really interesting, I always presume most people do everything on computers these days, so its great to see alternatives. I feel really inspired now. Thanks.

Nabula said...

Thanks Lu! It's brilliant to see someone make such professional products without the complicated and expensive part. Your way makes it easier to concentrate on the fun bit!

skinnylaminx said...

Love your how to! You make it all sound so easy - and clearly it is, to someone brimming with talent such as yourself.
x

Bee Designs said...

That was really interesting and helpful, thank you. I've got a Gocco and love using it but I want to move onto larger screens and the quality of your prints look great. I've just followed the link to the screenmaking fairy, is it Thermofax you use?

Francesca said...

this is lovely lu. when i don't have such a little one in the house i would love to try screen printing. haven't done it since school and i used to love it. x

sooziebee said...

this is a really interesting 'how to', thanks for sharing it, i got a screen printing kit last xmas and haven't used it yet, too scared of all the chemical looking pots and potions, but i'm def going to give it a try now. also was great to see your processes and how the finished article becomes the finished article x

Julie ... Lush! said...

Ooh, hello, I followed you here from your appearance on Etsy front page (congrats to you!). This post was a fascinating lunch time read, I must come back and read more when I have time. I know nothing about screen printing so now I feel like I spent my break learning something :0)

Love your work!

Jacqui Dodds said...

Very intersting blog post and thank you for the information about the books. I have just started delving into screenprinting on fabric having just taken a short course on it.