We at ‘Another Day Another Colour’ Studio(@adacstudio) work four days a week on client projects. Friday - Sunday we spend time working on self initiated projects and connecting with ourselves and nature.
The last weekend, we came up with an idea of establishing a ‘Another Day Another Colour Shop’ on our website. Check it out here: http://www.anotherdayanothercolour.com/shop
To kick-start our journey, we decided to make postcards celebrating sibling-hood. For that the ideas were clear and designs were pretty on track. But the actual fun part was the execution. The actual size of the postcard is 3.75" x 5.65". To print the artworks on the exact size and to experience something new, we decided to do "screen printing".
The whole experience was super fun and super exciting. To prepare artworks for screen printing we have to first make positives for the designs. The process was completely new for us. We would like to share our experience and some quick tips while making positives and other preparations for screen printing.
Designing Artworks for screen printing:
- For the postcards, we finalised 5 sketches and started digitizing them on Adobe Illustrator keeping the artboard size 3.75” by 5.65”, which is the actual size of the standard postcards.
- We initially wanted to print our designs on actual postcards instead of using card papers. So we were deciding the colours accordingly but mostly keeping 1 outline colour common and 1 special colour.
- When you have to design artworks for screen printing, you will firstly have to make positives. These positives are then converted into the screens. These screens are then used while inking and printing the respective artworks.
- Screen printing is a layer based printing in which only 1 colour ink can be printed at a time. When your artwork has multiple colours, you need to make sure that every colour pattern goes on different layers. It is basically like working on design softwares in physical state.
- The costing for the screen print also depends on how many colours you use in your artwork.
- As mentioned before, we had two colours per artwork in which the outline colour was common.
- It isalways better if you fill one colour on one layer from the start. This will make your job easier while making the positives. If you have outline for your artwork, then always keep that layer grouped and above the colour fill layer.
- Making positives means, separating colours from the artworks on different artboards but keeping the positioning same and converting those colours to 100% black i.e. "C: 0% M: 0% Y: 0% K: 100%"
- Eg. in our case, we had 2 colours in our design. So as mentioned earlier, we kept colour fill layer below outline layer ready and separated them with keeping the positioning same. Then we place them on a A4 sheet besides each other and converted the colours to K: 100%, that is black.
- While exporting these posiitive files don't forget to put the crop marks. These marks will help the screen printer at the time of printing for aligning two different layers of colours, and there would be less registration issues.
Postcards to Card Papers:
- The initial plan of using actual postcards was unique and fun but it had some limitations.
- The postcards only come in yellow ochre ish shade, on which we had to restrict ourself in using different colours.
- Also the quality of postcards is not as good as compared to the card papers. And also you get many colours available in card papers.
- We advise you to think of material you are going to use well in advance to save the time because screen printing itself takes a lot of time.
- After changing our mind to use the card papers, we went for paper shopping. Do calculate how many copies you want to produce before shopping for he paper and take the quantity accordingly.
- Do not roll the papers. Rolling the papers curve them and the papers don't fit snugly one below the other while cutting them in the paper cutting machine. This causes the size to vary while cutting the papers. If you have any particular size for your artwork then it is better to get the papers cut from a paper cutting person who has the machine to achieve perfection.
At the Screen Printer:
- Screen printing is such an eye pleasing process to watch, so we would suggest you to be with the printing guy while he is working on your prints.
- also everything is hand done in this process of screen printing. From making the exact colour ink to aligning the artwork on paper. So your presence would help more than the instructions on phone.
- There has to be minimum 200 artworks to be printed, because the quantity of ink he is going to use is going to be same even for the single print, then why to waste precious ink!
- While the printing guy is making the colour according to your design, make sure that you are satisfied with the shade of the colour, because that is going to be the colour for your entire set of designs.
- Also if you have more than one colour in your design, then while making the positives make sure the base colour fill (if you have any) is little extra than needed and at the same time not going out of the outline. When you do this, even if there is some alignment issue while printing the second outline layer, you will still have some extra colour to cover it.
- Make sure the alignment/ registration of the outline (if you have any) or the second colour is perfect while staying with the printing guy and enjoy the process!
- If you are printing with the glossy ink, do not rush to stack or collect the artwork on the same day. As the glossy ink takes more time to dry, give it a nice one day time and keep them separately. Even the little wet ink could stick to one another and spoil the artworks. (This happened with us, and we ended up wasting a few really beautiful prints.)
Types of inks:
- There are two broad types of inks in screen printing: matt ink and glossy ink.
- Special colours: all special colours are matt.
- Tip- While printing in two or more colour layers, make sure your first layer is matt and second is either matt/glossy. If you keep the first layer glossy and second layer matt, the area where the first and second layer overlap will be seen (it wil appear thick). This is because matt ink stays on the layer of the paper and can almost not be felt if you touch it, but glossy ink is slightly thick and can be felt if you touch it.
- In the linked video the green card has the glossy black ink on coral matt special colour and navy blue card has silver ink.
We hope this article would help you while making artworks for screen printing. Do share your experiences with us. We would love to hear!