Screen printing process

I am often asked about the screen printing process, so here is a brief explanation.

To make a multi-layered screen print, I start by sketching the image, colour it, and then break it down into a separate image for each colour.  A stencil is made in black on a sheet of transparent acetate. This is then placed on a screen which has been coated with light sensitive emulsion. Once exposed to powerful UV light, the positive areas of the image which were protected by the black stencil image wash away, allowing the ink through the open areas to make the image. 

The dried screen is then held in clamps over a screen bed and the paper is placed underneath.  Ink is poured onto one end of the screen and drawn across the screen. The frame is lowered onto the paper and the ink is pushed through the stencil onto the paper beneath. This is repeated fifty times for the first layer to create the edition of fifty.

The printing paper is carefully lined up with each new screen for the next colour layer. This requires very precise registration.  I print the layer onto a sheet of acetate first, and then line up the paper underneath it so that the new layer aligns precisely with the previous layers. This is repeated for each colour to make the final print. The more colours you use, the more times you have to register each layer and the greater possibility for misalignment occurs, resulting in ruined prints. This is why screen prints cost more if they have more layers or more complexity in the design  which makes registration more difficult.