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Screen Printing at Print Club London

Happy Monday! I’m particularly happy this Monday because yesterday I got to spend the whole sunny Sunday screen printing at Print Club London.

A sunny spot tucked away in Dalston

The Process

I’d not done any screen printing before and wasn’t sure what art to take. We were doing the beginner’s workshop so it would be just a single colour print. I don’t do a lot of black and white work so I turned an old illustration greyscale. I sold the original watercolour and ink version a couple of years ago and it was nice to do something new with it.

greyscale fly

The first step was to turn the image pure black and white – no greyscale. So all the grey parts were converted to halftone textures and the image printed onto acetate.

you can see the eyes and other grey parts are made up of tiny dots

Once we had all prepared our screens by giving them a coating of emulsion and letting them set then it was time to expose our images in the giant lightbox, wash off the parts that formed the image and let them dry in the sun.

After lunch we all had the difficult decision of which colour to use and then the actual printing didn’t take long at all.

much concentration
It worked!

The Results

There were eight of us there for the workshop and a good mix of artwork, from bold solid logos, to detailed architectural photographs. I guess mine sits in the middle of that scale.

final fly print
juicy gorgeous texture detail

Thank you to some online illustration friends who suggested trying this out, it was a fun day and great to meet them in real life. We all made something quite different, and they all turned out fantastic!

happy illustrators

It was a long and hot journey home and I repeatedly worried about leaving my prints on a bus or train. But they, and I, made it home safely and I immediately decided to paint over some parts with neon paint. It was sort of the vision I’d had from the start and I wanted to do it before I chickened out. I used pink and yellow neon acrylic, giving a lovely warm orange where they mixed on the page.

buzz buzz

I thinned the paint enough so that the screen print halftone texture still showed through and used a dry brush on the wings to add some streaky hints of their delicate translucency.

more lovely texture

The Series

I made 11 screen prints altogether and each one looked a little different. The very fine details began to get lost in the later prints, the wings almost disappearing by the end. But we also got a bit experimental, adding other blue tones of paint so the last few have some gradients and variation to them. Adding the neon brought back all the wings and introduced a further layer of individuality. There’s something I really like about each of them.

spot the difference

I left one print with our tutor, and another got some paint spilled on it, so I ended up with a series of nine. What to do with nine neon fly prints? I thought, as I do from time to time, that I should add a shop to the website and see if anyone wants to buy them. But as soon as I started researching packaging and posting I was put off the idea. They are a slightly odd size – 35cm x 25cm and it would be a bit expensive to buy all the packaging materials needed to ensure they could be posted safely. I’m open to the idea though and do have lots of other cards and prints and even original art I could sell. Perhaps an art / illustration fair would be better? Also, they don’t look quite neon enough on a screen. I think people need to see them in person, they’re so fantastically bright!

Social Media

A little note about social media. Like many artists, I abandoned Twitter a long time ago and quiet quit Instagram, only begrudgingly sticking around because that’s where all the art directors are. We’ve reached a tipping point in the past week. I want to do a full post soon about AI and Meta and all that, but for now please check out Bluesky and Cara and maybe follow me there for WIPs, chats and stuff.

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