Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Printing - Day 1

Yesterday I washed and emulsioned my screens ready to expose today, as the stripping and emulsioning takes some time as you have to leave the screens to dry after each process.

As I was printing using black ink positives that I printed on college printers I used 170 light units to expose the screens, hardening emulsion in areas not blocked by the ink.

I then washed the screens out and you can see some of them here.

Before I could start printing with the screens I needed to make my ink by mixing acrylic paint together to achieve the colour I wanted and then adding binder to this.

As I explained in a previous post I wanted to use an 'almost neon' orange with a bright blue, as I didn't want to use pure neon colours as these would have little contrast and I thought this would impact the reading of the postcard text and the front cover of the book.

So I mixed a bit of cadmium red with the fluorescent orange to dull it down a bit, but I was careful not to add too much as I wanted this to still be very bright as I was aiming to use colours that would be difficult to achieve on digital printers.

As I wanted a bright blue to go with this I selected the process cyan as this is obviously very bright but I then found a turquoise colour that I really liked and so I mixed these together, I wanted this to be a deeper and less bright colour than the orange as I thought the contrast would work well with the marble.

You can see the two colours below, although the photographs don't really show the brightness of these colours unfortunately.

I also made a black ink in the same way to print parts of the book and the back of the postcards. 

The first element I wanted to print was the front of the postcards as I knew I wanted these marbled and I wanted to try the 'rougher marble' effect that I had spoke to Andy about, as with the marbling I worked with in my experiments previously the marble only featured at the top of the print, whereas Andy explained if you dot different inks over the screen directly and marble these slightly then there will be elements of both colours all through the print as the squeegee pushes these through when it meets them. 

I taped the sides of the screen to prevent ink in corners and then as you can see I dotted the blue and orange over the screen. 

I pulled this through with a squeegee and I was really excited to see the result! 

The two colours worked really well together with a high contrast, but I also loved the effect created. 
This was different to the previous marbling in many ways - as Andy explained you can control where the orange, blue, etc. will be on the print and it is up to you how much of each you include. I also felt this looked more contemporary than the marble effect I discovered previously and although it looked less romantic, which was one thing I liked about the previous, as I am no longer working with the 'to have and to hold' idea this doesn't really matter. 

There is however some negatives with this method of marbling. You cannot pull the ink through again as it turns a much more 'merky', dull colour as the colours have already started to blend. You can see this below as this is something I tried to do. 

This means that the ink that I put on the screen will need to be disposed off after the one pull, which will mean I will probably waste a lot of ink! With this first example I used quite a lot of ink so I plan to try and use just enough to cover the screens, to reduce wastage. 

Another negative linking to this is the fact that I can only pull it through once before having to wash out the screen as this means if that one pull goes wrong then I will have to wait about 15 minutes before I can try again. I am only marbling certain elements but this still worries me as this could add a lot of extra time to the printing and I already feel pushed aiming to be finished on Friday. 

I then moved on to printing the double page spreads in black ink. I luckily managed to fit 3 spreads on the one screen and as I explained in a previous post I ensured that none of these needed to be on the reverse of each other. 

I printed on the trugrain to begin with as this allowed me to line up the a3 cartridge paper I was using. 

Once I had made registration marks with masking tape I was able to print several times meaning if when printing the reverse sides of these spreads, or when lining up the coloured elements anything goes wrong I should have others to work with. 

Here you can see some of the prints. 

You can see there were some small bleeds with blobs of the ink coming through onto the screen but luckily any major issues were outside the crop marks so didn't interfere with the prints. 

Some of the prints however did go a bit wrong such as the example below which printed double as the paper must have moved slightly.   

I then used a craft knife and ruler to cut out the spreads so I could line them up to print on the back. 

 The spreads that needed to be printed on the reverse of the three I had just printed, needed to be registered and printed separately, so as you can see below I taped around the area on the screen so I could just print this spread. 

Again I printed onto the tru-grain so I could line up the spread as accurately as possible. This is where the registration marks that I included on the positives came in really helpful as this allowed me to line up the spread accurately. 

However, in some cases the registration marks printed in the corners which I didn't want!

So I tried my best to masking tape the back of the screens to stop them printing once I had lines up the first print and taped this to align the others. 

These spreads were straight forward to print as unlike the marble I could print several at once using the registration marks. Also as I had planned the screens to allow me to print three at once and then just line  up the rest the process didn't take too long. 

The last thing I printed today was the stamps. As these were quite small I managed to easily print all four at once but the marbling was a bit more challenging as the area was much smaller. 

I printed this twice but the first was a much stronger print. 

I cut these out carefully and arranged them into fours that I felt would work best together, showing a range of yellow and blue. 

You can see by the end of the day everything was a bit messy ...

I am really pleased with the progress I made today and I am pretty much on schedule. 
Knowing that when printing the marble effect I literally have one pull and I then have to dispose of the ink and wash the screen is a little scary in terms of time but I am just going to try and keep calm and be as careful and accurate as possible when printing the marble. 

The plan for tomorrow -
  • Print the backs of the postcards
  • Line up and print coloured elements of the double page spreads
  • Print belly bands for postcards and box

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