Getting a Drawn Design Ready for a Screen

Screen printing is a brilliant way to make the most of your hand drawn designs. It enables you to print them multiple times for framed artwork or cards
or to create your own fabrics, bags and t-shirts. You can use your designs to make into photographic screens yourself at home or we can make them here for you at Handprinted. However you’re making your photographic screens, you’ll need to get your artwork

An important rule for making photographic screens is that your design needs to be full black and white. This is different to a grey-scale image (like a
black and white photograph) which has tones of grey. The whole of your design needs to consist of only completely black and completely white areas.
In this post we’re going to look at creating screen-ready artwork from hand drawn, scanned designs. 

The image above is a hand drawn design for screen printing. It consists only of black and white areas and has been made screen ready in Adobe Photoshop.

When screens are exposed they are coated with a layer of light sensitive Photo Emulsion and Sensitiser mix. The emulsion coated screen is exposed to a light with a printed film of your design between the light and the screen.
When the emulsion is exposed to light, the black areas of the design block the light, stopping it reaching the emulsion. The white areas of the design
(transparent on the film) let the light through, allowing the light to expose the emulsion. The exposed areas of emulsion go hard and block the holes
in the mesh – ink will not go through these areas. The unexposed areas stay soft and washable – the soft emulsion washes out of the screen creating
open mesh that ink can pass through. 

Creating a Suitable Drawing for Screen Printing

Some drawn designs will be suitable for creating screens and others will not. The drawing below on the left has been drawn with pencil with lots of shading.
These grey tones will not be suitable for making a screen as they will not be able to create clear areas of open and closed mesh. The drawing on the
right has been drawn in pen. Shading has been achieved using thin hatching. This design is made up of just black and white areas so will be suitable
for a screen! Drawings in pen will always be easier to work with than drawings in pencil which will need a lot of darkening to make them fully black. 

If you’re sending your design to Handprinted to have a Custom Exposed Screen made you will need to scan your drawing and get it ready. Here are a few basic ways to get your image ready
for a screen using Adobe Photoshop. There are lots of free or cheaper programmes that will have similar tools that you can use too.

Preparing a Scanned Drawing

When you scan your drawing into your computer the background will usually come out slightly off-white and your black areas will come out dark grey. 

To lighten up the background and darken your image you can use Levels. Go to ImageAdjustmentLevels and a box will appear
with a graph on it. This graph shows how your light levels look. There are three arrows beneath the graph. You can move these arrows left and right
to change the levels. Move the left arrow to the right until it reaches the first ‘swell’ on your graph. Move the right arrow in to the left until
it reaches the large ‘peak’ in the graph. You can adjust the middle arrow to the left and right to adjust the mid levels. Click OK when you
like what you see.

Scanned images often come through with dark edges and spots of dust from the glass of the scanned. You can get rid of these with the Eraser Tool
shown below. Make sure the two boxes on your tool bar are black at the top and white at the bottom (shown at the bottom of the picture below) by clicking
the tiny boxes above. 

Use the Eraser Tool to get rid of any dark areas and marks. 

You’ll need to make sure that your image is on the right size document for making a screen. Go to the top bar and click Image – Image Size to
check the size. This image is for an A4 screen so we need our document to be 21cm x 29.7cm. Set the resolution to 300 pixels/inch to make sure it’s
a high quality image. 

If your image is not the right size you can change it by cropping. Select the Cropping Tool from the side bar. Put your desired dimensions into
the Width and Height bars at the top and then drag your Cropping Tool over the image to resize it and press Enter

It’s best to create screen films from PDFs as the format ensures that everything stays the correct size as you want it. To save as a PDF go to File – Save As and
then select Photoshop PDF from the drop-down menu.

Getting Rid of Pencil Lines

If you have created your scan from an original drawing there may be sketch lines and pencil lines that you need to remove.


Firstly, use Levels to lighten the background and darken the image, as before, by going to Image – Adjustment – Levels and sliding the arrows left
and right. 

You can remove any left over pencil lines using the Dodge Tool you’ll find in your tool bar. The Dodge Tool, pictured below,
lightens up the background. At the top of the screen, set Range to ‘Highlights’ and Exposure to around 50%. Use the tool
to remove the pencil lines.

Once your designs look full black and white and are on the correct size document they are ready to be made into screen films to make your exposed screens.
Send your designs to us for Custom Exposed Screens or use them at home!

Meet the Maker: Sophie Chadwick, Co-founder of Seasalt

Hello, I’m Sophie Chadwick, senior textile designer and co-founder of Seasalt, a clothing, fabric and accessory retailer based in Cornwall.

Describe your design processes.

We start each collection (Spring/Summer, Autumn/Winter) with a theme, which is always influenced by the people and places we love in Cornwall. The theme
then gets developed to create different mini collections/stories, one for each month of the year.

We do lots of research, create mood boards, and develop colour palettes for each mini collection. The garments, colours, prints, names, and locations for
the photo-shoots are all inspired by the season’s theme.

I create all of the print designs for Seasalt, along with a very talented designer called Kathryn Fowler. From these mood boards Kathryn and I start drawing,
painting, printing, using batik and collage; all these different media are used to create interesting marks and textures. Here I am drawing with hot
wax, using a tjanting.

Mark making and fine pen and ink drawings.

This work then gets scanned into the computer. This allows us to create the repeat of the design, to play with scale, and quickly see how the print will
look in different colour ways.

We produce approximately 350 prints per year. Once Kathryn and I have a sufficient quantity of designs, we work closely with all the garment designers
and buyers to allocate the prints to garments. This is done based on many criteria; sales history, fabric group and of course creative instinct!

Once allocated, we create a digital artwork, with pantone colour references (an industry standard for colour), which is then sent to the suppliers in India,
Sri Lanka, China and Turkey. They follow the artwork to cut screens and send us a ‘strike off’ on correct fabric base. We then check these to see that
the design, scale, repeat and colours are accurate, and send comments back to the mills if they are not. We have to make sure that all colours within
the prints match other garments within the collection, so that they are easy to outfit. Sometimes it can take up to 5 strike offs to achieve the perfect

How and where did you learn printmaking?

I come from a family of artists; Mum was a florist, Auntie is a textile designer, and my Uncle taught at Camberwell School of Art. They all taught me so
much growing up. Ever since I could hold a pencil I haven’t stopped drawing, painting, printing and making! I did a one year Foundation in general
Art & Design at Falmouth School of Art, and then a degree in Textiles & Fashion at Winchester School of Art. I specialised in printed textiles.

Why printmaking?

I decided to specialise in printed textiles even though I really enjoyed weave and knit. I think that I am better with two-dimensional design and pattern,
and I must say that I found threading up the loom too labour intensive and technical! I have also always been so excited by print making, watching
my Uncle cut the most intricate lino prints from a very early age.

Here I am printing a lino block based on the traditional Working Boats of Falmouth. The design is called ‘Sunday Sail’ and has been used on pyjamas and
bed linen.


Here is another floral lino print, called ‘Lino Chrysanth’. On the left is the lino block, inked up and ready to print, and on the right is the final printed
bamboo jersey print. It is on a dress and a tunic and is featured in ‘A Story of a Print’ video on our website.

Lino and potato prints ready to create repeating designs.

Where do you work?

Most of the time I work with our design team at our studios in Falmouth, but some days I work from home. These are the days when I need to have some time
to think, and space to create things by hand and get messy, whether it’s potato printing, lino printing, painting or wax resist.

What inspires you?

We’re lucky to have so much inspiration on our doorstep; the dramatic landscapes of Cornwall, nature, our maritime heritage, traditional working boats
which race outside our window, art, sculpture and pottery.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

Potatoes! Some of my favourite Seasalt designs have been created from potato prints. I am slightly addicted to carving and printing with potatoes. I simply
love the process of doing it, and love the result achieved.

Here are two textile designs from our Spring Summer ’18 Collection that I created using potato prints. Trengrouse Top – Lemon Stamp Hay, and Pretty Printed
Scarf – Block Geo Seaglass.

What will we be seeing from you next?

I am currently working on prints for our Spring/Summer 2019 collection. I’m afraid that I can’t tell you what the theme is as we want it to be a surprise
for our customers, but it is connected to an artistic movement that I have loved since a child.

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

Marry wisely!…ideally to a man with a couple of shops that you can sell you stuff in!!!! Apart from that, just to keep making,….creating,….
doing! The world is a richer, more beautiful place as a result of people producing things by hand.

Keep up with Sophie Chadwick and Seasalt on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


How to use our New Japanese Stamp Kit!

We’re really excited to show you this new Japanese stamping kit that has just arrived. It contains everything you need to carve your own stamps and start
printing them! We couldn’t resist having a go ourselves so here’s a little tutorial on how to use our new Japanese Stamp Carving Kit

The kit contains a green carving block, knife, V Gouge carving tool, small flower shaped stamp, small heart shaped stamp, kneadable eraser for cleaning,
Versacraft small ink pad in Chocolate Brown, cutting mat, mini card frame, tracing paper and instructions all in a plastic case. The only other thing
you’ll need is a pencil and something to stamp on. You can boost your kit with more Versacraft Ink Pads to have lots of colours to choose from. You can print these on fabric too! 

Start with your drawing. A little smiley apple seemed appropriate! Use the tracing paper provided to trace over your design.

Turn your tracing paper face down on your craving block and rub all over the back with your finger to transfer the design. 

Roughly cut out around your stamp. You can use the knife provided or a craft knife. 

Use the knife provided in the kit to carve around the outside of your shape. Carve at an angle away from your shape all the way around. Use the pink cutting
mat included in the kit. The block is soft and very easy to cut. 

Turn your knife the the opposite angle and crave a little away from the edge to peel out the edges. This is like using a V tool one side at a time. 

When you have peeled away the outline, use your knife horizontally to cut off the rest of the unwanted green surface revealing the white underneath.

Use the V gouge to carve any fine detail.

Ink up your stamp using the Chocolate Versacraft Pad provided or any other colours that you have! Gently press the stamp pad onto the face up stamp. 

Press your inked up stamp onto your printing surface!

This kit also comes with two pre-cut stamp shapes for you to add your own details to.

I loved printing with this Japanese Stamp Carving Kit.
Everything you need is right there in the A5 sized kit ready to whip up more stamps for cards, labels, clothes, bags. You can keep topping up your
kit with more carving blocks and Versacraft pads!


Meet the Maker: Kerry Day

I’m a full time printmaker living in Bristol. Originally from London; I trained as a ceramicist at Bath Spa University and I completed an MA in Multi Disciplinary
Printmaking at the University of the West of England in 2011. I predominantly work with Lino using the reduction method. I also teach Lino Printing
and Block Printing onto Fabric at the Bristol Folk House.

Describe your printmaking process.

I use a mixture of reduction lino print and mono print (using the rollers like paint brushes) to produce variable edition prints. I start by drawing directly
onto the lino with pencil, rubbing out and redrawing until I’m happy. Then I will carve away the first bit, which is normally the background. Then
I will stick my Lino down onto some board and making a registration frame around it. This assures the lino remains in the same place for each print.
For some of the layers I will only ink up sections of the block with multiple colours and do this for a number of layers to build up texture and tone.
Because you need to print the entire edition with the reduction method I usually print 20 or less and it can take several weeks to complete. I use
oil based inks on Japon Simili 100 gsm paper. 

How and where did you learn to print?

During my Ceramic degree there were opportunities to try different supporting subjects which printmaking was one, but it wasn’t very inspiring. During
a time of illness I did attend some evening classes to keep from going insane. A printmaking course which covered all methods was where I got into
printmaking. I joined Spike Print Studio and was mainly etching and screen printing. It was here that I was seeing what other printmakers were doing
with Lino that I just began trying it. It wasn’t until after my MA that I began using Lino as my preferred printing medium and I haven’t looked back

Why printmaking?

I find it can be a calming thing to do. It’s very methodical, the carving of the Lino, to the building up of each layer and the repetitiveness of the inking
up/printing process which I find very pleasing.

Where do you work?

I have a studio space in Hamilton House, Bristol. It’s a multi use community centre in the
heart of the city. Home to over 200 creative and community lead businesses it is a great and inspiring place to work. However I don’t know how long
I will have this space as the building is currently under threat of redevelopment, which is worrying and stressful.

Describe a typical day in your studio.

I don’t really have a typical day. It really depends on what time of year it is or if I have any events to prepare for. So apart from the designing and
making of my linocuts, I may have classes to prepare for, admin for exhibitions/events and posting off sales from my online outlets.

How long have you been printmaking?

For about 15 years, but I would say it’s only been the past couple of years that I have been completely happy with the work I’m producing.

What inspires you?

Plants, some would say I have too many. I would say you can never have enough. I have loads all over my studio and home. I’m drawn to their architectural
shapes and contours. It’s the wide range of leaf colour and pattern in these cacti, succulents and leafy plants which allow me to develop layers of
texture and tone within my linocuts.

What is your favourite printmaking product?

I really like using traditional lino,
the battleship grey stuff. I much prefer it over the easy cut and soft cut vinyls. This might make me sound weird but I like the smell of traditional
Lino and I personally find it nicer to carve into and to work with, it does what I want it to do.

What have you made that you are most proud of?

I’m pretty pleased with how my Haworthia Fasciata Lino Print came out. At the time it was my largest Lino I’d attempted at A2 (I’m currently working on
an A1 block). The initial cut took several hours and took 3 months to complete.

Where can we see your work? Where do you sell?

I currently have an exhibition on at the Prema Arts Centre in Uley, Gloucestershire until 21st October 2017.

My next event will be Made by Hand: The Contemporary Craft Fair at City Hall, Cardiff,
3rd to 5th November 2017.

I also have selected prints on show and for sale at the Craft Centre Leeds, The Biscuit Factory in Newcastle. I also sell online at Rise Art,
Wychwood Art Gallery and through my Folksy online shop.

What will we be seeing from you next? 

I’m currently working on a series of still lifes which include my love of plants with stripy mugs. I’m hoping to have them ready for Made by Hand in November. 

Do you have any advice for other printmakers and creatives?

I use oil based inks you and use vegetable oil to clean up with instead of white spirit. You don’t need much, and it’s much kinder to the Lino. To degrease
I have a water spray with added washing up liquid and this does the job. Oil is also good if you’re having trouble getting ink off your skin, rub in
then wash as normal. 

Keep up to date with Kerry Day’s work on her website, on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.