Future Knowledge :: silkscreen print on paper

Future Knowledge :: silk screen print on paper

Future Knowledge :: silkscreen print on paper

Future Knowledge :: silkscreen print on paper

Dear fans,

I created another typographical based silkscreen print on paper titled “Future Knowledge.” This is mainly an experimental project to test out my newly acquired screen printing machine Yudu, which enables me to create more detailed stencils using the photo emulsion method.

As you may already know, I work as a web UI designer during the day in a start up company. When a feature is proposed to be built, my coworkers and I will brainstorm on what the ideal user experience would be, how to develop it on top of our code base and we will go through many iterations of the design until we settle on something that is good and viable. Although this is largely a collaborative process in which we are all doing our best, sometimes I just have this instinct that, somehow, there are better solutions out there than what we’ve come up with, but I don’t know what it is.

I wish I knew. I wish I could channel myself in 5 or 10 years and ask her what to do now. I wish I could get some future knowledge. However, I know that whatever I’ll know in the future, I am learning it right now through all these mistakes. So…alas, there is never, ever, future knowledge to be obtained!

Matching this theme, the process of creating this image was also full of mistakes, failures, twists and turns.

1) Using the Yudu I purchased this machine because of its ability to expose my design onto a screen that is coated with light sensitive material, forming a stencil that can be way more complicated than what I can cut with a knife on contact paper. This is generally called the photo emulsion method. I didn’t know that one day I would purchase such a hobbyist kind of product to pull prints (Sorry, Larry), but look what I can do in my bedroom!

the yudu machine

the yudu machine

2) What the font I experimented with an exciting range of new fonts that I wasn’t able to use before, but since this is kind of a test piece, I settled on something that looks cool but not too delicate or complicated–Pixcel Vertical Scan.

experiment with fonts

experiment with fonts

black on white and white on black

black on white and white on black

3) Making the photo positive a photo positive is basically the design printed on a transparent sheet of plastic which in the exposure process will block light and create a stencil.

photo positive

photo positive

4) Exposing the design with Yudu’s emulsion sheets the emulsion sheets that came with the machine were very hard to use, and were costly, about $10.00 per sheet, and I ruined them so fast it’s not even funny.

yudu emulsion sheets

yudu emulsion sheets

 

5) Using the Speedball Diazo kit this kit is the most available photo emulsion products on the market and I can understand why, because it works! It was way easier to apply and the result was much better.

 

Speedball Diazo photo emulsion kit

Speedball Diazo photo emulsion kit

Exposing the screen with Yudu

Exposing the screen with Yudu

There were still some blemishes on the text, but I think it’s from my lousy laser printer that wasn’t dark enough.

the stencil made with diazo photo emulsion kit

the stencil made with diazo photo emulsion kit

There was a small hole where the stencil didn’t cover, so I used the Screen Filler fluid to cover it.

using the screen filler to cover small holes

using the screen filler to cover small holes

the final screen to be printed

the final screen to be printed

6) What comes out I didn’t see this coming from the computer design at all, but the resulting print is pretty boring. I decided to add a background.

text only

text only

7) Adding a background to quickly remedy the bore of this image, I used some masking tape and some body powder to create a geometric, grungy background.

using the masking tape to create a design

using the masking tape to create a design

body powder for some texture

body powder for some texture

the background screen

the background screen

printing the background

printing the background

Many things went wrong on many pieces of paper.

background proofs

background proofs

8) Rescue my heart sank even deeper after I printed the background. Because of the grunge, gold background, the entire image lacks a visual focus and the text is now hard to read. I thought this image was done for, but I decided to do one last try, making some mockups on photoshop to see if adding anything else would salvage this image.

with background

with background

In the end, I decided that rescue option #2 would be worth a try.

mockups for salvaging options

mockups for salvaging options

 9) Printing the translucent layer since this layer is just some rectangles, I decided to use the old trusted contact paper to make the stencil.

Something cool about the Yudu machine is that when it is not an exposure unit, it can also be used as a light table, which I used to create the contact paper stencil.

Using the Yudu light table

Using the Yudu light table

printing the translucent layer

printing the translucent layer

There were many pieces that were too dark, too runny, not enough ink…etc. As I was running out of paper feeling hopeless, wiping sweat and ink off of my forehead, I cried out in my heart, “Larry! What do I do now!?” and then, just like that, everything began to get better!

More trials and errors

More trials and errors

Because of the translucent ink has a lot more ink body than the pigment, it is very wet on the paper.

a very wet layer

a very wet layer

The few that are good

The few that are good

10) Finally, after all these fails and mistakes I arrived at something that I can honestly accept.

I now possess the future knowledge that I wish I had known at the start of the project!

Future Knowledge :: silkscreen print on paper
 

 

Rest screen print on paper

Rest :: silk screen print on paper

Rest screen print on paper

Rest screen print on paper

Dear fans,

This is a new typographical print on paper titled “Rest.” Yes I rested from posting blog posts for 4 months!

Recently I’ve been practicing restorative yoga a lot, almost everyday, sometimes twice a day, once after waking up, and once before bed. During a restorative class, some things are mentioned repetitively, like “relax,” “breathe,” “settle down,” “be comfortable” and “be sweet.” It is truly a challenge to totally give in and not push either my body or my mind. Surely I can’t improve without working hard.

I often doubt myself right after a restorative class, “Did I stretch enough?” “It was so lazy!” But I would feel feather light for the rest of the day during work, workout and home time. Everything becomes easier, it is the strangest thing! What is happening inside during the time I breathe and basically lay on the floor?

I guess…Rest? :D

Here’s how the print was made.

1) Picking a font I wanted to experiment with some fonts that I don’t normally get a chance to use, some more exaggerated display fonts, and I ended up choosing fat, cute Kada. It is also a stencil font so it turned out to be perfect for stencil cutting.

Choosing Kada font

Choosing Kada font

 2) Designing in Illustrator making a simple prototype design in Illustrator to see how it will look.

designing in illustrator

designing in illustrator

3) Cutting the stencil I printed the design out on paper, then using that to cut contact paper stencils.

cutting out the letters on contact paper

cutting out the letters on contact paper

 4) Printing since there’s only one layer and one color, the process is pretty straight forward.

setting up the screen to print

setting up the screen to print

I was going to use this gold metallic ink on the right, but it turns out to be too dark and earthy, so I ended up using the bright pearly yellow that I’ve been using in lots of previous prints.

gold versus yellow

gold versus yellow

5) Runny ink and changing direction Since I can’t do a perfect job on cutting the stencil, there’s sometimes holes that the ink would run through. In this case, it was fixed by simply turning the screen and squeegee from left to right instead of from top to down.

two holes on the stencil

two holes on the stencil

ink running out from the holes

ink running out from the holes

Talking about rest, I was rocking a wrist plaster myself while still doing the printing, without giving my wrist a rest. Oh well, something to work towards. But here, simply dragging the squeegee from left to right prevented the ink from running out the holes at the bottom of the R.

squeegeeing from left to right

squeegeeing from left to right

As always, lots of test proofs before there’s a good print.

proof prints

proof prints

the run!

the run!

Voila! That’s it. It was a small and simple project, restful, sweet, no sweat.

Rest screen print on paper

Rest screen print on paper

 

 

 

"For Them" Silk Screened Holiday Cards

Silk Screened Holiday Greeting Cards “For Them”

"For Them" Silk Screened Holiday Cards

“For Them” Silk Screened Holiday Cards

Dear fans,

“For Them” is a set of silk screened holiday greeting cards which I made for friends and families, featuring two designs and six cards in a set. Each design has three layers using contact paper as stencils and printed on American Master Natural color paper.

The idea behind this set of cards is that, instead of me giving my friends one greeting card that I write, since I have the ability to reproduce images, why don’t I give them the cards so that they would be able to pass on the greetings to other friends? Sounds more romantic. Yes, anything more romantic I’ll do! I started working on these holiday cards early so that my friends will have plenty of time to send them out.

Originally I was to give away 20 sets, which means a total of 120 prints, 60 in one design and 60 the other. However, I mistakenly printed the first design on all 150 cards (extra 30 for error margins), therefore I had to get another 150 cards for the other design. For some reason, I cut myself 60 of those wrapping straps while in fact I only needed 20. In total I ended up producing around 50 sets that took 3 weekends. All I have to say is, kids, stay in school and learn your math good!

1) Design brain storm Knowing the volume that I was going to produce, I tried to simplify the ideas down to just some simple shapes that are iconic for the holiday season.

design brain storm1

design brain storm1

design brain storm2

design brain storm2

design brain storm3

design brain storm3

First of all, the two designs should utilize the common holiday graphic elements and be able to relate to each other in terms of shapes and color schemes. The X’mas tree decorations came to mind. What does the holiday season mean to me? Since I’m not so  religious, it mainly means love, warmth, friendship, something from the heart, and…eating! I tried to combine the heart and stomach, but they just didn’t go very well and the visual was too complicated, so I scratched stomach. Another major icon for the holiday is the star. What does the star mean for me? At this stage of my life I see the star as some kind of guiding light, kind of like a north star. Therefore I put a compass in the middle of the star.

2) Refining the design I created the design and mockups in Illustrator. Tested some fonts for “For Them” text and see how it’ll look like. Again, I will have to manually cut out from contact paper, therefore choosing something that will work with that was an interesting challenge.

Designing in illustrator

Designing in illustrator

Testing the font for "For Them"

Testing the font for “For Them”

Adjust tracking for the text

Adjust tracking for the text

A mockup for how it should look like

A mockup for how it should look like

3) Making the stencils Printing out all the shapes in black makes it way easier to cut stencils out of contact paper.

shapes for cutting stencils

shapes for cutting stencils

Stencil for the text

Stencil for the text

the star and the heart

the star and the heart

 4) Printing the first layer for the X’mas ball design It was pretty straight forward, a ball!

printing the x'mas ball

printing the x’mas ball

 5) Printing the hanging string on the X’mas ball Again, quite straight forward, printing that layer. For simplicity’s sake, I did not layer or put any element adjacent to one another, therefore making it very easy. Well, I’ve told one of my friends that my house is currently full of flies, as illustrated below. They like lights, you see.

my house is full of flies

my house is full of flies

Closer look at the X'mas balls

Closer look at the X’mas balls

An interesting phenomenon occurred while printing these small shapes. The ink was sticky enough and the paper is light enough that every time I pulled the print, the paper itself would be stuck on the screen. If not separated carefully, the wet print could be ruined.

a stuck print

a stuck print

 6) Printing the heart Since the heart is the focal point in this design, I made sure to print a whole bunch of proofs.

printing proofs of the heart

printing proofs of the heart

first design complete!

first design complete!

 7) Printing the star of the star design Illustrated here is the slight tear at the sharp ends of the star. Sometimes you just can’t cut that precisely. In these tiny tears ink would leak out and the beautiful angle would be ruined. Foreseeing this based on experience, I cut out extra stencils to cover up the torn area, however small they were.

Mending the stencil

Mending the stencil

proofs, proofs, proofs

proofs, proofs, proofs

all the stars

all the stars

8) Printing the hanging string By this time you can see, it’s in the evening already.

printing the string for the star

printing the string for the star

9) Printing the compass in the star Because of the “doughnut hole” problem, I needed to put the middle stencil back into the doughnut hole. Since the area was so small, the ink leaked out some, the position moved some which only required more proofs and readjustment.

the compass stencil

the compass stencil

ink leakage

ink leakage

proofs!!

proofs!!

completing the star design

completing the star design

close up of the star design

close up of the star design

10) Printing the wrapping strip I made a little registration marks to make sure the text printed in the middle.

registration for the wrapping strip

registration for the wrapping strip

it's all for them!!

it’s all for them!!

close up look for the strip

close up look for the strip

11) Packaging I got 300 envelopes in total from Staples, and used up all of them. Still had a lot of plastic sleeves from my previously failed craft business that was never quite a business. Some double sided tape to help hold the text strip. I’m so happy they are all going somewhere outside of my bedroom!

300 envelopes

300 envelopes

packaging station

packaging station

12) Voila! Merry X’mas and Happy New Year!

"For Them" Silk Screened Holiday Cards

“For Them” Silk Screened Holiday Cards

Thank you for being here. Again, with all my prints, these are dedicated to Larry, who taught me how to print. If only he can write from the grave, I’d give him a set. Every set has a name on it and they are all flying out of my house in no time. Yes!

From Afar silk screen print on paper

From Afar :: silk screen print on paper

From Afar silk screen print on paper

From Afar silk screen print on paper

Dear fans,

Back! With another print! “From Afar” is a six color silk screen print on paper using contact paper as stencils.

This is a print that talks about seeing something from a distance, and thinking how beautiful it is without having a clear idea what it really is. It is precisely this ignorance of the reality of it that makes this thing you can’t quite see or obtain so beautiful. So, would you pursue it, hold it in your hand in close examination, risking your appreciation of it, or would you just admire From Afar? Your choice :)

There is not really a central focus in the composition, rather it is a collage of bubbles with different patterns and colors. Yes, just like seeing the street lights at night without your glasses on. So, you ask, what’s the inspiration for those particular patterns and colors? Well, they each represent something but if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you. Or, you’ll have to kill me, unearth one of my hidden sketchbooks and maybe you’d know. Heeeeee…

Here’s how it was put together:

1) The original sketch I got the idea from one of my marker drawings that I do daily. The color combination had some kind of Bob Marley flavor to it. Hmm.

From Afar marker drawing

From Afar marker drawing

2) Designing it Illustrator I redesigned it in Illustrator. The final font chosen was Orator Std Slanted.

Designing the print in Illustrator

Designing the print in Illustrator

3) Making the stencils for each layer I separated out each color and shape, printed it onto a piece of paper from a printer to help cutting the stencils from contact paper.

the stencil print out

the stencil print out

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

Cutting the stencils

 4) Printing the first layer One circle, quite easy!

printing the first layer

printing the first layer

5) Printing the second layer I had to tweak the color of the pink a little to match the tint of the yellow circle.

tweaking the pink color

tweaking the pink color

printing the second layer

printing the second layer

6) Printing the third layer Because all the circles are pretty small that it didn’t make sense to use up all the contact paper to cover the whole screen. So I just taped some extra paper to cover the rest of the screen up so the ink wouldn’t leak. For this layer I used a fun metallic colored ink.

stencil of the third layer

stencil of the third layer

 

printing of the third layer

printing of the third layer

close up of the third layer

close up of the third layer

 7) Printing the fourth layer I used some left over ink and added a bit of different colored ink here and there to achieve the dark green color. As long as you have basic colors such as black and white, yellow, blue and red, you can mix any color. It may not be as bright or pure as store bought ones but it is often times more interesting.

mixing the dark green

mixing the dark green

printing the fourth layer

printing the fourth layer

8) Printing the fifth layer or rather…NOT printing it! I experimented with a scrap paper and found it too distracting for the whole composition, so this layer was scratched. Again, printmaking is all about the experimentation process.

the layer that never was

the layer that never was

9) Printing the fifth and sixth layer yes with the previous layer scratched all that’s left are the highlight dots. They were pretty straight forward and I took the colors right out of the can. For the yellow color, I had to change it to more of an orange for it to show on top of the yellow circle better.

testing the colors of the dots

testing the colors of the dots

10) Okie Doke sit and look at them from afar. No, from very close!

all the circles

all the circles

From Afar silk screen print on paper

From Afar silk screen print on paper

Yes, that’s it for now. I love you, thank you for stopping by. Again, thank you Larry for teaching me how to print. As with all things in the universe, ask, believe and receive. If you want this, let me know.

Ciao Ciao!

Cross the Swamp :: screen print on paper

cross the swamp screen print

cross the swamp screen print

Dear fans,

Oh my god, I made another screen print! Cross the Swamp is a screen print on paper with 5 layers of colors using contact paper as stencils.

I’m totally addicted to the process of interacting with ink, paper, stencils, my hands, water, the wind that blows through the curtain in my room, the sun that shines through the window, and my own breathing while laying down the screen. And most importantly, in the end of all this, I get to hand them out to people who I love and care about. What in the world is better than this!? Hmm…sex? But that’s something else entirely :)

So what does “Cross the Swamp” mean? What is this swamp? I recently read the book Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown, who is a love and joy researcher, but before that she was a shame and fear researcher. She said,

In Jungian circles, shame is often referred to as the swampland of the soul. I’m not suggesting that we wade out into the swamp and set up camp. I’ve done that and I can tell you that the swampland of the soul is an important place to visit, but you would not want to live there.

What I’m proposing is that we learn how to wade through it. We need to see that standing on the shore and catastrophisizing about what could happen if we talked honestly about our fears is actually more painful than grabbing the hand of a trusted companion and crossing the swamp. And, most important, we need to learn why constantly trying to maintain our footing on the shifting shore as we gaze across to the other side of the swamp–where our worthiness waits for us–is much harder work than trudging across.

So yes, it’s the swamp of shame! How dark. well, we’ve all got it, you’ve got one too. Have you tried crossing it? Or have you crossed it many times? It fracking sucks!

Here’s how I put it all together.

1) Pencil sketch and creating shapes in Illustrator

pencil sketch and creating shapes in illustrator

pencil sketch and creating shapes in illustrator

2) Designing in Illustrator

The final font selected is Kabel LT Standard. It is such a thin, beautiful and elegant font with a nice contrast with big blocks of color.

designing in illustrator

designing in illustrator

3) Layers sequence

Since there are multiple colors which will layer on top or overlap each other, it is important to decide which layer to print first. Usually you’d want to print the lighter color first, then finish off with the darkest color to make sure everything shows through nicely.

layers sequence

layers sequence

4) Cutting stencils

I use contact paper to cut out stencils for each layer.

stencil for the swamp

stencil for the swamp

stencil for the flowers

stencil for the flowers

5) Printing the first layer

The first layer is usually the easiest and really no big deal.

printing the first layer

printing the first layer

6) Printing the second layer

The second layer was a bit trickier. Since I was using the leftover semi-transparent ink from the last print Twin Heart, I had to tweak the colors and transparency several times to get the right shade. For multiple color layers, registration, which is lining up of each layer, becomes very important and can go wrong a lot of times.

experimenting with colors for the second layer

experimenting with colors for the second layer

7) Printing the third layer

The third layer, the flowers, was the easier layer since they pretty much just floats on top and doesn’t matter if they line up with anything.

close up of the third layer

close up of the third layer

 

printing the third layer

printing the third layer

 8) Printing the 4th layer

This layer was easier too since it only involves the tree trunk and the text that is kind of far away.

printing the 4th/text layer

printing the 4th/text layer

 9) Printing the swamp

The swamp is decidedly the main element in the whole composition. The dark color and swirly outline anchors down the whole image.

On the top right area of the swamp there are two white reflections. For this kind of “white out” or “donut hole” you need to cut out those particular shapes and stick it back on the screen to block out the ink.

It is also why on my prints, the O, the A, the R and the P of the text layer all have a black out style, because I was too lazy to put the hole back to the donut you know what I mean :)

the white out area in the swamp layer

the white out area in the swamp layer

testing the swamp layer

testing the swamp layer

printing the swamp layer

printing the swamp layer

On registration 

One of the toughest things to get right on a multi-colored or multi-layered print is to line up all layers correctly. Here I’m showing the mistakes that I made before I could get them right. For every good print in your hand a number of prints died because of registration or other mistakes. Even more regular printing paper also died for experimentation. They sacrificed bravely for the collective (collectable) good—the limited edition.

registration mistakes

registration mistakes

cross the swamp screen print

cross the swamp screen print

Voila, that’s it for now. Thank you for visiting and I hope you found it useful or entertaining either way. Again thanks to Larry who taught me how to print, and the universe who provides all that’s necessary for this to happen.

Talking about the universe, ask and you shall receive! If you’d like a print from this edition, just let me know :)