Hi there. I went away for a few days (I might post about that later this week), but now I'm going to share some photos of the screenprinting process. This won't be a tutorial, I'm not quite qualified to teach anyone just yet - there are many good guides online, however, and I'll point you to a couple. So I hope this inspires you to try silkscreening, just make sure to follow the instructions of a qualified professional! Printing is fun but can be pretty messy, and it involves a lot of strange chemicals, so keep that in mind if you have kids or pets (we put Chuy in the back room during a lot of these steps).
A few more points - I guess technically it's called "screen printing", since silk is not generally used anymore, but I like calling it "silkscreening" because it sounds cool and old-fashioned. It seems the terms can be used interchangably, at least that's what I've observed, so that's what I'll do too. Also, I recommend the Print Gocco kit if big messes aren't your thing - it's a quicker & easier way to do small screen prints - I just really wanted to make bigger prints and wanted to try the silkscreening thing. Both methods are marvelous.
Now for the tutorials. By far the best I've found online is this one at No Media Kings, by Shannon Gerard. The photos and written descriptions helped immensely. Speedball, maker of many fine screenprinting products, also offers an updated copy of its screenprinting manual online here, just click on "Screen Printing Instructions" which opens a pdf. It also helps a lot to have someone on hand who's done it before - I asked Jeff about a million questions.
So here are some photos of the process. These are pretty small - click on them to go to the flickr page for each.
Burning a screen (or rather, a stencil on a screen). You take your image(s) to your local copy shop, and copy them onto transparencies. Then you coat the screen with emulsion, let it dry, then expose it to light with the transparencies laying on top - the part of the screen under the image stays soft and rinses out. The emulsion on the part of the screen that was exposed to the light hardens, and creates a stencil. The ink goes through the open part of the screen and you have a print.
Here are the two screens I used with the images burned in. The blobby one with no detail was for the blue-green, the outliney one is for the red outline. There's a brownish-red box around the image on the larger screen because the glass I used to hold the transparency flush to the screen left a little shadow. No biggins, I just used screen filler to fill the lines in - that's the brownish-red stuff.
A lovely tip from Ms. Gerard - especially great for printing with fabric, which seems like it'd be hard to line up perfectly for multi-color prints - tape a sheet of acetate to your work surface, do the first print of the second color on that, then use it to line up each print after that. You need to make sure your screenprinting base is well secured, too.
Dabbity-dabbin' the ink. I used a spoon, but there are probably better tools out there. By the way, if you use red ink, prepare for a gory clean-up job. Yikes!
This is where the magic happens. It helps to have someone else hold down the edge of the screen to get a good solid print, but one person could do it no probs.
Here's a completed print! Stunning.
I laid all the prints out to dry (and kept Chuy far, far away from them). If you're printing on fabric, you'll need to iron the prints (or put them in the oven, whatever the ink instructions say) to set the image. The top middle print is off-register because I thought it would look neat; it does. I've been watching a lot of Pee-wee's Playhouse because the kind folks at Cartoon Network are showing it in reruns (bless them) - I think I was going for that look! So blame Gary Panter.
There you go! Process photos. More accomplished 'screeners, feel free to leave comments with suggestions, corrections, links to other tutorials, etc. And go ahead and email me if you have trouble getting started, and I'll try to help you out! It's really the most fun.
Many thanks to Jeff for taking the photos of me printing.