Printing – Screen printing

When choosing a design for my screen print I wanted to explore the option of doing a cityscape, a theme I have used quite a lot throughout my work. I chose the New York skyline having visited there this summer (august) and thought the shapes, highlighting the freedom tower, would work well here. I opted for a cool palette hoping it would resemble a night sky which I believe was quite successful. The photo above shows the first print, third print and fifth in order. I like how you can see the process working but at the same time all three are quite pleasant works in their own right.

I was inspired by a piste I took whilst on the Staten Island Ferry. I looked back from the New York harbour and the signs of the forbidding city behind us was a strange feeling. From being in the middle of it all to suddenly out on open water was both shocking to the system and refreshing. I wanted to reflect this feeling within the colour scheme used, on a more cool, melancholy scale. Infact the three images I pinned up reflect on three emotions I experienced, the far left has a somewhat optimistic feel to it, the bold straight lines and block colour. The second seems playful, representing excitement, with the abstract shapes and flashes of blight colour. last he the far right seems more dull and the colours are more melded together here giving the print a gloomy feel.

The image I used as inspiration, specifically the freedom tower.


Being my favourite piece of work thus far I have completed I feel there isn’t much to fault besides some intakes in the cutting which is probably not noticeable to the unknowing eye. An easy way to avoid this kind of mistake in future is to continue to use the scalpel to cut intricate shapes and let practice make perfect.

I also would have liked the image to me more in line with the original image. I only used the image as inspiration and would have liked rather to have tried to recreate it with more detail. The boats on the harbour would have also been an interesting aspect to include in the composition.


When using a scalpel one just use a cutting board as to avoid cutting any surfaces as well as make the cutting on a more stable surface.

Fingers could easily be cut when using a sharp object such as this so care must be taken in regards to hands, hair and clothing as well as where you leave/store the blades. When not in use they should be stored either with the blades covered or blade down in a pot or container.


This video I found interesting. The video looks at Mathias Valdez’s screen print work.


Relief Printmaking

Step one: Choose image/design

I opted for an image I took during my trip to Seoul, South Korea in 2014 of the amazing Gwanghwamun Palace.  I thought the mountains on the background would create a nice block background to the more intricate things I had planned for the foreground.

Step two: Trace image

I only did a very simple trace of the image, just to get the general shapes and lines I needed. There is surely room to be more precise at this stage however considering I was adding most of my mark making through imagination rather than actual textural stidies I thought it best to leave it.

Step Three: carve out


The carving process was actually quite enjoyable and the tools we used gave just about the right control. Some of my shapes were a little small so had to be simplified, such as the little openings under the roof of the palaces entrance. Over all though I was happy and was excited to see how the different textured would turn out one they had gone through the print press.

Step four: Print


This was my best print of a the two I did, my first one of the two in fact. I think the sky didn’t quite come out as boldly as I had wanted however it gives it a slightly softer feel, more like a cloudy sky and helps keep it not too confusing with all the varying texture as well as the details themselves.


I would probably not carve out the sky so deep, as I said above, in order to get more detail out of the print, although this could have also possibly been improved by adjusting the pressure on the printing press.


In regards to the printing press, one must watch their hands when passing their print through and adjusting the printing press’ pressure. To avoid incidences occurring keep hands clear when turning the press and keep hands, hair or dangling clothing away from the rollers.

Upon talking to my teacher, I realised the foreground grass would have looked better had I varied the length/boldness of the carving. This would have given the composition more depth and a more realistic look however I didn’t think of this when I was carving. On my next try o this method I would be more careful to think about the images perspective.

Some of the shapes I included in the design were slightly too small and detailed to keep in the final piece. In future I will keep the design very simple to avoid losing the core image.

Lastly my final piece of evaluation is also a lesson turned in regards to the printing press. The guard sheets that work as padding must have had a crease in them when I was printing my second print and I subsequently have a crease in the end product. I shall double check the sheets in future as to make sure this won’t happen. The crease isn’t very noticeable in the image below however the effect on the print is. it turned out less detailed and slightly fuzzy where the lines should be white although despite this I did enjoy the coloured version had it gone better.


I found this video to be very interesting .


Monoprinting: is a form of printmaking that has images or lines that can only be made once, unlike most printmaking, where there are multiple originals.

Looking for inspiration in regards what to create, the texture of tin foil caught my attention. Resembling a cloudy night sky, or at least how I think it came out, gave my city scape a nice stark background and added a slight gloomy ambiance. This contrasted well to the bright colours used both in the building silhouettes and the leaves. Although initially I was disappointed the buildings ink didn’t completely transfer, I’ve grown to quite like the effect, the more distressed look makes the design feel completely different to how I intended but a good attempt overall.

In my second attempt when using a flat inked background, I wanted to stick with the same theme, but make this one more optimistic. I, instead of using black, opted for a blue-faded-to-white base and lauerd time ink soaked string on top of that. I think it came out looking quite like wispy clouds, how I had intended, and made the composition look more innocent. It almost looks childlike due to the bright colours and more random curved lines.


I think a wider use of fabrics would have been interesting, and a prospect I would like to explore in future when mono printing again. I only had a limited choice in regards to my range of materials being that the whole class was doing the same activity thus, we were all sharing materials from the workshop.

I think the tinfoil worked surprisingly well, and it’s a texture I probably wouldn’t have thought of initially. The scrunched texture along with the leaves printed gave the composition an interesting twist. The leaves reminiscent of a tropical image while the oil sky looking stormy. Perhaps adding a dream-like/surrealist quality of these two contrasting images in one piece.

I think the printing with natural objects is also something I enjoyed, very reminiscent of flower pressing in primary school. I will probably use this also in future prints.

A more extensive city scale would be an interesting project in this setting. The minimal shapes gives the image a pop art type aesthetic however I think it would be interesting to explore a more detailed piece. All then depends on how the printing press would deal with that, after all the simpler the print the better normally.