Screenprinting is a form of printmaking, as is etching and lithography for example. Printmaking is an artistic and traditional process of producing fine art limited edition original prints. An original print is not a reproduction or a copy unlike giclee prints. An original print has been hand printed using a manual press and hand mixed inks.
A screenprint begins with a series of layers, or colour separations, drawn in black ink onto transparent films such as tracing paper or acetate. which are then transferred to a fine fabric mesh (traditionally made of silk hence the name silkscreen). The screen is then prepared by coating it with a light sensitive liquid emulsion which is then left to dry before being exposed into a Ultra Violet exposure unit along with each of the colour separations. The emusion hardens when exposed to light but can be washed out in the areas where the image has blocked the light. The screen is then washed out with water to produce a durable positive stencil of the image.The screen is then attached to a screenprinting bench. Each colour of the individual layers is hand mixed into spot colours and then applied onto the screen which is then passed over the screen with a squeegie blade. Each layer is printed one at a time and care must be taken to line up each colour to form the overall image. The images are then signed and numbered to produce a limited edition print.