Studio Visit: Screen Printing my Butterfly Print Collection

Inspired by Pop Art prints of the Sixties with a contemporary colour palette, the designs started out as drawings in my sketchbook with my pencil and favourite Japanese graphic markers.

I loved silkscreen printing this new collection of Butterfly Prints!

Sketching detailed butterflies with black markers by hand for a new screen print collection.

After cutting out the first colour layer in Illustrator, I printed out all of the templates and laid out them for printing on the mesh screen. 

Paper templates of the four butterfly prints are laid out onto the mesh screen for exposure.

The templates are coated in sunflower oil to make them transparent and needs to dry before use.

The templates for the four botanical butterfly prints are coated in sunflower oil to make them transparent and needs to dry before use.

After coating my screen with emulsion, the templates are placed onto screen and exposed in the darkroom. The screen emulsion is then washed out and the designs will appear. I love this part!

In the exposure process for screen printing, the screen is washed out to reveal the design to be printed by hand.

Mixing the water based acrylic ink with Galleria screen printing medium. The medium prevents the ink from drying to quickly and blocking the screen. Getting the perfect colour palette can be tricky, as I mix the colours myself and test them on paper before pulling the ink through the screen.

Mixing a soft pastel colour palette for Butterfly screen prints. The ink is mixed with screen printing medium.

Here goes the Saffron Yellow layer. The ink sometimes appear much brighter before it hits the paper. That's why I always test!

The process of silkscreen printing by artist and printmaker Lu West.

First layer drying on the rack. The colour looks great!

First layer of screen print has to dry before the second layer is applied.

Printing the detailed butterfly design in black ink.

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

Checking that the paper with the first yellow layer is placed perfectly under the mylar sheet for the butterfly layer.

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

Freshly printed Butterfly in Saffron Yellow.

Butterfly print in saffron yellow. Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

Butterflies all lined up.

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

Testing colour palettes with the Sage Green layer.

Colour testing during the screen printing process. Tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

Getting the positioning of the screen just right.

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

Butterfly in Sage Green ready to go on the drying rack.

Close up of a freshly screen printed Butterfly in Sage Green.

Love having them all lined up like this. The joys of printmaking!

Limited edition Butterfly prints drying in my studio after silkscreen screen printing. Print tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

The perfect shade of Powder Pink.

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

More colour testing. Happy with the results!

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

A perfectly sweet butterfly ready to be printed by hand.

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

Slate Teal layer done. Now to print the black butterfly.

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

I love the detail on this butterfly. They are all different from each other.

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

All done and ready to dry. Think this Slate Teal colour might be my favourite.

Screen printing tutorial by artist and printmaker Lu West.

Here is the completed collection. You can add a black or white frame (UK orders only) or buy them in a Print Bundle and get a FREE print. Hope you like it?

"Butterfly" in Saffron Yellow >>

"Butterfly" in Slate Teal >>

"Butterfly" in Powder Pink >>

"Butterfly" in Sage Green >>

December 21, 2016
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