Serigraphy Overview:

Serigraphy Assignment 01

Follow these instructions to complete the first assignment. Take your time watching these videos, don't try to do them all at once (you will come to hate the sound of my voice if you try it). Watch a couple of tutorials and then do the things you have learned. Take notes. Fast forward when it bogs down...

Making A Transparency: 

You may chose one of the following techniques to create your single color serigraph. Check the Assignment Sheet to confirm that you are using the correct method.  Make sure you add registration marks to the transparency.

IMPORTANT NOTE!!! For our intro class please disregard the instruction in this videos below and set up your first digital file at 8 X 10 inches - keeping it smaller will help you have more success (and allow you to print on regular 8.5 X 11 paper). You can still use the tutorials but set everything up at a different size. You will also be printing on paper, adding marks with a sharpie, and then vegetable oiling the paper for exposure... So while the videos below are useful, you will need to use some common sense in figuring out where what you are doing is a bit different.

BitMapping A Photographic Image

Hand Drawn Transparency

Scoop Coating

If you are coating a hand drawn screen you must make sure you scoop coat it in one fell swoop (you can't do multiple passes over a hand drawn screen). If you are doing a photo stencil you can make as many passes as needed.

Exposing Photo Emulsion

Washing Out The Screen After Exposure

Be careful blowing out your screen - be gentle and take your time. It's the worst when you blow out too much of the image and have to re-start the whole thing.

Pin Hole Repair

Serigraphy Color Mixing

Remember to do a "draw down" to test your ink color. Inks print much more thinly that you would expect in serigraphy - this is the best way to test them to see how they might actually print...

Serigraphy Registration

Serigrapy Printing = One Color

Screen Clean Up

Scrape as much ink as possible off the screen and put the ink back into the container.

Gently wash the ink off the screen, and print again later, or proceed to screen reclamation.

Serigraph Screen Reclamation

Serigraphy Assignment 02 - Second Color

Follow these instructions to complete the second assignment. You will need to create a second transparency for this assignment. You are welcome to create these images digitally or by hand, but make sure you pay attention to registration and how the layers relate to each other.

Serigraphy Multi-Color Printing And Registration

Use this video to figure out how to line up your second screen with good registration on our SPU presses.

Printing the second color.

Adding A Third Color (Fourth, Fifth, Etc)

Follow these instructions to complete the third assignment. You will need to create a third transparency for this assignment. You are welcome to create these images digitally or by hand, but make sure you pay attention to registration and how the layers relate to each other.

How to add marks to the third transparency and keep everything lined up.

Serigraphy Assignment 03 - Illustrator

Follow this tutorial to create the three transparencies in Illustrator - refer to the tutorials for Serigraphy Assignments 1-3 if you need help with registration and/or printing.


Follow these instructions to create your 3 color screen print transparencies. This is only one possible technical approach to making color separations digitally. I like it because it shows you how to combine photographic information with other kinds of marks (Illustrator, shapes, type, digitally drawn marks using a tablet, etc). There are a million other ways to do it - don;t be afraid to explore them all as you have time ( many free on-line tutorials...)

You should start with a photographic portrait of some sort. Try to frame the image so it fills up a good deal of the picture plane. 

Something like this...
  • Save the image on your desktop (or another folder) and open up Photoshop. 
  • Select>New> 10" wide X 8" tall (The size of this file can vary, depending on how large you want the print to be, but keep in mind that the largest paper we can print on is 11X17, and you need to leave room for the registration marks). CMYK. 300 DPI. 
  • File> Place Embedded> select your portrait file.
  • Center the image and resize it so that you have a little bit of extra space around the edges. 
  • Make adjustments to Contrast and Lightness an Adjustment Layer (see video)
  • Make the file Grayscale. Image> Mode> Grayscale
  • Image> Mode> Duotone
  • Select Tritone and choose 3 different ink colors (see video)
  • Adjust Curves as desired (see video) (!!!!SAVE OFTEN!!!!)
  • Image> Mode> Multichannel
    • This will break your three ink colors out into separate channels
  • Select Channels Palette (see video)
  • Use the paintbrush tool and other tools to make adjustments as needed to brightness, contrast, delete areas, etc. (see video)


  • Split the three channels out into separate grayscale files (see video)
  • Color 01. Change into Bitmap. Image> Mode> Bitmap> 300 Pixels/Inch. Halftone Screen. 50 LPI. 45 Angle. Shape> Ellipse.
  • Color 02. Change into Bitmap. Image> Mode> Bitmap> 300 Pixels/Inch. Halftone Screen. 50 LPI. 15 Angle. Shape> Ellipse.
  • Color 03. Change into Bitmap. Image> Mode> Bitmap> 300 Pixels/Inch. Halftone Screen. 50 LPI. 75 Angle. Shape> Ellipse.
  • Save each color separation in a new folder as a .PSD file


  • Open Illustrator. File New> Tabloid (10.5" X 16")> Landscape Orientation
  • Re-Name Layer 01 as your first color (see video)
  • File> Place> color 01 .psd file. 
  • Select placed image and select Transparency> Mutiply blending Mode (see video
  • Lock Layer 01 (see video)
  • Create new layer> Re-name it as your second color (see video).
  • File> Place> color 02 .psd file. 
  • Lock Layer 02 (see video)
  • Create new layer> Re-name it as your third color (see video).
  • File> Place> color 03 .psd file. 
  • Lock Layer 03 (see video)


  • Unlock layer 01
  • Turn off "eyeballs" for other two layers.
  • Select Layer 01 with white arrow tool and then select new fill color in Swatches Palette (see video)
  • Lock Layer 01 and repeat for layers 02 and 03 - with correct fill colors for each layer (see video)
  • Lock all layers. Unlock layer 01. Click twirldown in layer 01 and lock bitmap layer. Repeat for other two layers (see video).
  • Lock all layers except layer 01 and use paintbrush and type tools to add new marks (make sure to use the same color that was used to re-color the bitmap and make sure all new strokes and fills are set for the multiply blending mode in the Transparency Palette).
  • Repeat for other layers. (!!!!SAVE OFTEN!!!!)
  • Once you are all done adding marks and the image looks the way you want it to you need to convert all of those color layers into black and white...


  • Select Layer 01 and select all (Command A). This will select all of your strokes and fills. Convert them from your fill color into black and white. You should save this new file as filenameBW - or some other new file you can keep separate from your color version).
  • You now just need to unlock your original bitmap file that was locked earlier in this process. Unlock it, select it with the white arrow tool, and recolor it to a black fill. (!!!!SAVE OFTEN!!!!)
  • You should now be able to turn on and off the eyeballs for each color (even though they are all black and white now) and print each color separation out on a printer for screen printing transparencies. 
  • Check the printer settings and specifics for the printer you are using - they will all be different, but the important thing is to get a transparency with dark, opaque marks that we can use to burn on our screen. 

Miscellaneous Techniques for Creating Transparencies

Illustrator and Screen Printing

Here are some instructions for using Illustrator to create color separations:

Here are some tips for "trapping" in Illustrator:

Laser printer output in Illustrator:

Photoshop and Serigraphy

Instructions for Creating Duo-Tone Images (+bitmapping):

Instructions for 4 Color Separations in Photoshop:

The recommended screen angles for four color printing are:

Yellow = 0

Magenta = 75

Cyan = 15

K = 45

Here is a link for more detailed info:

Laser printer output in Photoshop:

Advanced Techniques

Follow these instructions once you have gotten the hang of creating and printing Serigraphs.  There are a million ways you can combine these techniques - printmaking is all about practice and repetition, don't be afraid to experiment...

Serigraphy Monotype

<Video not yet added>


Check this section if you are having trouble with something and need advice or just want more information about the various techniques and how they look when used.

Gwish (printing error)

  • "Gwishing" takes many forms... it can seep out of a flat shape or run out of a thin line... but it's telltale sign is the thickness of the ink deposit compared to other areas of the print, and the fact that it is seeping outside the boundary of the stencil.
  • Gwishing almost always happens because the angle of the squeegee is not correct and/or you are not using enough pressure when you print. Push down hard and keep the angle of the squeegee at 45 - 90 degrees.
  • To fix it you should clear your screen by printing it multiple times on newsprint without flooding it - you may also want to spritz the screen with water and clean it with a rag - then print it many times on newsprint till the image is clear again.

Filled In Screen (printing error)

  • A filled in screen is not depositing ink where it should be. The stencil is open but there is usually so much backed up in in that part of the stencil that the ink will not release. It usually looks "starved" for ink, or spotty. In our example above the dark grey area in the bottom left should be a flat black, but the screen is filled in so it is printing poorly and you can see the mesh of the screen.
  • Filling in almost always happens because the screen has dried out or the ink is backed up due to a lock of printing pressure. Push down hard and keep the angle of the squeegee at 45 - 90 degrees.
  • To fix it you should clear your screen by spritzing the screen with water and cleaning it with a rag - then you should start with a new flood stroke each time you print (you may also want to print on newsprint till the image is clear again).

Orange Peeling (printing error)

  • "Orange Peeling" is a printing error that results in a texture that is thick and rough (like the skin of an orange or a basketball) when it should be smooth and flat. This error is caused by too much ink going through the stencil and depositing on the paper, then the the screen fabric "sticks" to the paper instead of releasing cleanly.
  • Orange peeling in almost always happens due to a lack of "snap distance." Add more space between the screen fabric and the paper and use the vacuum table to keep the paper from sticking. Always use a lot of pressure when printing and watch the angle of the squeegee.
  • To fix it you should be able to just add more snap distance and continue printing.