Depictions of the Immaterial
cool image, please load
Faux Serigraphy
(fake screen print)

As an alternative to digital illustration that looks digital I have developed texture techniques that are more organic. Work that is obviously digital tends to be chosen only for assignments that are about technological subject matter, so the medium can be very limiting to the illustrrator.

After screen printing as a sideline for two yeas I have developed some affection for the human errors that occur therein. Developing photoshop techniques to replicate them is fairly easy and the results are good enough to fool most observers into thinking the art is an actual screen print. Four primary visual cue are:

1. Bleed through - when the emulsion used to mask the image on a screen is too thin, the ink can bleed through the screen in the areas that are supposed to be blocked. This flaw would cause many prints to be rejected in the real world art studio but the effect can be charming when used for interest in areas of an illustration that need a little something extra.

2. Registration error - a deal breaker in the commercial print shop. When added carefully to an illustration it helps to define area of low contrast. Like outlines but less cartoony.

3. Texture - to acheive this i scanned an actual screen print. The texture is added as a layer in photoshop CS4, masked to the image outline, then "overlay" layer effect added at 50 to 60% transparency.

4. Density variation - in real-world screen printing this is caused by too much ink, usually a result of uneven squeegee pressure. In my digital work it is very effective at defining edges where color contrast is low, and adding interest to boring spots. To acheive it I use the airbrush tool or stipple brush on a seperate layer. The color applied has to be a darker value and more saturated than the underlaying color. Hue should stay the same if we are to evoke actual screen printing as opposed to watercolor.[dr]
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