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  Serigraphic Process

Serigraphic Process or Fine Art Silk Screen Printing


A Serigraph ( also called a silk screen print or screen print ) is a stencil print.

A simplified and basic procedure of creating a Serigraph is illustrated below in steps.

1. The printmaker cuts an image in a sheet of paper or plastic film.
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2. The printmaker removes the cutaway areas, creating a stencil. The open spaces in the stencil are the shapes that will print.
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3. The stencil is placed on a screen made of silk or any other fabric, stretched on a frame.
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4. A piece of paper is placed under the frame. The printmaker pulls a thin rubber blade (a squeegee) across the screen. The squeegee squeezes ink through the open areas.

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5. When the screen is raised, the image has been printed on the paper. It is not in reverse.
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Besides the above method of making ‘Paper Stencil’ prints, there are other ways of improvising on the end result of the prints, as well as being able to print more complicated types of screenprints by using different methods of preparing the stencils. This has been made possible with the advancement of technology and availability of better equipment and materials to the artist-printmaker.

The other methods of stencil making by the artist-printmaker are mentioned below with a short description.

Photo-stencils: This type of stencil is created using the ultra-violet light process to mark opaque areas on the photo-stencil which actually become the open areas in the screen. This type of stencil is very versatile and allows the artist-printmaker to print the most complicated images with precision. Halftone and other tonal techniques to achieve tonal gradients of the image are also possible in this method of stencil-making.

Screen Painting Fluid Stencils: In this method of preparing the stencil the artist-printmaker uses screen painting and drawing fluids along with ‘Screen Filler’.
This is a very simple way of creating a stencil and does not take long to prepare The artist blocks out the blank areas of the screen by using ‘Screen Filler’ and allowing the other areas to print and create the final image.

However, the point to note here, is whatever may be the method of preparing the stencil by the artist-printmaker, the procedure of printing the image is identical to all of them, and remains almost unchanged since the days of it’s development. They are all printed using a ‘Squeegee’ ( A flexible rubber or polyurethane blade with a rigid mount or handle ) which is used to push the ink out of the screen as shown in the graphic below.





The function of the ‘Squeegee’ is two-pronged. Firstly being to deflect the stencil and bring it in contact with the ‘Substrate’ ( The surface on which the image has to be printed ), for which the squeegee is held at an angle of 75 degrees to the horizontal. Secondly, during the printing action to move across the stencil creating a pressure wave in the printing medium or ink thereby pushing it through the screen ( stencil ) on to the substrate through the ‘Flow Point’ ( The actual point of flow of ink or printing medium where the leading edge of the squeegee is in contact with the stencil ) as shown in the diagram.
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