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Close up of screen print artist, David Burrows, freehand drawing shapes, faces and objects in black key lines on a computer

Outputting Film Positives


Each individual colour layer, including various textures or tones of a colour, are exported to an inkjet printer which produces a high contrast dense black positive on film. 

Close up of artist David Burrows’ arms as he is coating the screens with emulsion

Drying Screens


Coated screens are placed in a heated air  drying cabinet to accelerate the drying process.

A screen print film of David Burrow’s artwork with the positive sections printed in black

Exposing the Screen in the Vacuum Frame


The film positive is placed  in contact with the screen under vacuum to provide  perfect contact during exposure.

Washing out the screen of David Burrow’s artwork in a sink with a tap hose and water

Printing Individual Colours in Registration


Each colour is printed to paper using a registration system which allows exact repositioning of the sheet each time a new colour is added. This means that each colour is always in exactly the same position on every sheet as more colours are added thereby ultimately producing multiple identical copies of the same piece of artwork.

Section of David Burrow’s screen print artwork featuring colourful drawings of shapes, objects, and animals

Producing Multiple Copies from each Screen


Any number of copies can then be produced, one colour component at a time, one sheet at a time.  So 23 copies of a print with 20 colour elements requires 460 passes of screens over all sheets to complete the edition.

Section of David Burrow’s screen print artwork featuring colourful shapes, objects and a flower outlined in a black key line

Limited Editions

Only a set number of prints is produced. The quantity  is indicated on  the left side under the image and  below the order in which the particular print was produced (eg 3/23 - the third print in  a quantity of 23).

Prints produced on printing machines by  the thousand are not limited edition prints, have little intrinsic value and are prone to fade with time. 

Limited Edition silk screen prints are produced one at a time in an intensely manual process. Because there is a limited number of copies produced, fine art original prints can be sold at very reasonable prices.

Creating the Black Key Line


The Microsoft Surface computer allows me to draw freehand directly to the screen and create the base black keyline. I also use various brushes to add texture and soft edges in Photoshop.  I create a separate layer for each colour or texture for outputting to film positives.

An inkjet printer outputting a print of the black positive sections of David Burrow’s silk screen artwork on to a film

Coating Screens with Emulsion


In safelight conditions the required number of screens are coated with several coats of light sensitive emulsion on both sides to prepare the screens for exposure of the film positives.

A pile of screens in a heated air drying cabinet with a stack of screens beside

Locating Positive on Screen prior to Exposure


Each positive is accurately centred on the screen before exposure to simplify the positioning of the image on the paper sheet  when printing commences.

Film positive of David Burrow’s artwork being placed in contact with a screen under vacuum

Developing the Screen


After exposure the screen is washed out  to dissolve the unexposed sections of the screen emulsion. The image is now effectively a "negative" version of the design. It reverts to a "positive" when ink is pushed through the screen onto paper.

A screen press printing machine transferring screen art by David Burrows on to paper with a pile of artwork papers in the background

Progressive Printing of Colours One by One


A colour  component of the design is printed to each sheet in succession so that particular element is completed on all copies before the next element is introduced  via  a new critically registered screen.

Copies of David Burrow’s silk screen prints on paper stored in metal art drying racks

Printing the Black Key Line


The last screen printed is the black key line which masks fine colour overlaps which occur during printing but also adds unity and definition to the final image. The parallel with Japanese woodblock printing is complete.

Section of David Burrow’s signed and stamped screen print artwork, featuring colourful shapes, objects, faces and animals
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