Screenprinting Explorations (March 2017)

Most people are fans of screenprinting whether they know it or not. Screenprinting is an art form known for its bold graphics and its usefulness. A close cousin of stenciling, screenprinting is easy to learn, yet hard to master. Our eight-week class provides adequate time for new printers to complete a range of projects on paper and fabric, gradually increasing in complexity and nuance. With the ongoing support of a pro to help trouble-shoot along the way, students will be familiar with dark room exposure, mesh count, screen tension, ink consistency, and registration.

In addition to developing A+ printing skills, this class will help students develop their imagery, be it hand-drawn illustration or digital files, to work best as a print. By the end of the class, students will know their way around the printshop, and be well equipped to continue printing independently at Spudnik Press Cooperative.

Saturday Morning Zine Club

Saturday Morning Zine Club is an opportunity to explore the expansive world of self-published zines with a supportive and creative group of peers. Teaching Artist, Leila Abdelrazaq, approaches alternative comix and zines as a medium for storytelling and community building, and invites her students to do the same.

Throughout Zine Club, students will develop their illustration, narration, personal style and page layout, and use these skills to augment the themes within their work. As the class progresses, students will explore the possibilities that come with handcrafted production. Through considering the paper type, color pallet, foldouts or interactive elements, each student will create publications that integrate form and function.

Each session will begin with generative warm-up activities, discussions, and the chance to interact with a wide array of zines. Throughout the class, each student will produce two publications. First, students will warm up by creating and trading a single-sheet, foldable mini-zine. Next, students will develop a longer quarter-page or half-page zine. This final project will put to use lessons on conceptualizing, sketching, inking, formatting, pagination, reproduction, and binding methods.

Special Bonus: The Zine Club will head to Chicago Zine Fest on Saturday, May 6 for an unofficial 9th week of immersion into the world of self-publishing!

Color Theory for Screenprinters

The process of screenprinting is well known for its disposition for color. Saturated or pastel, metallic or fluorescent, subtle or vibrant, screenprinting is an art form that can handle it all. Sign up for this one-day ink-mixing boot camp to push your skills both conceptualizing color palettes and mixing ink to match the aesthetic you want.

Through conversation and hands-on printing, this workshop will address building colors through layering transparent ink, taking advantage of the paper color, controlling ink colors to create depth and form in a flat print, and using a Pantone guide to perfect color matching. We’ll experiment with when to use white ink and when to use transparency and discuss how mixing ink is not actually that similar to mixing paint. Using a Spudnik-provided images, each participant will leave with a set of prints that illustrates the concepts and skills covered in this workshop.

The Great Pronto Plate: Polymer Plate Lithography

Polyester plate or “pronto plate” lithography is an immediate and often playful printing process that offers a non-toxic option for artists to incorporate visual elements as disparate as photography, digital designs and hand drawn illustrations. Pronto plates offer a ton of possibilities for artists, illustrators, photographers, and anyone who wants to learn a low-cost, versatile print process. Photographic plates can be made using a standard laser printer, then reworked or added to with a variety of tools like ballpoint pens, crayons and markers. Taking advantage of the hydrophobic (water-fearing) and hydrophilic (water-loving) properties of the polymer plate, the image is printed with oil-based ink from a flat surface.

The Great Pronto Plate introduces polymer plates as a low-cost process ripe for experimentation. Over the course of four weeks, students will develop a portfolio of prints using a set of plates printed in various combinations. Adding to the possibilities, students will learn and experiment with range of monoprinting techniques. Finally, students will construct of folio case to house their culminating project.

Risography 201: From Pre-Press to Publication

Risography 201 provides an in-depth and hands-on opportunity to better understand not only the mechanics of the risograph machine, but how to develop projects that take advantage of these mechanics.

Through each student completing their own project using their own designs, students will practice creating separations for multicolor images, setting up files for print, and ultimately executing the print. By looking at various printmaking styles, methods for designing for print, and industrial printmaking practices, students will find the ways that works best for them to adapt their artwork for risography. Plus, students will become familiar with cool print jargon like “imposition”, “duplexing”, “color profiles” and “channels”!

During three fast-paced weeks, students will create one collaborative print that focuses on registration, trapping and color mixing and one personal project that could be a short booklet, fine art print, or other paper object. Because the best way to learn is to log time running the machine (and we only have one machine), tuition includes a complimentary Open Studio season to make sure everyone has time to complete their project.

Previous experience operating a Risograph machine is required. If you do not have experience printing at Spudnik Press, please check with staff (info@spudnikpress.org) prior to registering.

Letterpress I: Wood and Metal Type (March 2017)

Letterpress printing uses moveable type, cast from metal or carved from wood, and a mechanical press to crisply transfer ink to paper. Since the advent of letterpress printing in the mid-15th century, printers have been enamored with the process of hand-setting lead and wood type. Today we remain fascinated with this tactile process. Artists and printers continually find new ways to approach the art form.

Letterpress I uses a range of projects to familiarize students with letterpress printing, typography and the history of these two art forms. On day one, students will be able to browse Spudnik’s collection of over 120 drawers of type, and using a composing stick, hand set their first line of type. From there, projects will increase in scope, gradually introducing more advanced project planning, technical considerations, creative approaches to printing, and even new fun vocabulary words like reglets, quoins, chases, leading and much more!

After carefully setting type, students will become familiar with our printing presses and learn to lock-up their type, set pressure, mix and modify ink and safely operate our rare old presses. Throughout the class students will acquire the technical skills needed to continue printing independently at Spudnik Press and the creative skills to produce inventive and alluring prints for years to come.

PLEASE NOTE: This class will NOT meet over Memorial Day weekend (Saturday, May 27). The final class will meet on Saturday, June 10.

The Artist Book: Design & Construction

The Artist Book is fundamentally an interactive sculpture. While artist books are often based on traditional sewing and gluing techniques, they typically depart from the everyday paperback by incorporating non-linear narratives, tactile and playful elements, illustrations, unexpected juxtapositions, and a close attention to material details.

During the first weeks of class, students will learn or refresh core bookbinding skills including sewing, gluing, folding, cutting, and measuring. Students are encouraged to bring short quotes, poems, scrap prints, found images and other elements to help incorporate content into these practice projects as well as the final independent project.

Class discussion and friendly critiques will help peers select and plan a unique book project that integrates form and function with their personal aesthetics. Working individually and as a group, students will brainstorm ideas, sketch, and develop a project plan. The lessons in the second half of the class will be driven by the artistic visions of the students and may introduce paste papers, raised and recessed surfaces, hinges, multi-signature bindings, box construction and more.

Those with advanced experience will have time to tackle more ambitious techniques. Those newer to the medium can develop a project that best aligns with their abilities. Students are encouraged to incorporate printmaking processes they are already familiar with into their artist books, however additional printmaking processes will not be taught in class.

T-Shirts & Totebags Screenprinting Workshop

Convert your own drawing or design to a collection of hand-printed wearable items in this energetic and informative one-day workshop. Printing an assortment of t-shirts or totebags is practical, fun and incredibly gratifying!

Students will bring to the workshops with a bold black and white drawing, a high-contrast photo, or a digital design. While .AI or .PSD files are great, we welcome students to bring anything from text typed in Microsoft Word to photocopies! After students refine the artwork (as needed) to be “print-ready”, student will use a pre-coated photographic screen and mix their own custom ink color. Everyone is encouraged to bring five items of their choosing to print. As long as they are fabric and flat, we can help you print on it! T-shirts, tote bags, tea towels, bandanas, and thrift store jean jackets, will work great. Leave with a sample for an Etsy store, a surprise gift for a friend, or an eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags!

Photoshop for Printmakers

Not everyone needs to be a Photoshop expert. With that said, there are many benefits of understanding the software and knowing a few tricks that come in handy as a printmaker. Our one-day workshop will arm even the most “non­techy” person with digital arsenal of skills needed to transform drawings, photographs, and found images into their next great idea.

Through hands-on file editing, students will practice using a variety of Photoshop tools to 1) help plan and visualize multilayer prints and 2) edit files to create crisp darkroom-ready stencils.

For example, students will better understand color modes and when to use each of them (CMYK, Greyscale, Bitmap and Duotone). Students will learn tricks for separating an image into multiple layers and adjusting contrast, levels and curves to create high-contrast black and white images from scanned drawings. Students will learn how to add trapping to their artwork and how to create an on-screen approximation of what their artwork might look like as ink on paper.

Students will use their own computers* with Creative Suite. This workshop focuses on digital “pre-press” file editing. Students will not be creating prints during the workshop.

Need to learn Adobe Illustrator too? Sign up for Illustrator for Printers on April 9!

*Please email staff prior to registering if you do not have a laptop with creative suite. A limited number of students may be able to use onsite computers.

Letterpress Finesse

After completing a Letterpress I or Letterpress II, students can elevate their skills by devising a larger project to focus on throughout this eight-week course. Helping push students from concept and design through to the completion of an extensive project, students will have ample opportunity to finesse skills learned in previous classes. Projects might take the form of a bound poetry chapbook, a collection of greeting cards, a series of gig posters, or suite of wedding invitations. Projects may incorporate handset type, polymer plates, monoprinting, or a combination of these techniques.

The first day kicks of with peers sharing their project ideas, sketching concepts, brainstorming creative and technical solutions, and developing a project plan. Following weeks focus on setting type, design, plate making, printing technique, press maintenance, with demos, discussions, and sharing of artwork based on the needs of the students.

In progress critiques will push the work to remain on target, and be smart, aesthetically interesting, and engaging. Students will graduate Letterpress Finesse with a better understanding of typography, honed printing skills, and professional craftsmanship. Enrollment is limited to 6 students.

Adobe Illustrator for Printmakers

Adobe Illustrator can be a bewildering program to learn. Even for those who are proficient with photo editing software, Illustrator can quite challenging to learn. Yet, printmakers relay on this program to create films, stencils or plates.

Our Illustrator for Printers workshop focuses on the specific skills and tools that printmakers need to understand. The first order of business will be to review when artists should choose Illustrator and when and why vector files are best suited for many printmaking processes.

From there, students will learn how to set up a clean and consistent workflow to streamline the digital pre-press portion of their projects. Step-by-step, students will practice digitizing imagery, separate and organize layers, preview colors and export to a variety of file types. Through manipulating a variety of files, students will get the hang of the most-used tools and functions, and will work through typical problems that arise when working with Illustrator files.

Students will use their own computers* with Creative Suite. This workshop focuses on digital “pre-press” file editing. Students will not be creating prints during the workshop.

Need to learn Photoshop too? Sign up for Photoshop for Printmakers on April 2.

*Please email staff prior to registering if you do not have a laptop with creative suite. A limited number of students may be able to use onsite computers.

DIY Greeting Cards: Letterpress Printing

Print your own greeting cards using Spudnik Press’ traditional printing presses. The tactile quality of ink pressed into paper will surely leave an impression on the lucky recipients of your handmade cards!

Students will be able to set their own short saying or phrase and (if desired) combine it with vintage relief blocks featuring festive illustrations. This workshop combines an overview of letterpress printing and history with hands-on art making, and it is a great way to try out a new hobby before taking a longer class. Students can bring any blank cards they desire (so everyone can pick out their favorite size and color). Taking turns, each student will lock up their type and independently print with our platen presses. Students will each make about 20 cards and are encouraged to make a few extras to trade as well! The class is limited to six students so that everyone has time to run a press independently.