Printing Idiot

Feature, Products
Motorcycle Screen Print

My first screen print

Time to make the next step, which for me means trying to go from dunce to pro in this slightly idiotic adventure in printing.

Recently I purchased a Laurent Durieux poster commissioned by the Ford Craftsman Studio. It’s hard to tell by looking at the JPG the amount of detail that went into this print, but when this poster arrived by mail I must have spent an hour or more scanning the details. You see, I aspire to this level of art and even though I am far from the lofty heights of such a talented artist, one has to accomplish two things: a) study the greats and learn, and b) start practicing.

Zephyr Poster

Stumbling, as I did, into the gig-poster world and beginning my love affair with the simple yet elegant illustrations, I never thought that I would be tripping down the same rabbit hole. Yet here I am now printing up my own work and starting to practice and learn the art of screen printing.

Yep. You read that right. I’m making my own prints.

Needless to say that I have a long way to go before reaching the quality of the print world celebrities like Durieux, which makes me a special kind of idiot, but since I’ve been dedicated to illustration for a while I (or rather we, since my wife pushed me a little) decided to take it to the next level. So upon purchasing a starter kit from Seattle-based Ryonet, which I’m pretty sure is a take on the owner’s name – Ryan Moor – I/we have taken a pretty cool step toward art independence that I’m pretty sure will only feed my addictions.

This first edition wasn’t necessarily the most obvious choice to start out with since the detail would create several complications, but f#@k-it. The only way you are going to learn is through failure and with over 40 prints under my belt now, I’d say that there is definitely room to grow.

52 Thunderbird Print

’52 Thunderbird Print

In a world where perfection is easy to achieve I find it rather gratifying to see imperfections. Each one of these prints has small (or large, depending on how anal you are) variations that makes every print unique to the way my hands pulled the squeegee, or the temperature and humidity of the air, or the tension of the screen. What’s more, if you have ever built a thing, or painted something artistically, or repaired something in the house, you know that feeling of satisfaction. The accomplishment of doing a thing from beginning to end. And seeing it work to make life a bit improved. Even if it is a little off.

Some may think that this is great stuff and far more creative than they have ever been. I appreciate that because you are the people who encourage this crap, but when I have experienced printers telling me it’s not too late to turn back before my life is ruined – half jokingly – I have to wonder: what kind of dumb-ass would do this?

The short answer is me. A printing idiot beginning a life-long obsession with art and art technique.

The poster that you see above will be on sale at Etsy soon after I publish this post (8/25/15 – Now up on Etsy). It was inspired by a love of the idea of motorcycles and the lifestyle that encompasses it. That feeling of freedom and manliness. Shit, it makes me want to have a whiskey just looking at it. “Brando” of course relates to the Marlon Brando movie “The Wild One” in which he apparently rode his own 1952 Triumph Thunderbird. Badass.

Before sale the poster will be trimmed down to 11 x 17 and is printed on French Paper’s Speckletone Starch White which will make it pop while giving it that rough, handmade look. I suppose I’ll make more than 40 down the road, but for now we’ll see how you guys like it. This is also one part of a three-part series, so keep an eye out for more to come.

Thanks for your support and let me know what you think.

Quick Peak at the Steps in Printing

Motorcycle Print Flood

Step one: screen is flooded

Pre Inked MC Print

Step two: paper is registered

MC Print Inked

Step three: ink is transferred



Copyright 2014 © Robert C. Olson