I love the way that calligraphy and lettering can translate into different applications – whether it’s a one-off illustration or a carefully crafted logo design. When it comes to reproducing calligraphy, my favourite technique is definitely screen printing – the manual process, the ink and the beautiful results. So I was very excited to run the first of a two part workshop at Beau Est Mien, in which our students first learned brush calligraphy and then from their work created screens to print with. I was also lucky enough to get to participate in the second, screen printing part, using my own lettering artwork!
Everyone did incredibly well, working their way through my brush calligraphy worksheets after some quick demonstrations. Afterwards everyone played around with different compositions and ideas for their final bit of art, using the styles and techniques I showed as a basis for their own unique style. Brush lettering can be so free and expressive, and it was awesome to see each person’s take on it.
The following weekend, everyone having done their homework to send their designs through, we printed, oiled and exposed our designs onto A4 silk screens. Considering no one had really done any calligraphy before the previous week, I was so impressed with the quality and the creativity that came through in these designs!
After setting the exposure on the screens and mixing up a few ink colours, it was time to get printing. The process of screen printing by hand is physical, exciting and (if you’re me) enjoyably messy! Being able to use ink colours of different colours, textures and levels of opacity, on a huge variety of different surfaces, means that quite a simple lettering design can really shine. Some students printed onto tea towels and tote bags, others onto card and coloured paper, with great results.
Having done the screen printing workshop at Beau Est Mien previously, I’d learned enough to both have a million ideas of things to try, and to know that I needed a plan to make the most of the time. I painted, splattered and gold foiled a bunch of surfaces including card, sticker paper, wood, envelopes and notepads the night before, to see how the colours and textures would interact with my relatively simple lettering. Some ideas worked out better than others, but it was so fun to play around I didn’t want to stop!
These two techniques are complimentary, and it was awesome to see our very talented students go from learning calligraphy on one day to screen printing their own art with it the next week. If you haven’t tried screen printing before, I definitely recommend giving it a go!
P.S. If you missed out on this workshop, I do have another brush lettering workshop coming up in October! Sign up to my newsletter for first dibs. Beau Est Mien also run a bunch of print making workshops, which as a past student I heartily recommend!