Do-It-Yourself Screenprinting

Last summer my partner and I were living in London. The week before coming home to Canada we threw ourselves a going away party and made our guests bring a piece of clothing to put a print on. I had designed it and my partner had helped me make a screen of it. After all the booze was done and our kitchen and bathroom had successfully been coated in many colours of ink, we all put on our (mostly) dry shirts and hit the town. There are pictures of us all together looking like we should really be a tour group at Disney World following a flag. Most of us have moved and now my design is all over the world.

That was the first screen I made. I really loved sharing it with the friends I was sad to be leaving behind, and felt like I had finally found a medium to create art with, since I can’t draw to save my life.

I don’t think I would have invited Isaac, the protagonist in John Isaacson’s graphic How-To, to my party. A little bit annoying, Do-It-Yourself-Screenprinting is, however, a comprehensive introduction to silkscreening. Isaac builds his own screens, prints shirts in his living room, sells them on the street and (spoiler alert!) learns what it takes to print in a real shop.

If you’ve always wanted to screen print but don’t know how, everything you need to know is here, from what to buy to how to use it. If you’ve done it before but are still new to the game, it is the final chunk that is going to be interesting. Or at least it will make you want to drop all of your money and time into building your own workshop. The “Screenprinter Profiles” that pepper the comic are interesting glimpses into the lives of professionals, why they print and what they use. DIY Screenprinting is easy to read and easy to use and even a little encouraging. There is even a handy glossary to reference when you’re done the book.

Although the characters are clichéd and the actual story is unnecessary, the info is great and you won’t fall asleep reading the instructions. (Melissa Bovaird)

John Isaacson. $9, 192 pgs, Microcosm Publishing 222 S. Rogers St. Bloomington, IN 47404, P.O. Box14332 Portland, OR 97293, www.microcosmpublishing.com

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