Monthly Archive for June, 2008

update on space helmet project 3

so just for clarity’s sake the previous post on this can be found here.

as the end of the last post suggested i was coming up dry on source images for a space helmet so i went on ebay and bought a 1970’s russian space helmet. yes, it is awesome. i knew it would be pretty cool but its better than i expected with a whole assortment of hoses, levers, clamps and plugs.

space helmet actual

so after i got this i took some photos of my roommate wearing it and printed out a photo and started working it as a small 5inx8in stencil. my first attempt below is playing with minimal face highlights to highlight the bone structure in face and give a ghastly skull look. while i do like how this came out i felt it reminded me too much of a storm trooper.

space helmet stencil 1

like i said, i liked the way this came out but i needed to make some slight changes in the face. and i wanted the stencil to be at least life size so i opened it up in photoshop to get a handle on the stencil bridges and how i was going to work it.

i blasted out the contrast and went gray scale and then i used threshold to get the white/dark balance to where i wanted it. i had to use four separate threshold layers because it would look perfect somewhere and too light or dark somewhere else. so after compositing most of the helmet i had about three different versions of the face and i ended up doing a composite on the face too. one had eyes but no face and the one with a full face had a sark shadow where the eyes would have been. so once i got it right i put it in illustrator and printed it out as tiles and stuck em to the paper. noe the streaky print. these areas will be cut out anyway so i didnt need a clean headed printer to get a solid print out anyway.

large space stencil large space stencil 2

so then comes the pain in the ass of cutting the stencil. next update i will show the first prints.

update on space helmet project 2

this is an update on a previous thread where i showed what i have been working on.

again i will mention that I’m more along in the project than my posting about the project but it is HOT as blazes here in boston and i think I’m going to take a bit of time off working on the project till it gets a bit cooler. it is just too damn hot and breathing in the spray paint in the sun is killing me.

but i still have many updates to fill in till i get going again.

so in the last update i showed the sketches i was working on for a show in early may. i had this image i was working on but i couldn’t really get my hands around it. i wanted to go big for this show so i just went for it and did everything freehand. which is very out of character for me. i usually thrive on the clean lines and well thought out placement of things and i measure everything out to be where i want it geometrically. this next picture is the final painting using spray paint and paint marker measuring 24inches by 48inches.

space helmet painting 1

i will say right off i didn’t really like the way this came out. as expected the minor measurement discrepancies really annoyed the shit out of me. it was windy out and some of the drips were flattened and some hooked out to the sides. being on a deadline i rushed some of the tape off parts and left some tape texture i had to paint over. but after thinking about it for a while i liked the way the drips came out. the drips are supposed to be wild and uncontrolled. i just really hated the way the helmet came out. i just could not find the source imagery i was looking for. i was really pumped up on the idea though and i wanted to continue.

so the next step for me was trying to get my hands on an actual space helmet.

Silk Screen Printing Tutorial

How to Screen Print a Poster

i am not a good screen printer. i know how to silk screen and i often silk screen projects but I’m just only competent. so when people ask me how to silk screen or if i can teach them how to do it i get kind of hesitant because they will see how loose and flimsy my process is. I’m not sure anyone needs to hear me say, “and then link you kinda do this….ish” that much in such a short amount of time.

but lucky for me and especially lucky for you and my friends I found this amazingly comprehensive guide written by Anthony Skirvin.

what i love about this guide is that this guy really breaks down all the steps that lose people and are harder to explain. most of the guild is very DIY which is good for the casual or beginner printer. for instance he uses a sunny window instead of a light table. the parts where he does use professional level equipment he makes sure to mention in good detail how you can get away with using household or hardware store supplies to get a similar result.
another reason the guide is great because other guides you will find on the subject are for one color designs, figuring the difficulty level too high for the beginner [I am guessing]. but this guide does better than most teachers in explaining how to create a multi color screen print. so most people should feel pretty confident trying this out on their own. or at least the same level of confidence they have as making a one color screen print.

screen print

the only and i do mean ONLY area of the guide i have a bit of an issue with is the process of actually squeegeeing [thats pulling the ink through the screen on to the paper] is vague. when i was learning screen printing, the art of the squeegee was the hardest for me to grasp. there are a lot of small details and tips to be a good squeegee puller. but with everything in life this is something you get better at the more you do it. its just frustrating getting all the setup correct and then trashing paper after paper with improper technique. this is still my weakest skill in the entire process of screen printing so i will end this post with a few of my Squeeegee Pulling Tips:

  • ♦ never change the direction you squeegee on a single print, it shifts the flow of ink and can slightly nudge the paper when you change directions. so go in one direction and only switch pull direction with a new unprinted item.
  • ♦ pull towards you. this is for control of the squeegee blade.
  • ♦ don’t lift up the screen unless you are done with that single print. if you lift up and go back down to do another pass you will most likely have moved the paper a tad and it will look doubled.
  • ♦ keep the blade [rubber part of the squeegee] at a 45degree angle to the screen.
  • ♦ use the correct pressure. you want to have just enough force to touch the screen to the paper and drag towards you. too much pressure will have too much ink going through making the ink seep into the underside of the screen making your print have fuzzy edges and giving a outline effect.
  • ♦ keep an eye on the amount of ink you have to spread. if you don’t have enough you will get ghost images.
  • ♦ on a fresh screen or having spotty areas try flooding the screen by dragging ink across it with out putting downward pressure onto the paper. this readies the mesh by filling it with paint so all you have to do is go over it again with pressure.
  • ♦ have somewhere to put your squeegee down. this sounds obvious but the paint gets everywhere and its a good idea to make some sort of V stand to keep the blade pointing upwards.

so i hope this helps anyone out there. again i am not a good screen printer and I’m bad at instructing people on how to do things so if this makes no sense or you feel i have made an error please let me know and i will try to do amend. but i do recommend that if you are reading this and are at all interested in doing some DIY printing then follow the guide. screen printing is a pain in the ass and more than once I’ve said to myself “never again” but its one of the more useful skills i have and I’m always happy with myself when I’ve finished the project.

in the future i will post about where to get great screen supplies at good prices.

update on new project

its been a while since I’ve updated on my personal artwork here which is pretty much the real goal of this site and i have not been making my 3 post per week goals but hopefully that will change right now. I’m working on a project right now which is kind of an off shoot of a series I’ve been working on for a while that kind of on the back burner for a bit. ill post more about that one later.

i think some of the issues that hold me back from posting my own work on here is that i rarely feel that something is totally finished even though in actuality it is done. also i don’t really name my projects too well. ill have a tentative general name for projects just to keep them organized in my head but when talking about them, it just sounds stupid. and my last issue and the most important but also the silliest is that i am paranoid and don’t want my ideas and work to be ripped off. i realize this is silly because if you don’t show work for fear of plagiarism then no one will see your work.

so with that said im going to put aside these issues, as i promised myself i would when i made this blog, and start posting pictues of my work in progress, unfinished, stupid names and out there to be plagerised for the sake of making this blog interesting.

what I’m working on now is what I’m calling the ’spaceman’ image. last year i started a project series i was calling ‘gold blood’ but i think I’ve started to settle on the series being called ‘the golden deaths of Mr. blood’, which i realize is also a stupid name but i like it for now. this series has about 7 images that has a blood red background a white foreground object with black line work and gold blood. ill do more details for a later post when I’m actually back on that series fully. one of the images i was working with for this series was a astronaut helmet dripping with gold blood. i didn’t think it worked well with the other images and i shelved the idea for a while. a few months ago i was asked to be in a show for early may and i took this image of the space helmet and started working on it again. now to be honest i am farther along in this process but for now i will post updates on how i began fleshing it out.

here we have the sketches for the helmet. i sketch on a good quality velum with a soft pencil as you will see below.

sketches for the space helmet

if you enlage the picture you may be able to get a sense of what i was going for. and yes i write fuck a lot when i sketch. this next picture is an enlargement of the image i ended up using for the final painting.

space helmet sketch close up

in a few days ill post pictures of the final painting and my progress with the image.