If you’re used to traditional methods of screenprinting or silkscreening you might not be familiar with what’s referred to as the painterly approach. Or perhaps you’re an artist looking for more information about new mediums for your art.

Painterly screenprinting is the process of painting directly onto screens rather than printing. There are 2 methods of painterly screenprinting, both of which involve applying screen filler and inks by hand.

Create a template

Templates or stencils are useful for creating multiples of the same design. Artists painting one-of-a-kind pieces aren’t generally concerned with this. However if you’re producing a product with a hand drawn image you’ll probably want there to be more than one.

You can trace an outline onto the screen if you wish or work freehand. Using drawing fluid, simply paint your image or fill in the traced design. Drawing fluid is usually blue so it can be easily distinguished. Allow the drawing fluid to dry.

Next apply screen filler over the entire screen with your squeegee and let that dry completely. Once this is done use cold water to wash the screen. Only the area where you applied drawing fluid will come away. You can now use this screen over and over again like a template to print this design.

To clean the screen use stencil remover.

Use a negative image

This method offers the greatest freedom and may be the most natural for painters.

Instead of laying a stencil over your material you can create a negative image using screen filler. This means you don’t need to draw out your design with drawing fluid to then be washed away. Use the screen filler in clever ways on your screen, drawing outlines, blocking off certain areas etc, then use your squeegee to apply colour.

Play around with both methods and see what you can produce