Screen Printing - February/March 2018 - 36
An interactive workshop could inspire future
andy MaCdougall, asdpt
he words "age appropriate" get thrown around a lot about
what young people watch on TV and what websites they visit.
The term is also relevant in screen printing. The pages of this
magazine usually address adults already in the industry. SGIA
Education Connection's scholarship awards (still open for
submissions: go to sgia.org/resource/other/sgia-scholarshipapplication) are aimed at college students. Many of the
student competitors in the annual Golden Image Awards at
the SGIA Expo come from high schools with amazing screen
But what about the little kids? Is it possible to deliver an ageappropriate art program introducing them to screen printing?
And why would you want to participate, as I recently did?
Because it's fun. Fun for the kids, and fun for the staff.
Because it's creative. With the right approach, you can
teach them a lot more than pushing ink through a screen. You
can help them create something they end up printing on a
shirt they can wear.
Because many kids and a surprising number of
adults don't understand things are "made." They only
know how to buy a product from Walmart or Amazon. Teach
them about being makers, not order takers.
Because analog matters. As kids become more attached
to a digital universe and addicted to their screens, many don't
get the opportunity to create with their hands. They rarely
feel the pride of crafting a useful object.
Most important to this industry, unless dad or mom works
in a print or design shop, today's youth have no idea we exist
as a place they may want to work one day. How's a kid going
to dream about being a screen printer when they grow up?
Liz Murdoch and Daryle Mills, who run the Bears after-school
youth group at the Wachiay Friendship Centre on Vancouver
Island, asked me about developing a program utilizing screen
printing for their kids aged 7 to 12 years old. In four sessions,
they wanted to familiarize the kids with the process, have them
create some art, give them a chance to print their shirts, and in
the end, leave them with a positive experience where they all felt
good about what they made and left with a desire to do more.
The first session was familiarizing them with the actual print
process. We set up two print stations, each with a cute bear image
- one to print on paper, the other on cloth. The explanation about
art, film, and exposing and washing the screen went over their
heads, but they were all eager to try once we pulled the first print
and they saw the image appear. They started on paper, and once
they mastered a print and flood stroke, they went to the second
station to print on a fabric square.
The second and third sessions had to do with the creation
of the art. Daryle is of Cree descent, a huge man with a big
heart and lots of stories, so the kids made a circle and listened
to his tale of a little mouse who went on a journey through
the forest to the mountains, and along the way met various
creatures. The kids were asked to draw characters from
the story on half sheets of paper with black markers. Our
artist, Rowan Helliwell, showed the kids how to sketch their
character first with pencil, and then how to ink it in with the
markers. We used medium-weight markers in order to ensure
decent line width.
The kids wrote their names on another sheet of paper.
During the third session, the story was repeated to the kids,
but this time they were much more involved, elaborating
on sections of the story with their own versions of what the
individual characters did. What amazed us was how without
prompting or suggestions, the group managed to independently draw all the characters from the story. (We also needed
trees.) By the end of the third class, we had all the characters
and trees we would need to create the story image.
Before the last class, we ordered white shirts. Rowan
scanned all the drawings, created a storyboard, and started
populating the image with the characters and the trees. We
knew each image would shrink considerably, so using the
thicker markers when the kids drew the images ensured the
line widths remained printable. The design for the back of the
shirt included all their signatures.
The kids were pretty excited when they saw the final design
illustrating the story on the screen. They picked up their shirts
and stood in line to print. With a little help (extra squeegee
pressure for some, and a stepstool for others), every kid was
able to print their own shirt. Once they came out of the dryer,
the kids grabbed a set of fabric markers and colored in their
shirts. The kids loved seeing their individual drawings come
to life as part of a bigger picture, on a shirt they could proudly
wear and tell their friends and family, "I made that!"
And this is why you take the time to get involved. This is
where young screen printers and graphic designers come from.
Andy MacDougall is a screen printing trainer and consultant based on
Vancouver island in Canada and a member of the Academy of Screen
& Digital printing technology. if you have production problems you'd
like to see him address in "Shop talk," email your comments and
questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Screen Printing - February/March 2018
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