Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop tutorial: Design a graffiti-style screenprint artwork

Screen-printing gives your designs fantastically rich colour and a quality of image that just isn’t possible with most other techniques – which partly explains why it’s become so hugely popular for designer prints in the past few years.

However, creating a screen-printed design isn’t as simple as drawing something and then hitting Print. With screen-printing, your colour palette is limited by the number of inks you can use, which means you need a few tricks up your sleeve if you’re going to create the best images possible.

Design studio Waste started making screen-prints with a home-made set-up in their garage, where they produced simple one-colour posters. They quickly found themselves bitten by the screen-printing bug. Now they have a professional print studio in a basement of an old hardware shop in Nottingham.

In this tutorial you’ll learn how to colour up a four-colour design for screen-printing using Photoshop and Illustrator. There are insider tips on how to give your image more depth using highlights and shadows, how to create halftone fills that create two tones from one colour, and how to create colour separations.

Even if you’re not going to screen-print your designs, this shows you how to convincingly fake the look.

Step 1
Open the file zombie.psd on your cover disc (or from the Zip file opposite) in Photoshop. If you’re creating your own piece of art for this tutorial, scan it in at 300dpi in greyscale. Next adjust the sketch to make the lines black and get rid of any grey areas. Choose Image > Adjust > Brightness and Contrast, tick the ‘Use Legacy’ box and tweak the brightness and contrast until the lines are as black as possible.

Step 2
Create a new artboard (File > New) and in the new window name the document ‘zombie print’ and resize it to 297x420mm, setting the resolution to 300dpi, and the colour mode to CMYK. Create a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N). Name the layer ‘outline’ and set the blending mode to Multiply.

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