How to Design Graffiti Screenprint Artwork

Screen-printing offers rich colored designs and quality images, which are not achievable with other techniques and this explains why it has become very popular recently with designer prints. The creation of a screen-printed design is not as easy as drawing and then printing. Screen-printing, limits the color palette by the number of inks used meaning you might need some tricks to develop the best images. Here are some steps on how to use these T shirt printers.

How to Design Graffiti Screenprint Artwork

Step 1: On the cover disc in Photoshop, open zombie.psd file. Blacken the sketch lines and eliminate gray areas by selecting Image > Adjust > Brightness and Contrast and then check the ‘Use Legacy’ box.

  • Step 2: In a new artboard (File > New), name your document ‘zombie print’ and then resize it to 297x420mm, at 300dpi resolution, and CMYK color mode. In a new layer (Cmd/Ctrl + Shift + N) named ‘outline’, set Multiply blending mode.
  • Step 3: Copy and paste the adjusted sketch (Cmd/Ctrl + C > Cmd/Ctrl + V) in a new document and then resize it to fit.
  •  Step 4: In a new layer named ‘Color 01’, color the illustration with the Brush tool.
  • Step 5: To add trapping to the colors, add a stroke to every color fill by Clicking Cmd/Ctrl + and then pick the first color layer. Select Edit > Stroke and enter the required stroke width.
  • Step 6: Change outline layer opacity to adjust the stroke. Let the colors stay within half outline.
  • Step 7: Give the design depth by shadows and highlights addition. Save the design by choosing File > Open and select design>open > ‘Flatten Photoshop layers to a single layer’ option. Lock (Cmd/Ctrl + 2) design and hide artboard.
  • Step 8: Add white highlights to design using pen tool. Select all highlights using the Selection tool (V) and copy-paste into Photoshop file. Rename as ‘highlights’ and rearrange.
  • Step 9: Redo step 7 using 20% black fill instead. Select and copy the shadows. In the Photoshop file, create a layer, ‘shadows’ and use multiply blending mode. Paste the shadows and rearrange the layers.
  • Step 10: Choose and copy the shadows again by selecting File > New, then paste shadows onto the artboard.
  • Step 11: Select Image > Mode > Bitmap, set output to 300dpi method to the Halftone Screen with a frequency of 45 lines/inch, 90º angle and Round shape.
  • Step 12: Choose All and then copy (Cmd/Ctrl + A > Cmd/Ctrl + C).
  • Step 13: Click on the main design window and then develop new layer ‘bitmap’. Use Multiply blending mode and paste new bitmap shadow.
  • Step 14: Click the eye symbol to hide the original shadow layer and then merge the bitmap and outline layers by selecting Layers > Merge Down (Cmd/Ctrl + E)
  • Step 15: Draw a grid on the outline layer in a three-pixel line, and block the color layers.
  • Step 16: Create color separations, go to Image > Mode > Greyscale and check ‘Don’t Flatten’. Use Levels feature (Image > Adjustments > Levels or Cmd/Ctrl + L), choose color black droplet, click on every color fill while leaving the highlight layer.
  • Step 17: Print the separations on film. Turn off every layer leaving the one to be printed, highlight, and print. Turn off the layer and the next layer for printing. After printing, tape every layer to a window ensuring they correctly line up and are 100% opaque black. Then you can proceed on to make the screens.