'How I Produce My Illustrations' by Rich Banks

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I am often asked how I produce my work, do I use Illustrator or photoshop? You can’t of drawn that by hand!!! I have been accused of selling digital or Giclèe prints as screen prints, because people don’t understand that you can screen print fine lines. They expect screen prints to be very bold. So I thought I would write a blog post explaining the processes I use to produce my drawings and screen prints.

Every illustration I draw and screen print I produce, starts the same way. I sit down with a blank a3 220gsm Windsor and Newton sketchbook, and divide the page into quarters. This gives me the center point of the page (Yes i am OCD). So If I end up exhibiting the illustration I know it will work in a frame. (Not be off centered accidently) If I am working from an image I will grid my page out, normally a 2cm square grid. I will do the same with the image I am working from. If I am working from my own imagination I will leave the page quartered. The next step is to draw the outline of whatever it is iam drawing, so I can gauge the scale of the illustration.

The next step is the most annoying, you feel like your not getting anywhere. That is to fill in the detail of the illustration with a 2h pencil. 2h pencils are my pencil of choice because they leave less smudging. I try to fill in as little detail as possible because I like working straight in pen as much as I can. Once I have done this I will go back over the lines I want to be inked thicker, to make them darker. This is to avoid any confusion when I am inking the illustration.

The next step is to ink the drawing. I use six different weight pens to do this. I use a 1mm uni posca pen. Then 0.05mm, 0.1mm, 0.3mm, 0.5mm and 0.7mm Staedtler Fine Liners. The black in the poscas is a lot darker and a slightly thicker line than anything Staedtler have, which creates a nice contrast. Before I touch the page with a pen I will decide which lines are going to be drawn in which weight, this is so there is no confusion and leads to less accidents. Once the ink touches the page there is no getting rid of it, so be sure about what you want to do!!

I will then fill In the 1mm lines, followed by the 0.7 and 0.5 lines. These lines are always the outlines of the illustration. I will then use the other pens to fill in the detail. This is the most time consuming part of any illustration for me. I always use stippling and hatching to create the detail and gradients in my work. This is mainly done with a 0.3mm Staedtler. This style of drawing, can be screen printed. You can’t screen print a digitally produced gradient! Or a gradient produced with a pencil.

My whole drawing style changed once I started screen printing my work. I needed to learn how to create depth and shadow with a pen rather than a pencil. I had always drawn using a pencil, now I draw everything i do using black pens. I use hatching, cross hatching and stippling to create the depth and shadow.

I hope this has given you an idea of how i create my work without being too boring!! I am going to do another post in a few weeks, following on from this one. About how i produce my screen prints. Hopefully that one will be better written, and more interesting. Im still getting used to the idea of blogging and sharing my thought processes!

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