I’m gonna nerd out for a minute about overprinting. First of all, I love screen printing and letterpress, and I love color – bright saturated color! The only problem is that I don’t have room for a screen printing set up at my place so I have to pay for my art show prints from surplus cash flow. A 1 or 2 color poster isn’t too expensive, but a 5 color poster is f’n crazy expensive.
Here’s a little trick that lets you use the color wheel to your advantage. I’ve got the above print by Aesthetic Apparatus in my living room and I bought it back before I knew a damn thing about the process of screen printing. When I first framed it I realized that it’s only a 3 color print even though it appears to be a 5 color print. Here’s the deal. All of the bright/saturated colors like yellow, red and magenta are semi-tranlucent so if you print them on top of other colors, you get a new color. Dark colors, White and pastels are opaque so they need to be printed first on the lower layers. The only problem with this technique, is that unless you’re printing the work yourself and have time to do a color study (or in my case, my buddy Kevin did one for me) the result is a complete surprise. Using a multiplied transparency in illustrator/PS can give you an idea, but it’s all a guessing game.
So the reason I’m going on and on about all of this color theory/printing talk is because of how impressed I am with this simple 3 color print by Jude Landry. Using a combination of overprinting, halftones and crosshatching, he’s made what appears to be a 12 color print using yellow, cyan and magenta. What a brilliant poster.