I made that shirt today. A bunch of us went over to Randy’s house for our first ever T-Shirt meats (hopefully not the last). You can see the rest of the shirts in the gallery below. For my design, I sketched it and turned it into a vector drawing using Inkscape on my Mac. Below is a rasterized version of the vector image I made — the one I used for the shirt is a 300 dpi version. Randy suggested that we come up with designs that use one color since that was the limitation on what we could do. I’ve been doing a lot of high contrast artwork lately, that not really a limitation for me.
My design is supposed to be done with white ink, after I made it, I had to have it inverted in Photoshop before it could be transferred to the transparency and eventually the silk screen. Randy guided us through the rest of the steps.
I couldn’t take pictures of the actual process for making this silkscreen template since you need to be in a dark room. The first step is to pour a photo emulsion into a trough and then scrape it across the screen — that’s what that vibrant pink stuff is. We let the screens dry for an hour in the darkness and headed off to a FedEx/Kinko’s store to get our art printed out onto transparencies. We developed the silkscreen photo emulsion in a light bed. The idea is to mark off the dark areas so the light hardens the emulsion except for where you want your art to peek through — at least that’s how I understood it. Using a power washer we blew the remainder away and that above is the final result. I believe you have to do the power washing in the dark room too otherwise all of the emulsion will develop and you won’t get your stencil.
As you can see mine was far from perfect. When I was spreading the emulsion over the silkscreen it ended up causing huge drips to slide down the front and set that way, but I’m happy to say that the image actually came through really well once we power washed the excess away. The rivulets of emulsion created another problem for me. We were afraid that when we got to the actual printing, the pink stuff might be ripped off the screen. To counter this I had to mask off the front and back.
I didn’t get any pictures of me printing my shirt, but here’s Randy printing his R-man shirt (you can see the final product in the gallery below). You lay the ink down on the screen and use the squeegee to give a layer of ink over the design. Place your shirt on a hard surface — we used an ironing board — put the screen over top of that and use the squeegee back and forth — while keeping the silk screen held down tight against the shirt — and you’ll print your design. I’m glossing over details but Randy’s the expert at how to do it correctly. There’s specific ways to hold the sequeegee and on removing the board so the design doesn’t get ruined when you pull it away. My shirt has some paint dabs on the bottom since I dropped a little bit of on there and I also smeared mine a bit, but regardless it turned out pretty well.
I think there’s a final step where you use a heat gun and bake the image into the shirt — that way you can wash the shirt without ruining the design. As for our t-shirts we were only able to make one-color. I’m not sure what’s involved in doing more colors or how much complexity that adds. I know vaguely what chemicals and inks we used — as in they are photo emulsion and white ink — but I don’t know much beyond that (cost, where to buy, etc.). There’s a great deal of waiting involved, but that’s why you put stupid movies on like Kung Fu Dunk. I imagine that movie was supposed to be like Shaolin Soccer but lacking all the charm and humor that Stephen Chow would bring.
As for anime, I’m currently watching Soranowoto on Crunchyroll. My brother tried to introduce me to it…oh, two years ago? I tried watching the first episode a few times, but couldn’t get through it without falling asleep. Finally, while I was making my vector art, I was able to break through that wall. I don’t really recommend it, but I’m compelled enough to finish it. I can’t say that any of the characters are interesting — I think this anime falls under the moe slice-of-life genre if you consider girls in military garb moe, but there are some interesting bits in the backstory that’s keeping me going. Also, if you squint hard enough the girls are reminiscent of Yui, Mio, Ritsu, Mugi, and Azusa dressed in drab G.I. greens. I don’t think the show was done by KyoAni, but I think its the eyes…it’s all about the eyes. Just look at them.