Draw up a concept sketch directly in Photoshop using a graphics tablet and a soft, transparent brush style. Block in the shading quickly, as this will be your guide.
Resolution is crucial when illustrating screen print artwork in Photoshop. Set file DPI to at least 600, keeping the drawn lines crisp when zooming in at 100% and adding detail.
Add a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer above the sketch to make it less distracting. Set Hue at 205, Saturation at 100 and Lightness at +85. Apply an opaque, pressure-sensitive hard brush to digitally ink your sketch on a separate layer titled ‘Outlines’.
Choosing the number of colours in your design is the next step. Remember – the more colours, the higher the production costs will be. Three to five in a swatch should suffice for a poster or T-shirt design.
A Pantone Uncoated Color guide is a necessity for artists creating pieces for screen print. Your printer will ask you for the PMS ink colours, and with this guide you’ll have them ready to add.
Apply each colour on a separate layer beneath your ‘Outlines’ layer, working from dark to light – in this case orange through to white. Keeping colours on separate layers makes it easier to change them at any time.
The fabric or paper colour you’re printing to can be incorporated. For example, in this design we applied green dots on a new top layer to let the shirt colour show through in the print.