Mark resist experiment


The problem was that a lack of knowledge meant the range of marks I’d been able to achieve using silkscreen printing was limited. I’d worked around this by using a mixed media approach to create hand painted backgrounds. The results of this technique were interesting but not consistent and not viable for producing anything other than small runs.


Using mark resist would allow be to create a range of marks and textures that would transfer onto a screen and subsequently onto paper.

This would allow me to draw a ‘positive’ image by working directly from observation using rapid and expressive marks. The image would then successfully transfer onto a screen and then onto paper.

Making a test print would allow me to identify materials that produce interesting effects.

Expected results

Some materials would work and some wouldn’t.

I would learn enough from the test print to make my first print using this technique.

What happened

I created a test strip by drawing an 4 x 3 grid on a sheet of mark resist. Each rectangle on the grid was then filled with textures/shapes/lines using a range of materials and drawing tools including:

  • Posca Pen
  • Indian ink
  • Drawing ink
  • Pencil
  • Charcoal
  • Water soluble crayon
  • Water soluble coloured pencil
  • Sharpie
  • Fine liner
Fig 1 – Test strip using different materials
Fig 2 – Test strip with captions to identify materials used

The image was transferred onto a screen by exposing it to 4-units of light.

Screen mesh was 90T.

Printing was done in the following sequence:

  • Flood screen
  • Pull image
  • Flood screen
  • Repeat

I pulled two prints.

Fig 3 – Test strip print
Fig 4 – test strip print with captions to identify materials used

What I learned

I was able to produce a wide range of different and interesting marks using mark resist.

Materials that seemed to work particularly well included:

  • Indian ink in whatever way it was applied
  • Inktense colour pencils
  • Water soluble crayon
  • Charcoal (although this was not stable an smudged very easily)
  • Soft pencil
  • Posca pen for a very black but varied mark

The best results seemed to be from the densed/darkest marks and tones. For example, Sharpie pens that give a rather opaque effect on the mark resist didn’t transfer at all well onto the screen.

I tried using mark resist during a life drawing class and came up with some interesting results, although many of the drawings failed because I was using water based paints that separated.

What I’ll do next

Create some life drawings and reportage drawings using this technique to see how much of the expressive quality that I achieve using paper will transfer to a print, and what new creative opportunities this will bring.

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