Interview with DIY Screenprinting author John Isaacson!
We’re running a Kickstarter campaign right now to help fund one of thee most awesome DIY guides of all time: John Isaacson’s epic, wonderful, hilarious, helpful graphic-novel-as-silk-screening-manual Do-It-Yourself Screenprinting! Right now there are only a few days left until the Kickstartin’ is Kickstopped and it’s not lookin’ too hot. We could hella use your support on this one! If you’ve got a coin or two lying around, here’s the Kickstarter link. Now, without further adieu, meet John Isaacson. He’s a really amazing dude…
Q: Tell us how the book originally came about; where were you in your life?
A: I was discovering mini-comics for the first time in the early 2000s. I was a street vendor selling t-shirts I screenprinted. A lot of people bought shirts from me, but even more wanted to know how to print on their own shirts. They were like, “How do you do this?” So I would explain, and I tend to be a little long-winded, so their eyes would glaze over after a certain point. Then I realized, “Hey, I should just make a little mini-comic about how to silk screen and then more people will get what I am talking about. Then they won’t have to remember what I said; they could just look at it in a little book.”
Q: Do you remember your first screenprinting project?
A: I think it was a stencil of the Operation Ivy skanking punk. Either that or Kokopelli designs. Dancing people for the “Dance Weekend” event at my high school.
Q: What kinds of things are you screenprinting these days?
A: Mostly the odd poster here and there. A few comic book covers.
Q: What’s the first bit of advice you’d give a would-be screenprinter?
A: Be patient, be willing to start over from scratch, remain calm, think critically, and learn from your mistakes. Reuse materials to keep it cheap. Also, buy my book!
Q: Is there anything you wish someone would’ve told you when you were first getting started!
A: That you don’t need to wash out the emulsion with hot water after exposure. Also, that the spray from a spray bottle is not strong enough to remove emulsion.
Q: What kind of town is Portland for screenprinters?
A: Totally amazing. There are so many studios for printing in and great printers like Daria Tessler, Zack Soto, Kinoko, Keegan Meegan, Corinne Teed, Roger Peet, and E*Rock. I wish I saw more screenprinted posters on the street…
Q: What would you say you’ve learned most from screenprinting?
A: I’ve learned to solve problems creatively. I’ve learned to constantly trouble-shoot and always look for solutions, to never expect “perfection”, to experiment and try new things, and to be loose and not uptight.