"The Hermit and the Thief" is 14.5 x 20 inches. It depicts a dead hermit thrush holding the feather of a Steller's jay. Steller's jays are notorious nest thieves, and I imagined that the thrush had met an untimely end in pursuit of defending its eggs.
I started this piece one night thinking it would be a small side project, but it inexplixably turned into something that took far more care than I had initially planned. There are 9 layers in all, each one semitransparent so that they interact to create different patterns and textures when they are lain overtop eachother. Transparent layering is not something that is always utilized by contemporary (particularly commercial) screenprinters. I was taught to do things this way so I hold a certain bias, but I am very firm in my belief that it helps to achieve subtelties and textures that you can't get from fully opaque inks.
I used speedball ink mixed with its transparent extender base. I tend to mix the pigmented ink with the transparent base at a ratio that doesn't exceed 50/50, though there are exceptions. The more base you use, the easier it is to pull through the screen and the longer you have before it dries in the pores of the mesh and you have to wash everything out. Halfway through I switched to using exclusively Jacquard ink, which is exceptionally better than speedball. It has a texture like UV ink and tends to go down more smoothly with less 'tack' than speedball. It also seems like you need to mix less pigment with the base, which is remiscent of how I mixed colors when using the UV ink system.
Below, you'll find each layer and it's corresponding positives so you can begin to see how the different transparent layers build upon each other. I apologize that the quality is lacking for some of these photos, I snapped most of them while I was actively printing.
All of my positives are made using india ink. I use a rapidograph pen or just lay it down on the mylar with a paintbrush.