In December of 2016, my oldest son presented me with a drawing he had done of the Deathtrooper, the new Imperial stormtrooper to be featured a few weeks later in Rogue One: a Star Wars Story. I’d been looking for an excuse to collaborate with my kids on a project, and the clarity of his line drawing seemed very well-suited to basing a screen print on it.

We decided to print a small frameable handbill with the design (available for purchase HERE), and below you can see the process of desiging and printing the pieces!

Weston's sketch

Here’s Weston’s original drawing. He did a great job capturing the character of these new troopers.

I scanned in his drawing and added a basic halftoned render that would be easy to print at its relatively small size (8″x10″). The green is just roughed in, as the plan was to draw that in later with either paint or marker (Weston wound up coloring each one by hand with a Copic marker).

Each of the two layers is printed out on transparency film to be used in the process of creating the screens for printing.

The screens are coated with a layer of UV light-reactive photo emulsion, under UV-free yellow lighting conditions. The transparencies are taped to the screens in preparation for the exposure process.

With the transparencies taped to them, the coated screens are placed on my homemade light box, where they are exposed to UV light for a few minutes. The areas of emulsion that are exposed to the light harden, while the areas blocked by the ink on the films remain unexposed.

The unexposed emulsion is then washed from the screens with water, and what remains is basically a stencil.

Tape is used to mask off the areas outside of the emulsion in order to contain the ink during the printing process. Pennies are taped to the underside of the screen to prevent the screen from resting directly on the paper during printing. If that occurs, the paper often sticks to the screen when it’s lifted up, and things get pretty messy.

Ink is on the screen, we’re not messing around! Although, yes, it can get rather messy…

Weston’s a cheerful shopmate, even if he lacks the proper forearm strength to properly pull a print.

“Do you expect me to talk?”

“No… I expect you to DRY!”

And here’s the finished product! (Available for purchase HERE) It was a fun project to work on together, and it’s the first of what I hope will be many collaborations with the kids.