Block Printing Detail Class: Layering Colors and Shapes Like a Boss! | Danielle Broder | Skillshare

Block Printing Detail Class: Layering Colors and Shapes Like a Boss!

Danielle Broder, Designer

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7 Lessons (23m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Part 2: Tips for Designing Your Block

    • 3. Part 3: Tips for Color Selection

    • 4. Part 4: Tips for Layering

    • 5. Part 5: Color Mixing

    • 6. Part 6: Tips for Printing

    • 7. Part 7: Setting and Thank You!


About This Class


This is a follow up detail class to the "Printmaking Party!:  Block Printing on Fabric" class.  

In this class you will learn how to create a layered, dynamic pattern using one simple block.  You'll learn how to pick a color palette, create interesting negative space, and complete a beautifully unique piece of fabric, perfect for framing or sewing into whatever you wish.

Ideas for projects:

Tea towels

Pillow covers


Wall hanging

Tote bag



1. Welcome!: Hey, everyone. Welcome to my San Francisco studio on Danielle in this video today would be teaching how to create a block printed layering effect. But we're gonna be using just one simple block. We're gonna be using multiple colors. We're gonna stack them to create beautiful, complex pattern. So the first thing you need to do to start thinking about the design that you actually want later So let's get drawing and on to the next video. 2. Part 2: Tips for Designing Your Block: so the first step in creating the layered block print is actually create the base block. So for the base block, there's not a lot of rules. But it is nice to have something that's really simple, because the layering does make things a little more complex later on. So it's nice to keep it simple. And if you notice this guy has a lot of little cutouts in it, so it's like one basic shape, and then there's little cut outs with in it. So the cut outs are really nice because later on you'll see that the other colors will show through that. So that's one. That's another nice aspect of that. But this design I also created specifically for layering, same kind of thing. Here's a larger block and then a smaller block. He's also have really nice, um, little cutouts within them. So those air just like some aspects you can add to your block, it doesn't mean to be super complicated. Just keep it simple for the 1st 1 on Ben. From there, we're gonna go ahead and pick out your colors 3. Part 3: Tips for Color Selection: so I realized that this is not a digital illustration class and I've brought up illustrator . However, I'm going to show you what I do to create my patterns and the tools that I used to kind of see how things are gonna look before I get out the paint and waste my time and energy testing a bunch of designs that I don't even like. So I know that a lot of you are probably makers or people that enjoy crafting and working with your hands like I do. But if you have any interest in being able to preview your designs or test out color combinations quickly, I can't recommend picking up a few quick tips. And Adobe illustrator enough. I've been using it for years, and it has been extremely helpful when coming to drawing and repeating and especially layering my prints. Which is why I'm telling you this now. If you think that you're up for it, be sure to check out the Adobe Illustrator classes under my profile, you could be a total beginner with no illustrator experience, and I start with the very, very basics, so there's no need to be intimidated. It's actually very easy to get started. So anyways, that's my shameless plug. However, it is to your benefit and I hope you check it out. Let's move on to the layering. You can see I have this one shape on the left hand side of my art board. This is the block that you see in my pillow in the intro to this video. And this is where, uh, this is where it all started. I'm gonna show you a couple quick ways to pick colors. So here's the one thing that you need to know. If you are going to be layering a handful of colors, I recommend sticking to about two or three. You can definitely add more colors, but because the ink is pretty thick and it depends on the use, if this is just gonna be for the wall that it doesn't really matter. But if you're going to turn this into, like, you know, upholstery or something, I like to limit the number of layers of ink because it gets thick and and you can wash it. But I just I don't like the feel of it, So I'm going to do this one with three different colors in my layer, so you can see that I have a pink and orange and kind of like a burnt red. The trick that you need to know is that you need a light color, a medium color and a dark color. When I started kind of layering my designs initially, it was just kind of a no brainer. I would do the darker colors on the bottom and the lighter colors on the top, because that is what makes sense in my brain. Because, you know, if you put the light colors on the bottom, the dark colors will come. Cover them up and you won't see them. However, I learned, as I was printing pro tip that if you put dark colors on the bottom by the time that you get to the lightest top color, there's all this ink and it just ends up kind of blending in. So when you put the actual like lightest color directly onto the light colored fabric, it doesn't have to compete with anything underneath it. It's just sitting on top of the white so it shines through exactly how it should, and then when you move on to the next color, putting the darker on top. You know, it'll it'll cover up some of that pink, but the pink is still bright and shining through. This is the best way that I found to do things. So that is my pro tip for that situation. And now we're going to do a little bit of testing so you can kind of see how he did it. So first, I'm gonna grab these. I'm going to make a quick copy. This is just super basic illustrator stuff. You don't need to be doing this at all, but I'm just going to show you kind of how I do it. Alright. So first, I'm going to turn these all black, so I'm not distracted. Okay? Something. All right? I'm gonna go for something a little less Pinky. Um, I'm gonna pick up maybe, like, a blue color, So I'm going to start with my darkest color first over here. Um, maybe like a muted navy. Mm. Straight up. Okay. I like that. All right, so now I need to get my next color, which will be a medium color. I started out with a navy blue, so I know that on my color wheel. The complementary color to blue is orange, and you can usually go a little bit further. So what's next to orange? Yellow Green. So I know in general, those colors are going to work no matter, you know, no matter what, yellow or green or orange. Those were just gonna just complement each other. So I like blue and orange together. I might go, like with a little yellow orange. Mm. Kind of like a vintage e color. So I want it to be lighter. But I don't want it to be too late, because I don't want it to compete with the lightest color. And I don't want it to compete with the darkest color. Okay. All right. I think that looks good. It's not too dark. It's not too late. I might make it a little lighter. Uh, and now I'm going to move on to the lightest color. So this color definitely needs to be. It needs to have enough contrast from both of these colors, so I want something pretty light, but not to like that. It's not going to be, you know, invisible on the white, uh, fabric when I actually do go to print it, so I think that's pretty good. Maybe a little too. So I kind of like a cream color, but I feel like it's a little too orange. That's too close. Even a little lighter. Okay, I like that, coop. All right, so now we have a huge contrast between this light color and this dark color. That's what you're looking for right here. You're really looking at contrast, Thes two might be a little too close. Oh, dear. Okay, so I'm gonna I'm gonna actually make that a tiny bit lighter, but not too late. Okay, so this is kind of what you're after. You are after a dark color and medium color and a light color, and, you know, later on, I'm gonna go and mix these, like, actually with my hands and, you know, create a paint color, and I'm gonna play around with it at that point, and it may or may not work. It might not actually look good together. Maybe I can't achieve this color in a paint. I mean, highly doubtful. But, you know, there's always the chance of something, you know, going a little wonky. But this is you know, just my guideline that I can see that I really like these colors together. I don't have to go, you know, spend an hour mixing paint, wasting time and all my tools and my supplies to come up with something. I really don't like her. That doesn't work for me. Your you know, the contrast isn't good enough. So now I just like I already know what I'm gonna dio. So that's one way that you can dio some color Testing is an illustrator. Other times I will just go ahead and you know, I'll go through my colored pencils and I'll just kind of group them together until something looks good. I'll flip through magazines or I'll go into Pinterest and just kind of look at, you know, type in like navy, blue, gold, navy, blue and gold. And then pictures will pop up with those colors in them. And then maybe I can see if somebody added another color and just like an image that I really liked, like the contrast of the color. And then I can bring those colors back into my designs and kind of see if they would work well. So there's lots of ways you can pick colors. This is just kind of my process and how I do it and a little bit of illustrator knowledge. 4. Part 4: Tips for Layering: I'm just gonna go over really quickly. What types of designs work really well for layering. Like I was saying at the beginning of the video, you have this design right here, which I showed you on the pillow. It's basically one solid shape with parts within that that have been cut out. Now, these air really nice for layering because once you put them on top of each other, especially in multiple colors, you can see the other color from underneath. So, like I was saying, we're going to grab our lightest color and we're gonna put the other darker colors on top, and I can layer these as much or as little as I like. It's just kind of until I until it looks good until it feels right. It's all kind of subjective. So, like I said, I'm very symmetrical. So you're gonna see a lot of Rose. So, like, right here, I'm not really liking how that is overlapping. So maybe I will stagger these a bit, kind of like just half a step over, and then copy these. I kind of see how that will fit. Okay, so that's kind of interesting. There's not too much white. There's not too much color. It's interesting to look at. And now we still have a little bit of space for the blue so I can come over here and grab the blue and kind of hold it over. I kind of see what it's gonna look like. Uh, could maybe do it. Don't say to bring that forward quick. Okay, Right again up here. And I'm placing it kind in the general area of what? Where it would be okay. And then this one needs to get repeated over here real quick. And now we can kind of see, There we go. So there's a lot going on here. Like I said, this is all one simple design. There's still a lot going on. We got three colors. You got a lot of texture, a lot of little pieces that have been cut out in some negative space. So this is getting really interesting really quick. So that's one example of a design that you can create that will make a great layered block print moving on to a couple of other designs. This is kind of an interesting shape, and this is something that could also work really well. Gonna make a couple of copies of this one in different colors. Okay, so what's nice about this one is it's the same kind of deal. You have kind of a solid shape with parts that have been cut out away from it. So there's kind of half and half, so we'll make a couple more copies. You can see it like already I have barely even touched in. It's like looking awesome. So I'm willing to government one more. These kind of like you can overlap them. Like I said, as much or as little as I like, add different colors. I could even turn them around if I wanted. That would just have a completely different left to and group these together so you can see that same kind of thing. It's a really simple shape. Yet when you put it together, even the slightest overlap kind of creates these secondary shapes, and in turn, that makes it a really beautiful and complex design. So now I'm going to show you one that maybe won't work quite as well. So this one is kind of similar to this one over here, except that these pieces aren't attached there, kind of just floating. There's a lot more detail and a lot more interesting parts of this one, and that makes it maybe, like, a little bit too complicated. Because what's gonna happen is I'm gonna take it and I'm gonna train overlap it. I'm not quite sure where did go with it. And I'm losing a lot of that like, pretty detail that I spent so long to create, like the little pieces on the edges and you can't really see them. You can't really see these kind of like teardrop shapes. So for a design like this, it's it's not gonna be terrible. But it's definitely not your best option as faras layering. Okay, so now I have these guys, Let's try a couple of these kind of moving around. They're really simple. I could also rotate them. This one's a little bit boring, and it definitely works, but yeah, in general, this is okay. And last but not least, we have a solid shape without any cutouts within it. Now, as I take these, I'm going to kind of put them on top of each other. This could work OK in theory, but when you actually try to block print it. It's not gonna be as effective. And that is because when you print ink on top of ink, the pain will get kind of thick. You never know how it's going, how the colors will layer on top of each other and also these. There's nothing that's going to be showing through another shape, so it just gets up being kind of blocking and blobby. One option you can do with something like this is to kind of pull them apart a bit, so you have some little spaces in between, and that could be interesting, but I prefer to have to cut out pieces on top of each other. 5. Part 5: Color Mixing: now that you've learned how to select, your colors were ready to makes up these paints. Here I have three plexi glass, one for each shade of eat. I've decided that I want to shades of turquoise and possibly a very dark third color. First, I'm gonna mix up the lightest shade, which, as we talked about before, it will be our base shade. And that will be the color that we print with First. Remember that we always start with the lightest color and end with the darkest. Next, I'm going to mix up the medium color. I've kind of eyeball the amount of black, and if it ends up being too dark in the end, then I'll either have to make it lighter or possibly make the third color very, very dark. As that mixing this, I'm comparing it to the lighter turquoise to see if they will blend together. Right now, I can already tell that it's gonna be pretty dark, so if I do use 1/3 color, it will have to be pretty close to black. I'm a print the 1st 2 colors and see if I want to add the third color when I get there now we're ready to print with our latest color. Grab your fabric, ironed out any creases, Turn on so good jams and let's get this party started. 6. Part 6: Tips for Printing: so I'm gonna get started now with my first color and my leaf block. The first thing that I'm going to do is to give it a good coat with my roller. If this is your first time printing with this block, make sure to coat it with a little extra ink and maybe add a little bit more pressure. His first prints are often a little bit like The great thing about printing in layers is that the placement can be extremely random, and you won't have to spend a ton of time worrying about things landing up. In short, it's more fun. Each time I finish a print, I make sure to re ink the block with my roller. I will usually start in the center of the fabric and work towards the edges while leaving some space in between toe allow for the other colors later. Now I have completed my first layer of prince. Next up, I'm going to be printing with the darkest turquoise color. I've already allowed my first layer to dry for a few hours and we're ready for the second layer of Winston dried my leaf block thoroughly, and now I'm recoding it with the dark turquoise. Now that my block is coated, I need to decide where to place it. Usually I'll place it in one of the larger blank areas where it's not completely overlapping the first prints, but just partially covering some of the edges. I'll apply heavy pressure, especially on my first print. Then I'll slowly peel up the block when I think that the print is done. Getting the effect that you want is usually a balance between the amount of ink and pressure. This will take some trial and error at the beginning, but once you get started, it's easy to get the hang of it. Once the first print is placed, I will just continue on using the same process. I'll make sure to re ink my block after every print and space out the colors proportionately so that although the design is random, the colors will read is consistent throughout the fabric. We now have the second layer completed again. I've allowed this to dry for a few hours so that the colors won't blend as much and will allow for a sharper contrast. I've decided to make my third and final color black I have it all ready to go on my plexi glass as well as my roller. I'll grab my block that have washed and dried again, and I'll give it a good coat of ink. You can see that there's still a fair amount of white showing through which will give the design some breathing room even once the third color has been printed. I'm making sure to completely coat the block with ink because it has just been washed and dried. So in order to get a nice solid print, I will need a little extra rain. I'm going to place the block in some of the remaining white space to start after I do a few prints. I always make sure to take a minute and step back from the fabric so that I could get a better picture. This ensures that I don't end up with too many prints in one area or big holes of white space in another. This is also where I have to start really paying attention to how things overlap. Don't be afraid to cover some of the other colors, especially with the darker shade. I like to rotate them so that they're all not facing the same direction, and I also try to keep the spacing consistent. Once I'm done with all my prints, I'm going to let the entire piece completely dry because there are multiple layers of paint . I will play it safe and let it dry overnight. After it's dry, I will iron the entire piece of fabric to set it. Or you could just follow the instructions. According to the paint that you purchased. You could choose to wash it to soften it at this point, or you may not need to, depending on what you're using it for. If you're planning on sewing it into pillows and you don't like the feel of the dried ink, you can toss it into your washer on a delicate cycle after you said it. If you just want to hang it up or frame it for some handmade wall art, then it probably won't matter and it's up to you. So now you've completed the entire process. Congratulations on making your first layered block print. Stay tuned for more project based block printing courses coming up soon 7. Part 7: Setting and Thank You!: So now we have the finished products. It tried color layer is a fabric ready for sowing with hanging stretched a second frame it . So what is Whatever light dish holds the only thing fabric it if you're gonna give it, actually watch later. You just have to be sure keeps any which will require turning it over, eat side down, driving higher, no scene and then just hit it for a minute and then you should be good to go so