How to Print Like Warhol | Tate

Discover how artist Andy Warhol made his colourful and iconic silkscreen prints.

From Brillo boxes and black bean soup to portraits of films stars, Andy Warhol is famous for his bright and bold paintings and prints that celebrate 1960s popular culture. This style of art is called pop art.

Printmaking appealed to Warhol as it allowed him to repeat a basic image and create endless variations of it by using different colours or sometimes adding paint to the printed surface.

Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?
Andy Warhol

In 1972, Warhol made a series of screenprints of Chairman Mao, the leader of communist China. Mao may seem an unlikely celebrity, but in the early 1970s America’s president, Richard Nixon, visited Beijing and Mao’s portrait was everywhere – making him something of a contemporary icon. Warhol used a photograph from the cover of the Little Red Book (a book of quotations by Chairman Mao) as the starting point for his portrait.

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List of Materials for ‘How to Print like Warhol’:

Making the stencils

• High Contrast Black and White Image (e.g. photo of Michael Manley)
• Tracing paper (to print the image onto)
• Paint brush
• Black acrylic paint
• Drafting film (for autographed/hand-painted stencils)
• Photographic positive (created by printing the black and white image onto the tracing paper)

Making the screens

• photo-emulsion + sensitizer (mixed together to create photo-sensitive emulsion to coat on the screen)
• screens
• Coating trough
• Drying cabinet
• Exposure unit (in which to expose the screens)
• Water / hose (to wash off the emulsion after exposure)

Making the inks

• acrylic paint
• acrylic screen printing medium

Making the prints

• Hinge/Jiffy clamps
• Secure base (e.g. mdf board fixed to table top)
• Masking tape & Parcel Tape
• Spatula
• Cutting mat + Stanley knife
• Card (to create registration marks)
• Acetate (to create registration sheet)
• Squeegee
• Paper for printing
• Sponge
• Bucket & Water
• Newsprint


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