How to Make a Screen Print from Your Procreate Art

How to Make a Screen Print from Your Procreate Art

There's nothing more fulfilling than printing your work. In this tutorial, we'll show you how to create a screen print of your Procreate work using ColorLab for Procreate.

I’ll also give a brief overview of the screen printing process with some tips on how to get the best results including prepping your Procreate artwork for print, color separation, setting your supplies up to print and more.

Don't want to do the actual screen printing? Just follow the tutorial to step 5 and your screen printer can take care of the rest.

NOTE: These steps can also be applied to ColorLab for Photoshop, Illustrator, and Affinity, we are just using the Procreate version for this demonstration.

1. Tools Needed

  • Matsui Water Based Process Inks in Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black
  • Matsui Transparents Base
  • Packing Tape
  • Off White Card Stock Paper (100 weight or more)

2. Creating the Black Line Work Layer

When you open one of the ColorLab paper texture files, it will have some pre-made layers to create your art so that it has an authentic vintage feel.

Take a picture of your sketch with your iPad.

Create a new layer underneath the “Adjust Ink Effects” and “Adjust Texture” layers and name it "Sketch."

iPad with Paper texture in Procreate with layers panel open and sketch layer created

Tap the Actions (wrench) icon in the top left corner. Tap Add and Insert a Photo. Locate the photo you just took of your sketch and select it.

Scale the sketch to fit your canvas.

iPad with paper texture in Procreate with Actions panel open and Add button selected.

Create a new layer underneath the “Adjust Ink Effects” and “Adjust Texture” layers and name it "Black." Save the layers labeled “Yellow”, “Red” and “Blue” for later.

Using the Ramen Brush from the Pen and Print Brushes that come with ColorLab, ink your black line work on your black layer.

When you are done, delete your sketch layer or turn it off by clicking the check box on the layer.

Black line art on top of paper texture in Procreate with Layers Panel open and layer labeled Black is selected

3. Creating the Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow Layers

Once you have your line art, we will begin to color our image with the ColorLab brushes.

You will use the ColorLab Color Chart to determine your color formulas, which tell you which brush and color you need to use. If you have any questions about how to choose the color formula, please refer to the How to Use the Color Chart tutorial video that comes with the pack.

Make sure to only use colors from the ColorLab palette with their corresponding brushes, in their designated layer. This is especially important to ensure your color layers will be set up correctly for screen printing.

I can’t stress this enough: use the right color with the right brush on the right layer or none of this will work. You can always refer to the How to Use Brushes & Swatches tutorial video that comes with the pack if you have any questions about matching the correct swatches, brushes, and layers.

Black ink line work on top of a paper texture in Procreate on an iPad

Let's start by creating our Red/Magenta layer. Select the Red layer in the layers panel.

Choose the Red swatch from the ColorLab Color Palette. Using the Red ColorLab brushes, color in your red areas. Remember, the Red brush that you use will be determined by your ColorLab color formula.

Black line work artwork of zombie brain freeze with magenta color layer added

Next, we will create our Yellow layer. Select the Yellow layer in the layers panel.

Choose the Yellow swatch from the ColorLab Color Palette. Using the Yellow ColorLab brushes, color in your yellow areas.

At this point, you will see your colors start to mix together. Adding blue in the next step will bring it to it's final color.

Next, we will create our Blue layer. Select the Blue layer in the layers panel.

Choose the Blue swatch from the ColorLab Color Palette. Using the Blue ColorLab brushes, color in your yellow areas.

This step will show our colors as they will appear in print. For example, the Blue 3 brush, drawn in the Blue layer, overlapping the Yellow brush in the Yellow layer creates the green of the zombie’s skin.

💡Top Tip: For this piece, I found that scaling my halftone size to 75% would look best.

To change the scale of your brush, click the brush twice. This will open up the Brush Studio. In this menu, tap to Grain on the left hand menu. Tap the number in the Scale slider and type in 75%.

Note: You have to scale all the other halftone brushes to 75% as well. Not doing so will result in misaligned halftones.

Procreate Brush Studio menu with Scale percentage of 75 being typed in on iPad

4. Registration Marks

I would recommend exiting your artwork here, going to the Procreate home screen, and duplicating your art. What you’re about to do will mess up the pretty art you made and you probably want to save a copy of the digital version of your poster.

Go to the duplicated art and do the rest of these steps there so that you have a version of your art preserved, as you had intended it to look.

On your line work layer, draw registration marks in each of the 4 corners. Registration marks are a cross or an X inside of a circle. Make them small and give plenty of space between them and your image.

Zoomed into zombie drawing in Procreate showing registration marks added in top left corner

Now replicate them exactly on each of your color layers beneath. I did this by clicking my line work layer twice and choosing Select from the option list it brought up. This selects all of the pixels on that layer. Once selected, I went to my Yellow layer and colored in the registration mark areas that were selected.

Go through each layer and do this so that they all have registration marks that line up exactly with each other.

5. Create Your Positives

Go to your layers and hide the ones labeled “Adjust Ink Effects”, “Adjust Texture” and your paper texture at the bottom. Now you just have your art on a pure white background.

Next, go to the Yellow layer. Select this layer and then go to the magic wand in the upper left of your screen. This will bring up the Adjustments panel. From here, click Hue, Saturation, Brightness.

With yellow layer selected,  Adjustments panel open with arrow pointing to hue, saturation, brightness option in Procreate on iPad

3 sliders will pop up in the bottom of your screen. Go to the Brightness and slide it all the way down to None. This will turn all of your yellow to black.

Go through each color layer and do this so all of your colors are now black.

Now isolate each layer and export it as a jpeg.

Do this by hiding every layer but your Black line work layer. Tap the Actions (wrench) icon in the top left corner, tap Share, and then tap JPEG.

Then hide that and only show the yellow layer. Now export that one. Do this until you have exported all 4 of your image layers.

Black ink drawing layer in Procreate with Actions panel open and Share options selected on iPad

From here, you can either send your files to a screen printer to print it for you or you can do it yourself. Below, I will give an overview of how to do it yourself.

💡Top Tip:If you are completely new to this, I would recommend watching YouTube videos on how to screen print and talking to printmakers to troubleshoot. While this is absolutely something you can learn and do in your home, it takes studying, practice and a lot of trial and error to master.

6. Get Your Screens

Send your image files to your local screen printing supply store and have them burn screens for you. Make sure to have them use a mesh count over 200 to preserve your details best. I used a 230 mesh count screen for mine.

If you don’t have squeegees and hinge clamps, pick those up while you’re at the screen printing supply store.

7. Prepare Your Screens and Inks

Tape off the edges on the inside of the screen where there is no emulsion. This will prevent ink coming out of the edges. On the other side of the screen, tape over your registration marks.

Zombie brain freeze image burned onto screen printing screen

Secure your screen with the Cyan or Blue layer into the hinge clamps that are fastened to the table you are using for printing.

I have my hinge clamps fastened to a homemade vacuum table. This table is a box with a series of holes drilled in that I can attach a vacuum hose to.

When the vacuum is turned on, it will suck the paper flat against the table. This will prevent my paper from moving while I print so that I can reduce error.

A vacuum table isn’t completely necessary for printing. I almost never use one. But, I’ve noticed it can make the printing of halftones much more accurate so I am using one this time.

Once fastened, create a spacer at the end of the screen closest to you, so it does not rest on the table. I did this by taping a small stack of paper tabs under both of the metal corners of the screen. You can also do this with coins or basically anything about 3 pennies thick. This will make it so that the screen only touches our paper when we are doing a pass of ink.

An example of creating a spacer in between the table and screen using a small stack of paper

I added a bunch of transparent base to my inks this time and got much more accurate results. I mixed my colors ⅓ transparent base and ⅔ ink, adding a very small amount of water to thin it out.

8. Register Your Paper

Tape a copy of your line work layer to one of the same pieces of paper you will be printing on, so that it is centered. This will be our Key.

Black line work key taped on top of white piece of paper

Slide your paper underneath the screen. Adjust your page so that all of your registration marks line up.

Example of screens being registered and not registered

Now tape down paper tabs to mark the bottom right corners of your page. These will be used to make sure that every page we print gets printed in the same spot.

This is extremely important. If you do not register each layer carefully, your layers will not line up correctly and all of your prints will be offset.

Zoom in of black line key taped on top of white paper

💡Top Tip: Select a paper that is off white and as close to the color of your digital mock up if you want to maintain that vintage look. Use a cover paper that is 100 weight or more so your paper doesn’t buckle from the wetness of the inks.

9. Print

Remove your key from the registration tabs and replace it with a fresh sheet of paper. Pour a small amount of cyan ink on the top of your screen, away from the image.

Using your squeegee, make a pass of ink across the image burnt into your screen. Press firmly, with your squeegee angled slightly towards you. Maintain the same pressure and speed throughout your pass.

Illustration of hand holding a squeegee demonstrating how to angle it for a successful pass of ink

Rest the squeegee in the back portion of your screen and carefully retrieve the paper you have printed. Place that page flat on a drying rack or other surface. Continue through, printing the rest of the pages you have set aside with your cyan layer.

Posters with blue color layer screen printing resting on drying rack

Once dry, gather all of your printed pages and stack them next to your table to be printed with your next color. Repeat the steps from registration to printing for your Magenta layers.

Screen printed poster with cyan and magenta layers printed

Repeat the steps from registration to printing for your Yellow layer.

Screen printed poster with cyan, magenta, and yellow layers printed

Repeat the steps from registration to printing for your Black layer.

Burned screen of black key line art with black ink resting on top before being passed

Do this in order from Cyan to Magenta, to Yellow, to Black every time.

Voila! You’ve successfully screen printed a retro comics looking poster using ColorLab from RetroSupply!

4 color screen printed poster of zombie brain freeze using ColorLab by RetroSupply


Robin Banks is a self-taught artist and illustrator living in Salt Lake City, UT.

Robin has been a RetroSupply resident illustrator since 2019.

Their work can be found on Instagram @ramenbanks or on their web store

Love the Zombie Brain Freeze we made? Buy your poster here before they're gone!

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