CML Cells print jan 2023

CML Cells jan 2023

Deceptively Beautiful. 2023. 6 colour silkscreen print.   101 x 137cm


In the print room with the CML Cells. This time with large scale silkscreen prints. The original cell microscopic image is imported into photoshop, converted to black and white bitmap and output as circular half tone dots in mono colour. Printed at AO size the circle works as one big cell with lots of cells made up by lots of little dots. Works well when viewed at a distance.

One, two and Three pulls

A trial using blue gouache painted directly on to the screen, and pushed through with an overall pull of clear medium. It kind of works where the gouache had not dried into the screen and the medium pushed the liquid blue through onto the pink half tones. The registration is not perfect and gives nice overlap off dots and colour.

Gouache through halftone screen.

halftone cells

Reviewing the halftone approach: there is potential as the dots resemble cell formations, but there’s little fluidity

Reviewing the halftone approach: there is potential as the dots resemble cell formations, but there’s little fluidity, even when viewed from a distance.


An alternative to the layers of halftones might be to fingerprint individual blue cells. screen inks are mixed rather than gouache.

blues, magenta and purple finger ink tests
finger prints on pink moncolour halftone screen print
added brush strokes of colour on on flat areas.

The fingerprints work conceptually. ie the unique fingerprint from the same body that the leukaemia cells have permeated. Visually it works with more fluidity than the screen print.

‘drawing with halftones’

Another approach maybe to digitally separate out the pink, blue and purple colours on the Procreate drawing app. This could be additionally enhanced by ‘drawing with halftones’. This may be possible with a True Grit plug in: ‘Beat Tones Distressed Halftone Brushes’, usually used to draw half tones in the illustration of comics, but they may just work to freehand draw, but with half tones that will then convert to silkscreen dots for printing.

The size, frequency and distress of the dots can be manipulated to create shaded areas. These could be used for the different coloured cells which could then be overprinted.

overall purple layer drawn in halftones with true grit beat tones app, in procreate app on iPad
overall purple layer drawn in shapes with halftone details.
drawn layer with ‘dirty streaked’ electronic brush to give a sense of flow without using half tone, but enough line definition to register on the exposure on screen
4 layers: 3 halftones and one line drawn
printed layers one ( pink) and 2 overprinted (darker halftone pink).
red, pink and blue
Red and fine blue
Circle pink screen with stopped out areas
overall pink coverage

Its feeling little flat and could do with a liquid sparkle.

To create screen printing area the same size as the main circle the red layer is rubbed with ‘pergasol’, that dilutes the green emulsion and allows it to be wiped away with damp cloth and the water spray.

without and with pink and vanish

The varnish is semi effective. The main issue being that the paper is only 280gsm and not thick enough to remain flat as the varnish encourages buckling.

An additional purple over print

Each print stage in the print room.

The overall pink and red areas are working well, but the small areas of blue are not apparent enough. An 6th layer with more detail and number of cell shapes is perhaps needed.

print out
trimmed square

The trimmed square prints look better, but perhaps more flat transparent blue to define the cells would make them more apparent and have them more in the swirl.

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