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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am not trying to put any one down or sound like I know more than the next. But I have a question and would like to hear from both sides. And how you started out!

I do not understand why someone would start a business like screen printing and not know how to create their own art work? Is this common, Because I assumed most screen printers had artistic talents and were graphic artists also? Why count on cheesy cliparts? To spend so much cash and then not be able to create anything to use the equipment, Makes me scratch my head. Isnt the greatest satisfaction from what you create?

I started out in Photoshop creating walls on many sports forums. A great way to learn the tools. I then brought that to my photography and got really good in photo shop.
Later Illustrator. I got sick of drawing and found Illustrator to be a great tool. I entered many contests and sold logos on different sites. I then started creating signs with a vinyl cutter and flexi sign software.

now screen printing. While I am learning still how to figure out gradients and LPI.to print complicated designs, I can create my own artwork or manipulate photos if need be and make a screen to print. I am not advanced by any means, And look to these forums for much needed help!

But knowing how to do all the things I mentioned really is making it easier to screen print. I have had 3 large jobs so far and 3 happy customers. I want to keep learning! And upgrading equipment!

How many screen printers have no artistic talents? Is it hard for you to do your job because of this? Are you limited or are there ways around this that make this a non issue?
 

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IMO find out what you don't do well and don't do it, find somebody who can do what you can't do and team up with them. I'm great at designing and coming up with creative concepts; I leave the printing to the professionals and I am still able to deliver a great product. Not that I haven't applied to jobs at local prints shops just so I could get a hands on approach to the art and learn a thing or two about how my final product is brought to life.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That is a good thought. But.. Say you can screen print , You can use the software, But you just can not draw original work.

So you hire out for someone to do that for you? What does that cost initially? And what do they want after the fact? Is it like logos, Where I make it sell it and the rights are theirs? So you can print all you want? Or do they also want a cut on each sale?

Or you have a partner who doesnt do as much as you, But he has you by the ears because he is the artist. Does he want more, or is the percentage smaller? Or a payment one and done, for him.

Sorry so many questions. Just really interested in some things.
 

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I think basic artistic skills, ability to create artwork and knowledge of how to manipulate existing artwork and vectorize etc.. is important.. With that being said, there are companies that provide these services at very reasonable prices and 24hr turn around... If you can send the artwork out and $10 later you get professional quality work you really have to ask yourself what your time is worth...

Unless you are being adequately compensated for your artwork abilities, send it out.
 

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I cant free hand worth a damn, but I am glad I have my Corel. I have been doing graphics for just about a year, and just started my own screen printing business. I am actually taking 2 art classes next semester to try and improve my drawing so I can start creating better quality art from scratch.

At the moment, I am currently in the mist of several hundred shirts in my first week of printing.

I want to start learning all of the halftones and 4 color process art too.
 

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While for small businesses it is more common, owners and management generally don't have to have experience in the daily work of the business they are running, only experience in running a business. You think the current CEOs and owners of large companies that have been bought out many times have the first clue how to flip a burger or run a $50,000 offset printer or play football? Personally, I don't see anything wrong with being a screen printer and contracting out your design work and/or eventually hiring a permanent graphic artist. I used to do custom brass and PCB etching. I can't draw or design circuit boards, but I had the ingenuity to build my own etching system and was able to make money offering that service to people who weren't good at the engineering part of it but had art or circuits ready to etch.

I have a bigger problem with the recent increase in people who basically say "I want to print on t-shirts but I don't want to spend any money at all, I want free artwork and the cheapest machines out there, and oh yes I don't know the first thing about basic computer skills, nevermind running Adobe, Corel, Accurip, or whatever else you people talk about. Oh, and I can't be bothered searching the website because I can't spend the time doing that." Someone who doesn't have the motivation to spend a day or two reading the forum before asking "can I make transfers with an Epson 1400?" isn't gonna be able to run a business... it's a miracle they didn't starve to death because it's too much trouble to open a box of cookies. I've been ignoring a lot of these threads lest I say something nastier.

Everyone has to start somewhere but there also has to be at least a minimum of personal effort put into learning things.

On the other hand one of my first questions here was a giant essay of every little thing I'd done trying something and links to previous threads that I'd found were similar to my question but didn't answer it. Everything but the actual question got picked apart and nagged about, especially the totally irrelevant details that had nothing to do with my problem. You just can't win, really.
 

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I can't draw a straight line to save my life

Illustrator can, though!

I find that with graphics programs (I've been teaching myself), they allow me to be creative. let me explain:

Even though I can't draw, I am able to create and add effects to an image / vector through the programs. Although there is an artistic license involved, the process of applying the effect is purely technical. I can see what looks good and what doesn't - both artistically and composition-wise, but until I actually see it on screen, I often don't even know what I have been looking for.

I can't draw, but I can do a trace on a photo to vectorise it, or cut out a palm tree from a photo and paste it into another image. I can add text and if a customer tells me what they want in a logo, there are the resources out there to learn how to do it.

So although I am definitely not artistic, the software of today allows me to create some images and graphics that astound even myself. I'm now getting people telling me how much they like my designs and I would never have classified myself as an artist.

I'm glad it never stopped me trying ;)

I always know that if I ever get stuck, I can just hire someone to create the artwork the customer is looking for.

Richie
 

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I don't consider my self an artist. That being said, I have pretty strong skills doing photo manipulation, vector art manipulation, etc. I've been doing it with various tools since the late 80's. Still can't draw for *%&$ though. :)

I could outsource some of this stuff, and maybe eventually I will. But I get a lot of jobs because I can do some decent work with Corel. Usually, it's a case where the customer has lost (through ownership changes, time, or whatever reason) their artwork. I just did a $1300 dollar order for a shop owner with no artwork - I recreated it from the sign hanging in front of the shop. Quick photo with the iphone, a little PhotoPaint work, and bam-zoom, an order. I could have outsourced it, but I had the time.

My opinion is you can do this business without knowing this stuff but it has sure helped me get some business I might never have gone after.
 

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I do not understand why someone would start a business like screen printing and not know how to create their own art work?
I always thought the opposite. You don't need to know how to design to be a screen printer. They are two different things.

Printers aren't usually printing *their own* work. They print customer supplied artwork.

You don't even have to know how to design to start a clothing line. I can't draw worth a darn, but I have "taste" and know what looks good. So I can help direct a talented artist to bring my ideas to life.

The key is knowing your strengths and working with them instead of trying to do everything :)
 

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I got into screenprinting because I've always loved art...but the more I get into printing, the less time I have for the artwork. It does help to know your way around photoshop, etc, and have a good eye for good designs, but like Rodney says, mostly the artwork comes to me pretty much done, and all I have to do is separate...which is a totally different skill then creating art.
 

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Long lasting operations are run by people who know how to run companies, if they have an artistic flair as well, great.

I, like others posted here, know what I like, but it's about what the customer likes. We bought many shops up from artistic wonders, who had no clue as to actually how to thrive in a business.

Every time we put an ad in for production workers, virtually everyone of the applicants wants to bring their portfolio. We get a constant outside source for artwork littany of email ads.

Bottom line is, you need many types to make a business run, and some can be outsourced, and some need to be in house. So the goal is to put together the best operational team you can, and use everybody's strenghts to the max.
 

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I've been dealing with different kinds of printers, screenprinting, offset, etc., for well over 10 years and in my experience, VERY few of them have what any might consider "artistic" skill. You have to understand, though, printing is a technical skill that relies very little on art, and it doesn't matter because most of the time they're not the ones providing the artwork.

In fact, every now and then I've come across a press man who became a printer exactly because they were not good designers... but they still wanted to be a part of the "design machine" :)

By the same token, printers who ARE designers are in turn much better printers, because they know the tweaks necessary to get certain results.
 

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In the end, isn't the goal of most small business owners to do less work than they started and focus on keeping operations running smoothly (assuming you have goals of growing and hiring employees)? I mean, if you want to do EVERYTHING (graphics, printing, etc) and be hands on with the business that is fine, but there is only so much time during the day and if product demand rises then at some point you're going to want some assistance. Personally, I enjoy designing and I have aspirations of getting into the screen printing business, but I would be lying if I told you I intend on designing every piece of artwork that I intend to print and sell the day I own a business. I find nothing wrong with outsourcing and finding ways to balance supply and demand. I never was naturally artistic and I can draw decently well but have no actual training, but software such as Photoshop and Illustrator balance that out for me. Still, whether I am skilled or not in designing, it doesn't mean I, nor anyone else, can't own and run a successful business in any industry.
 
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