How To Create Art For Screen Printing Tee Shirts

Many people ask me what type of software I use for creating artwork for screen printing tee shirts. I am not a graphic arts expert by any means and I don’t even know enough to teach anyone how to really go about it but what I can tell you is what you would want for screen printing. The first thing to know about artwork for screen printing is that most often it is in vector format. This is because vector format will allow the printer to manipulate the art without any loss of detail in any respect. It also allows easy modification of parts of the image. Therefore we look for vector art or EPS files for making screenprinting artwork.

I use a combination of Illustrator, Corel Draw and sometimes Photoshop to make or modify my screen print artwork. Photoshop will be the least useful in that it does not handle vector art. But you can use Photoshop or other photo editing programs to do a few things to items that may then be imported into vector software and converted or “traced” to vector format. The lower the quality of the original image file, the lower the quality the vector conversion will be. I find this function to work better on Corel than Illustrator but it will not be able to recreate very high quality vector conversions. For that you should use a professional service or artist.

Vector software and other photo editing programs can be expensive to buy on a professional level. There may be some educational versions of software available for students but in the end a fully functional version of Illustrator or Corel will cost you. There are some free software downloads that offer vector and photo editing software but you have to check them out and see which ones will work best for you and your computer.

Illustrator and Corel Draw both handle vector file formats such as EPS, PDF, and their own file format. But Corel seems to have an advantage in that it can open Illustrator files as well. It seems to open most version’s file formats if not all. I favor Corel for certain art jobs and Illustrator for others. I like them both but I would say Corel would be easier to learn for a beginner.

If you are new to screen printing and are heavily using Photoshop, I would recommend getting familiar with a vector art program. It may take longer to understand or generate art in the beginning but in the long run you will be happy you did. Vector art and clip art go hand in hand with custom screen printing. Thanks for reading! Learn how to screen print with Catspit Productions, LLC!

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2 Responses to How To Create Art For Screen Printing Tee Shirts

  1. Rich Powell says:

    Thanks for the blog. I’m looking into doing some shirts for local events (to promote my comic strip primarily) and I’m finding so much information it’s blowing my mind. I’m happy to find a site that isn’t trying to sell me their products and that has solid info.
    Initially, I hope to build my own press. I heard the book “How to Print T-Shirts for Fun and Profit ” is pretty good and has plans.

    I’ve been designing shirts for years for Crazy Shirts in addition to my other freelance work. I’ve always been able to provide them with a layered psd at 300 dpi. I hate working with Illustrator, it can be a bear when trying to convert my art to vector. One wor-around I’ve used when designing for a local shop is to give him each seperated layer as a 600dpi bitmap. They compress well and e-mail really easily.

    I’ve just come across your site and I’m not familiar with everything you do but thanks! If you’d like a look at my work visit my site, I’ve got tons of designs I’ve never sold, maybe we could work together someday( ). In the meantime, I’m going to find out all I need to get started making some fun shirts with the smallest investment I can get away with!

    • Hey thanks a lot! You’re welcome. My website is unique I believe but I do offer some services and I greatly appreciate the business I receive through my online efforts. However; you are correct about some of the other websites out there that seem to be put together hastily to sell screen printing products or profit solely form traffic. And then there are those that provide educational information only as a marketing tool. I enjoy screen printing and it’s very pleasurable to help people out from afar. Technology is amazing.

      There are even 2 websites that I know of that use my content by embedding to generate traffic and perhaps revenue. That is the nature of the internet. My YouTube videos are copyrighted but free and embeddable. My blog and website content is not. The internet can be a very confusing place. There are even people who use catspit as a keyword for screen printing content now. Flattering but rather un-cool.

      I like Corel Draw for vector traces. I find it works better than Illustrator. I agree Illustrator can be difficult to work with. You have some very good artwork on your site. You seem to be talented. Nice looking site too. Thanks for the great comment. Not to mention relevant. You would be amazed how many spam comments this blog gets. I appreciate that! And thanks for subscribing to the blog.

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