29 March 2015

Letterpress -- Wood and Metal Type

Bold Line Gothic 96pt, Condensed Western Small,
Gill Bold 48pt, Character Face

Normally, I would post the finished image first.  However, letterpress is so much about the process of setting type and furniture that it seems more appropriate to present the work in progress above.  See the beautiful colours that the wood type has absorbed over years of use?  The metal type is made out of lead, so little nicks are plentiful and add... er...character to the printed type.  Below is the finished print, white ink on Kraft Stonehenge.

17 March 2015

Yes Ma'am

Getting out of my comfort zone of pen and ink to try a linocut.  It is fun seeing the final results after a couple of hours carving and wondering what it will look like when inked and printed.  This image is loosely based on an old photo that came up when I Googled 1860s, Portland, Oregon, women, for another work-in-progress.

Source photo -- top left


15 March 2015

Letterpress - Finished Product

Futura 24pt, Bodoni Italic 48pt, Chelt 72pt, dingbat

Ah, that's better!  If you saw the last post, you will see what I mean.  "The fun is always on the other side of a yes," is paraphrased from Tina Fey's improv notes.  Final proof on Stonehenge.

3 March 2015


Futura 24pt, Bodoni Italic 48pt, Chelt 72pt

The learning continues with letterpress.  Above was the first type that I set and printed.  There are so many flaws in this sample that it would induce gagging among serious letterpress artists.  However, these are my baby steps and I am happy like a kid with a new toy.  I like the methodical ritual of loading each metal letter. I like the colours and sheen that the wood type have absorbed over years of printing.  I like the motion of moving a press across paper.  Even the terminology has a certain charm:  lock-up, quoins, dissing, leading.

Over the past months, I have come to appreciate the role of typeface in design.   Typography is also a crucial aspect of picture book design.  Remember the placement of text in, The Dark?

Chip Kidd pointed out how good typeface design can also work subliminally.  Can you find the symbol in the famous logo below?  Yes, x-height matters.

Univers 67, Futura Bold

12 February 2015

Half-Timbered in Rennes

Pigma 005 to 08

This is the first time using ink "doodles" on a non-animal theme.  The above scene is from  Rennes, Brittany.  The original photo by Manfredo Q is shown below, right next to the drawing in the early stages of inking.  Using this method took twice as long on buildings as it did on animals.

WiP - photo reference for drawing

24 January 2015

My First Typeface!


I am learning about typeface (or fonts).  After a first class that was mostly a history and classification lesson, our assignment was to develop our own font using a grid of squares or dots.  Mid-week, I had a eureka moment to combine both squares and dots in a typeface that would have Braille embedded as part of each character it represented.  Since each Braille character is made up of a combination of dots in a 2x3 dot grid, it was important that the Braille appear at the same location in each letter so that the alignment would be correct for actually reading Braille.  Some Braille dots ended up adjacent to rather than embedded within a character, which added... um... more character?

WiP - sketchbook

Above is my sketchbook showing the Braille alphabet and the basic grid structure that was used for each letter.  There were specific rules that I applied in order to build consistency in the typeface.

WiP - drawn on trace

Notice how many times the letter 'V' was attempted on trace?  Letters 'X' and 'K' were also tricky because I did not want a stepped look for the angled parts of the letter.  An implied angle was the solution that I liked.

It was also tricky trying to differentiate a 'D' from an 'O' and from the number '0'.  I really like the solution for zero with implied slash line.

The font was constructed online using FontStruct.
The class text book is, Thinking with Type, an excellent resource.

19 January 2015

Tri-some Dinos?

Pigmas 005 to 05

Another horn-headed vegetarian.  This one is definitely extinct.  The inspiration for drawing Triceratops horridus came from the kids.  They were watching A Prehistoric Adventure on National Geographic.  Here is the original image from the website and pencil sketch, ready to ink.

WiP - sketch and reference photo